2013’s The Good 12 – Dodge Ram 1500 – $30,000-$35,000

RAM 1500

There are probably about 1951 different Ram permutations that end up with a price somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000. One important new version is the V6-powered 2013 Ram 1500 SLT 4×4 Quad Cab. Relatively efficient, suitable for work and family life, and decently equipped, the $34,585 SLT V6 Quad Cab will now be a commonly seen truck. The 305 horsepower and 269-lb-ft generated by the V6 are impressive figures, limited only by the high engine speeds at which they’re achieved.

The Good 12 2013 logoThe Ford EcoBoost-fighting V6 is only one part of what makes the Ram pickup range the one to consider. Let’s be clear: there are countless reasons for the F-Series’ marketplace dominance. You’ll probably be satisfied with a Chevrolet Silverado, you’d have fun with the Nissan Titan’s 5.6L V8, and the Toyota Tundra is a big truck on a continent that loves big trucks.

This Ram has a lot going for it, however, not the least of which is that new V6 engine. The rumbling Hemi V8 remains the most alluring truck engine on the market. Though not F-150-like inside, the Ram’s interior is so far beyond what GM is currently offering. 

Much of the Ram’s appeal continues to be its styling. Pickup trucks ought to be this aggressive, and the Ram’s near-perfect truck design details – the forward-leaning crosshair grille and thick-spoked wheels especially – cause other trucks to appear almost unassuming. 

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Engine: 305 horsepower; 269 lb-ft of torque from a 3.6L V6, 310 horsepower; 330 lb-ft of torque from a 4.7L V8, or 395 horsepower; 407 lb-ft of torque from a 5.7L V8

Base USD/CAD Price: $22,590 / $19,995

City Fuel Economy: 14-18 miles per gallon

It’s Not Perfect: The Ram is not a Ford F-150, and that alone is enough for many buyers to  avoid the truck formally known as a Dodge. As is the case with other trucks, Ram’s diesel engine is unfortunately not available in non-HD versions.

Sales Stats: Consistently America’s third-best-selling truck and Canada’s second-best-selling truck (and second-best-selling vehicle), the Ram pickup range is the highest-volume nameplate in the Chrysler Group’s lineup.

Viable Alternatives: Thinking specifically, the Good 12-winning Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is a statement maker, a veritable maker of statements. In general, it’s hard to find a bad full-size truck. The replacements for GM’s twins appear to be very livable products, too.