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2013 North American Truck of the Year - 2013 Ram 1500
by Mitch McCullough, editor, New Car Test Drive

North American Truck

The 2013 Ram 1500 earned the 2013 North American Truck of the Year award, considered the most prestigious truck award in the automotive industry.

This award is prestigious because the 49 journalists who voted for it are completely independent of one another. They represent dozens of competing media outlets in the U.S. and Canada so there is no possibility of collusion among them or any chance advertising influence. Try bribing that many journalists without any leaks. Can't be done. New Car Test Drive is proud to be among them.

The award was presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit January 14, 2013, to Fred Diaz, President and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand, who said the announcement "ranks as one of the proudest days in our history."

The North American Car of the Year and North American Truck/Utility of the Year awards are designed to recognize the most outstanding new trucks and sport utilities. These vehicles are benchmarks in their segments based on factors including innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. To be eligible for the award, they must be all-new or substantially changed for the 2013 model year.

The Ram 1500 won the award by a wide margin. Among the three finalists, jurors gave the Ram 1500 261 points, the Mazda CX-5 142 points and the Ford C-Max 87 points.

A jury of 49 automotive journalists awarded the North American Truck of the Year title through a series of votes for vehicles that were new or substantially changed for the 2013 model year. Among them: Acura RDX, Audi allroad, BMW X1, Ford C-Max, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe, Infiniti JX 35, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Pathfinder, Ram 1500.

Though it doesn't look that much different from before, Ram 1500 was in fact completely re-engineered for the 2013 model year.

I voted for the Ram for its superb cabin, smooth ride, and overall excellence. Its independent rear suspension and 8-speed automatic transmission make for comfortable, enjoyable driving. Like the other full-size pickups, Ram offers a wide range of powertrains and trim levels, ensuring buyers can select a truck that suits their needs and tastes. The new Ram is loaded with technology and Chrysler's big 8.4-inch touchscreen is among the easiest navigation systems to operate with giant graphics that are easy to understand at a glance. An optional air suspension levels the truck regardless of load, maintain stability and eliminating the need to re-aim the headlights after hooking up a trailer. It allows a consistent ride quality regardless of load. And the suspension can be raised for rugged terrain or lowered for ease of entry and exit.

"The Ram rides very well and in comparing it to the competitors it comes across as the best blend of ride and control," wrote G.R. Whale in his New Car Test Drive review of the 2013 Ram. "It goes where you point it without drama, the rear end feels less inclined to step sideways over a mid-turn bump or invoke the stability control, and the Ram has a feeling of good directional stability with a trailer in tow. Steering is direct, but the effort is low during maneuvers and cruising, and it increases nicely as you push the truck harder. Perhaps our best note about the new electric-assist steering is that it feels the same as the previous hydraulic assist, something missing in many such systems, and there is no noise from it. Body roll is kept in check by stabilizer bars at both ends, yet a small amount is apparent as you turn the wheel just to keep you aware (and too much roll stiffness increases ride harshness). In sum, the whole truck exhibits less of the shuddering typical of body-on-frame designs used on all full-size pickups and some big SUVs."

Many of the North American Truck of the Year jurors shared our view of the 2013 Ram.

Jim Mateja from The Chicago Tribune praised the Ram's "car-like ride and handling for pleasant operation, yet (it has) the power and muscle to serve as work horse when needed."

Calling the available Pentastar V6 "superb," John Gilbert from Carsoup.com said the new Ram "rises to the top level among full-size pickups for versatile power and fuel economy."

"The new Ram 1500 is arguably the most modernized of the full-size pickups today," said veteran automotive journalist Dan McCosh.

"The Ram 1500 is the best truck Chrysler has ever produced," said Jim McCraw, "a truck that can challenge luxury cars for pure comfort."

Marc Phelan from the Detroit Free Press said the Ram "sets the standard for America's best-selling class of vehicles."

"The Ram 1500 is the most advanced full-size truck on the market," said Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com.

This was the second time a Ram earned the coveted truck award. The Dodge Ram 1500 won in 1994. The 2012 North American Truck of the Year was the Range Rover Evoque.

Price your 2013 Ram 1500 at CarsDirect