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GREEN | 6 out of 10
2013 Ram 1500: 18/25 mpg - 13/19 mpg
The 2013 Hemi eight-speed rating will likely gain a point or two over the 14 city/20 highway mpg earned by the current six-speed, and beyond that there's a Hemi HFE model with start-stop that'll go one better.
Chrysler has met the challenge, the same one that's facing all truck makers, to find a way to maintain the capabilities that full-size truck buyers want while meeting ever-tougher fuel economy requirements mandated by the U.S. government.
the HFE (high fuel economy) model will have the best half-ton gas-mileage numbers of any full-size pickup, ripping the title away from the 3.7-liter V-6 Ford F-150.
the Ram is equipped with a new electric rack-and-pinion power steering system, a trend driven by fuel economy.
Gas mileage hasn't always been the first reason buyers looked at pickup trucks. But as prices have risen into $4 territory, fuel economy has become paramount to towing capacity, especially for contractors and independent contractors, and truck makers have responded with excellent new drivetrains.
Among full-size pickups, the Ram 1500 now scores the best fuel economy in the class in its base versions, and we're expecting some of the best numbers for its V-8 models as well.The base Ram 1500 with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic (and rear-wheel drive) is now rated at 17/25 mpg, which easily trounces the next-best truck in the segment, the Ford F-150. With its 3.7-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic, the F-150 is rated at 17/23 mpg. In HFE trim, the Ram 1500 adds active air shutters and stop/start technology (which turns the engine off if at a complete stop—at a stoplight, for instance—then restarts it the instant you lift off the brake pedal) to improve city gas mileage to 18 mpg. Those overall numbers far exceed anything in the class, even exceeding those of some mid-size crossovers, even those of the GM hybrid pickups. Adding four-wheel drive drops the numbers to 16/23 mpg.
The Ram's mid-line 4.7-liter V-8 is less competitive in its class. It carries over on a few trim lines this year, with its five-speed automatic. On rear-wheel-drive versions, it was rated at 14/19 mpg in the 2012 model year; that's now the rating for 4WD models, with RWD versions rated at 14/20 mpg.Chrysler's rorty, powerful HEMI V-8 comes in for some gas-mileage improvements too. The 5.7-liter engine earned an EPA rating of 14/20 mpg when outfitted with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic on 2012 models, 14/19 mpg with 4WD. That combination will be available in the 2013 model year, even after the new eight-speed automatic and stop/start technology replace it on some models, for a boost to 15/21 mpg. Those upgrades will join the engine's standard cylinder deactivation, which cuts off fuel delivery to some cylinders when full power isn't needed.
The new V-6 scores better fuel-economy numbers than many seven-passenger crossovers, and even HEMIs are better off with the eight-speed automatic.