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2023 Ram 1500: What to expect

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With the competition refreshing their trucks, it is widely expected a refreshed 2023 Ram 1500 will come out by the end of 2022. Here is what we expect to see for a refreshed half-ton truck from Ram.

The Ram 1500 has been a big hit since it was unveiled back in 2019. In that time, Ram has passed the Chevy Silverado a few times as the second-best selling truck brand while putting pressure on the perennial truck leader, the Ford F-Series lineup of trucks. This sales success has transformed the brand, along with the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French PSA Group, the brand is looking to expand more globally while tapping into new engineering and engine design resources.

Simply put, the brand is hot, and the 2023 Ram 1500 is playing a big part of this success. In order to keep the success going, I expect the truck to see several improvements and to be unveiled before the end of the year along with the refreshed 2023 Ram HD trucks.

2023 Ram 1500 powertrains

The big changes for the 2023 Ram 1500 will likely be in the powertrains. The 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine is likely dead, the EcoDiesel and Hemi V-8 engines will live on while the 8-speed automatic transmission won’t see any changes. There will also be a new 3.0-liter inline-6 engine dubbed the Hurricane making its Ram debut.

For lower trim level trucks all the way up to the higher trims, we expect to see the new Hurricane engine in both the standard output twin-turbo engine, producing 420 horsepower and 468 pound-feet of torque along with a high-output twin-turbo 510, which delivers 510 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque.

Why both? Stellantis, parent company of Ram, has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030 and the new inline-6 engines produce less emissions than a V-8 with more power and fuel efficiency.

This makes us think the 3.6-liter V-6 is going to be replaced with the standard output Hurricane, while the higher trims will see the higher output Hurricane as either an option or the standard choice with the Hemi V-8 being the up-charge engine. In any case, the Hemi V-8 engines day is coming to an end and either the new Hurricane pushes it out through better performance or Ram artificially reduces the amount of Hemi V-8 engines available.

Exterior, interior styling changes

Like most mid-cycle refreshes, we expect to see some basic changes like everyone else does with their trucks.

On the front end, expect a new variety of grilles and changes to the headlight shape. Also, expect more powerful headlights like the BI-Function LED Projector Headlamps making their way down from the top trim Limited as options for lower trims.

We expect to see some changes in the rear like a modified tail lamp design and or slight styling changes.

Inside the cabin, I expect to see a full digital display for the driver pushing the analogy/digital combination dash down to base trim levels. Plus, you’ll see slight changes to material choices in different trims and small changes to the interior layout.

Finally, we expect to see the continued evolution of the new Uconnect5 system with the inclusion of things like more cameras for towing.

What about the Ram Classic?

Does a refreshed 2023 Ram 1500 finally sound the death knell for the Ram Classic? Probably not.

The Ram Classic is based off the 2018 Ram 1500 pickup and even uses the older EcoDiesel engine. This old truck seems like a waste of resources to the average consumer, however, it is profit machine with all the research-and-development costs paid for years ago.

With Ram now having access to a global marketplace and more production capacity, we just can’t see them killing off this profitable truck. Instead, we could see them expanding production as Ram breaks into new markets. The half-ton truck market is growing globally, and this would be a low-risk, high reward venture taking the Ram Classic internationally.

Battery Electric Ram truck coming?

While this isn’t necessarily part of a refreshed 2023 Ram 1500 news, it is worth mentioning a new BEV Ram 1500 is expected to make its design debut later this year. Yeah, a physical concept — not the actual truck — as Ram gets closer to finalizing its plans to bring a fully electric Ram 1500 to market.

The bottom line on the 2023 Ram 1500

Ram blew the doors off the competition in 2019 with a massive update to its truck as well as bringing it to dealer lots just one month after the reveal. Since then, the truck has won several accolades, including awards for quality.

The simple truth is the brand is on a roll right now, and the 1500 is a solid competitor. The refreshed version will simply be small updates, except for new engines, aimed at continuing to put pressure on the competition while expanding the brand globally.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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