June 21, 2010
The Ram will be leaving us shortly. I had very little time left to replace the stove at my family's cabin north of Lake Tahoe. I reserved the Ram for an extended weekend, went home and packed.
Our cabin was closed for the winter, so it was important that my lady and I left early so we could get there with some daylight left to turn the power back on and flush the plumbing of all the antifreeze. Come early Friday morning we left L.A. for a stopover in Truckee to pick up the new stove.
I love trucks and this has been one of my favorites of all time to drive. I think it looks great, it's super comfortable, it's powerful and is a blast to drive. I felt sentimental as I drove the many hours north to Truckee, knowing that this would be my last trip in the Ram.
I used the Ram to close my family's cabin for winter last season. I used it to move into my house. I used it on a couple of really nice camping trips. I drove thousands and thousands of miles in our Ram and I loved every minute of it. In fact, the Ram would always be my first choice of vehicle in the long-term fleet, over the GT-R, over the Viper, over anything. It has been my favorite long-term vehicle in the last few years.
When I got to Truckee, the guys at the Sears helped me load the stove into the back. I used the integrated box divider to snug the box into the bed and with the adjustable cargo tie-downs I was able to get three ratchet straps around it all. I know these cargo management features are not unique to Dodge, but they're super convenient and efficient.
During the drive up the mountain, the strong engine made it feel as though there was no oven in the cargo bed. The Ram effortlessly powered up the steep grades. We got to my cabin later than I hoped. I unloaded the new stove from the bed, loaded up the old one and took it to the dump 40 miles away.
When I got back, I discovered that a pipe hadn't drained properly so it froze and burst over the winter. A bunch of sediment had gotten into the pipes and blocked the drain line. The primitive plumbing in our cabin made it so I had to shut off the main, making staying for the weekend rather unpleasant. A plumber friend of ours in the area couldn't make it out till Monday. That meant it was a quick turn around for us. The next morning it was back into the truck for a long drive home.
During the nine hour drive back, my lady and I both loved the comfort the Ram offered to us weary travelers. I never got numb butt/things. My back didn't get stiff. The only thing I got tired of was driving. I had been in the truck for almost two days.
When I pulled into the office this morning, I checked Trip B. I put 1,371 miles on it over the weekend. A lot of driving, a lot of dead bugs on the grille, a lot of good memories.
June 04, 2010
Like the title says...
It's got the best ride by a mile. Wait, make that two miles. The motor is great. It's comfortable, etc. If I could get one with a flat black grille and a manual transmission, I'd be a happy man.
Dodge > Chevy > Toyota > Ford > Nissan
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 30,116 miles
June 02, 2010
Here's what 408 pounds of orange Austrian two-wheeled badassery looks like in the back of the Ram. Couldn't even detect its presence. Other than being paranoid about losing it and driving accordingly, there's was no real reduction in the Ram's performance. Over the course of 420 miles, it rode virtually the same and its power was still more than adequate. When it comes to the combination of towing, hauling and ride quality, I haven't experienced a better truck.
But it's hard to eat a pizza on the tailgate with a motorcycle in the bed.
Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor
April 19, 2010
Our Dodge Ram is a seriously nice truck. On top of its beefy towing and hauling towing capacities, it's got a comfortable ride, a huge interior and enough luxury features to rival a Lexus ES350's. Other than fitting into compact parking spaces, you can pretty much do it all with this thing. But it does make me wonder what our Ram will be like in 35 years.
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 20, 2010
Turns out, I'm a truck girl.
This week I drove our 2009 Dodge Ram for four days straight, and not because I needed to haul something,tow something, or smash something to smithereens.
But just because I wanted to.
Sure, it can be a hassle to climb into the cab in heels or a dress, but once you're up there, the cabin is awesome. The view is great, the seat is comfortable, and our Ram has all the ammenities of a luxury sedan.
Plus, should I decide at the last minute that I need to haul, tow or smash something, I'm good to go.
Versatility, thy name is Ram.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 18,667 miles
January 04, 2010
I decided to take advantage of the lull in new house moving/painting/I gotta fix that madness and skip out early Sunday morning to the Mojave. A brief 90 minute drive and there I was, in the middle of Nowheresville. Peaceful.
