2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Better Than a Gas Station Burrito
April 15, 2010
If you're really cool, you'll remember that Senior Video Specialist (I'm only going to type that out once) John Adolph and I took our last long-term Dodge to Bonneville in search of quiche, that as Editor in Chief Scott Oldham put it, was "to die for!"
This time, John Adolph, video mercenary Charlie Barkhorn and I loaded into another Dodge and headed to Vegas to cover the Fuel Sipper Smackdown. Now in its third installment, The Smackdown took the usual route from San Bernardino to Las Vegas, by way of Death Valley. Far from the leisurely trip you think it was, we spent more time in the Ram then we did anywhere else, including the buffet, and dumped over 850 miles onto this thing in two days.
Observations? Oh yeah, we got 'em.
Dodge, Fiat, whomever, it's time to get a new system. While it's nice enough to look at, not being able to enter a new destination while moving almost caused us to punch this thing back into the dash. I can understand being concerned about the driver being distracted, but if you have a sensor telling you there's a passenger in the passenger's seat (and that said passenger is wearing their seatbelt) you might want to forward that information along to unlock the nav system. Changes in destination necessitated pulling over, putting the Ram in park and then fumbling through the stupid menus only to find that the system wasn't up to date enough for more than a few parts of Las Vegas. Don't let it happen again.
Also, like our Caravan, the nav calculates the time remaining on some unknown average speed that is not reflected by the posted speed limits. Check out the picture below to see what I mean.
Oh yeah. It's got one. Getting to 120 mph is not only easy, it's actually pretty fun. We were all unprofessional drivers on a closed course, too.
Well, it's a truck. Needless to say, it held a lot of stuff. Coolers and hard cases rode out back with the bed divider keeping everything nicely pinned to the front of the bed. Soft gear, electronics (stuff we didn't want baking in the sun) rode in the cab in the backseat. Tripods? The three of them all fit in one RamBox. That is awesome. Granted, we could have put them in the cab with us, but having all been hit by one twenty-pound tripod before, none of us liked the idea of getting hit by three. The center console earned its keep too. There was room for radios, phones, an iPod (no one here has a Zune, sorry) beef jerky, chargers, sunglasses and even a bottle of Perrier. The upper storage bin easily held the aptly named sixteen-ounce gas station burrito, seen below. The same could not be said for my colon.
Since we were witness to a fuel economy test, we decided to play along and keep records of our trip as well. While not as scientific as the testing team (we're artists, people) we did manage to record our mileage and stopped at the same gas stations as the testing team along their route. Our results? We averaged 14.02 miles per gallon over 850 miles with a low of 11.85 mpg and a high of 16.30 mpg. Consider the driving we did, which included a wicked headwind on the way home, that's nothing to be ashamed of.
While in Vegas, we did have time for one side trip. While Ron Montoya was trying not to get arrested, we stopped by the Shelby American factoryto have a look at their collection of Cobras, various Mustangs, a GT40 and even a Dodge Omni GLH. There's also a gift shop, because nothing says sorry for having gambled away the 401k to the Mrs. like a pair of authorized Carroll Shelby socks. If you're in the area, and you've run out of money, check it out. Admission is free.
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 25,260 miles