Ok, so having the 5.82m Long, 2.02m wide and 1.92m tall RAM truck and ‘small’ the in the same title may seem rather ludicrous, however, it is, in fact, all the small things this big ute does that really make the difference.
Let me begin by getting all the nitty-gritty’s out of the way. Built tough on a tried and tested ladder frame chassis with a double-wall steel cab and coil spring suspension, the RAM dwarfs most other utes on our roads. Under the RAM 1500’s formidable bonnet lies a 5.7L V8 Hemi which offers up a best in class 291kW of power and 556Nm of torque, plus an unmistakeably reassuring V8 rumble. It’ll tow up to 4.5tonnes and has another best in class feature, its 6 foot 5 inch rear tub – big enough for a full-sized pallet and then some (although my Laramie Crew Cab only has a mere 5’7” to play with). The cabin is also best in class when it comes to size, allowing even the heaviest set amongst us, plenty of room to spread out and relax. But like I said before, its size isn’t everything.
About that engine. When the powerful V8 isn’t under load, its VVT (Variable Valve Technology) cleverly shuts off half the pistons to increase fuel efficiency, resulting in 9.9L/100km (on the Laramie 3.21). While behind that impressively huge chrome grille are Active Grille Shutters which open and close to improve the engine’s temperature and overall efficiency – open to cool, close to reduce drag. The big chrome bumper doubles as a mirror and the projector headlights are automatic so as not to trouble you when required.
Entry and start are keyless and it also comes with remote start, a feature that simply NEVER gets old. A double tap on the remote starts the engine and more importantly, has the cabin warm and toasty for when you get inside. The RAM’s wheel to wheel side steps enable people of limited height stature (like me) the ability to climb in without a shove and interior grab handles assist further.
The cabin itself is directly from the 2500 model so no scrimping there at all. My Laramie came with leather everywhere and oodles of space for the five occupants. But again, it’s not just the space that matters.
There’s a button on the steering column that brings the foot pedals closer to you, ideal for me to get closer to the action. Drive selection comes via the turn of a dial on the dashboard and despite the vehicle size, it doesn’t take long to get comfortable with it. The RAM beeps and alerts should get near to anything while parking (and you will) plus the Uconnect infotainment system works as it should on 8.4” touchscreen. There is plenty of phone connectivity but there is also a line of rubber mounts on the front of the centre console that accepts your smart device and allows it to stand up proud rather than lie down. However, should YOU require a little nap, the rear seats lift up and a lie-flat bed appears, you can sleep soundly in this truck watching the stars through the glass sunroof – this RAM has everything.
My time with the RAM 1500 was limited to one week and I used it wisely, mainly for a weekend away in Papamoa for my son’s football tournament. It was spacious enough for me not to worry about my wife’s necessity to overpack and we even had room for the club’s marquee!
The 3 hour/226km drive from Auckland to Papamoa in a RAM with a 5.7L Hemi and a sports exhaust drew a multitude of looks along the way and raised more eyebrows when we got there. Sniggers surrounding fuel consumption and the need to plan the route via petrol stations prevailed. These smiles immediately turning to dropped jaws when informed that we’d only used a quarter of a tank to get there. I kid you not, around 100km/h kept the rev needle at around 1,500rpm – hill or dale, corner or straight, although it happily growled at other traffic when I pushed a little to overtake.
The RAM 1500 is a workhorse and a cruiser. It’s strong enough to haul small planets yet leisurely enough to have your arm on the window ledge while you do it. It’s obscenely large overall but it’s all the small things that make it so easy to get along with.