Ram tries to blend form, high function in 1500
Give me a boost, will you?
Climbing into one of these gargantuan pickups can be like hoisting yourself onto the roof of a house — with a similar view once you get up there.
But, hey, I figure big pickups function kind of like NFL linemen — minus the warrior tattoos, jewelry, weird hair and occasional off-season stints in prison.
They need lots of big-bellied bulk to shove around all the heavy loads in an oversized world.
Even so-called light-duty mainstream pickups might need to tow 10,000 pounds of hay or haul 3,000 pounds of greasy tools.
In short, they better be able to lug the single-car garages that once housed them.
With the largest, heavy-duty pickups, you just drop in a growling diesel the size of a Nissan Versa and stand back. Who cares about mileage?
The challenge with slightly smaller “light-duty” trucks is preserving their immense capabilities while easing their voracious appetites for fuel.
As you may recall, the visionaries in Washington expect all vehicles — including trucks — to meet tough federal fuel-economy standards, and pickups are barely halfway there.
So which body parts do we chop off, Dr. Doom — fenders or doors?
Ram is lifting a page from Ford and adding paragraphs of its own, offering a pumped-up base 3.6-liter V-6 and efficient eight-speed automatic in its more refined 2013 truck.
Like Ford, Ram's base engine is a stout, modern six with 305 horsepower and fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 on the highway in two-wheel-drive form. With four-wheel-drive, that drops to 16 and 23.
For now, that is the best economy in the segment with horsepower once found only in V-8s.
Moreover, Ram — formerly Dodge Ram — had enough confidence in its new engine to drop it into the really large SLT crew cab I had recently, along with four-wheel-drive.
Before we get too excited, let me provide a little truth in advertising: The towing capacity in a V-6 Ram is less than 5,000 pounds, half what you get in a Ram Sport with the 395-horsepower Hemi V-8.
Still, my silver SLT felt plenty capable. As with all Rams, everything on the truck felt like it had been built in the Land of Giants — large knobs, handles, levers and pedals.
The truck's signature enormous grille looks better than ever combined with a raised hood and contemporary looking headlamps.
Although the Ram still wears slab sides, they felt masculine and purposeful on this big square, jut-jawed pickup.
While still tall and proud, the new Ram actually punches a cleaner hole than ever through the air. At speed, its air suspension — derived from the Jeep Grand Cherokee — can lower the truck by more than half an inch, and active shutters in the grille close to make the Ram more aerodynamic.
The interior fits and functions well. A big, flat dark-gray dashboard dropped down and around an enormous center stack where the rotary shifter for the eight-speed automatic was mounted. It's a bit odd, but I promise you'll get used to it.
Terry Box is the automotive writer for The Dallas Morning News.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Take steps to make it harder for holiday hackers
- Stocks finish flat before Thanksgiving holiday; energy firms give back some gains
- Union leaders warn Post-Gazette newsroom of possible layoffs
- Covestro leader MacCleary finds stability amid change
- Improving economy challenges retailers seeking to boost ranks for holidays
- Black Friday loosens its hold on the holiday season
- Lenders taking more borrowers to court over student loans
- Gas drillers eyeing Utica shale’s promise
- Retailers, tech stocks push market to strongest week of the year
- Mall stores required to open for Thanksgiving
- Coke had hand in shaping nonprofit health group, emails show