Review: Years ago, new pickup trucks had incredibly long life
cycles. Ford, Chevy and Dodge would come up with new designs, and then
let them age for nearly a decade before they made any major changes.
Truck makers don't have that luxury anymore.
Thanks to increased
competition from overseas, including the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra,
trucks have to be redesigned every 3 to 5 years to stay relevant.
Otherwise they risk falling behind, while the rest of the market offers
far better products. It may be an annoyance to the manufacturers, but
trust me; it's a great thing for all truck buyers.
Nowhere is this more
evident than in the new Dodge Ram. Just 16 years ago, the Dodge Ram was
based largely on ancient technology that hadn't changed much since the
1960s and 1970s. If you bought a new Ram, it was basically an old,
ragged truck with some new shiny paint. Today's Ram, though, has come a
long way from its work-truck roots.
For starters, if you
climb inside the all-new Dodge Ram, it's like sitting in a luxury car.
The materials are finely crafted and put together with Lexus-like
precision. It can come with a navigation system, satellite TV for the
back seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a
30-gigabyte hard drive to store music. That's more technology than you
could find in a $100,000 Mercedes just a few short years ago.
It also has a better
ride than any other pickup truck thanks to its new fancy rear
suspension. While all other pickups still use leaf springs in their rear
suspension, which is literally like technology from the Middle Ages, the
Ram is the first full-size truck to come with a multilink coil spring
That may sound like a
lot of techno jargon, but your backside will understand exactly what it
means. The Ram has a far more comfortable, controlled ride than you can
find in most trucks, without that bouncy, jittery feeling you normally
end up with. It definitely still rides like a big, heavy truck, but that
new suspension goes a long way toward making it ride like an expensive
sedan over bumpy roads. And don't worry. It can still do a lot of hard
An available 5.7-liter
Hemi V8 makes 380 horsepower, enough for NASA-caliber acceleration. It
also has a system that automatically shuts off four of the eight
cylinders when coasting, helping it get up to 20 mpg on the highway.
doesn't translate into top towing capacity. The Ram can tow up to 9,100
pounds, which is far more than most people will ever need, but it's also
well short of the new Ford F-150's maximum 11,300 pounds. Hauling
capacity is also dramatically lower than the Ford, at 1,850 pounds
compared to the F-150's 3,030-pound payload limit.
But what the Ram lacks
in towing it makes up for in refinement. This is a stylish truck, thatís
for sure, with a continuation of the Ram's signature big-rig grille.
It's an aggressive front end, with a nose that leans forward as if
trying to intimidate you into giving up your lunch money on the
playground. The back end is sleek and modern, more so than you will find
on most trucks.
It's also thoughtful,
with impressive features like the Ram Box, a watertight storage
compartment built into the rear bed rails, and removable bins in the
floor that can store up to 10 cans of soda with ice.
What was tested?
The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab with a base price of $40,020.
Options on the test truck: Leather seats at $500, preferred package at
$400, 3.92 axle ratio at $375, sunroof at $850, a 32-gallon fuel tank at
$75, uconnect GPS at $945, all season tires at $125, the rear-view
camera at $200, the Ram Box option at $1,895, trailer hitch assembly at
$335 and a rear video entertainment system at $1,695. The final MSRP
Price as tested including the $900 destination fee: $48,315.
Why avoid it? It
can't tow or haul as much as the new Ford F-150.
Why buy it? Its
fancy rear suspension is better than anything else on the market, and
the quality of its upscale interior rivals that of Japanese luxury cars.
The redesigned 2009 Dodge Ram has a modern rear suspension and refined
interior that beat all its rivals.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Overall, it's a fantastic truck. It has all the style, power, technology
and refinement to match the best trucks in the world. If this is what
competition brings, then I say we need more of it.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Dodge Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Dodge Home Page
Column Name: The New
Ram brings sophistication and style to Pickups
Topic: The 2009 Dodge
Word Count: 849
Photo Caption: The
2009 Dodge Ram 1500
Photo Credits: Dodge
Ram Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 30
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2009 Dodge Ram 1500
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2009 Dodge Ram 1500