2009 Dodge Ram 1500: Child of the Corn OR Manly Man
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.
Make the jump for an explanation and a photo of possibly the saddest Ford Pinto ever.
Kinsey reckoned that folks' sexual orientation could be anywhere along a spectrum, with totally homosexual to completely straight or somewhere in between. He even came up with a handy 1-to-6 scale. I reckon there's a similar situation going on with pickup trucks. The difference is car companies and their designers invariably try to push their pickups as far to the "macho" side of the Pickupsey Scale and as far from the "wimpy" as humanly possible.If a Ram is a 5, then a Subaru Baja is a 1.
The Ram scores here. It is big. It's tall. It's muscular. It's got shoulders. It's got slightly angry eyes. At idle it sounds like a offshore race boat. So there we are, truckin' along, confident in the fact that we had easily the most manly steed on the road. If they're paying attention at all, people dawdling in left lane get quickly out of the way when they see the Ram a comin'.
But wait, what is this? There appears to be something massive closing in on the Ram's tailgate. We take a good look in the rear-view and, damn, I've been out macho-ed. There's a Ford Super Duty playing our game. And it has that GRILLE -- a veritable chrome Parthenon. It's side mirrors, extended out on beefy dual struts could provide shelter for a small family. I ease over, beaten. As he (was there a chance it wasn't a male driver?) powers past. His girlfriend/wife/life-companion has her bare feet hanging out the passenger window. Now, how are we going to compete with that?
Luckily, we pulled into the next rest stop to find the "pickup" pictured below. We laughed a big belly laugh. Also, does a Ford Pinto really need a couple jugs of gasoline cantilevered off its butt? Just asking.
It occurs to me that the Ram strikes a nice balance in this regard. It looks capable without looking too much like a cartoon body-builder.
Other items of interest:
The Ram's interior is uncommonly nice for a pickup. Our only major issue with it was the mushy seats. The butt-ache began after only about 150 miles. It was a long day, for our butt.
There's a change receptacle above the navigation system screen that's covered in rubberized plastic that provided the perfect place to stabilize our hand by grabbing the ridge with our fingers. This allowed our thumb to accurately operate the touch screen menus. It's the little things.
We averaged 16.8 mpg for the day. That's better than we thought we would do. But this still-green motor we couldn't match the EPA's 18 mpg highway estimate.
--Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit