Recently, a host of updates shot the Ram 1500 to the top of its segment. A class leader, the Ram boasts refined driving characteristics, an excellent interior, a seemingly endless versatility. While the full-size pickup segment faces changing regulations and consumer tastes, the Ram 1500 goes beyond expectations.
In a world where the latest Nissan Altima can be confused for a Chevrolet Impala, pickup trucks all carry distinctive design elements that make then easily identifiable. The Ram adheres to this principle thoroughly with its sinister yet sleek styling. Canted slightly forward, a truly enormous cross-hair grill dominates the front. The hood sits noticeably high while the rectangular headlights sit on defined front fenders. From the side, the Ram looks aerodynamic without looking soft. The windshield is raked back significantly and the front fenders flow seamlessly into the doors while the curved rear fenders prevent a slab-sided look. The round wheel openings, and lack of many complex creases in the sheet metal make for a simple, yet pleasant design. Moving towards the rear of the truck, the tail lights are positioned vertically in typical pickup truck fashion. Two creases in the tailgate and large chrome badges are nice touches as is the elegant lip spoiler.
Chrysler has noticeably improved their interiors on all vehicles. Gone are the days of flimsy, cheap, and even warped plastics, instead Chrysler vehicles now offer some of the nicest interiors in their respective classes. Soft-touch materials are in all the right places, primarily the areas that are touched the most such as door panels and the center armrest. Hard plastics are used, however they are of a nice texture and will hold up well over time. The cavernous interior allows for copious amounts of leg room and headroom in both the front and back. The tested truck featured the optional cloth front bucket seats which proved to be reasonably comfortable and supportive. A huge center console with many storage areas is very useful, as were the dual gloveboxes. The 60/40 split folding rear seat can be folded upwards and a carpeted platform extended in its place, making for a flat and generously sized load floor. As far as ergonomics are concerned, controls are placed logically, and most are within easy reach. The Uconnect infotainment system worked seamlessly. The large 8.4 inch touch-screen displayed graphics clearly and responded immediately to touch. The controls and menus were easy to understand however physical controls below the screen can be used if preferred. Various goodies including Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth and Sirius XM Satellite Radio are standard on the tested Outdoorsman model while navigation and a slot for SD cards are among the optional equipment.
The tested truck came equipped with the 5.7 liter HEMI V8 rated to produce 395 horsepower and 410 pounds-feet of torque. As with all of the offered engines, the HEMI comes mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The HEMI had power to spare and the eight-speed was commendably smooth even under hard acceleration. A 305 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 serves as the base engine while a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel turbo diesel V6 is optional. While producing only 240 horsepower, the EcoDiesel makes up for the lack of horsepower with an astounding 420 pounds-feet of torque. Plenty of feedback was channeled through the steering wheel and the steering was neither to tight nor too loose. As for handling, the truck does exhibit body roll, especially during aggressive driving, however it felt secure under most situations. For being as big as it is, the Ram was remarkably maneuverable. Visibility; aided by a backup camera, large mirrors, and expansive windows; was good. Although maneuverable, the Ram is still an enormous vehicle and parking can be a chore. With the coil-sprung rear suspension, the Ram rides very smooth and outside noises are extremely well suppressed. A height-adjustable four-corner air suspension is also available. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while a four-wheel drive system is optional. The four-wheel drive system works very well. While driven in loose sand, the truck was able to get traction even without employing the low-range setting.
Fuel Economy and Capacities
The tested Ram 1500 was EPA rated to get 15 mpg in the city, and 21 mpg highway. Compared to a similar Ford F-150, the Ram is more efficient, however a Silverado gets a one mile per gallon better rating than the Ram in both the city and on the highway. A Ram 1500 equipped with the 3.6 liter V6, is rated to get 17 mpg in the city, and 25 mpg on the highway, while the 3.0 liter diesel is rated to get 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. A HEMI powered 1500 not equipped with four-wheel-drive is rated to get 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Fuel economy drops slightly with the selection of four-wheel drive. A Ram 1500 Outdoorsman equipped with the Quad Cab has a payload capacity of 1,580 pounds, and a towing capacity of 10,350 pounds while a 1500 with a crew cab and a 5 foot 7 inch bed has a payload capacity of 1,620 pounds and a towing capacity of 10,300 pounds. A crew cab truck with a 6 foot 4 inch bed is rated to carry 1,560 pounds and tow 10,250 pounds.
The Ram 1500 Outdoorsman comes with a base price tag of $34,585. That price gets you a Quad Cab, 3.6 liter V6, two-wheel drive, and a 6 foot 4 inch bed. As you select options, the trucks price can climb quite steadily as with most pickups. The 1500 Outdoorsman seems to be good value, combining most of the features of the Big Horn trim with a some extras, and a few styling tweaks. Overall, the Ram is a solid vehicle and a great choice for those searching for a full-size pickup. By combining comfort, versatility and strong powertrains, the Ram brings some serious competition to the segment.
“Model Compare.” Compare RAM 1500 Models. Ram Trucks, n.d. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.ramtrucks.com/model-compare/quick-chart/?modelYearCode=CUT201413&&variation=0,2>.
“Model Compare.” Compare RAM 1500 Models. Ram Trucks, n.d. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.ramtrucks.com/model-compare/quick-chart/?modelYearCode=CUT201413&&variation=0,3>.
“Model Compare.” Compare RAM 1500 Models. Ram Trucks, n.d. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.ramtrucks.com/model-compare/quick-chart/?modelYearCode=CUT201413&&variation=0,4>.
“Compare Side-by-Side.” Compare Side-by-Side. n.d. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34537&id=34115&id=33689>.
“Search Results.” Fuel Economy. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2014.