I spent some time romping the open road and a little time listening for the Chukar and California Quail while hiking the rugged terrain. I probably could have done the trip in my Mazda 3, but it was a whole lot funner in the Ram with it's massive power and clearance.
Before long my mind started to fill with the house check list. I to putty the holes in my walls now so it's dry enough to paint at 8pm, put the trash out for tomorrows pickup....
Back on the road, the Ram's calm demeanor helped me relax and just enjoy the ride. By the time I got back home, everything was fine. I felt calm and relaxed. It was nice to have the ability to briefly get away to a peaceful place, and I was thankful the Ram made it fun.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 17,130 miles
December 01, 2009
I like driving the Dodge Ram. I like barreling along the freeway. I like blocking the sun with its massiveness. But I don't like running errands in the Ram. Duh, right?
But sometimes you have to. I needed to make a post office run this morning. Maneuvering around my sleepy beach community is not easy. Some of the streets are tiny.
Jumping out of the Ram and climbing back into the Ram when you are only 5'4" tall is pretty hilarious. Now that's something I should video.
By the way, the parts are in and we're scheduled to have the Rambox liners fixed on Thursday.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor 15,390 miles
P.S. Check out that sweet yellow Chevelle in the parking lot.
November 24, 2009
A heated steering wheel. I daydreamed about such a wondrousunicorn during my formative years living in thebitingcold of central Massachusetts. Alas, it did not exist in those days.
Fast forward to today and BMWs and such have offered heated steering wheels for years now, but our 2009 Dodge Ram longtermer is the first pickup I've found myself in that had such a feature.
I can hear it already. "No self-respecting truck guy would EVER need such a sissy feature."
I towed about 4000 pounds exactly 1,101 miles over the past few days. Each morningnorth of Sacramentothe ambient temperature was in the high 30s-ish. And I clicked that button on every single time I climbed into the saddle (pardon the dust -- I hadn't yet cleaned the truck).
Ifliking aheated steering wheel in a truck makes me a sissy, then you can call me Ms Spacek.
In fact, I'd argue that heated steering wheels make even more sense in a pickup than in a luxury car. In a luxury car, once you're in, you're in. With the Ram, I would constantly climb into and out of the truck whilemixing short trips with various truck-related activities suchfilling fuel cans, packing equipment into the cab, handling grimy car parts andloading the bed, and then getting out again and unloading all this stuff in multiple steps.
I'd put on my mechanic's gloves for the dirty work but didn't want keep them on while driving because:
a. they'dgank up the steering wheel, and
b. wearing gloves while driving sucks. You lose tactility and gloves of the work variety are kinda slippery on the wheel. It's just plainsafer (and nicer) to drive sans gloves. That is, assuming the wheel is not ice cold or you're not in a racecar.
So, all of this is an elaborate way to say that I freaking love the heated steering wheel in our longterm Ram. Heats up quickly, too. Fifteen seconds and the surface is noticeably warm.
I'll have towing impressions for you ina followup post.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 14,994 miles
November 16, 2009
A handful of friends got together this past weekend to remember Howard Rayon, a good friend who lost his battle with cancer a couple of weeks ago.
Howard was an amazing guy who could not sit still: he was a firefighter who rose to the level of Deputy Chief of the Santee, California fire department, a lawyer who practiced labor law, he sat on the board of his local credit union, he was part of an arson investigationstrike force andhe played a key role on atravelling management team that coordinated the response to large-scale brush fires and other disasters all over the country.
I knew him as an SCCA member whoraced a Formula Veeand worked as a volunteer course marshall at small club events and large professional races alike.That eventually grew into a 9-year stintas atravelling member of the CART/Champ Car/Indy Car safety team, the on-track rescue squad that helped get driverswith names you'd recognize safely out of their wrecked racecars at tracks around the globe.
Borrego Springs was one ofthe quiet places he liked to visit on those rare occasions when heallowed himself somedowntime, so atight-knit groupof his racing friends piled into off-road vehicles and headed for a remote overlook in the Borrego Badlands to watch the sun set and tell Howard stories.
Five of us climbed into the 2009 Dodge Ram truck for the trip. Everyone had plenty of spacein the new Crew Cab andthe RamBox storage compartments proved a handy place to keep the coats and jackets we'd need after sunset dust free. Out back, the RamBox's bed divider kept the all-important cooler and folding chairs from slamming about on the dusty track.
