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2013 Ram 1500 - Long Term Report Part 4 of 4

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on September 3, 2014
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Over the past year we’ve put our ’13 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year winner through over 16,000 miles of cross-country road trips, work-truck towing and hauling, play-time off-roading, and more. The ’13 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman has proved to be a true Swiss Army knife in nearly every situation we’ve driven it.

The Ram’s eight-speed transmission has become an absolute game-changer in the ½-ton truck segment. It’s difficult for us to even get behind the wheel of a five- or six-speed truck now. The crisp close-ratio shifts make driving a pleasure, no matter if we were explosively attacking a freeway onramp, cruising the dunes, or hauling a full load through the mountains. We expect the ¾-ton truck market to follow suit with a heavy-duty eight-speed, although it may take a few years.

Available storage in the Ram 1500 has been one of our favorite features. There are compartments in the floor, in the doors, in the center console, and of course, the RamBox, which has been a big help in keeping the interior of our truck clean. Rather than toss dirty items into the cab to secure them, we put them in the locking RamBox compartments. The lost bed space above the wheelwell has been a non-issue; we would much rather have the RamBox.

On the outside, if we had the chance to do it over again, we’d likely order chrome bumpers front and rear instead of painted. Off-road scratches and dings seem more obvious on the painted surfaces.

Filling the bed with firewood and camping gear was no problem for the self-leveling air suspension off-road. However, if we planned on driving off-road at high speeds, we might opt for the less complex steel coil springs at all four corners.

On the inside, we would have sprung for ventilated leather seats. The heated cloth seats and steering wheel we had in our truck were a dream in the winter. Summer months could have been just as comfortable with vented seats. We would also opt for the dual-zone HVAC controls. It may seem silly, but we like having the ability to select an actual temperature by number. It’s a lot easier than trying to find a comfortable temp by constantly moving an indicator arrow up and down a blue and red bar on the control screen. Considering the amount of time we spend in the dirt, we would likely skip the carpet and go for the vinyl floor for easy clean up.

The 8.4AN Premium Navigation unit generally worked great. We appreciated that it automatically navigated us around congested areas, which saved us a ton of travel time in LA traffic. The unit doesn’t play nice with Apple products, so not all of the features work with an iPhone. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s quite a bit more complex than a typical head unit. It’s actually more like an in-dash computer, and like any computer, it can sometimes act finicky, needing to be reset by shutting down the power. About once a month it would lock up on us. However, simply cycling the key got the unit working properly again.

Overall, the ’13 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman proved worthy of being our ’13 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year. We’re going to miss its endless interior amenities, storage areas, versatility, and the sporty-shifting eight speed.

Report: 4 OF 4
Previous reports: Jan. ’14, May ’14, July ‘14
Base price: $37,300
Price as tested: $47,080
Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time, two-speed, in-dash push button

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 16,595
Miles since last report: 3,877
Average mpg (this report): 11.66
Test best tank (mpg): 17.16 (70-75 mph on highway)
Test worst tank (mpg): 7.59 (towing 7,500 pounds through mountain passes)

This period: None
Problem areas: None

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Impressive all-around work and play truck, eight-speed transmission, RamBox storage
Not: Painted bumpers, stereo/NAV unit has some bugs

Logbook Quotes
“It’s able to maintain speed towing up grades without revving the engine to the moon”
“The Hemi is great for max towing capability, but as a daily driver, the ’14 3.0L EcoDiesel option and nearly 30 mpg sound enticing.”
“The inside stays so much cleaner than other trucks thanks to the RamBox”
“If I were towing and hauling a lot, I would get the air suspension. If I planned on a lot of high-speed off-road driving, I’d stick with the steel coils.”
“Chrome bumpers wouldn’t show off-road dings and scratches as much as the painted ones do.”

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