From: Motor Trend: 2013 Truck of the Year-Ram 1500
For several years, it seemed all we ever talked about with trucks was torque and tow ratings. Things have changed, with truck buyers’ expectations reaching a long way off the farm or job site. There’s no single magic bullet that will meet every truck owner’s needs, so even an entry payload model range like the Ram 1500 has to have far more breadth and depth than its forebears of a decade ago did. To demonstrate its half-ton’s ability to cover the entire market, Ram delivered a V-6-powered SLT on the efficient and luxurious side and a V-8 powered Sport leaning toward power and performance.
While Ford may be using smaller forced-induction engines for the sake of efficiency, Ram is refining its powertrain options by offering more efficient engines bolted to a new, optional eight-speed transmission. Replacing the old 3.7-liter V-6 is the much-celebrated Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6, which offers 42 percent more horsepower and 13 percent more torque. A new eight-speed transmission is standard on V-6 models and will be optional on the V-8. At launch, V-8s will be available only with the current six-speed automatic, with the new transmission coming at a later date.
While the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 isn’t all-new, it is updated with variable valve timing. It is bolstered by more efficient systems within the truck including a revised cooling system, electric power steering, and an electrical system with pulse width modulation that more efficiently uses power to lessen load on the alternator. These technologies combine to allow Ram to claim best-in-class fuel efficiency in the V-6 and V-8 segments. It should be noted that, since the Ford EcoBoost is considered a V-8 alternative, it’s lumped into the V-8 segment. While many people focus on a truck’s powertrain, that may be the least significant improvement in the 1500.
Continue reading at: http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/truck