In winning the Truck of the Year, the redesigned 2013 Ram 1500 pulls in more hardware in a race no longer all about towing and torque.
When Ford threw down the gauntlet with its EcoBoost engine in its 2012 Ford F-150 the truck wars were changed forever. No longer an arms race measured in pounds to the foot, the addition of vehicle MPG to the mix raised the bar for everyone to meet.
In response, Ram snagged its fourth golden caliper award by posting a 25 MPG highway mileage. Besides winning truck of the year honors, Ram trucks proved they could hang with Ford F-150’s EcoBoost powered 22 MPG highway mileage by improving the entire vehicles performance.
Improved efficiency in its Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 and 5.7 liter Hemi V-8 engines, the addition of an eight speed automatic transmission, active aerodynamics, air ride suspension, and putting the vehicle on a weight loss program all helped round the 2013 Ram 1500 into the top spot.
However mileage didn’t win Ram truck of the year alone. Noticeable improvements to the interior trim, ride quality, vehicle handling, and overall options were also major factors:
“But in the end, the choice was clear: Ram 1500 not only withstood our rigorous testing, it impressed at every step along the way. Our judges were won over by the performance of Ram 1500’s broad array of standard and optional equipment. It’s a truck that can be tailored to meet most anyone’s needs. For these reasons and more, we’re excited to name the Ram 1500 the Motor Trend 2013 Truck of the Year.”
The new crowning is not without controversy however, as Ford owners are quick to point to Motortrend’s loads testing. Because all trucks were judged by acceleration while towing 75% of max payload, some feel the F-150’s higher max towing capacity of 11,300 lbs to Ram 1500’s 6,500 lbs meant being (unfairly) judged with a much heavier trailer.
Perhaps a better baseline might have been to judge all contestants by the standard MT used when judging the Nissan NV Passenger Van during the test. That is loading the van up with people. For many people, such a benchmark is likely the closest many of these “air haulers” will come to towing anything.
Still if automakers continue to make improvements to fuel economy, we may one day see a time when suburbia’s at the helm of special edition luxury luxo-trucks look slightly less ridiculous. Until then at least cowboys and construction workers to whom the truck market rightfully belongs can save a few more dollars now at the pump. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.