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An entirely new Ram

01/11/2013 @ 4:00pm

Rumors earlier this year in the auto industry hinted at a new line of Dodge Rams to be introduced in the coming months. When the time came to unveil its new ½-ton vehicle, Dodge didn't disappoint. And Dodge promises an entirely new ¾-ton line will be introduced for 2014.

The Ram 1500s – available in both short- and long-box versions with Regular, Quad, or Crew cabs – feature an entirely new V-6 engine, a remarkable eight-speed automatic transmission (with rotary shifting), and an air-suspension system featuring five height settings.

Only a 1% price hike

Better yet, the suggested retail prices will average just over 1% higher than 2012 prices. Starting price for the 2013 Ram 1500 will be $23,585, including a $995 destination charge. That includes a best-in-class, five-year, 100,000-mile power train limited warranty that covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a power train component. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty is transferable upon sale of the vehicle.

New V-6 engine

The big news with the 1500 Rams is the availability of a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine. This power plant delivers 42% more horsepower, 13% more torque, and at least 20% better fuel economy when compared to the Ram's previous 3.7-liter V-6 power train. The top-of-the-line engine out of the three power plants offered on the 1500s is the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Find specifications on all three Ram engines on the next page.

Those engines can be dressed out with a class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission. Tabbed the TorqueFlite 8, this tranny doubles the amount of gears compared to the previously available four-speed automatic transmission. The new eight-speed features an innovative rotary e-shift dial for trucks. This dial replaces both column and floor shifters.

The dash-mounted rotary e-shift dial provides total control of the eight-speed transmission, and it is Ram's approach to electronic shifters already in use on Class 6 to Class 8 trucks. This new design allows quick blind-shift transitions from reverse to drive when towing or navigating out of mud, snow, busy parking lots, or crowded worksites.

Rapid warm-up

Another exclusive feature on the 1500 is a new thermal management system designed to quickly raise engine and transmission fluid temperatures.

By raising fluid temperatures, parasitic losses resulting from high-viscosity engine oil and transmission fluid can be reduced, improving fuel efficiency by 1.7%. As the engine temperature increases to predetermined levels, warm engine coolant is circulated through a thermal exchange unit, which also contains dedicated pathways for transmission fluid.

As the thermal exchange unit heats up, it also heats up the transmission fluid. This action reduces warm-up time for the transmission, improving fuel economy, drivability, and shift quality. In most power train configurations, the transmission heats up independently of the engine, delaying warm-up time and reducing efficiency.

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