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.
by Ryan ZumMallen on 09.30.2013 09:30