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2013 Ram 3500 Overview
Subtly but effectively redesigned for 2013, the Ram 3500 full-size heavy-duty pickup retains its title as the best-looking brute of the bunch. Most of the aforementioned changes are internal and include a stronger frame, some added oomph to the available Cummins turbodiesel powerplant and a larger (8.4-inch) touchscreen display for Chrysler’s touted Uconnect infotainment system. LED turn signals, a marginally upgraded suspension and a hint of refreshment to the cabin also differentiate the latest Ram 3500 offerings from last year’s variants.
Again, 3 cabs, the 3-seat Regular cab, the 6-seat/4-door Crew cab and the 6-passenger (and extra-roomy) Mega cab, also with 4 independently opening doors, are offered, with Regular cab trims offering a standard 8.2-foot bed, Crew cabs offering either the 8.2-foot or a 6.4-foot bed, and Mega cab versions coming with only the 6.4-foot bed. Oh, and all Ram 3500s except the short-bed Crew cab editions come with standard dual rear wheels.
For 2013, the Tradesman moniker replaces the old ST base trim, while the lower-midlevel SLT, the upper midlevel Laramie and the flagship Laramie Longhorn Edition all return for 2013. Additionally for 2013, the up-level Big Horn trim, slotted between the SLT and Laramie and called the Lone Star in Texas, is now a standard part of the lineup. The entry-level Tradesman can be delivered in either Regular or Crew cab versions, while the SLT remains offered in all 3 cab variations. The Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn are once more offered only in Crew or Mega cab iterations.
To go with what reviewers describe as a surprisingly smooth ride and some unexpectedly pleasant handling, the Ram 3500 lineup offers a well-wrought cabin, as well as a stylish profile, and remains what reviewers concede is the most refined and capable heavy-duty pickup in its class.
Standard power for all Ram 3500 trims, meantime, comes from a 5.7-liter V8 engine that rustles up 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque under the auspices of the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission with auxiliary transmission cooling. Towing power with this potent V8 is maxed out at 13,850 pounds on the standard hitch and wiring, and with the available 4.1 rear axle ratio added.
Need more towing muscle? An optional 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder (I6) powerplant is available to every Ram 3500 trim, including the Big Horn/Long Horn sub-trims. Equipped with the standard 6-speed manual transmission, this trailer-taming brute puts out 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t bad. Throw in the available 6-speed automatic transmission, though, and the power ante is jacked up to 385 hp and a whopping 850 lb-ft of torque. That extra torque means this turbocharged diesel six-banger can haul up to 30,000 pounds of trailer on a fifth-wheel rig, according to Chrysler. Oh, and gas mileage is, understandably, unavailable for either the V8 or the turbodiesel I6.
All trims are, of course, available with part-time 4-wheel drive (4WD), which boasts electronic hi-lo gear selection, a heavy-duty rear locking differential and auto-locking hubs.
The 2013 Ram 3500 Tradesman, though decently equipped, is Spartan by the standards of the higher trims. However, this entry-level edition in Regular cab form still sports standard 18-inch steel wheels, a Class V trailer hitch and wiring, vinyl upholstery, cruise control, tilt-wheel steering, manual air conditioning and a Uconnect-managed AM/FM stereo with 6 speakers. Crew cab versions of this base trim, meanwhile, offer split-folding rear seats and full power accessories, including heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors.
Moving up to the SLT gains a standard manual sliding rear window in Regular cab form, with Mega cab variations sporting a power sliding rear window. Then, this lower-midlevel trim goes on to add a few upgraded cabin accents, some extra exterior chrome and satellite radio.
The Big Horn/Lone Star comes with all of the SLT’s standard goodies, as well as 18-inch polished alloy wheels, a chrome grille, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded Uconnect 5.0 audio management with a 5-inch display and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Ram 3500 Laramie, meantime, tosses in standard leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, reclining rear bench seats, a remote garage door opener, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, even more cabin trim accents, a heated steering wheel, driver memory settings, 10 speakers, newly upgraded Uconnect 8.4 infotainment and Bluetooth hands-free calling.
As befits its top-shelf status, the Laramie Longhorn Edition sports added standard goodies like step running boards, premium leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, remote engine start and rear parking sensors, as well as leather, wood and simulated alloy cabin bling and a hard-drive-based navigation system that’s managed by the Uconnect 8.4’s larger touchscreen display.
A power sunroof, the RamBox Cargo Management System, upgraded audio components and rear-seat DVD entertainment (Crew and Mega cabs) are all available to this big Ram pickup, depending on the trim selected, with all trims additionally eligible for an available automatic-transmission-interfaced tow-haul mode and integrated trailer brake controller.
Each Ram 3500, meantime, provides safety via its sheer size, but nonetheless all come with 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front (and rear in 6-passenger editions) head airbags and a post-collision safety system. A remote security alarm is optional in the SLT and standard in all higher trims, while the Tradesman Crew and Mega cabs, as well as all higher trims, get standard turn-signal-integrated mirrors.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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