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  • First Drive: 2019 Ram 1500

    Light-duty pickups focus on style and functionality

    By Nina Russin

    2019 Ram 1500 Rebel

    2019 Ram 1500 Rebel

    Since Ram split off from Dodge in 2009, the brand has experienced a major growth spurt, with annual sales jumping from 260,000 to 700,000 units last year. Product planners hope that the newest generation of light-duty pickups tagged for the 2019 model year will maintain the momentum, with increased towing and hauling capacity, new styling and upgraded interiors.

    Pricing for the base Tradesman work model starts at $31,695 excluding delivery, while the upscale Limited grade is priced from $53,890. Base MSRP for the off-road oriented Rebel is $43,995.

    Buyers can choose between the newest-generation Pentastar V-6 and Hemi V-8 engines. Mild hybrid technology improves fuel economy as well as the performance of the auto-stop feature. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2013 Ram 1500

    Light-duty pickups get leaner, meaner and smarter

    By Nina Russin

    2013 Ram 1500

    The all-new 2013 Ram 1500 series is the second generation of light duty pickup trucks to roll out since the brand split with its long-time partner, Dodge. Dividing the brands in the fall of 2009 made Ram Chrysler’s second pure-truck brand. While Jeep focuses on adventurous lifestyles, Ram is all about work.

    Ram’s aggressive styling and innovative cargo features have made it one of the top-selling truck brands. As fuel prices rise and car budgets shrink, the new Ram series offers buyers better fuel economy, enhanced connectivity and new cargo options. At the same time, Ram is keeping MSRPs commensurate with comparable outgoing models.

    Pricing for 2013 models ranges from $22,590 for the rear-wheel drive Tradesman to $47,420 for the four-wheel drive Laramie Longhorn crew cab. MSRPs do not include the $995 destination charge.

    Adjustable air suspension on 2013 models can change ride height according to the terrain, and has built-in load leveling. The base Pentastar V-6 engine which debuted in the current Jeep Grand Cherokee is more fuel efficient. Zero-to-sixty acceleration is three seconds faster than the 3.7-liter block it replaces.

    The engine and all-new eight-speed automatic transmission are 76 pounds lighter than the components they replace. Using high-strength steel throughout the chassis shaved off another thirty pounds.

    A high fuel efficiency model combines the new V-6 powertrain with electric power steering, engine off-at-idle, low rolling resistance tires, redesigned side steps and a rear tonneau cover to yield 18/25 mile-per-gallon fuel economy according to the EPA. In the first quarter of 2013, the new eight-speed automatic becomes available with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, improving that powertrain’s gas mileage as well.

    A new thermal management system heats up the engine and transmission faster, reducing fluid viscosity and improving gas mileage. Active shutters in the front of the car regulate air through the engine bay to cool it more efficiently. A redesigned front air dam is taller than the one on the outgoing model, and built out of flexible materials to resist damage during off-road driving.

    Buyers can choose between the new V-6 or two V-8 engines, regular, quad and crew cab models with rear or four-wheel drive, short or long cargo boxes, and six trim levels: Tradesman, Express, SLT, R/T, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn. Read the rest of this entry »