The route wasn't particularly challenging, but the coil spring rear suspension proved its worth once more by providing an admirable combination of good ride and good articulation over the bumps and dips. My passengers did grumble about the lack of roof-mounted grab handles a time or two as we lurched along the rougher sections, however.
November 10, 2009
This past weekend our 2009 Dodge Ram didn't do any heavy lifting. It didn't haul anything, tow anything, or crush anything. Instead it just transported a few girls from shopping malls to outdoor eateries, same as any comfortable sedan.
And none of the women complained about it either. Once loaded up, the ladies seemed mostly impressed with its un-trucklike qualities. The roomy rear seat, the softly padded center console, the contrasting interior stitching, as well as the Ram's nav, Satellite radio and heated seats were all complimented.
But I felt kinda felt bad for the Ram, making it play shopping cart all day. Especially when it'ssoobvious that itcan do so much more.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 12,976 miles
October 28, 2009
For some of us, comfortable accommodation of two Golden Retrievers (medium-sized, extra-goofy) is a primary requirement for any vehicle we're going to take on the road. Happily, our Dodge Ram easily meets that standard. With just a sheet tossed over the back seat and floor to contain the shedding, it had Callie and Tequila sleeping soundly through back-to-back-to-back three-hour, 200-mile stints this weekend.
If it did nothing else, the Ram would already be a winner for me.
But of course, it does a lot more. Its human passengers are just as comfy in front, thanks to well cushioned seats that sit at natural chair height. And the smooth freeway ride helps make a nine-hour trip tolerable. The thing even steers nicely for its size, and corners willingly
I've become a big fan of the Ram boxes in the bed sides, with their ability to accept all the gear you'd rather not leave out in the open, -- a power drill, and some kitchen appliances in this case-- but also don't want fighting the dogs for space in the back seat. Yes, the boxes squeeze bed space a bit, but I don't find that objectionable.
On our northbound leg, we got 15-16 miles per gallon at a sustained 75-ish on I-5. Not at all bad, given the truck's size and mass. Coming back, Mother Nature provided a welcome boost in the form of a persistent and powerful tail wind. A dip in the jet stream put a strong southerly flow over most of the west coast that day, and with a load only slightly lighter, and at the same speed on the same route, we got 18-19 mpg coming home.
We didn't buy extra kibble with the money we saved on gas, but we could have.
Kevin Smith, Editorial Director @ 12,579 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
September 28, 2009
Josh recently posted a picture of our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500's key ringand posed the question: "What's wrong with this picture?"
I am not here to answer that question.
But I can talk about one thing that's right with it: Remote start.
Andremote start isnot just for the Ice Road Truckers among us.
When paired with the remote window roll-down function, it's a great way to get the A/C fired up and help it displace some of thehot air trapped insidebefore you haul your backsideinto a sweltering cab.
August 20, 2009
I'm not sure how to ask this while still maintaining some level of decorum, but here it goes. How do you climb into a tall full-size truck without crunching the business?
If I go one leg in/up, as I would in any othervehicle, thatends with the, er,gents landing first on the edge of the seat. I've tried other forms of ingress using the grab handle to hoist myself upward first, but that alwaysends with some awkward folding procedure between the door, opening,wheel and seat. Maybe there is no easy way of getting into a tall truck.
Because of this, I'm not sure if shorter people would have an easier or harder time climbing aboard the Ram. But I do know that women would find it less, er, crunching.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,906 miles
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
July 14, 2009
We saw a Dodge Ram billboard somewhere in Nebraska (likely next to the corn field) that said, and we paraphrase here: It Swallowed a Luxury Car. It's closer to the truth than your average advertisement.
We've gone on the record saying that Ram's interior is the best within the Chrysler group. Yeah, yeah, there's not much competition. But still. What with the excellent ride quality, nice looking and feeling interior materials and a reasonably quiet deportment, the Ram is luxurious. That's certainly true in our nearly loaded Laramie version. Out on the big wide open, the Ram has a way of shrinking to manageable proportions. It's only when we got off the expressway and tried to squeeze the three-ton bug-killer through tight gas stations and restaurant parking lots that the vehicle's size becomes bothersome.