By on April 5, 2012

A mid-cycle refresh for the 2013 Ram 1500 brings about some interesting changes. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 is now available, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission (dubbed the TorqueFlite8). But wait, there’s more.

Also available is a new air suspension, a first for a 1500 pickup. Ride height can be adjusted for easy access, improved fuel economy and to facilitate off-roading. Electric grille shutters, a UConnect infotainment system, electric power steering and an engine start-stop system are also included.

The success of Ford’s V6 F-150 trucks has proved that there is a market for a V6 pickup, so long as it’s a good one. The Ecoboost and Ford’s 3.7L V6 are fine engines in their own right, and the Pentastar has been getting a lot of love lately, with TTAC hoping on the bandwagon as well. A 5.7L Hemi V8 will also be available, but it may not be the automatic choice anymore. Perhaps a V6 truck shoot-out is in order. Over to you, Mr. Dykes.

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51 Comments on “New York 2012: 2013 Ram 1500 Gets Pentastar V6, 8-Speed Auto, Air Suspension...”


  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    This auto show will be looked back on as the moment Chrysler took over leadership of the American car business. There is no more important segment in the US than the fullsize truck and Ram has certainly badly beat Ford as well as turning GM and JapanInc trucks into antiques.

    In the past when Chrysler really showed up to compete they always did well but many times they came out with half hearted efforts. Nowdays Mopar swings for the fences with almost every opportunity. Marchionne now really is the Steve Jobs of the car business.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Just because you say this doesn’t necessarily me it is, or will be, true; this will have to be validated by history.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        I’ll say it.
        Dodge trucks are Walmart trucks.
        They are getting better, but folks who swear by them are cheap people who needed bang for the buck. Dodge does that and that is their focus. If you can’t afford the best, settle for a Dodge and you will probably be satisfied for a few years.

        Nothing wrong with that – but claiming they are the best has not been proven in any unbiased comparison.

        Could they dominate the Market? Yeah – if we continue in this economic doldrum, they may be as successful as Walmart too.

        Sometimes being good enough, works.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Lets’ see how things have changed by the Detroit auto show after the Dodge Dart introduction, this Ram truck introduction, the 8 speed Grand Cherokee/Durango introduction, the SRT Dart introduction, the reveal of the new Cherokee and endless spy pictures of the new American made rear wheel drive Alfa Romeo Guilia, SRT Barracuda and rear wheel drive Dodge Avenger.

        BTW, Watch how the transaction price of Ram trucks goes way up this coming year. That happens when you have technological leadership. Think about it, the new Pentastar Ram has the same gas mileage on the highway as a Tacoma 4 cylinder automatic! There’s persistent rumors that Cummins V8 diesels and VM V6 diesels are on the way come next spring. Chrysler is dead serious about taking over the 1/2 ton truck market.

        By then Chrysler will have taken over FIAT.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        Vanilladude, you don’t know what you are talking about. Truck owners are the only ones that are still loyal to a brand. Us Dodge truck owners drive them because we like them. The hemi will easily run as long as the OHC V8’s in the Ford trucks. Only the hemi looks cooler, sounds cooler and is cooler. It’s also simpler, easier and cheaper to work on and hop up. And the cummins diesel equipped trucks are popular with RV owners for a reason, they are known to go past a million miles without an overhaul.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “This auto show will be looked back on as the moment Chrysler took over leadership of the American car business”

      Leadership? How? By following Ford’s example of putting a decent V6 in a full-size truck? Take off the Chrysler goggles for a moment. Aren’t Ram sales a distant third to F-series and Silverado/Sierra?

      Adding the Pentastar to the Ram is a good move, but a Me-Too one.

      • 0 avatar
        potatobreath

        Adding Pentastar to the Ram is a no-brainer. Allpar says the 3.7 L PowerTech V6 is being discontinued and the factory retooled for Pentastar production. I wonder if that means the end of the 4.7 L Magnum SOHC V8 too.

        Before, Chrysler had too many similar engines. A 3.8 L 60-degree pushrod V6 for minivans and Wrangler. A 4.0 L 60-degree SOHC V6 optional V6 for minivans and Volkswagen Routan. A 3.2-3.5 L 60-degree SOHC V6 for LH cars and Sebring/Avenger R/T. An unloved 2.7 L DOHC V6. A 3.7 L 90-degree SOHC V6 for Jeep and Ram.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Chrysler takes leadership by beating Ford across the board in gas mileage without resorting to turbos, the HEMI 8 speed will compete with the Eco Boost with 22 mpg highway. There is no comparison in ride quality as Ram already beats Ford there. The coil springs disadvantage was towing and the air ride fixes that. The ZF transmission has gotten very good reviews for shift quality, something I’ve always hated about Fords.

