I'm the kinda guy that does those " Basic " upgrades, like Intakes, exhaust, sparkplugs n wires, tires, and so on. I like to get any improvement I can, even if its only .001%. It adds up. So, if there is an intake out there that will improve performance, I would have bought it.
Most every factory intake I've seen was not as good as it could be. However, the OEM " Active Air " is one of the best intake systems I've seen, factory OR aftermarket.
The Active Air system uses a door to switch between frontal and fender air. It also uses an " upper" filter design, there is a basin below the filter. If water enters one of the inlets, the water will settle and drain on the bottom. Obviously the truck is not a boat, and driving through enough water will put a rod out the block. But this " upper " design is a very good one.
Can the factory intake system be improved? I personally think so.
The issues are the programming of the door and the downpipe to the turbo. And maybe the inlet openings if your pushing lots of power or getting those RPM's over safe numbers.
As odd as it seems, there are those that don't like Tubro Whistle. So RAM designed the downpipe so it is quieter. They also used a "part" to streamline the airflow in the turbo. Personally, I would like to see a new composite downpipe that works with the factory intake box.
On the programming, RAM set it to take air from the fender by default. Only under certain conditions will the door switch to the frontal air. My tests showed it was very rare for the door to switch positions. It should default to the frontal air source, and switch to fender in select weather conditions. Example, when it rains or snows, it should pull from the fender. I was working on a " middle " man device that would keep the door open to the frontal air. Then, using a moisture sensor, switch to the fender air.
But honestly, the factory system is about as good as it gets. Any current aftermarket solution is equal at best. The only real benefits will be the sound, and that is worth it
Just avoid fake CAI systems that are really Hot Air Intake systems. If the filter open in the engine bay, that is a HOT AIR Intake. If any of the air plumpings is metal, that preheats the air and is not good. If the system uses metal walls to " protect " filter, that's just an oven to heat the air up.