2009 Dodge Ram 1500: 2505 Miles, 2 Mountain Passes, 6000-lbs, 11.7 mpg
July 20, 2009
Maybe it was somthing in the pure Rocky Mountain spring water, but somewhere between Detroit andLos Angelesour long-term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 managed to multiply. What left Motor City and a single Mopar arrivedon the West Coastwith anotherin tow.
A demanding trip considering the two mountain passes and triple-digit temps in-between, but the Ram shrugged it off, covering the 2,505 miles without incident and averaging a not-terrible11.7 mpg.
Unladenacross flat and (relatively cool) Middle America the Dodge'swasrunning at12.8 mpg while traveling at...er, "healthy" speeds according to Mr. Pund. Adding the 6,000-pound trailer, then scaling the Rockies and barreling through 100-plus desert heat(including a blast-furnace-like headwind) dropped fuel efficiency to 10.5 mpg between Denver and LA.
The Ram actually gotthirstier after crossing the mountain passes. Not sure how much of this was the heat, headwind or perhaps a slightly higher average speed as I got more comfortable with the idea of keeping those three tons in check. The Dodge genuinely felt unfazed in terms of acceleration, braking and handling,which only madeit harder to maintain the proscribed 55-60 mph. Several times I glanced at the speedo and saw a figure considerably higher. Whoops!
Beyond the Ram's power and poise it's worth noting the level of comfort provided throughout this journey. For instance, the dual-zone climate control kept the large cabin cool, even when the exterior tempwas reading108 degrees. And despite it's somewhat brick-wall profile wind noise was never an issue, either while listeing to the audio system or utilizing the Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls.
If there's a chink in the Ram's hearty armor it comes in the form of limited travel range. As Dan indicated in an earlier post, the small gas tank (roughly 23 gallons) means fuel stops come approximately once every 250 miles. Dan managed 327 on one tank, but with the trailer attached the best I could do was 248 miles (at which pointthe distance-to-empty display was showing a disturbing "16 miles"before I foundthis Sinclair station 20 milesnorth of Vegas).
A "Dealer Service" message also showed up in the driver's information display at 2,600 miles. It isrequesting an oil change, which seems early in today's world of 15,000-mile changesbut maybe the oil sensor could discern the heavy-duty use the truck was seeing.
It will be interesting to see how the Dodge fares as a SoCal runabout in the coming weeks, though you can be certain it willexperience towing and hauling duty again. Plus Ipersonally intend to try out the "RamBox-as-ice-chest" concept put forth by Dodge. I love that idea.
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 3,180 miles