      • 0 avatar
        potatobreath

        I thought the Ford F-150 6-speed was a ZF gearbox.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The 6R80E (current F-150 transmission) is based off of the ZF 6HP design, but with some enhancements for Ford’s uses and is manufactured by Ford under license from ZF.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “Aren’t Ram sales a distant third to F-series ”

        Anyone can fleet dump. And how many models comprise the “F-Series” name? Soon Ford will be renaming the Fiesta to F-.23 just so they can include it in the “F-Series” sales crown.

        Let Ford chase silly and empty sales crowns that really mean nothing. GM/Chrysler can quietly pick up the real sales (retail) and clean up.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “…as well as turning GM and JapanInc trucks into antiques.”

      The whole appeal of buying a 4.3L GM truck is that IT IS an antique.

      That, and they cost like $16K.

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        Yep, I have a whole stack of 4.3L, crank window, 2wd Chevy trucks as service vehicles. Easy to maintain, reliable and dirt cheap. What more could you ask for?

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Big 3 consistently outdo each other with each new generation of pickup. I’ll be interested in seeing what the actual fuel economy numbers are on this, Dodge may take the lead for a bit there.

      Of course Ford is almost due for a new F-150, and I think GM is due for a refresh sometime in the next couple years as well. This is such a major market segment for Detroit that no one stands still for very long and no one can claim absolute best fuel economy, hp, or towing for very long.

      It is a lesson to Toyota and Nissan though – the Titan and Tundra were both competitive trucks when they launched but have fallen behind the curve through inattention the last couple years.

  • avatar

    If you care about reliability, skip the air suspension. Systems like this are a common headache in BMW, Mercedes, and Jeep SUVs.

    For the Jeep:

    http://truedelta.com/Jeep-Grand-Cherokee/suspension-problems-144/2011

  • avatar
    86er

    “Also available is a new air suspension, a first for a 1500 pickup. Ride height can be adjusted for easy access, improved fuel economy and to facilitate off-roading.”

    Logical next step. All the things that guys used to install on their trucks themselves in the past (off-road equipment, trailer controls, etc.) now are offered from factory. It’s getting so easy now, a child could nearasdamnit operate it. Hop in and go – baby boomer retirees taking up the RV lifestyle, and all that.

    GM should buy Fleetwood trailers and then finally we can have a Cadillac-Fleetwood again…

  • avatar

    I guess the Lincoln Blackwood wasn’t a 1500 truck with an air suspension. Maybe the Dodge is a 4 corner air bag affair…

  • avatar
    relton

    Actually air suspensions have been very reliable in Ford and Lincoln cars and trucks. So reliable tht lots of people didn’t even realize they had air suspension.

    Most perps in the back of the Crown Victoria don’t even realize they’re riding on air on the way to the slammer.

    BMW, Mercedes, et al, may not be able to make a reliable air suspension, but then reliability isn’t their long suit for much of anything.

    Bob

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think the Lincoln systems have been as complicated. Especially not those only on the rear axle. Heavy trucks have used air suspensions for hundreds of thousands of miles for years, so they can last. But those systems are probably also relatively simple ones.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      I don’t think the CVPIs ever came with rear air suspension.

      Chalk that up to “learn something new every day” if anyone can refute.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      As far as I know the Police Interceptor never had the air suspension, but it was available on the Crown Vic LX Sport models. It’s possible there were detective cars based on higher trim Vics that had the suspensions and possibly carted around some crooks.

      The Expedition has been available with the rear air suspension for a while as part of the load leveling rear suspension option.

      In an odd twist near the end of the Panther’s run the air suspension was replaced with coils in the Town Car, but carried on in the LS trim Grand Marquis.

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      “Actually air suspensions have been very reliable in Ford and Lincoln cars and trucks.”

      What??????

      There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a mid to late 90s Lincoln/Ford with it’s tires rubbing the top of the wheel wells.

      However, Ford’s faulty system is not representative of all systems. The GMs are far more reliable.

      And the CVPI did NOT have air suspension. The police Taurus and Explorer won’t either.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Mid to late 90s cars are over 15 years old now. After enough time the air bags can dry rot or crack which depending on the size of the leak can lead to the system being unable to hold air or the pump eventually burning out from running constantly to fill leaking bags.

        Any suspension requires maintenance/replacement after enough miles/time. The Panther rear air suspensions have been proven to be very durable for hundreds of thousands of miles during tough duty cycles.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Planned obsolescence is the Ford way I guess.

        Funny…airbag systems from other manufactures don’t have that problem.

  • avatar

    We’ve gone too long without cool transmission names. Glad to see Chrysler’s bringing it back.

