We'd like to introduce you to the newest member of the Truckin' fleet. This ridiculously well-equipped Ram was delivered with just about every bell and whistle you can get, including some we've barely even used, like the steering wheel heater, and others, like the ventilated front seats, that we never want to live without.
We chose the Ram as our '09 Truck of the Year based on the fact that it was such a clean-sheet redesign of the last generation Ram and it was much improved in several areas. Although our Ram is a 4WD model, the great ride and handling that we appreciated in our 2WD Truck of the Year entry is still there. However, when towing an empty, but still heavy trailer, we did encounter some stretches of highway that gave the rear suspension an annoying bobbing motion. The Hemi V-8 is strong-there's always plenty of power for passing, which we find ourselves doing quite often, as the Ram is quiet and refined to the point that 80 mph seems like a normal cruising speed. We've incriminated ourselves enough for one issue, on to the other aspects of the Ram.
The Rambox wasn't available for testing until now, so this is the first time we've really been able to put them to use. Several admirers of the truck initially think that they take too much room from the interior of the bed, and although the bed does look smaller, the only areas lost are the pockets forward and aft of the wheelwells. There's still four feet of space between the interior bed walls. The compromise is good for two lockable bins that we've used for tow straps and portable air compressors, small pieces of luggage, and as a cooler. Unlike the under floor storage inside the cab, the Rambox has four drain plugs. Just a tip: if you plan on using the compartments as coolers, make sure you either fill them all the way up or use the dividers to keep your ice from sliding back and forth.
We've logged around 3,000 miles on our Ram so far, and everyone who's been inside has been impressed by the comfort and smoothness of the ride. Mileage has been a mixed bag, as short commutes and towing dropped mileage to just under 15-mpg average, while 100-mile freeway trips jump it up considerably. We'll wait until the truck is broken in before we really weigh in on the efficiency. Check back in later issues for more updates on our long-term Ram.
Pros - Luxury interior, luxury ride and plenty of power
Cons - Luxury price, slow nav system compared to competition
2009 Dodge Ram
Price (as tested) $52,205
Engine 5.7L Hemi V-8 with MDS and VVT
Horsepower 390 @ 5,600 rpm SAE
Torque (lb-ft) 407 @ 4,000 rpm SAE
Transmission Five-speed automatic with manual mode
Axle Ratio 3.92
Suspension Independent with coilovers (f), Five-link with coils (r)
Brakes Four-wheel disc, four-wheel ABS, traction control, stability control
Curb Weight 5,700 lbs
GVWR 6,800 lbs
Max Trailer Weight 8,450 lbs
Payload 1,100 lbs
MPG 13/18 (EPA) 14.9 (as tested)