• Minor exterior updates, major interior changes.
  • New suspension for the truck.
  • Other updates improve towing, hauling.

Several major upgrades are coming to heavy-duty variants of the full-size RAM pickup for 2013. According to Chrysler, the RAM's parent company, the 2013 RAM Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab models will offer a long list of revisions, from interior and exterior updates to powertrain and suspension changes that are designed to give the trucks improved towing and hauling capabilities.

Truck shoppers are most likely to notice updates to the pickup's interior and exterior, which roughly mirror changes made to the light-duty RAM 1500 last year. On the inside, that means a new steering wheel, a revised gauge cluster, and new climate and stereo controls. The RAM 2500 and 3500 models are also newly available with a 7-inch electronic gauge cluster, which complements the 8.4-in center-mounted touchscreen display for the pickup's uConnect infotainment system. While minor, exterior revisions include a taller front grille, LED corner lamps, restyled badging and a new power folding mirror design.

But while stylistic updates are the most noticeable changes to the 2013 RAM 2500 and 3500 models, Chrysler went even farther under the pickup's skin. The biggest update is new front suspension, which can haul heavier loads and front-mounted accessories, such as snowplows. Wider frame rails, which are necessary to accommodate the upgraded suspension, were also added. And a new Powernet wiring system can accommodate up to 72 inputs for aftermarket accessories--good news for ambulance firms and other buyers interested in attaching electrical items to their vehicles.

In addition to changes to the truck's undercarriage and wiring, Chrysler is also adding a new engine to the RAM 3500's lineup. While last year's 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel remains available in the pickup, the automaker's 5.7-liter Hemi V8 will become standard to satisfy shoppers clamoring for a gasoline engine. That motor will produce 383 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, while the 6.7 retains last year's numbers of 370 hp and a monstrous 850 lb-ft of torque.

Other changes to the truck include standard electronic stability control for all heavy-duty models and improved cooling systems for the truck's transmission. While newly standard ESC makes Ram the first truck to offer the safety feature across the board, the added cooling will help the transmission keep from overheating when towing heavy loads.

According to Chrysler, the updated RAM models will start production in January. We expect to learn more details, including finalized pricing figures, towing capacity and payload capacity, closer to the truck's launch.

What it means to you: Truck shoppers looking for a highly competitive heavy-duty pickup should check out the 2013 RAM Heavy-Duty.

author photo

Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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