2013 Ram 3500 Review
2013 Ram 3500 Review
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Used 3500 for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- High-quality cabin
- massive torque with diesel/automatic powertrain
- roomy rear-seat room (Mega Cab)
- quiet highway ride.
- Diesel's output is less with the manual transmission.
For 2013, the Ram 3500 is redesigned. It may not look it, as most of the changes are under the skin, such as a stronger frame, a more powerful turbodiesel engine and a revised suspension. Others, such as LED turn signals, a slightly refreshed cabin and new touchscreen display, are more readily apparent. It all keeps the already highly regarded Ram in the thick of the heavy-duty truck game.
The 2013 Ram 3500 is a top pick for a heavy-duty truck thanks to its top-notch interior, comfortable ride quality and impressive towing and hauling capabilities.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2013 Ram 3500 Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of N/A undefined in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Large Truck
With the battle for heavy-duty truck supremacy as much a show of brute strength as the World's Strongest Man competition, one might half expect the 2013 Ram 3500 to be sporting a lifting belt around its cab and chalk powder on its tires. Any of the choices in this specialized segment can move pretty much anything short of a mountain. They're all ridiculously capable, but the Ram 3500 manages to distinguish itself via its sharp styling and handsome cabin.
More to the point, the rugged Ram's interior boasts clean, classy styling, high-quality materials and a wealth of available luxury features. While doing its grunt work, the Ram 3500 provides its occupants with comfortable seats and a quiet ride, making the cabin a pleasant place to unravel the miles.
The Ram 3500's muscle comes by way of either a 5.7-liter V8 with 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque or a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 that churns out up to 385 hp and a best-in-class 850 lb-ft of torque when equipped with Ram's high-capacity automatic transmission. So yes, you could say the Ram 3500 more than earns its "heavy-duty" status. Properly equipped, it can tow up to 30,010 pounds (depending on body style and powertrain choice), while maximum payload capacity is equally astounding at 6,730 pounds.
As you may have realized, the 2013 Ram 3500 is more than ready to take on its muscle-bound rivals. Even if we're talking about "just" the 660 lb-ft version, the turbodiesel is still plenty strong for everybody short of Paul Bunyan. Certainly the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 (and its GMC Silverado twin) and 2013 Ford F-350 Super Duty are also worthy of consideration, as they're certainly plenty capable as well. You really can't go wrong with any of them. That said, we still think the Ram 3500 has the advantage when it comes to bold styling and that uncommonly upscale interior.
Performance & mpg
The 2013 Ram 3500 is available with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Dual rear wheels are standard, but buyers may choose single rear wheels as an option.
A 5.7-liter gasoline V8 engine with 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque matched to a six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Optional is the Cummins 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline six-cylinder engine, which comes in three different states of tune. Equipped with an available six-speed manual transmission, it produces 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. You can also get it with one of two different six-speed automatic transmissions: With the standard automatic, it makes 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque, while a heavy-duty Aisin automatic bumps those ratings up to 385 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque.
The Cummins comes with a big-rig-like exhaust brake, an unusual feature for a factory pickup that provides additional stability and braking power when towing very heavy loads. Properly equipped, the Ram 3500 can tow up to 30,010 pounds.
Standard safety equipment for the 2013 Ram 3500 includes antilock disc brakes and side curtain airbags. Optional on the SLT and standard on the Laramie are power-adjustable pedals.
Even though the 2013 Ram 3500 is built to tackle the most demanding of pickup duties, it remains comfortably composed in most situations. The steering is responsive and the truck tracks through turns in a confident manner. The ride is firm but not harsh, and well controlled over broken pavement.
On the highway, road and wind noise are nicely quelled, with only a muted diesel clatter at full throttle. The diesel engine is strong and provides plenty of power for towing and hauling heavy loads. We recommend picking either of the six-speed automatic transmissions, as the extra torque over the diesel with the manual gearbox makes a noticeable difference in towing ability.
The 2013 Ram 3500 takes a page out of the Ram 1500's playbook by offering the best interior among all pickups. On the higher trim levels, soft-touch materials and tasteful stitching are abundant throughout the cabin, while the plush seats and metallic accents in higher-trimmed Rams are almost too nice for work truck status. Interior storage is generous, with plenty of bins and pockets to supplement the dual gloveboxes.
The controls are within easy reach and user-friendly, especially in the upper trims (and any equipped with navigation) with the 8.4-inch touchscreen. With large, logically located virtual buttons, this is one of the best examples of this high-tech interface seen in any vehicle.
2013 Ram 3500 models
The 2013 Ram 3500 heavy-duty pickup is available in three cab styles: two-door regular, four-door Crew Cab and Mega Cab (a jumbo crew cab). The regular cabs come with a long bed only, while the Crew Cab has either a short or long cargo bed. The Mega Cab rides on the same wheelbase as the Crew Cab long bed but pairs an even bigger cabin with the short bed.
The regular cab comes in ST or SLT trims; the Crew Cab in ST, SLT, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn; and the Mega Cab in SLT, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn only.
With the exception of Crew Cab short beds, all Ram 3500s have a dual-rear-wheel axle.
The Ram ST is the bare-bones trim level that comes with black bumpers and grille, 18-inch steel wheels, vinyl upholstery and flooring, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, air-conditioning, cruise control, an electronic vehicle information display, a tire-pressure monitor, a tilt steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with USB/iPod and auxiliary audio jacks. Power windows and door locks are standard on Crew Cab models, while regular cabs have manual controls.
The SLT adds chrome exterior trim, chrome-clad wheels, an electronic trailer brake control, a sliding rear window, power/heated side mirrors, cloth upholstery, full power accessories, keyless entry and satellite radio. SLT Crew Cab and Mega Cab Rams are eligible to upgrade to the Big Horn package (sold as the Lone Star package in Texas). This includes a chrome grille, foglights, brighter quad headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and satellite radio.
There's also the luxurious Laramie, which features polished alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, a power driver seat with memory, power-adjustable pedals, auto-dimming mirrors, heated and ventilated front seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, an 8.4-inch touchscreen display and an upgraded nine-speaker surround-sound audio system. The Laramie Longhorn adds color-keyed bumpers, a spray-in bedliner, remote start, rear park assist, HD radio, bucket seats/console, heated rear seats and a navigation system.
Many of the upper trims' features are available as options in lower ones. Other option highlights include the RamBox cargo management system (which includes bedside storage compartments, an adjustable bed divider and tie-downs), a sunroof, an upgraded stereo and a rear-seat entertainment system.
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
1 out of 5 stars
2013 RAM 3500 a poor choice.
Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
Purchased new from dealer, been in the shop overnight more than 30 days in less than 3 years and 40k miles of ownership. Very dissatisfied with the reliability of the RAM truck surrounding the fantastic Cummins engine. AISIN transmission has been repaired no less than 3 times. Problems with navigation, seating, electrical, ball joints, the list goes on and on. Also have had to deal … with 5 recalls.
5 out of 5 stars
Tough tow truck with a limousine ride
Laramie 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
This is a hard-working diesel 4x4 tow truck with 50,000+ miles now. (Diesel was not a review menu choice.) Use it to move equipment, tractors, trailers, boats, etc on hitch (not a 5th wheel.) Replaced Ram '05 3500 5.9 diesel 4x4 with this 6.7. Had to evolve with DEF, particle filter regeneration and more restrictive fuel requirements, but was rewarded with much better performance AND … fuel mileage! Expect more than 20 mpg at highway speeds after ~10K miles and closer to ~25-27 driving 50-60 mph country roads. Hyper-miling techniques help a lot with a 4-ton truck. Cabin creature comforts, fit & finish are a quantum leap. Also use it to commute for up to 700 miles in a day: great ride for a 1-ton truck with superior road presence. Ram boxes are very convenient lockable storage; there's plenty of cabin storage, too. Always serviced at dealership, so recalls were transparent to me. Have had repeat bothersome issue with "water in fuel filter" warning, but no other problems. Had the vibration/ shake at highway speed issue one day after a long period of not driving it - loaded 1,000#(+) equipment that afternoon and vibration disappeared. She apparently likes to work! At the price of new vehicles nowadays, I hope to get many more years of service out of this truck. So far, I feel confident that I can expect that.
2 out of 5 stars
JUNK & RECALLS GALORE
Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
TOO MANY RECALLS FOR A 2013 TRUCK!!! CHECK ENGINE LIGHT COMES ON WHEN TRUCK NEEDS "COMPUTER UPDATES" SO OFF TO DEALERSHIP AGAIN AND AGAIN... NOW AT 37K Miles, something caused the serpentine belt to break with such force it broke the fan into pieces, breaking the radiator while pulling the horse trailer with 2 horses. Now it is back at a dealership again, this time 6 hours away from … where we live. Been there since 9/19, it is now 9/30/15... I was just informed the PARTS ARE STILL NOT IN!!! of course none of this is covered under "basic warranty." They want you to pay out the nose for their extended warranty so when the $59.00 serpentine belt breaks - you might be covered. NO MORE CHRYSLER PRODUCTS FOR US! RODEO SPONSOR OR NOT!
5 out of 5 stars
A member of the family
Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
6.7 L Diesel (but it isn’t a review menu choice) automatic trans. Big dually but on highway steady gets 21 mpg, never worse than 15 in town. Has never broken down or been in shop for anything but a couple of warranty recall campaigns and regular service. Bought it used in 2015 and as of 10/18 and 59700 miles a winner. Didn’t get all the bells but a few whistles. Tradesmen issue with … creature comforts built to haul work and family. Very roomy interior for everyone comfortably. Fits in garage door and it is a 4x4, though my garage is deeper than most. Out of the five new vehicles and four used ones I purchased over the years, this is my favorite.
Features & Specs
More about the 2013 Ram 3500
More About This Model
Just over two years ago a 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 finished last in a comparison test with more powerful V8 diesel pickups from Ford and General Motors. Today, with the introduction of the new 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500, this truck may have catapulted itself from worst to first on the strength of two new variants of the venerable 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine and a host of complementary skeletal upgrades.
We're currently piloting a 2013 Ram 3500 Regular Cab dually, and the gooseneck trailer we're towing weighs some 30,010 pounds. You read that right. That astounding number demolishes the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 3500 twins (23,100 pounds) and the Ford F-350 (22,800 pounds). Even the class-apart F-450 pales in comparison with 24,700 pounds of maximum towing capacity.
At the fifth-wheel end of the spectrum, the 2013 Ram 3500 dually is literally tons ahead.
But the truck in our 2011 comparison wasn't a dually rigged for the marquee number. It was a Ram 3500 4x4 with single rear wheels decked out the way most people buy them. Has the needle moved appreciably there? Would our test have turned out differently with the 2013 equivalent?
The reason for the 2010 3500's weak showing and the source of the 2013 Ram's newfound prowess is one in the same: a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel straight-6. Then it made 350 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque. Now there are three versions.
Cummins version number one has a similar peak output of 350/700 that is compatible with the class-exclusive six-speed manual transmission. Next in line is version two with 370 horses, 800 lb-ft of torque and last year's six-speed automatic. Version three makes 385 hp and a class-leading 850 lb-ft of torque. A new high-capacity Aisin six-speed automatic transmission with optimized ratios and beefy internals is mated to this engine to accommodate the sky-high torque.
The massive increase in grunt comes from the switch to a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) strategy to reel in NOx emissions. Earlier versions had to run high levels of EGR and backpressure, which choked output. The presence of DEF fluid and a new SCR catalyst allow the uncorked beast to breathe deeply and exhale even more cleanly.
Ram diesels now have "Ram Active Air," a dual-path intake system. Air typically enters the air cleaner from a protected underhood spot where snow and rainwater can't get sucked in. In hot, dry conditions and high load Ram Active Air switches to a direct ram air intake directly behind the grille. Trucks without such a system are subject to power loss on hot, dry grades where underhood temperatures skyrocket.
All three diesel engines and transmissions are available in 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 series trucks. But the 5.7-liter Hemi, previously standard and available in the Ram 2500 alone, is now standard in the 3500, too. And it now comes with a six-speed automatic instead of last year's five-speed.
Torque alone does not a hauler make. To reach the loftiest towing and hauling heights, the 2013 Ram Heavy-Duty trucks were given a new frame and a new front suspension as well.
Higher-grade steel is used in the main frame rails, and the front frame horns are 2 inches farther apart. There are eight crossmembers, one of which is an optimized attachment point for fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch mounting hardware, which can be factory-installed for $400.
A new integrated Class-V 2.5-inch receiver hitch makes up the rearmost crossmember. It's now structurally able to tow 17,000 pounds in deadweight fashion, a far cry from last year's 2-inch receiver that was good for only 12,000 pounds. With the right engine, that's a cool 5,000-pound increase in tow rating for those who tow with a conventional hitch.
Much higher roll stiffness is needed to handle the 3500's extreme load potential, so the four-link front suspension has been jettisoned. Instead, massive dual radius arms now locate the solid front axle. The four-link front end remains on the Ram 2500, however, because it's rated to tow and haul less. It's also more likely to need the off-road articulation, the Power Wagon 4x4 being a prime example.
Looking back at our comparison test, we'd need a 2013 Ram Crew Cab 4x4 with single rear wheels to see if the pecking order has changed. And we'd have to choose between the 800 lb-ft Cummins and the six-speed we had last time or the 850 lb-ft version with the new Aisin. It all depends on whether we're willing to spend an extra $2,150, the difference between the two.
The resulting tow rating in Laramie Longhorn trim is 17,160 pounds with the 800 lb-ft engine and 17,000 for the 850 lb-ft one. Why does the torquier variant tow a smidge less?
Both share a GCWR (gross combined weight rating) of 25,000 pounds because that's the single-rear-wheel limit. Since the Aisin-equipped truck weighs 160 pounds more, its tow rating will drop a like amount. All we can expect from the extra 50 lb-ft is a more relaxed pull up a steep grade. This is not the case in the dually world, where the Ram 3500's GCWR can range to 37,600 pounds with the more powerful engine.
Here's the impressive bit for our single-wheel scenario: Both engines achieve their higher 2013 ratings with 3.42 final-drive gears. Our 2010 test truck was rated 700 pounds lower despite the gearing advantage of shorter 4.10 axles and smaller-diameter tires.
And so the new 3.42s allow the new engines to rev 340 rpm slower at 60 mph in top gear, which makes the claimed 10-percent improvement in fuel consumption easy to buy into. Ram engineers say the 4x4 versions gain another 1 mpg from a new electronic front differential disconnect system that greatly reduces rotational losses in two-wheel-drive mode.
On Flat Ground
In the end, the performance of the new engines is hard to gauge on these flat Michigan roads. There's plenty of punch off the line, but there are no long grades to make them earn their keep.
We can say the Cummins diesel is not ashamed to make diesel engine noises, and the new intelligent diesel exhaust brake works well to prevent a loaded rig from picking up speed on gently rolling terrain. The engineers say the system will even improve brake pad and rotor life, and we can instantly see why.
Far and away the most tangible improvement is the upgraded interior. In a nutshell, the Ram 2500 and 3500 benefit from everything that was introduced on the Ram 1500 last year. The interior materials have been upgraded, the seats are more comfortable and even the volume SLT trim is a pleasant place to spend time.
And the same truck-wide electrical system upgrade has been applied to the 2500 and 3500 models as well. They now benefit from the outstanding 7-inch TFT dash display with multiple information screens that include diesel-specific information in addition to everything else. The well-executed Uconnect touchscreen infotainment systems are top-notch, whether you opt for the 8.4-inch high-end model with navigation or stick with the 5-inch one without.
Like the 1500, the HD trucks now have their tailgate lock and optional RamBox locks tied into the central locking system. Unlike the Ram 1500, the 2500 and 3500 offer a second camera in the high-mount third brake light housing so those towing fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers can see the hitch as they hook up.
Up and Down Pricing
At first glance, pricing for the Ram 3500 has plummeted. That's because the 5.7-liter Hemi and its six-speed automatic is now standard and a diesel engine is optional. Oddly, the Cummins diesel engine seems to cost $7,795 regardless of output. But that's not the real deal because each version is tied to a particular transmission, and each of those carries a different price.
And so the 700 lb-ft diesel with the six-speed manual costs $7,795 because that transmission is "free." Pay $500 for the basic six-speed automatic and the real cost of the 800 lb-ft Cummins is $8,295. (Ford currently charges $8,095 for its 800 lb-ft diesel engine option.) Finally, the Ram's high-torque 850 lb-ft setup effectively costs $10,445 because the Aisin six-speed that can handle the torque costs $2,650 on its own.
The Laramie Longhorn trim didn't exist when we conducted our heavy-duty truck comparison test, but our test truck had a suite of options that effectively made it one. A quick pricing comparison suggests we'd pay $62,080 for a 2013 Ram Crew Cab 4x4 with a short box, the 800 lb-ft Cummins and Laramie Longhorn trim versus $64,010 for a 2013 King Ranch Ford F-350 Crew Cab 4x4 with a couple options to match equipment.
The 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 have really upped their game, on paper and behind the wheel. But we need a steep grade and a stout trailer to quantify how well these engines have bridged the gap to the competition.
We wouldn't be surprised to discover that the 2013 Ram has pulled ahead. And even if it has merely pulled alongside, the 2013 Ram 3500 is a much stronger contender on other fronts. It's certainly no longer in any danger of getting its butt kicked. And it's hard to argue with 30,000 pounds no matter how you slice it.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2013 Ram 3500 Overview
The Used 2013 Ram 3500 is offered in the following submodels: 3500 Crew Cab, 3500 Mega Cab, 3500 Regular Cab. Available styles include Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Mega Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Mega Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Tradesman 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Tradesman 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Mega Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Mega Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Mega Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Mega Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), and Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A). Pre-owned Ram 3500 models are available with a 5.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 383 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2013 Ram 3500 comes with four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2013 Ram 3500 comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2013 Ram 3500?
Price comparisons for Used 2013 Ram 3500 trim styles:
- The Used 2013 Ram 3500 Laramie is priced between $38,998 and$58,590 with odometer readings between 2460 and92769 miles.
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Which used 2013 Ram 3500S are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Ram 3500?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.