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For 2013, Motor Trend's "Truck of the Year" award went to the refreshed RAM 1500. But the 1500 wasn't the only truck in the RAM model-lineup to receive a facelift. The 2013 RAM 3500 also sports an all-new interior, along with exterior styling updates that include wheel-to-wheel running boards and a larger grille.
Chrysler's truck division revised its powertrain lineup for 2013, making the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 the 3500's standard engine. Trims levels include the ST, SLT, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn.
For heavy duty hauling and towing, however, customers will probably opt for one of three available 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines. RAM pairs a 350-horsepower variant with a class-exclusive six-speed manual transmission. And in high-output form available only on the 3500, the Cummins engine delivers 385 horsepower and a staggering 850 pound-feet of torque.
Though a heavy duty truck, the 3500 is surprisingly smooth on the road. And, when properly equipped, its interior can compete head-on with luxury SUVs. Plus, the RAM's roomy interior cabin can easily become a mobile office thanks to optional features like Uconnect smartphone access and Wi-Fi hotspot capability.
Available only with four-door Crew or Mega Cab styles, the Laramie includes standard equipment like: a 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel and six-speed manual transmission; leather-trimmed seats; power front seats; a 60/40 split-folding rear bench; power-adjustable pedals; a 115-volt power outlet; a touchscreen that also serves as the navigation display; a 10-speaker sound system with a 40GB hard-drive and USB port; and a two-tone paint scheme featuring metallic silver on the lower body and fender flares.
Like the Laramie, the Laramie Longhorn is only offered in Crew or Mega Cab. Unlike the Laramie, the 3500 Longhorn edition is not available with a front bench. Standard equipment includes: power front seats that are heated and ventilated; heated rear seats; and a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel with audio controls. A 10-speaker sound system, navigation and 40 GB hard-drive can all be controlled through the center stack's touchscreen. Unique to the Longhorn is the high-output 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel as standard equipment. A two-tone paint treatment includes "white gold metallic" on the lower body, fender flares, bumpers and running boards.
The Ram 3500 SLT is available in dual- or single rear-wheel setup. Regular, Crew and Mega Cab SLTs all have optional front bucket seats. The powertrain consists of a 6.7-liter turbo-diesel paired with a six-speed manual. Standard equipment includes: tow hooks; 7x11-inch trailer tow mirrors; chrome bumpers; a chrome grille; and 17-inch chrome wheels. The SLT also features: cloth seats, carpeted floors, and an audio system with an auxiliary input jack. On Crew and Mega Cab models, the sliding rear window is powered.
The base 3500 is equipped with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 and six-speed automatic transmission that combine to deliver 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Two 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines are offered, one with 660 pound-feet of torque attached to a six-speed manual transmission, and the other with 800 pound-feet of torque attached to a six-speed automatic. The ST is available in Regular cab (two-doors) or Crew cab (four-doors) with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. A 40/20/40 front bench is wrapped in vinyl as is the folding rear bench (Crew Cab only). Exterior features include a locking tailgate, a class IV trailer hitch and 17-inch steel wheels. Dual rear wheels are available with an eight-foot box only.
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More power yet same amount of torque
Available with Allison transmission, but has cheaper interior materials
Great payload, but even Denali trim is less upscale than the Laramie Longhorn
Less towing capacity, but has two turbo-diesel engine options