Not one person on staff has put our long-term Ram 1500 Laramie's payload to work more than I have. Between trips to the dump, hardware store, and rock yards, we've had no problem getting our home improving jobs done -- one 600-pound load at a time.

Our truck is equipped with a 5.7-liter V-8 and Torqueflite eight-speed automatic transmission with an optional 3.55 gear ratio. It's also equipped with an air-suspension system that improves the overall performance of the truck while on- and off-roading with five height settings. One of the settings is called Park Mode. It allows the truck to lower two inches from the normal ride height and uses load-leveling sensors to automatically adjust to the load in the bed, keeping your truck level. It's impressive to watch the truck think and adjust itself while loading the bed up. But even at max payload, the truck feels nearly empty -- almost as if it didn't have a load. There is no strain on the performance on the highway or uphill, and the ride quality is great.

Let's step back a moment and talk payload. Most people know you can determine a trucks true payload by subtracting the vehicles total weight from its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). According to Ram Trucks, our Ram 1500 Crew Cab Laramie 4X4 with a 5'7" bed with a Rambox, along with our engine/transmission/gear-ratio combination, has a payload of 1150 pounds. That payload comes from a GVWR of 6800 pounds minus the total weight of the vehicle at 5640 pounds. Our truck's weight is 5843 pounds -- nearly 200 pounds more due to the weight of the air suspension system, sunroof, and a few other equipment options. This drops our Ram's payload to roughly 950 pounds. Once you factor out an additional 350 pounds for a driver and one passenger, we are left with a payload of 600 pounds.

As you can see it doesn't take much to max out our payload, limiting our loads to half a scoop of landscaping rock or three heavily oiled railroad ties at a time. Our truck fits our primary needs of a daily driver with occasional workloads. There are hundreds of Ram 1500 configuration to choose from if you need a truck to do more work. However, if your looking for the biggest payload, the 1500 4x4 Tradesman standard cab with an 8 foot bed paired with the 3.6L V6 Pentastar and eight-speed automatic transmission has a payload of 1,930 pounds.

2013 Ram 1500 Laramie
Service life: 10 mo/23,594 mi
Avg CO2: 1.23 lb/mi
Energy cons: 213 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $120.94 (2-oil change, tire rotation, inspection)
Normal-wear cost: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: 15/21/17 mpg
Average Fuel Econ: 15.8 mpg