Ram HD blows past Ford tow ratings, capacity

This morning, Dodge released towing and weight ratings for the 2013 Ram Heavy Duty pickups and Chassis Cab trucks. The Ram 3500 Heavy Duty pickup is rated at up to 30,000 pounds of trailer capacity, blowing by Ford, GMC, and Chevrolet; its closest competitor’s maximum tow capacity is 23,100 pounds.

The Ram 3500’s capacity increase was enabled by a new 50,000 pounds-per-square-inch, high-strength steel frame, a stronger transfer case, a higher-load transmission (Aisin AS69RC), larger front drive shafts and U-joints, an upgraded 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine with a best-in-class 850 lb.-ft. of torque, and other upgrades.

“We built the new 2013 Ram Heavy Duty to be the undisputed Heavy Duty ‘King of the Road.’ These new rigs deliver on the number one key attribute most critical to these customers: uncompromising capability,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO — Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC. “Towing capability, reliability and engine performance are ranked first through third, respectively, with HD customers. The 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks unequivocally deliver all those things, as well as a very low total cost of ownership.”

The Ram 3500’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) — the maximum combined weight of the truck, payload and trailer — has been raised to 37,600 pounds, which far surpasses the closest competitor’s 30,500-pound GCWR.

The 2013 Ram 2500 also saw towing and combined weight rating boosts; at 18,350 and 25,000, Ram 2500’s towing and GCW ratings are also best among ¾-ton pickups.

Ram Chassis Cab trucks also deliver maximum capability with best-in-class towing and GCWR figures 29,600 pounds and 37,500 pounds, respectively, in the top-end Ram 5500.

Ram Heavy Duty added a number of new features for 2013, including a factory-integrated fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch mount, a 17,000-pound Class V hitch with 1,800 pounds of tongue weight, class-exclusive electronic stability control (ESC) for dual-rear-wheels, and a new Center High-Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL) –positioned camera, the first of its kind in the heavy-duty pickup category, to provide a full view of the bed for easier hook-up of fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailers as well as monitoring cargo.

For 2013, all Ram Heavy Duty diesels have a new cooling system whose high-efficiency fan, dual radiators, dual transmission coolers, and low-slung charge air cooler provide 25% more heat-rejection capacity. Lower operating temperatures deliver improved performance, durability and lower operating costs. Cummins Turbo Diesel-equipped Ram trucks also provide best-in-class 15,000-mile oil change intervals.

The exclusive Ram Active Air intake system draws cooler air from the front of the vehicle when it senses extreme heat; it also engages at high altitudes for superior throttle response in low oxygen environments. When conditions are wet, the system pulls air from an under-hood inlet, clear from snow packing and water.

A new front and rear suspension system with advanced geometry builds upon the chassis improvements and greatly improves overall roll stiffness. An advanced three-link front suspension on the Ram 3500 is necessary for the vehicle’s higher GVWR and for use with heavy front loads, including snow plows. A newly designed Hotchkiss leaf spring rear suspension on the Ram 3500 offers improved ride and handling while delivering higher towing and payload capability.

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How will Wrangler keep its tops “free”?

Jeep Wrangler roof slider system cloth

Even as the 2018 Jeep Wrangler grows ever-closer, sources are divided as to how the roof will be handled — though we are starting get some clarity.

The JT pickup, due in 2019, will almost certainly have a fixed roof with removable panels. As for the Wrangler, some believe it will have the setup shown in the  scale model below (whose front styling was rejected):

The model above has the same removable panels as the pickup,

Read the full story: How will Wrangler keep its tops “free”?  »

Here are the SEMA-car sneak peeks

With the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show is drawing near, Mopar has started to show their usual teaser sketches of concepts to be displayed at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 1-4.

Including Mopar-modified vehicles created especially for SEMA, fourteen FCA US vehicles will spread out over the 15,345-square-foot Mopar exhibit.

The annual Mopar press event will take place at its usual 4:26 p.m.

Read the full story: Here are the SEMA-car sneak peeks  »

CR and FCA quality


Many people regard Consumer Reports as the last word in car reliability, despite problems with CR’s methods and an attitude which leads to cease-and-desist letters for posting pages like this one.

The current guide was headlined by Buick’s rise to #3, but the secondary story was FCA brands anchoring the bottom, along with Tesla.

What happened?

FCA can counter CR with good scores in J.D.

Read the full story: CR and FCA quality  »

Envisioning the 2018 Jeep Cherokee

For the next Jeep Cherokee, Susan Rand and “DarkSky” considered what the phrase “a more traditional front that is still unique” might mean. Sources claimed that the body would remain essentially unchanged.

Since the “headlights below the DRLs” aspect of the current Cherokee is the most radical change from the norm, both renderings swap the two positions, putting the headlights up high, with integral DRLs, parking lights in a separate area,

Read the full story: Envisioning the 2018 Jeep Cherokee  »

Ram: King of Canadian trucks

Ram-Canadian Truck King

For the third time in a row, the Ram 1500 has been crowned the overall winner of the Canadian Truck King Challenge.

The tenth annual Canadian Truck King Challenge, run in Ontario but including seven judges from across Canada, includes real-world evaluations covering nearly 4,000 km, during which payload is tested up to 4,000 pounds, towing is tested up to 15,000 pounds, and off-road capability is assessed.

There were eleven pickups entered into the Canadian Truck King Challenge competition,

Read the full story: Ram: King of Canadian trucks  »

Jeep Wrangler roof slider system cloth
How will Wrangler keep its tops “free”?

Here are the SEMA-car sneak peeks
CR and FCA quality

Envisioning the 2018 Jeep Cherokee

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