Trying to decide between the 2013 Ford F-150 and 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 is like trying to choose which Alaskan park you want to trek the backcountry at. There are so many fantastic options and qualities about both that even when you compare them side-by-side, you might still feel your head spin a little. These are trucks that are sharp enough on the exterior to proudly valet at a five-star restaurant in Southern California, but strong enough under the hood to rigorously use for work, traveling over rough terrain and through undesirable weather.
Buyers can choose from four engines on the 2013 F-150 that are all mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and three engines on Dodge 1500 that get either an eight or six-speed automatic transmission, depending on engine size. Four-wheel drive is available across the board.
Base F-150 models get a strong 3.7-liter V6 good for 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to reach 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, and it return 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Next is the 5.0-liter V8 that delivers 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. This quick engine offers acceleration speeds of 7.2 seconds and yields 17 mpg combined. The available 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 offers an output of 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, which are very impressive numbers for a six-cylinder engine. Fuel economy is impressive at 18 mpg combined, and zero to 60 mph happens in 6.5 seconds. Last but not least is the fierce 6.2-liter V8 that screams out 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. Depending on engine, towing capacity ranges from a respectable 5,500 pounds up to an astonishing 11,300 pounds.
The 2013 Ram 1500 gets a new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 good for 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Depending on cab choice, it can dash to 60 mph in an average of 8 seconds, and return 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. There are also two V8 engines available. The first is a 4.7-liter V8 engine that offers 310 horsepower. The second is a 5.7-liter V8, with an output of 395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque. Ram 1500 also offers impressive towing capabilities ranging from 6,500 to 10,450 pounds, depending on engine size.
Driving and Handling
Both of these trucks feel strong, confident and composed on the road, regardless if you are hauling a load in the bed or towing a trailer. The outboard-mounted rear shock on F-150 grants control and an incredibly refined ride while the available air suspension in Ram 1500 absorbs every bump like a sponge. Ram can also increase its height with a switch on the dash, which comes in handy when you need a little extra clearance. The new electronically-assisted steering system on Ram 1500 is significantly more responsive than the previous hydraulic setup as well.
Then you look at F-150, a truck that is a workhorse on and off the road, yet pampers passengers. Plus, F-150 is well-known for its vault-like cab.
The 2013 Ford F-150 tends to shine just a little brighter in the safety department. When tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it was granted top safety scores in front, roof and side-impact protection. It can even stop from 60 mph between 135 and 132 feet, depending on cab size and engine.
Ram 1500 does have a lot of fantastic safety features, but breaking distance averages around 133 feet, and crash test scores don’t compete with the F-150. Ram 1500 did receive a top score in frontal-offset, but received only a “Marginal” rating in roof-strength and side-impact protection.
The 2013 F-150 and Ram 1500 are well recognized on the road. It only takes a quick glance of the grille to know exactly which vehicle is coming at you. F-150 is available as Regular Cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew models. Regular and SuberCab are available as a 6.5 or 8-foot bed, and SuperCrew offers a 5.5 or 6.5-foot bed. Only a 5.5-foot bed is available on the Raptor model.
Ram also offers a variety of choices, with its Regular, Crew and Quad Cab options. With an upgraded front fascia and grille, and improved aerodynamics, it is as attractive as it is powerful.
Many years ago, rear seat passengers in a pickup either had to sit on uncomfortable seats or feel their knees in their chest with no legroom. Times sure have changed. The 2013 F-150 and Ram 1500 offer more than enough space for rear seat passengers to stretch out and enjoy the ride. Plus, the rear seats are thoughtfully positioned on a comfortable angle.
F-150 offers a handsome and efficient cabin with quality materials and controls at your fingertips. Ram 1500 is just as nice, with the Laramie trim being extremely luxurious. There are also a lot of storage compartments in Ram 1500, including some watertight ones.
Technology and Entertainment
Both trucks offer similar technology and entertainment features. F-150 has a 4.2-inch LCD message center screen, and gives you an 8-inch screen with the navigation system while Ram 1500 opts for an 8.4-inch multifunction touchscreen, plus a 7-inch premium customizable screen in the electronic vehicle information cluster. Dodge gives you UConnect® Access System while Ford offers Sync®; both of which are outstanding features.
Do a walk around and test drive on both vehicles, and you are sure to find a lot of little details that impress. While Ford comes out a little ahead in safety, it is hard to compete with the handsome and sophisticated cabin of the 2013 Ram 1500. Both are confident on the road, and offer strong towing capabilities and innovative technology features.