Last year, our Truck of the Year competition was a close one, and the outcome provoked an outcry among our Mopar readership as to why we chose the '04 Ford F-150 over the '04 Dodge Ram SRT-10 for our winner. To us, the decision was hard, but the answer was simple: the Ford F-150 had a bigger aftermarket following, more versatility, and more potential for customization, while the SRT-10 was a purpose-built hot rod that came so modified from the factory that it left little for the buyer to do. Both trucks were exceptional, but we felt the F-150 would appeal to a broader audience.
So, here we are for Round Two, and Dodge has added a Quad Cab model to the Ram SRT-10 lineup that addresses all of the complaints we could ever make about versatility. With very little difference from the regular cab model, the SRT-10 Quad Cab gains a bigger cabin and the 48RE four-speed automatic, adapted from the diesel, but retains a performance suspension, world-class brakes, upgraded interior with red start button, and bold styling. Of course, power comes courtesy of the very same 8.3L monster V-10 that can be found in the Viper, putting out the same 500 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque.
Not only can the SRT-10 Quad Cab haul as many as six people to the grocery store swiftly, it can also tow as much as 7,500 pounds, which means you can load up the trailer with your Viper, maybe both of your SRT-4 Neons, or your SRT-10 regular cab and take them to the track. Or, if you don't have any toys to tow, the Quad Cab will definitely hold its own at the track. However, if you are like us and have been spoiled on the engaging and responsive nature of the regular cab, you might feel a bit jaded and think the automatic and extra weight in the Quad Cab has dampened some of the fun, domesticating its wild personality. While it's true the SRT-10 Quad Cab is as docile as a puppy around town, it only takes one mash of the mighty go pedal to quickly dismiss from your mind of any of those blasphemous thoughts. And, hey, the Chevy Silverado SS, Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson, and Ford SVT Lightning all come with automatics and have at least a 120 horsepower disadvantage when compared to the SRT-10. As they say, at 9.7 mpg, the only thing it can't pass is a gas station, and a six-speed regular cab SRT-10.
Another change made to the '05 Ram SRT-10 is the switch to 4.56 gears for quicker off-the-line performance, though with this change from 4.10s, the rpm was lifted just enough that the old exhaust system wouldn't meet the EPA's noise testing standards. So, all '05 models have a resonator to cut down noise, but, unfortunately, this also cuts down on the magnificent mechanical symphony that we reported on last year. Fortunately for you, the guys in Dodge's SRT group are true gearheads and have designed the new exhaust to be directly replaced by the old exhaust, if you are so inclined.
Other than sitting at standard ride height, the Quad Cab's suspension is similar to the regular cab with fully tuned Bilstein monotube shocks, performance springs, and modified steering in the front. Out back, the Quad Cab retains the leaf springs, Bilsteins, axle snubbers, and the power dampener system to reduce axle hop. SRT-10s also get a new braking system for 2005, which use a three-channel ABS system and unique four-puck opposed-piston calipers seizing humongous 15-inch rotors in the front and 14-inch rotors in the rear.
Even on the massive 305/40Y22 Pirellis, the highway ride of the SRT-10 Quad Cab is acceptable, and due to its longer 140-inch wheelbase, handling is a little more forgiving while you are flirting with the limit on the off-ramp on your way home from work. And, did we mention how easy it is to do burnouts? Oh, yes, another benefit of the automatic transmission. As if you needed any help from a nice smoky burnout to draw droves of people to the "Viper Truck." Trust us, if you are driving the Ram SRT-10, you will be getting plenty of attention - some of it wanted.
So with an emerging aftermarket, enough versatility to be called a daily driver, and just about the most fun you can have in something that weighs around 3 tons, we think the Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab is worth every bit of its $50,000 asking price, especially since it will top 150 mph and provide endless grins. The World's Fastest Production Truck is now also the 2005 Truckin' Truck of the Year.
From The Logbook:
The automatic Quad Cab is a tamer animal than the regular cab, but this transmission has good feel and firm, solid shift points.
* Senior Tech Editor Bob Ryder
This is the perfect family hot rod hauler. It is fun to drive through the twisties, and you can rely on the brakes to bring the Viper power to a halt.
* Feature Editor Travis Noack
After reveling in the original SRT-10, I found myself reaching for the Hurst shifter and wondering why there was a seat behind me.
* Associate Editor Dan Ward
This has to be the baddest tow vehicle around.
* Associate Editor Sean P. Holman