The Ram 1500 pickup truck is one of Canada’s favourite vehicles. Reflecting this success, its manufacturer offers an impressive variety of versions and equipment that allow you to customize it.
The Ram is unquestionably one of the most popular vehicles in Canada. At the end of the third quarter of the year, it occupied second place on the sales podium alongside the Ford F-Series, another pickup truck that dominates the market by far.
Ram and Ford product fanatics (believe me, there are many of them) are no doubt delighted to know that General Motors’ rivals (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado) were far behind in the rankings: sixth and seventh respectively. However, you only have to combine their sales (after all, they’re twins) to see them beat the Ram by about 2,000 units. That would put GM in second place, while FCA’s pickup would move up to third place.
Regardless of how one looks at these numbers, it is clear that Canadians love these big vehicles. That’s why manufacturers are multiplying their variants and making them more and more sophisticated. For example, the Ram 1500 lineup (half-ton models) includes eight variants: the Tradesman, Big Horn, Sport, Rebel, Laramie, Long Horn, Limited and TRX. Not to mention the special editions and packages that are added over the months.
A host of options and versions
Such diversity signals the importance of customizing these vehicles. That’s why the manufacturer also offers two- and four-wheel drive, a variety of powertrains, four-door Quad Cab (short) and Crew Cab (long), as well as short (1.7 m or 5’7″) and long (1.9 m or 6’4″) bodies. However, FCA does not yet offer 1500 models with two-door cabs. To do so, you have to choose either an entry-level 1500 Classic (the previous generation Ram is still available) or an entry-level version of the Heavy Duty 2500 or 3500 pickup trucks (three-quarter-ton and one-ton models).
Choosing a pickup truck is an art since this diversity also extends to mechanical equipment such as, among others, rear axles (there are three with different axle ratios) and differentials (electronically controlled lockable or self-locking). The manufacturer also offers an air suspension, as well as 98 and 125-litre fuel tanks, which replace the 87-litre fuel tank that these trucks would otherwise have. All in all, like its rivals, the Ram 1500 is one of the vehicles with the most customization possibilities.
The engines are also moving in this direction. Depending on their needs, buyers can opt for a fuel-efficient 3.6L (305 hp) Pentastar eTorque hybrid V6 or a more powerful 5.7L Hemi V8. There are two versions of the same power output (395 hp): a regular internal combustion engine and an eTorque Hybrid that consumes 10% less fuel. A 3.0L V6 turbodiesel is also available as an option.
Capable of delivering 480 lb-ft of torque, it’s not only the most fuel-efficient of the lot, with an average of less than 10 L/100 km, but also one of the two engines, along with the gas V6, that produce the lowest emissions of polluting particles, according to EnerGuide! For the Ram 1500 TRX, rivaling the F-150 Raptor off-roader, FCA offers a 6.2L V8 SRT supercharged engine. With its 702 hp, it makes this the most powerful pickup truck on the market today. Finally, let’s add that all these engines are mated to 8-speed automatic transmissions.
Impressive road handling
We were charmed by the test drive of a Ram 1500 Limited Crew Cab, the high-end version. Despite its six-metre length and its well-calculated two tons, this palace on wheels proved to be as nimble as a mid-size sedan. Of course, there’s some roll in the curves (with a high-perched vehicle, that’s normal), but this behaviour remains predictable. In fact, the standard air suspension (an option for the other versions) was probably a factor.
The linear and lively acceleration of its Hemi V8 (0-100 km/h in about 7 seconds) coupled with the very discreet action of its automatic transmission exceeded our expectations for this vehicle designed for family and even work tasks. With such performance, however, fuel is flowing, as evidenced by the 16.5 L/100 km average recorded by our test vehicle over 4,000 km. On the other hand, a test conducted on some 60 kilometres of highway, driven at a constant legal speed, allowed us to lower this average to 12.5 L/100 km; a rating obtained with only one person on board, an empty cargo box and no trailer tie-down, of course.
The interior of these vehicles is very spacious, even in the back. The Crew Cab provides almost 150 mm (10 in.) of additional rear legroom compared to the Quad Cab. It’s like sitting in a limousine!
Our test vehicle’s 12″ vertical touch screen impressed our passengers with its imposing dimensions. This optional equipment has large buttons that make it easy to use, but it’s not intuitive and requires more attention than traditional rotary switches.
Original and practical multifunction tailgate
Recently, the Ram can be equipped with a multi-function tailgate for an additional fee ($1,095). This original accessory is made up of two asymmetrical sections (60/40) that can be opened separately like doors, making it easier to access the body even when a trailer is docked to the vehicle. Otherwise, this liftgate lowers in one piece, in a damped motion, just like any regular liftgate.
In addition, to facilitate boarding in this crate, which is still about 90 cm (35 inches) off the ground, the buyer can also order a Mopar step powered by a spring mechanism ($571). These two accessories are FCA replicas of similar solutions offered by Ford and GM.
Finally, let’s not forget that the Ram has the exclusive RamBox boxes ($1,295). These enclosed, lockable storage spaces housed in the sides of the body add to the versatility of these pickups and are equally appealing to sports enthusiasts and workers.