Our Copperhead metallic 2013 Ram 1500 was welcomed into the Motor Trend Garage with open arms after the Ram walked home with our 2013 Truck of the Year award. Our truck came pretty fully loaded, and it better have been with its $52,320 sticker. We put the Ram to work right away, using it to help staffers move, support photo shoots off-road in the desert, and take friends camping.

With nearly 30,000 miles on the clock and its time with us rapidly coming to a close, I thought the best way to say goodbye to our fleet workhorse was to take it out for one long last road trip, where our truck would get the chance to do all the things it spent the year doing in a short amount of time. The journey would take me and my fiancée north of L.A. to the "Great State of Jefferson" -- the region of Northern California that's been trying (and failing) to secede since before World War II. Once in NorCal, we'd hit up some breweries, attend a wedding shindig, and help my future mother-in-law haul furniture and appliances out of storage to her new home.

The trip was designed to use just about every feature the Ram offers. The 5-foot-7-inch box was lightly loaded on the way north: My fiancée and I and our puppy shared the cab, our two suitcases shared the bed, and a variety of odds and ends filled the RamBoxes. On the way back south we'd filled the bed to the brim with odds and ends. Both trips along criminally boring I-5 were uneventful. My fiancée and I enjoyed the Ram's comfortable front seats and its Uconnect infotainment system, and the puppy enjoyed a low-enough beltline that she could watch cars whiz by without having to stand up. Load or no load in back, the Ram rode as soft as any sedan on both legs of the trip -- a testament to its innovative air suspension.

Once in town, the Ram spent most of its time shuttling people around and making trips to local NorCal breweries. (Fun fact: The RamBox perfectly fits a case of beer.) The Ram did get a chance to show off its hauling chops by moving a washing machine, some furniture, a mattress, and a variety of other odds and ends from my fiancée's mom's storage unit. With the bed bursting, the sliding tie-down cleats and bed extender came in handy. The lone issue I had was with the Ram's folding bed extender. While cleverly designed to also function as a cargo divider, the bed extender initially refused to go into place, with the knob that locks the bed extender in place failing to rotate. A minute or two of fussing got the bed extender into the right spot, and we were underway. The bed extender would prove troublesome again while unloading -- this time I couldn't get the knob to release. After some (read: lots of) swearing and a few good whacks with a hammer, the bed extender finally released, allowing us to unload.

All in all, the trip was uneventful, with the truck returning to L.A. with about 1500 additional miles on the odometer. The Ram achieved 17.3 mpg on the trip, just a bit above the 15.6 mpg average we recorded over our year with the Ram. That means our 395-hp Hemi V-8 Ram outperformed our previous Truck of the Year, the 365-hp EcoBoost V-6-powered 2012 Ford F-150 in fuel economy, with the F-150 netting just 14.4 mpg during its time with us.

Our Ram suffered no problems during its year with us. We made just two trips to the dealer for regularly scheduled maintenance. Two oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections set us back just $120.94. Our old 2012 Ford F-150 long-termer needed three trips to the dealer for maintenance in 28,155 miles, totaling $208.35. That works out to about $60 per service for the Ram, and $69 per visit for the twin-turbo V-6-equipped Ford­ -- a difference, but not necessarily a meaningful one.

Overall our year spent with our 2013 Ram 1500 reinforced why it had won our Truck of the Year award. It served as everything from a work truck to a luxury vehicle during its stay with us. It was always ready, willing, and capable of anything, and it will certainly be missed when it leaves our fleet. The only thing making the departure of our 2013 Ram less painful is knowing an EcoDiesel-powered 2014 Ram 1500 will soon be joining our garage. We can't wait.

Our Car
SERVICE LIFE 14 mo / 32,170 mi
BASE PRICE $44,920
OPTIONS Air suspension ($1595), RamBox ($1295), chrome side steps ($600), TorqueFlite 8-speed auto ($500), leather seats ($500), navigation ($500), Convenience Group ($495: keyless entry, rain-sensing wipers), spray-in bedliner ($475), class IV receiver hitch ($335), rear park assist system ($250), trailer brake controller ($230), remote start ($200), all-season tires ($175), Protection Group ($150: tow hooks, front skidplates), chrome trailer side mirrors ($100)
AVG ECON/CO2 15.6 mpg / 1.24 lb/mi
MAINTENANCE COST $120.94 (2-oil change, tire rotation, inspection)
RECALLS Coolant bypass valve, parking brake
*Automotive Lease Guide data