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 Bonnevillein 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 theFuel 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.
March 01, 2010
While calculating the monthly fuel economy for Donna's soon-to-be-posted fleet summary, I discovered the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500's trip computerto bea big fat liar. No surprise, as we've never seen our trip meter divided by gallons added calculation agree with vehicle-generated averages, but this one seems farther off than most. I reset the running average before the weekend began and after driving 261.8 miles, I added 18.794 gallons of 89-octane this morning for an average of 13.9 mpg. The trip computer showed 15.4 mpg or about a 10% difference. Just sayin'.
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 21,502 miles
February 08, 2010
You know that pile of old paint cans, solvents, and other accumulated stuff in the garage that you've been ignoring? Well, I got rid of mine this weekend. I was thankful for the Dodge Ram's nifty adjustable bed-divider that kept the cargo from moving around on the way to the disposal site.
I was also grateful for the smooth riding suspension, even with what amounts to an empty bed. I also mangaged to raise the running, average fuel economy (at least according to the onboard computer) from 14.1 mpg to 15.3 over the course of 275 miles.
January 11, 2010
Last Friday, I topped up our longterm 2009 Dodge Ram's tank before towing a car on a two-axleopen trailerto Streets of Willow and back to the LA basin. That part of the trip was 216 miles.
Then I drove 37 miles in city slicker mode (i.e. not towing) before remembering that I wanted to refill right after de-hitching the trailer in order to assess the fuel economy of the towing trip. I also have a knack of forgetting to take photos of the complete rig(which explains photo of city slicker mode above). Oh well.
So this tankrepresents mostly towing, but not 100%. Total fuel economy was 12.6 miles per gallon.
When towing, tow/haul mode was engaged and the trip consisted almost entirely of freeway miles. The weight of the car + trailer is about 4000 pounds. Overall, 12.6 mpg isabout what I expected.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 18,240 miles.
October 21, 2009
It's 6:30 in the AM. I brewed a cup of nasty instant coffee and started packing up my camping gear. I had a big day ahead of me and every minute counts.
Just after the sun rose over the Mojave I jumped on the 395 heading to Tahoe. I volunteered to close my family's summer cabin down for the approaching winter. Thankfully my 370 mile drive north could be tempered with satellite radio.
When I got to my cabin, it was cold and miserable. I rushed through the various steps to winterize the cabin so I could get away from the mix of freezing rain and snow coming down outside. I was done in under two hours and started south to Truckee, the nearest big town with cell reception and gas stations. I drove the hour to get there and called my folks to tell them I was done. As I spoke the words "it's closed," I realized I had left the valve toward the shower head. Bad things could happen, I had to go back...
The clock was not my friend. I made the long drive back to LA, doubling up on some NOS energy drinks and listening to Dodgers blow it in the 9th. The drive was made easier by the fairly large fuel tank (26 gallons), and considering the big engine and bulky truck it's powering, I got a decent 16mpg on the drive back. The ample room inside also made of a comfortable ride.
I normally wouldn't recommend driving 950 miles in one day. But if I ever have to make one of those grueling slogs again, I know that the Ram wouldn't be a bad choice. As long as there a decent number of gas stations along the way.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 11,140 miles
August 07, 2009
We've wasted no time in using our longterm 2009 Dodge Ram pickup as a... well, a pickup. Last night I picked upthis toolbox from craigslist, the three pieces of which tetrised perfectly into the bed in the orientation you see here.
The bed's narrower than standard due to the Rambox option. It wasn't an issue in this case but it's something to be aware of if you need every last cubic centimeter of bed space in your truck... in which case you probably wouldn't get a crew cab anyway, but there it is.
Upon loading the goods, I absently clicked the tailgate latch open and began to let the tailgate drop, assuming it was damped (hey, the Tundra spoiled me). Turns out the Ram's is not. I caught myself (and the tailgate) at the last second. Ah well.
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.
July 16, 2009
It's official: the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 can knock down mountains, even when dragging 6,000 pounds behind it. The run from Denver to Grand Junction is approximately 250 miles and includes among the highest highway passes (Loveland and Vail)in North America.
TheRam pulledmy Plymouth GTX overboth passes at an average speed of 60 mph and could hit 70 whenever Iwanted, even on the steepest inclines. The only reason it didn't average70 is the trailer'smax speed rating of 55 mph. Sixty seems within the margin of error and a few quick blasts to 70 felt completely confident, butI'm not going to maintain that kind of speed on twistyI70 with 6,000 pounds in tow (even if the Ramis ready and willing).
A quick check of the Denver-to-Grand Junctionfuel sheet shows 12.5 mpg on that stretch of the trip. Considering the altitude,tonnage and my average speed, I'll take it.
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief
July 13, 2009
With about 1,300 miles to cover in our new long-term Dodge Ram on the trip from Detroit to Boulder, Colo, we have some alone-time on our hands. Even splitting the drive up into two days (Detroit to Lincoln, Neb. one day and Lincoln to Boulder on the second), there's almost exactly 1,000,000 miles of corn-wrapped straight, flat Interstate 80 to cover each day.
In a decent automobile, which early impressions indicate the Ram certainly is, this is a monstrously boring drive. Like, drum-solo kind of boring. The kind of boring that might inspire a grown man to affix Bugles-brand corn-based snack trumpets to each of his eight fingers, just...you know...to see. We're not saying that we actually did this, but I did.
Anyway, somewhere around Des Moines, with the Ram blasting down the road, we naturally pondered the Kinsey Scale.
July 10, 2009
Here we go again! In a couple of days we'll be pointing the big, shiny snout of our brand-spankin'-new Dodge Ram West and hitting the go pedal. That's right: We're going cross-country with our new truck so that it may spend its days out in sunny Southern California.
Yours truly will handle the first leg from Detroit to Boulder, Colorado. My goal is to maintain at least 15 mpg. Along the way, I anticipate blogging about corn, highways, corn and also corn. Oh, and I might even keep a tally of how many left-lane dawdlers I can intimidate with our angry-red truck.
Once in Boulder, I'll hand the truck off to some guy named Karl Brauer. I'm told I'll recognize him as the guy standing next to a 1970 Plymouth GTX. The plan is to trailer his GTX back to LA, all the while spreading righteous Mopar all across the land.
Should be a good trip and we'll see how much we regret not having ordered up the optional big gas tank. Join us.
See below, a pic of the last time Karl towed the GTX cross-country.
Daniel Pund, Senior Editor Detroit @ 678 miles