For those who are in the market for a full-size pickup truck, don’t overlook the 2013 RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4×4, as this could be one of the best trucks ever built. Yes, that’s a bold statement, but the folks at RAM have been doing work to design and build something special.
The new 2013 RAM 1500 retains its ruggedly handsome appearance with all-new interior and exterior design aesthetics, improved aerodynamics and all-new segment-leading technology, and every RAM 1500 truck benefits from new content specifically designed to match each model’s unique style. RAM Truck brand designers started with the RAM grille, making it not only larger with the same overall width, but approximately one inch taller “saddled” within the new upper fascia panel for a more integrated appearance. The classic RAM crosshair horizontal and vertical grille bars are now flush at the top and bottom of the grille surround. The new front bumper design supports the “saddled” RAM grille theme with new vertically oriented fog lamps for improved light spread, distance and more lumens. Larger openings around the front tow hooks (four-wheel drive models) allow for easy access to the hooks.
The 2013 RAM 1500 quad headlamp design has improved light spread, pattern consistency, distance and 30 percent more lumens. An all-new premium headlamp lighting system is a bi-functional halogen projector design with 15 amber LEDs for park/turn/position lamp and three amber LEDs for the side marker. For 2013, the RAM 1500 offers 12 different colors, including five new shades. Black Gold, Copperhead, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie and Western Brown are all new and available in a monotone and/or two-tone depending on the model.
The new, polished stainless steel running boards have a sturdy box cross-section design. Also, the new wheel-to-wheel exclusive running board design offers aerodynamic improvements over the current version and provides customers’ improved access to the forward portion of the truck bed. A new 6-ft.-4-in. bed option is now available on Crew Cab models, giving customers the ability to combine RAM 1500’s largest available cab with the largest four-door/bed combination. All-new premium tail lamps are standard and consist of 15 red LEDs with three red LEDs for the side marker. Our test model added even more features with the Longhorn edition including lower two-toned paint and 20-inch aluminum polished wheels with gold inserts.
As good as the exterior looks on the 2013 RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4×4, the interior space is just as special. For 2013, new features and technologies create opportunity for a redesigned interior with material upgrades; improved fit and finish; all-new interior themes with different colors and materials; all-new HVAC controls and new multimedia systems. The 2013 RAM 1500 also features an exclusive 8-speed transmission with a new rotary e-shift dial design. Rear occupants can enjoy the same quality, fit and finish as the driver. With points of contact a priority, new premium materials, colors and designs are now on all four doors. Soft-touch materials enhance armrests and upper bolsters with expanded use of premium surfaces.
The 2013 RAM 1500 features the next generation 8.4-inch Uconnect system with background screens tailor-made to specific RAM models and themes. To make room for the new big screen, the center stack is upgraded with matching materials found throughout the interior. To complement the range of RAM 1500 models, the interior design team created new, individualized themes with different colors and materials. For the Laramie Longhorn, the RAM design team sought out a very rare Walnut grain with a unique burl that was unintentionally created by ranchers using trees as fence posts for barbed wire. Eventually, the trees grow over the rusting metal wire, creating a swirl coloring pattern and tone that is not found anywhere else.
The all-new HVAC controls take lessons learned from other Chrysler Group Uconnect applications and feature simple, improved function, meeting the highest Human Machine Interface (HMI) standards. The HVAC system includes a redundant architecture allowing the operator to use either the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls to alter the truck’s environment. Below the upgraded HVAC arrangement is a new switch bank with relocated, easy-to-use controls for a number of features depending on vehicle models and options. All buttons in the comfort bank also are redundant on the Uconnect system. Contiguous to the switch bank is a prominently placed, adjustable integrated trailer brake control allowing the driver to add or reduce trailer brake function on the fly.
The RAM 1500’s new, exclusive eight-speed transmission created the need for an innovative rotary e-shift dial in the cockpit to replace the center console gate shifter – a first for pickups. The new shifter works in a multitude of seating configurations and will replace floor and column shifters for use in the eight-speed transmission. Realizing this is a dramatic change in the way trucks have historically shifted gears, the interior design team accepted the challenge with a new shift knob, naturally and prominently placed to the driver’s right, at the lower left-hand side of the center stack, in place of the previous transfer case shift knob. The rotary dial enables intuitive blind-shift transitions between “Drive” and “Reverse” with a direct and confident feel. The transfer case retains full capability with push buttons located directly under the e-shift dial. New technology also moves to the gauge cluster. Previously only available on premium models, the 3.5-inch vehicle information screen is now standard on ST and SLT and displays vehicle operating functions. The new thin film transistor (TFT), 7-inch screen is now available on SLT, standard on Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn model as tested. The 7-inch screen features fully customizable function and configurability. Similar to the 8.4-inch Uconnect screen, select 7-inch cluster background screens are tailor-made to specific RAM models, with designs that match the truck’s theme.