  • avatar
    potatobreath

    TorqueFlite8? It better be as bulletproof like its namesake, the legendary 3-speed TorqueFlite. Otherwise, it will be UltraDrive8.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      Due to the fact that the 8 speed is only offered behind the 6 popper because it won’t handle the torque of the V8’s is proof enough that it’s no 727.

  • avatar
    ronhawk62

    Thats the story of my life, I waited three years for the new six and after getting a 2012 with a Hemi they come out with the truck I wanted all along.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Well, you’ll still have the power advantage. I don’t know how well the Pentastar V6 will scoot a heavy truck along. The F150 Ecoboost is downright fast, but the turbo gives it low end torque that I’m guessing the Pentastar doesn’t have.

      • 0 avatar
        ronhawk62

        I’ve always been fond of sixes, guess it started with my 52 Plymouth, then a 57 Ranchwagon 223 six followed by lots of Dusters. I love the Hemi, but could easily get by with the Pentastar six.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ronhawk62, you still have the better end of the deal with the Hemi.

      All I drove up until 1988 were trucks with 6-cyl engines and three-on-the-tree. Once I bought that first V8 pickup truck with an automatic, I was hooked.

      Every truck since my 1988 has had a V8, the bigger the better. Now that I drive a 2011 Tundra 5.7 I’ve really been spoiled. The best truck I have ever owned! I can’t see ever going back to a 6-cyl full-size half-ton pickup truck. No way!

      NB I don’t worry about the price of gas. I’ll buy it no matter what the price. I prefer to drive. People who have to worry about fuel prices oughtn’t buy a pickup truck.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    And the best truck just keeps getting better.

    This would be my top choice for a truck…Followed by one of the GM offerings.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    Put me down for a regular cab, 4×4 and a 6 speed manual…what’s that you say? No manual? Regular cabs exist on paper only? Ok guess I’ll skulk back and back to my cave and bask in my retroness.

  • avatar
    Good ole dayz

    >>and an engine start-stop system are also included.

    Can that be disabled????

    Multiplying by severalfold the “start” cycles with no oil pressure has to be very detrimental to POST-WARRANTY engine durability …

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Start-stop has such fuel economy advantages (that’s how the Prius got those great ratings in the EPA long stopping cycles), that the auto makers aren’t going to pass up a technique to increase their mileage ratings. There’s still plenty of oil in the top end after a few minutes at a stop light that it doesn’t matter. It’s not like the oil dripped down to the pan overnight. You probably not only can’t disable it, but in a few years you likely won’t be able to buy an ICE without it.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        In addition, the engine will still be warm when it starts back up which is a good thing because the vast majority of engine wear is from cold starts.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      I’m not so sure of that as Europe has gone with the start/stop system there for a while now and I’ve not heard anything out of the ordinary with that system and most hybrids use a form of that technology as well. The 2002 Honda Civic hybrid had it and it worked well, possibly the current Honda hybrids still have it, as does the Prius.

      Except under certain conditions where it won’t shut off the motor, the system will shut the motor off at a light and once you let off your foot, it starts and you can then accelerate, the start up is quiet and quick too.

      I know as I rode in a friend’s then brand new ’02 Civic hybrid at the time he bought it.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I would hold the rejoicing until they confirm that the V6 would be availbe on the 4X4 crewcab models. Ideally the crewcab with the 6ft bed cuz the 4.5ft novelty truck bed is a joke.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Is this a full air suspension or just a load leveling type air suspension that augments conventional springs. The later type is what is found on the Ford Panthers and has been very reliable. The former can be found on the Lincoln Mark VIII and was not as robust.

    How does the Pentstar pull this thing around? All reports say the EcoBoost does an excellent job in the Ford. Well see how the long term reliability is, but the Pentstar has those same unknowns at this point. It has the makings of a good motor, ut this is a lot of truck to pull around. As mentioned earlier, the Ford’s turbo gives its’ 6 a decent amount of low end grunt.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The base V6 in the F-150 is the 3.7 liter Duratec which is about on par with the Pentastar in terms of power (a couple less HP, a couple more lbs/ft of torque).

      The 3.7 liter moves the F-150 along just fine and still has solid towing numbers for a base engine, so I doubt the Pentastar will have and trouble with the Ram.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Nice truck, I wish I could afford one. It will be the ram tradesman for me!

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Just looking at the interiors of Ford, Dodge and Toyota and they’re much better than the Chevy/GMC trucks (IMHO) of course. They’re all too damn big however.

  • avatar
    Rudedawg

    I know this is a truck thread but I sure hope the Pentastar V6 in the Ram trucks is not plagued with the same cylinder head issues that is now arising in Jeeps and Challengers.

    2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Freedom Edition 4.7 H.O. 4×4
    1987 Toyota 4-Runner
    1986 Toyota P’up


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