Top Tech Cars 2013: Ram 1500

This pickup’s as powerful as it looks, but it’s frugal with fuel

The Ram 1500 is big for its weight.

Once unrepentant guzzlers, as comfortable as a bus-stop bench, full-size pickup trucks are cleaning up their act. And beneath its big-rig exterior, the new Ram is the cleanest of the bunch.

It starts with the optional Pentastar V-6 engine, a cylinder count that used to get you laughed out of the truck stop. But with a respectable 227 kilowatts (305 horsepower) from 3.6 liters, the V-6 has plenty of grunt for work or play. And the highway fuel economy is a best-in-class 9.4 liters per 100 kilometers (25 miles per gallon). Economy is aided by an eight-speed automatic transmission, until recently the province of six-figure luxury sedans—or a $470 000 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, one of several models that share the Ram’s ZF eight-speed.

On the road, a class-unique air suspension makes the Ram feel nearly as supple as a family car, with five adjustable ride heights. The pickup automatically lowers its body and closes front grille shutters to slice the wind on the highway. A press of the key fob makes the Ram squat like a low rider to help occupants clamber aboard.

Inside, Chrysler’s newfound attention to design and materials shines through. And riders as diverse as work-site foremen and bored children can appreciate the Ram’s available Sprint data connection, including Wi-Fi hot-spot capability.

Price: US $23 585 Power plant: 3.6-L Pentastar V-6, 227 kW (305 hp) Fuel economy: 9.4 L/100 km (25 mpg)

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