The Uconnect Media Centers R3 and R4 provide the RAM 1500 with a built-in cellular connection so vehicle occupants are automatically connected to a variety of new services and the internet with WiFi hotspot capability. The new Uconnect Media Centers provide a direct connection to emergency services when the new 911 button found on the rearview mirror is pushed. RAM 1500 customers will also automatically receive regular vehicle health reports and be able to remotely lock or unlock truck doors, start the vehicle and flash lights from any distance via the web or a smartphone application. RAM truck owners will be confident to know their truck is designed to be forward-thinking, providing the freedom to upgrade to the latest features and services without having to replace their factory-installed Uconnect systems. Applications are updatable over the air and are downloaded directly to the Uconnect Media Center, so features remain current. RAM truck owners will be able to continually evolve their in-vehicle connectivity experience by downloading app updates or new applications as they become available directly to the Uconnect Media Center from inside the car via the 8.4-inch touchscreen. Neatly integrated within the upper storage tier of the center console, a new multimedia input includes USB, SD card and auxiliary connections. The USB allows control of iPod or other media device through the large touchscreen displays and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. A more powerful 2.5 amp, USB port and 12-volt outlet also provide mobile recharging for electronic devices. In addition, MP3 and WMA audio files on a USB memory device may also be played and controlled via the Uconnect system.
The cattle tan leather interior is something to behold on both the premium buckets seats and throughout the cabin. This is one of those interiors that you have to experience to fully appreciate.
There are few sounds that can compare to the rumble of the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 found in the 2013 RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4×4. RAM had us when we started up the beast, but what sold us was how smooth this powertrain was in all conditions. The fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower, 407 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-8 trucks (at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to 2012 V-8 powertrain). The new eight-speed is also available with the 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI – the Company’s first application with a V-8 (TorqueFlite 8 with V-8 is late availability). The exclusive new transmission is operated by an innovative, dash mounted rotary e-shift dial, which enables quick blind-shift transitions from “Reverse” to “Drive” when towing or navigating out of mud, snow or busy parking lots.
Owners will appreciate an innovative rotary e-shift dial for trucks equipped with the new TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission that replaces both column and floor shifters. The exclusive rotary e-shift enables intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel, even with gloves on. The convenient, dash-mounted, easy-to-understand and operate system provides total control of the sophisticated 8-speed transmission and is RAM Truck’s innovative approach to electronic shifters, already used in Class 6-8 trucks. The new rotary e-shift dial also yields space for more functional and usable storage in the console.
Best-in-class ride and handling gets even better. The 2013 RAM 1500 is now available with an all-new air suspension system featuring five height settings for optimum ride and aerodynamic performance. The feature operates automatically, or may be controlled manually via console or key fob controls:
Normal Ride Height (NRH): 8.7 inches of clearance (measured from the base of the door sill) and the default, load-leveled ride height
Aero Mode: Lowers the vehicle 1.1 inches from NRH. Aero Mode improves fuel efficiency by up to one percent and is activated by vehicle speed, adjusting for optimal performance and fuel economy
Off-road 1: Lifts the truck 1.2 inches from NRH for added height in clearing obstacles
Off-road 2: Delivers more off-road capability, increasing ground clearance by 2 inches over
The 2013 RAM 1500 features electric power steering (EPS). By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack and pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8 percent and adding five horsepower. Also, the introduction of EPS reduces complexity by removing the previous hydraulic pump, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and cooling apparatus. Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a new fuel-saving technology for the RAM 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding a 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. Also, the 2013 RAM 1500 uses a newly designed frame with improved, low torsion (stiffness) attributes that increase stability and handling precision while decreasing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) up to 30 percent, depending on drive cycle. Front rails feature 20 percent increased yield strength from the use of high-strength steel.
Among other features, the new frame design incorporates a new powertrain, new air suspension and new body-mounting technology. Portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed. The front frame section incorporates advanced, high-strength steel that maintains overall strength and durability while saving approximately 30 pounds. To further improve NVH, new larger body mounts are located on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar. New standard front independent suspension combines new aluminum upper control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs for improved responsiveness and handling. New, more robust ball joints on the front suspension yield greater durability and are engineered with improved sealing methods.
There is so much to write about we could be here for days, but the bottom line is that the 2013 RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4×4 is for truck buyers in search of style and substance. Our test model was loaded and came in at a sticker price of $55,390, with fuel efficiency at 15mpg in the city and 21mpg in highway driving. The research and attention to detail, such as the new remote central locking RamBox cargo management system and tailgate combined with door locks, will be appreciated in ways that no dollar value can return. Drive it, test it and become a fan like we did, because some things in life are just plain worth it!