$12,809 - $26,478

2013 Ram 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Ram 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.8

Reviewers say the 2013 Ram 1500 performs well. They especially like its class-leading fuel economy with the new V6 engine, and are pleased that the truck doesn’t feel underpowered with this engine. The Ram 1500 earns consistent praise for having the most comfortable ride in the class.

  • "Thanks to its exquisite eight-speed automatic transmission and Chrysler's jack-of-all trades Pentastar V6, the 1500's fuel economy, features and capability far exceed other V6 full-size pickups." -- The Detroit Free Press
  • "Those who tow infrequently won't find any complaints with the drivetrain, and every truck owner can appreciate the flexibility of the air ride suspension." -- Autoblog
  • "For the Ram buyer who runs empty most of the time, is looking for max fuel economy and plans only occasional light-to-medium towing, the new Pentastar V-6 deserves a serious look and a test drive." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The base Tradesman trim of the 2013 Ram 1500 comes standard with a 4.7-liter V8 that puts out 310 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Available engines include the new 3.6-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque or the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque. The V6 engine comes standard with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, while the V8s get a six-speed automatic. The eight-speed automatic is optional with the Hemi V8. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 14/20 mpg city/highway with either V8 to a best-in-class 17/25 mpg with the V6. Four-wheel drive versions get slightly lower fuel economy.

Reviewers are very pleased with the new V6, saying it provides decent power and should be adequate for most buyers who don’t do a lot of heavy hauling or towing. They also like the optional Hemi V8 for its power. They note that opting for the Hemi over the smaller 4.7-liter V8 yields no fuel-economy penalty. Critics also like the new eight-speed automatic, saying it keeps the V6 in its powerband and helps to maximize fuel efficiency.

  • "Consumers looking for eight-cylinder power will want to lie, steal -- whatever it takes, really -- to get their hands on the burly 5.7-liter Hemi." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The 3.6-liter V6 offers good power from a stop and has plenty of muscle for highway merging. The 8-speed automatic is very smooth, and steering wheel buttons allow for manual gear selection." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It's so good that buyers no longer have to automatically default to the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 as a viable powerplant for a full-size pickup weighing north of 4500 lbs." -- Motor Trend (V6)
  • "Shifts from the eight-speed are nice and smooth and the logic doesn't get flustered easily." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

With its coil rear suspension, reviewers say the Ram 1500 has a far smoother ride than its rivals, which use leaf-spring rear suspensions. For 2013, an air suspension is optional, and critics say this improves ride quality further. The air suspension is adjustable, and they say this is advantageous as it can raise the truck for off-roading or lower it to increase fuel economy. The air suspension also keeps the rear end from squatting under heavy loads, which is a common occurrence with leaf-spring trucks. Critics say that the Ram 1500’s steering provides decent feedback. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional on all trims except the HFE.

  • "… the air springs provide surprisingly supple ride quality, patchwork pavement or smooth, graded gravel or hummocky roadless construction site." -- Car and Driver
  • "Ram 1500's ride quality is best in class." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The rack-mounted EPS does a good job of providing linear steering response … something earlier electric steering systems in competitor vehicles lacked." -- Motor Trend
  • "On-road or off, ride quality is remarkably supple for such a big vehicle thanks to the new air suspension." -- Popular Mechanics

Towing and Hauling

With the new V6 engine, the Ram 1500 can tow up to 6,500 pounds. Depending on the model, the Ram 1500 can tow up to 10,450 pounds and haul a payload of 1,930 pounds. These figures are not class-leading, but are in line with the class as a whole. Reviewers say that the V6 is decent for towing small loads. However one says that as the trailer gets heavier, the V6’s low torque output will be noticeable compared with the stronger V8 options. One critic also comments that the air suspension is great for towing and hauling, as it prevents the bed from squatting down under load, which is the case with most trucks that use a more common rear leaf suspension.

  • "In the quest for the best full-size pickup ride quality, payload capacity isn't sacrificed; Ram claims a credible 1930-lb payload capability." -- Motor Trend
  • "Properly set up - in other words, with the V8 and air suspension - the Ram really shines as a tow rig." -- Jalopnik
  • "Towing was part of the experience in Tennessee, with V-6 Rams hitched up to various hefty trailer loads-a boat, a Bobcat, a large enclosed trailer-and the new truck handled them all smoothly, with no hint of strain." -- Car and Driver

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