Ram heavy-duty pickups get beefier diesel
DETROIT -- Chrysler Group's re-engineered lineup of Ram heavy-duty pickups and chassis-cab trucks will feature a more powerful diesel engine and more Tradesman entry-level trim models to attract commercial customers, the company said.
The Tradesman trim level now is just part of the Ram 1500 pickup line.
The vehicles made their debut last week at the State Fair of Texas, with production slated to begin in January.
The reworked Ram heavy-duty pickups and chassis cabs, built on the same platform, will offer a number of new features, some optional depending on the vehicle and trim level:
-- The 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel, paired with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission, produces 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 pounds-feet of torque. The current version of the engine produces 350 hp at 3,000 rpm and 800 pounds-feet of torque. The 6.7-liter diesel engine will require urea treatment of its exhaust to reduce smog.
-- The standard 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gasoline engine delivers 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and up to 400 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 will be newly available in Ram 3500 pickups.
-- The redesigned frame is constructed from high-strength steel with an optional fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch mount, a plate on the frame under the cargo bed to which hitches are attached.
-- The new direct air intake, called Ram Active Air, for the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel boosts air to the engine when it is under load and at higher altitudes.
-- Revised steering and suspension systems increase payload, frontal load and towing capacities.
-- The front-axle disconnect system that, coupled with a new transfer case, boosts fuel economy by 1 mpg.
The revised heavy-duty pickups and chassis cabs will be released as 2013 models. They will receive a number of gadgets being introduced on the 2013 Ram 1500, including Chrysler's latest Uconnect infotainment system and cellular connection, which allows the truck to serve as a mobile wireless Internet hot spot.
An improved tailgate camera will feed images to the cabin's optional 8.4-inch screen to assist in trailer hookups, while a new camera mounted high on the rear of the cab will aid those hooking up fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer hitches.
"The light duty was all about mpg, but the heavy-duty, as you know, is all about capability. Those are the two big distinctions between the two," Ram brand chief Fred Diaz said at a Sept. 17 media preview here of the heavy-duty lineup.
Diaz said Ram will create a new commercial division to serve commercial customers.
He said the heavy-duty pickups and chassis-cab trucks would have best-in-class towing capabilities, adding that the company would disclose the towing capacities in January at the Detroit auto show.
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