The overhauled Ram should turn more than a few heads with its class leading 25 mpg highway mileage number, re-styled exterior and significantly upgraded interiors. All told, there are 29 different versions of the Ram 1500 varying between the Ram's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 mated to six- or eight-speed automatic transmissions.
The Ram pickup is the bread and butter for Chrysler Group as its top-selling vehicle and third-best selling pickup in America. This year, Ram sales are up 23 percent and the redesigned model should help Ram capture even more sales down the road.
Offering refined ride, improved capabilities and an interior as nice as a English study, the new Ram sets a number of firsts for the full-size pickup market. The specialized HFE Ram 1500, which stands for High Fuel Economy, hits the 25 mpg highway mark, a first for any full-size pickup from any truckmaker.
More importantly, Ram leverages its highly successful 3.6-liter V6 into its pickup fleet commonizing the engine through out the Ram, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep lineup. Producing more than 300 horsepower, the Pentastar provide plenty of power while also hitting up to 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
Top pickup producer Ford Motor Co. has already proven that consumers have an appetite for V6 fullsize trucks. More than half of its F150s sold have been either Ford's naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 or its twin turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
But Ram did not stop with just powertrain upgrades. Nearly every piece of sheet metal was touched inside and out. Furthermore, the Ram will offer an optional start/stop system that increases mileage by 1 mpg per gallon.
The system, commonly found on gas-electric hybrids, turns off the engine when its not being used and restarts the truck the moment the driver touches the accelerator.
One of the biggest improvements on the Ram is its optional air suspension. Since the Ram uses a coil spring rear suspension, it was less difficult to add the smooth riding air suspension, which provides five height levels. At normal ride levels, the Ram has 8.7 inches of clearance. But if the driver selects "aero" mode, the body lowers .6 inches to slip through the air better. Off road mode raises the Ram an additional 1.2 inches for additional clearance; Off road 2 mode raises the truck an additional .8 inches for even more clearance. Parking mode lowers the Ram 2 inches from the normal ride height in order to make it easier to get in and out of the vehicle.
Teeming with technology, the Ram will certainly make some waves. But as previous pickup makers have learned, it remains difficult to sway loyal pickup owners from one brand to another. How much the Ram can gain new customers is difficult to determine. But Ram shouldn't worry too much about losing current owners.
Their next pickup will be the best Ram they've ever bought.