Every year, Motor Trend Magazine announces three awards: Truck, Car and SUV of the year. For the second year in a row, the unanimous winner of Truck of the Year is the Ram 1500. It is the only truck to win two consecutive years in the history of the award.
Motor Trend Magazine was founded in 1949 and has been one of the leading brands of automotive publishing. While media sources have expanded with the digital age, the magazine has a readership of over seven million people.
Motor Trend takes a variety of new or greatly upgraded vehicles in each of the three categories and puts them through a thorough series of tests to determine who the “best of the best” is for the year. A total of nine trucks were selected for this year’s competition. Along with the 2013 Ram 1500 were the following trucks and commercial vans: Ram ProMaster, Nissan NV200, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit Connect, Toyota Tundra, Ram Heavy Duty, GMC Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado. The trucks were not directly competing against each other, but instead were given a score on each of the tests and the winner was voted on based on those scores.
The vehicles were tested in six main categories: Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance of Intended Function. Testing was performed at the Continental Tire Automotive Proving Grounds in Texas and also at the Motor Trend Headquarters in California. The Continental Proving Grounds has an 8.5 mile high-speed oval track, a multi-acre dynamics pad, a short dry-handling road course and multi-surfaced roads. The testing at that facility lasted a week long and each vehicle was put through the same performance scenarios.
Limited Handling tests included closed-course cornering, acceleration and braking. Both the Standard and Limited Handling tests were done without loads.
Towing and Payload were tested by equipping the pickups with trailers and the vans with payloads that were set at 75 percent of the vehicle’s maximum rating. The vehicles were then timed from 0-60 mph.
The final stages of testing are done at Motor Trend’s headquarters for real-world application and “Intelligence Real MPG” fuel efficiency testing.
The Real MPG testing uses the latest technology to evaluate fuel efficiency in real-world conditions and not just in confined and controlled facilities. Exhaust samples are measured every second during the 88 mile test drive and conditions are measured by a weather station, GPS and data loggers.
The 2013 Ram 1500 scored high in all categories, easily making it the judges’ favorite. What stood out the most was the truck’s new EcoDeisel V-6 engine, which beat the competition in the fuel efficiency category. The most extreme testing done at the Continental facility showed the Ram 1500 still averaged 15 mpg and the real-world testing also returned impressive mileage numbers. The truck also boasted a 9,200 lb towing capacity on top of superior gas-mileage in a vehicle category that traditionally does not come with diesel engines. The sport model was especially noted for its torque rating at 407 lb-ft at 3950 rpm.
In the Engineering Excellence Category, the Ram 1500′s air suspension scored high in the testing. The suspension was reported to offer superb handling and comfort in all terrains as compared to the other vehicles tested. The materials used also gave confidence in the system to avoid tears or punctures, which is a problem commonly seen in most other vehicles that are equipped with air suspension. Having this available on the truck also means that the ride height is adjustable and that can help improve aerodynamics and maximize fuel efficiency.
The improvements to the interior of the truck were also noteworthy and were compared to the luxury trims available in the Chrysler 300 sedan. New technology has been introduced to the interior features. Chrysler’s UConnect system is available now with a large 8.4 inch screen, is upgradeable with apps and can provide an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot. Instead of paddles for manual transmission control, an eight-speed twist dial is mounted on the dash, which is meant to be easier to operate while wearing gloves.
All of these features and more is why Ram continues to hold the crown for Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year. The Ram 1500 is available to take for a test drive whenever you are ready to see what the judges at Motor Trend recognize as the best truck on the market. The award issue of Motor Trend Magazine will be released in February.
To learn more about the Ram 1500, proudly named Truck of the Year, visit Mancari’s of Oak Lawn. Take it for a test drive and find out why this truck stands out from all the rest.