2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Desert shuttle
August 05, 2009
Our new Ram long-term truck pulled yeoman's duty yesterday, hauling a pair of dirtbikes out into the Mojave and back. It was my first bit of time in the new Ram and I was seriously impressed. Our Laramie spec crew-cab feels more like a luxury car, as the coil-sprung rear axle makes a notable difference in ride quality.
We used the time travelling out and back to the desert to make some hands-free calls on the Uconnect system, which worked without a hitch and has a usable volume range and excellent sound quality. The Hemi V8 hauled us effortlessly over the 4000-plus foot El Cajon pass, and sounds muffled but sweet while doing so. The cabin is hushed, and the adjustable shoulder belt is appreciated with the comfy and adjustable power seats.
The Ram box option does narrow the load bed (about 16 inches), so if you're looking for pure volume out back, you might want to skip that option. The boxes are also not very deep in their centers (because of the intruding wheel well), so anything bigger than a large power-tool may not fit, though longer, low-profile items such as levels will drop in no problem. The added width of the boxes also makes it tough to reach into the bed (especially with the added height of the 4x4 model), a common complaint with the F150 and its tall sides.
On the up side, the Ram Boxes are convenient with a locking, push-button latch that makes access from next to the truck a snap. The tops are also wide enough and covered with a grippy (when dry) plastic cover that allows you to easily stand on the bedside (great for loading bikes).
They also serve as near perfect benches, letting you call pickup-bed meetings if you're in a pinch for conference space. And though you give up some width, the combined volume of the two Ram boxes makes for great storage of smaller items that you might normally need to leave in the cab, or place in an aftermarket box that would shorten the bed length.
Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 4,270 miles