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2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab

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San Francisco: With the 2006 Ram Mega Cab, Dodge now offers the largest pickup truck cab in the world. By slicing 21 inches out of the bed length and adding it to the cab, Dodge has created a vehicle that rivals my first studio apartment in San Francisco. That humble dwelling was made from a one-car garage, so Iím only exaggerating slightly here.

More than a decade ago, Dodge was a distant number three in the high volume, high profit, full-size pickup wars. As soon as they introduced the now signature big rig styling, Dodge truck sales took off. The latest Ram wears the same popular proportions, with an even larger grille and massive, modern headlamp units. The Mega Cabís intimidating size and bulk is probably its biggest selling point.

With the Mega Cab, you can finally carry five or six people and their luggage and a ton of pea gravel at the same time. The front seat armrest doubles as a covered bin capable of carrying your laptop, even if itís a couple of generations old. The bin has two folding dividers if youíre carrying smaller items. Fold up the armrest and youíve got room for a sixth person, but with the wide center console, thereís not much legroom available.

Second row legroom is an unbelievable 44.2 inches, thatís limo territory. Rear passengers not only get a wealth of legroom, they enjoy the first reclining rear seats in a pickup. All thatís missing is helpful flight attendants with some drinks and peanuts. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 configuration and slide forward, so you can create countless combinations of folks and freight.

The cabin is not only spacious, but stylish as well. My Inferno Red Laramie model, the upper of two levels, sported a handsome wood and silver center section in the dash that would rival a Mercedes for presentation, if not materials. The full set of gauges features the sporty white faces favored by Dodge. A nifty power sliding rear window supplies helpful ventilation in case you and your five passengers fog up the windows. 

The Mega Cab comes in 1500, 2500, and 3500 levels, each one more capable of hauling more goods. All are built on Dodgeís heavy-duty platform. It says something about the size of this truck that the base engine is Chryslerís mighty Hemi motor. This 5.7-liter V8, standard on the 1500 and 2500, churns out 345 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque.

If you really want to haul, you need the 5.9-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel, which is an expensive ($5,555) option on the 2500 and standard on the 3500. It generates 325 horsepower, a little less than the Hemi, but delivers an eye-popping 610 lb.-ft. of torque. That pushes the Mega Cabís towing capacity from 7,000 pounds to a maximum of 15,800 pounds.

I have driven a Cummins Diesel a few times, but it always amazes me how when the transmission upshifts, the car digs in and flies along, unlike a conventional engine. The Diesel makes quite a racket, however. One time, when I painstakingly weaved the Mega Cab through the local fast food drive-through, the disembodied voice asked me to turn my engine off so she could hear my order! With the windows closed, however, neither you nor your passengers will be bothered by the clatter.

Diesel tends to deliver better mileage than gasoline, but this house on wheels averaged just 13.7 mpg, including many freeway miles. Itís also a bit disturbing now that diesel fuel costs at least a quarter more a gallon than premium gasoline. But if you truly need and want a do-anything, take-everybody hauler, you wonít mind the penalty.

With its 160.5-inch wheelbase and 247.7 inches of length, the Mega Cab creates parking problems and it sure was a chore backing it out of my driveway. Cruising down the freeway was pleasant, however. The 80-inch-wide truck fills the lane pretty fully, so attentive steering is recommended.

The SLT model gets a load of standard equipment, from air conditioning to an AM/FM/CD with four speakers, keyless entry, and four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel antilock. The Laramie model adds chrome moldings on the sides, dual-zone climate control, a security alarm, an engine immobilizer and audio controls on the steering wheel.

As with all pickups, you can pick from a range of options that will swell the price dramatically. The 1500 Mega Cab SLT starts at $32,760. My test truck had a base price of $39,260, but totaled out at $50,765 with its numerous options. $50,000 for a pickup truck? Yes, but it did have a power sunroof, supplemental side airbags and even a rear seat video system, but thatís still a lot of cash. But you could rent the Mega Cab out as a hotel room or use it as a limo to help make the payments.  By Steve Schaefer   © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: 
 The largest pickup truck cab in the world
 The 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab
Word Count:  
Photo Caption: 
 The 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Mega Cab
Photo Credits:  
Dodge Internet Media
Series #:   2006 - 10

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