Base price: $22,590
Chrysler planned originally to give this full-sized pickup truck "more of a 'freshening,' but that turned into a complete redesign -- and good one at that," Nerad says. "They've done a marvelous job adding features, adding technology and improving the vehicle's look."
The updated Ram features a new base V-6 engine that offers 305 horsepower, a 42% boost from 2012. Still, the model gets as much as 24% better fuel economy than last year -- 21 mpg combined city/highway for the 2013 Ram 1500 HFE vs. 16 mpg for the 2012 Ram 1500 ST.
The base 2013 Ram also comes standard with a new fuel-saving eight-speed automatic transmission.
Additionally, an optional new air-suspension system lets you raise the Ram's height by two inches for increased ground clearance or lower it two inches for easier passenger access and better aerodynamics. There's also an available engine start/stop system that can minimize idling and save even more gas.
Inside, the Ram's redesigned interior offers an optional new 8.4-inch multifunction touchscreen, as well as the next generation of Uconnect Access -- Chrysler's well-regarded "infotainment" system.
"[Chrysler] transformed a truck that we liked a lot into a truck that we like a lot more," Nerad says. "I think they did a very good job all around."