The battle for half-ton pickup truck dominance is as certain as death and taxes. Thankfully, it’s a lot more fun to visit a Ram dealer than it is to spend an afternoon at your accountant’s office. Three major players–Ram, Chevy, and Ford–shuffle places on the top three list with every new generation release that promises a class-leading innovation or capability milestone. While Ford has banked big on its F-150 Lightning EV pickup, Ram chose a more traditional route for 2023, beefing up its popular 1500 lineup with new technology.
Car and Driver has bestowed a 10 out of 10 rating on the 2023 Ram 1500 since its debut in 2019, citing the pickup’s unusual blend of capability and good looks. Still, enthusiasts seem to care more about what’s happening beneath the elegant body panels and stylized grille. Though the Ram 1500’s stats, such as a maximum towing capacity of 12,750 lbs., four gutsy powertrain options, and a high-strength steel frame, look impressive on the glossy dealer brochure, the technology that fuels it hides even deeper below the surface.
While Ram has succeeded at positioning the 1500 as a high-end luxury pickup for a growing segment of buyers who are choosing a pickup truck as their daily driver or primary family vehicle, the automaker remains focused on building sturdy trucks with class-leading capabilities that make the hard work of towing and hauling payloads a little bit easier. Ram does this by elevating not only the 1500’s toughness, but also incorporating innovative engineering and technology, like the three listed below, to help with the heavy lifting.
Assistive Trailering Tech Eliminates Guesswork
Semi-autonomous driver-assist technologies aren’t innovative anymore. Many vehicles on the road, from the tiny Kia Soul to the massive Ram 3500, comes with a fighter jet cockpit’s worth of camera, radar, and sensor-driven systems that are so advanced, they take much of the work of driving out of the driver’s hands with automation. Still, these technologies work best when applied to less obvious driving-related tasks, like towing. Ram asks more from mainstream systems like Forward Collision Alert, enlisting them to assist towing drivers.
Towing technology is having a moment. The battle for category-best status seems to center on features that simplify truck-related tasks, especially towing and hooking up a trailer. Ram deploys an arsenal of technologies to ease trailering pain points and mitigate common safety risks, such as trailer sway. An available 360-degree surround view camera displays a bird’s eye view of the truck, and, when paired with the Trailer Camera Prep system, provides two additional cameras for the trailer.
The cameras facilitate a clear, close-up view of the ball and receiver, eliminating the need to enlist your teenager for help (or that one neighbor with the so-so depth perception). Opting for the available Air Suspension System, which is activated via a one-touch lever on the dashboard, automates the process of correcting for trailer height differences. Lower the bed from the driver’s seat before backing up to meet the receiver. Once the ball is directly under the receiver, hit the lever again, and the bed raises to close the gap and make the connection accurately every time.
Reverse Guidance with Split-Screen View, another Ram-exclusive technology, also makes backing up your trailer a one-person job. Reverse Guidance displays a series of arrows that the driver can toggle through to adjust the camera view from left to right for a complete view of potential obstructions on either side of the trailer. When underway, the optional Blind Spot Monitoring system with Rear Cross Path and Trailer Detection, expands blind spot coverage to include the length of your trailer, making lane changes safer and less stress-inducing.
Supercharged V8 Power for On and Off-Road Bragging Rights
Visit the Ram website, and you’ll quickly learn that the 1500 TRX boasts “the most powerful factory installed engine in its class.” Most performance truck enthusiasts are well-aware that the Ram 1500 TRX puts up sports-car-like 0-60 stats with the standard 6.2L HEMI V8, putting out an aggressive 702-horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, but the wonder of it all unfolds only after taking a deep dive on the engine’s intricate design and construction.
It all starts with the twin-screw supercharger. Without it, the engine is just another big V8. The supercharger delivers almost instantaneous torque and spin at up to 14,600 RPM to produce up to 11 PSI of boost. Couple that with the TRX’s Launch Control feature, and you’ll achieve blistering off-the-line acceleration, much to the dismay of your buddy with the Raptor. Drivers can monitor peak horsepower (or do some evidence-based bragging to their Ford-loyal friends) with the standard digital dynamometer, which also stores historical data for comparing previous output.
The Supercharged V8 contains an air induction system that’s tuned for high performance, intaking 32.9 liters of air every 60 seconds, which efficiently and constantly filters massive amounts of dust, dirt, and debris. This feature enhances performance both on and off-road, priming the engine for optimal output. The engine’s durability, however, is in its construction. Forged from cast iron, the engine block is assembled with heavy duty induction-hardened bearings that withstand 20,000 pounds of force.
Elevated Bed and Tailgate Design
Technology is often thought of as electronic or automated. However, achieving innovations in the design of more mundane pickup components, like the tailgate, also requires a set of high-tech tools to move from idea to proof-of-concept to the factory floor. Ram’s elegant Multifunction Tailgate makes accessing the cargo bed easier and more efficient. It has a 60/40 split function that sideways, like a door, eliminating the need to stretch over an open tailgate to reach your stowed cargo. Slide out the available center-mounted Bed Step from under the bumper, and getting in and out of the bed no longer requires a tricep pushup.
Ram adds a dampening feature to the tailgate for controlled raising and lowering, along with an available hands-free power-release that can be activated from the cabin or the key fob. Inside the bed itself, Ram’s Cargo Management System turns the dead space over the rear wheel wells into lockable storage space, even adding lights that shine into the space when the lid is open. The storage spaces are weatherproof and drainable, making them the perfect stand-ins for coolers at your next tailgate party.
Convert the cargo bed to a workspace with the available Bed Outlet, a 110-volt power source for tools or device charging. The expansive available camera system includes a cargo bed camera that helps drivers monitor payload without having to pull over. Thanks to the optional in-bed LED lighting system, working past sunset to finish a project is possible, even when the project is far from any exterior lighting. From storage solutions to simplified bed access, these Ram 1500 features contribute to overall utility.
Lean Into High-Tech Trucks
Most truck buyers prioritize utility and capability when shopping for a rig. The Ram 1500 pickup offers a unique, technology-rich value proposition, marrying brute force with thoughtful systems designed to make towing, hauling, and off-roading easier and safer. Convenience equals time saved, which is the root of Ram’s truck design principle. Why not select a truck that cuts trailer hook-up time in half?
Buyers eyeing a high-performance pickup will appreciate the Ram TRX’s performance specifications, not to mention the roar of its supercharged V8. Knowing the engine is specifically built for rigorous use adds an element of practicality and peace of mind that will be welcome once you’re deep in a backcountry trail facing a wall of rocks and knee-deep mud. Ram takes technology and adapts it to truck buyers’ needs, answering the call for utility and capability with invisible intelligent systems that work seamlessly to make life easier.