2013 Ram 1500 4×4 V8 Off-Road Test Drive

It’s been a very good year for the Ram 1500. Sales are way up, and so are the industry awards coming their way. No wonder, because the 2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman I tested in the mountains of Santa Monica last month seemed to beg for punishment from the hillside, absorbing the lumps and spitting them out its tailpipe.

I drove the Ram as I was helping the Motor Press Guild tear down its off-road course after a day of driving, which meant two things: The trail was torn to hell after hundreds of passes from dozens of other cars over eight hours, and I had to stop abruptly and at awkward angles to hop out and grab wayward cones or caution tape. Neither issue was a problem for the Ram.

Armed with a 5.7L HEMI V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, the 2013 Ram Outdoorsman was one of the more visceral vehicles I drove all day. It’s simple, without a lot of bells and whistles, but gets the most out of what it has. Throttle response in the HEMI is excellent, so I could add a little muscle here or there to power up onto a hillside or around a rock. The steering is strong and direct, if not nimble. Look elsewhere for finesse or nuance.

Thanks to an electric shift-on-the-fly Borg Warner 44-45 transfer case, the 2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman is perfectly suited for slow crawling, and low-end brawn from the HEMI V8 delivers 407 lb.-ft of torque at 3,950rpm. Peak horsepower of 395 is available at 5,600rpm.

So I flung the 1500 Outdoorsman through an increasingly muddy course, splashing beige spatter all over its deep red paint and lofting coils of rope into the bed. I swear, it felt like the middle of a Ram commercial. All I needed was a dog and a country song, which coincidentally was pumping out of the 9-speaker Alpine surround system. The song, not the dog.

Built for gittin’ stuff done, the 2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4×4 is priced from $37,300 and this model also featured the Customer Preferred Package 25T for an extra $2,195. Air suspension, heated wheel and seats, variable valve timing and several other options were also on board, and the final cost came to $46,080 with destination. Not exactly an economical first pickup, but the 1500 Outdoorsman isn’t looking to do favors. It’s looking to finish the job.

2013 Dodge Ram 1500

by Ryan ZumMallen on 09.30.2013 09:30

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