Ram Trucks has pulled its biggest punch in America’s pickup wars, unveiling its new 1500 at the same time as cross-town rival Chevrolet pulled the sheet of its Silverado 1500.
Ram is aiming for ‘segment best’ status with its new ute, with claims including most aerodynamic, largest infotainment screen, and most powerful audio system in the full-size pickup segment to go with existing highest fifth wheel towing capacity and best durability titles.
An all-new ladder chassis underpins the new range, with 98 percent high strength steel construction. The body and tub also benefit from the use of high strength steel and aluminium, for an overall weight loss of 102 kilograms.
Fuel efficiency is also enhanced by the introduction of eTorque, Ram’s version of a 48 volt mild hybrid system which allows start/stop technology, brake energy recuperation and torque assist on both the 3.6 litre V6 and 5.7 litre V8 engines.
V6 models are now rated at 227kW and 364Nm, 122Nm of which comes from the eTorque assist system, while the V8 is rated at 295kW and 556Nm with 176Nm contributed by the mild hybrid eTorque system. Both engine are mated to an eight-speed automatic.
Inside the Ram 1500 introduces a new optional 12-inch configurable touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, or a standard 8.4-inch system. A choice of four audio systems is also available with a top-shelf 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system topping the range.
Other tech-savvy features include up to five USB ports within the cabin, and available wireless charging. Active noise cancellation, standard push-button start, and an electronic park brake have also been added to the available features list.
Inside the Ram provides yet another class-leading figure with over 151-litres of interior storage, almost double that of competitors, with 12 different ways to configure the centre console, a wireless charge pad large enough to hold a small tablet computer, laptop storage, and multiple cupholders though out the cabin. The gear selector knob has been moved to beside the driver’s knee to accommodate both the plus-sized touchscreen, and the additional storage.
The Ram 1500 also becomes the first pickup truck to introduce slide and recline rear seats, and is the only truck in its class with standard ‘RamBin’ storage compartments located in the sides of the style side tub. Ram also claims the 1500 has largest cabin in its class.
On the safety front adaptive cruise control, adaptive LED lighting, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning with steering assist, and a surround view camera are all available on the new model.
At the North American Internation Auto Show Ram showed the distinctly different high-spec Limited, Laramie, and off road-ready Rebel trim packages, but will have a full range of trim levels available, from basic workhorses up to fully-loaded luxury liners.
While all of this is good news for North American buyers where pickups continue to sell in record numbers, the outlook for Australia is less clear, with no confirmation of factory right-hand drive, although Ram’s parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is believed to be looking closely at opportunities to introduce the new-generation 1500, though in the near term supply may once again fall to right-hand drive conversion specialists.