Car Tech Video
2013 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4The Ram Laramie is a truck with a weird message. High-plains cowboy meets tech-savvy individual, and it actually pulls it off.
This is the 2013 Dodge Ram-- excuse me, it's not a Dodge anymore, it's just the Ram. The 2013 Ram 3500 Laramie super cab 4x4, even the name of this thing is huge. This is if a gigantic truck. I'm cheating a little bit because I'm on a hill right now, but if I were to stand level with this vehicle, the hood comes up to my chin, I mean it's just like a massive thing. It's built to be strong, not really fast. Everything about it is all about being beefy and able to take a lot of punishment. And as you can imagine that sort of very strong construction actually makes this vehicle pretty well suited for, you know, things like navigating construction sites, although, and you'll learn in a second, it's maybe not the best for off-roading sort of 4x4 type things. Now, you can get the Ram 3500 with a 6.7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel and that's actually an inline 6 but with more displacement, though it's actually got some pretty big pots in there. It's turbocharged and so you get a little bit more power in grunt on top of that already sort of like torquieness of diesel. The upshot of that is that while your power goes down to about 370 horsepower, torque jumps all the way up to 800 pound feet, so that's just a lot of just, you know, not really speed but grunt that's gonna help you haul heavy things, maybe not go so very fast. Now you would think that a vehicle with an engine this big, with this much weight around, it would get pretty bad fuel economy and if you look at the spec sheet, the fuel economy is actually listed as non-applicable because this isn't really even counted by the EPA as a consumer car. It's listed as commercial vehicle. Fortunately, I was able to get about 16.6 miles to the gallon out of this diesel engine, but that was admittedly with a lot of very easy highway cruising. So, it probably represents what I consider to be maybe a best case scenario for this vehicle. Inside we're seeing a lot of the Chrysler DNA sort of starting to see through. Particularly in the design and layout of the dashboard, the steering wheel seems like a Chrysler-like badge that go right there in the center, but then once you get from about the front of the seats on back, the Laramie Longhorn in particular starts-- well, you know, doing some very truckish cowboy things. For example, the Longhorn edition has all of this sort of brown leather that has embroidered on it that supposed to look a lot like the designs that you'll see on the side of a cowboy boot. This is the newest generation of the Uconnect systems. The touchscreen interface, the navigation system on this 8.4-inch screen is still actually Garmin-based, but unlike the previous generation which kind of look like a Garmin nuvi just popped up on your dashboard when you hit the nav button, this one is actually been restyled to look a lot more like the rest of the Uconnect interface. The benefit there is you don't really get that sort of jarring squitch between two interfaces, but then you also get one of the best navigation systems, in my opinion, on the market right now. One of the other interesting things about this generation of Uconnect is that it comes with the ability to download Uconnect apps and these are actually apps that are installed in the dashboard that get downloaded over the 3G connection that's built into this. Now this generation of Uconnect actually comes with Uconnect apps and that sort of an in-dash app interface. Now, right now the only apps that I've seen available for download are, you know, your TravelLink app that's gonna give you actually access to some of the information that comes over your SiriusXM satellite connection and then Yelp is the second app that's actually installed on your-- and that gives you user based reviews of destinations in the area. One of other interesting things you can do with the 3G connection that this vehicle has is turn on the Wi-Fi hot spot. Now, Chrysler and their Uconnect system is gonna charge you a monthly fee for that, but once you got it turned on, you'll be able to share that 3G connection with other devices in the vehicle. And a little bit further down here, you'll see you've got like a bank of buttons right here with a bunch of different controls for towing, things like this right here that control the trailer. And then you've also got a couple of interesting button right here, this is actually the button that is added with the optional Diesel Exhaust Braking Systems. So, you can turn that on when you're going down a very long descent, and it will actually use a little bit more of the back pressure from the exhaust system to help slow the vehicle and you'll kinda hear that little extra [unk] when you do that. It's got a big tachometer over here on the left, the big speedometer over on the right, and then another gauge over here that's added by our optional Urea Injection System. So, this is the gauge for your diesel exhaust fluid and that basically gets sprayed on the exhaust fumes as they come out of the vehicle and helps catalyze some of the contaminants that are in that. It does help kinda clean up the emissions of the vehicle little bit if you care about that, but it is one more thing to worry about when it comes the time to maintain this vehicle. So, now we're giving a little bit of a run the-- sort of dirt track thing, testing the [unk] on. Now down here we've got controls for the 4x4 system. We've got settings for 2WD which is actually a rear drive bias. Switching the knob over here to 4WD Lock, allows you to lock the 4x4 system into a 50-50 split and that give you better traction for things like climbing hills and what not. Trade off though as I've notice is the turn radius which already isn't that great, suffers a little bit in that 4x4 Lock. And the final setting, which I'd actually have to stop and go to neutral for, is gonna be 4x4 Low, that's gonna allow you to shift into that low range on the transfer case and even further multiply that 800 pound feet of torque. All right, so we're gonna try to make it climb here, run some pretty steep one. And when you first get on the gas, there's not a lot of power, but then that sort of pulls itself up the hill. When you're in the 2WD mode, you get a little bit of rear room spin, run some pretty [unk] loose gravel, but there's a layer of sand over it. So, we get a little bit of wheel spin, but wherein the 4WD Lock mode, there is none of that. It just goes right on up with that surge of power. On the road, the Ram 3200 actually behaves well enough. It's pretty smooth car on the highway. Although, just like we saw on the unpaved trail, the way this vehicle sort of-- doesn't really soak up well so much as crashes open then it leads to a lot of bouncing around the cabin. And then also the engine sort of has three different temperaments. There's the load temperament where you're just sort of cruising around town and you get that good low-end diesel torque and gives a little bit more. There's a second stage that happens where the vehicle experience a little bit more life, you get a bit more acceleration. But then you got that sort of third mode that you can take advantage of by, you know, really sort of putting the pedal to the metal in that, causes that turbo to spin up on the mood stage in the dashboard to fill-up, but it never really feel scary or dangerous. I just always feel a little on the edge, like [unk] paying a little bit more attention, as it should a lot of vehicles on the road. Now, this Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab with the Cummins Turbo Diesel is gonna start you at about 52,790-- 2,650 for the lower rear axle ratio on the transmission and 7,795 bucks for the Urea Diesel Emissions Fluid that's gonna get you a little bit cleaner emissions. If you want a lot more juice for your electrical accessories, there's 395 for dual 220 amp alternators and the full Uconnect system is standard on this Laramie Longhorn edition. As tested, this example is gonna ring in at 67,835 bucks. Now that's a lot of money for a pick-up truck but this is a big pick-up truck that goes a lot for your money. So, the only thing left to decide at this point is if it's too much truck for you.