June 24, 2010
No lumber. No towing. No hard hat job sites. Just bicycles and fruit.
A couple of weekends ago a put our long-term 2009 Dodge Ram though the Suburbanites Truck Test.
The rigorous battery of tests included:
1) Haul the wife and kids around like any other car, SUV or minivan.
2) Haul the family and their bikes to the beach for a leisurely afternoon ride.
3) Haul us down to Irvine (60 freeway miles or so one way) tothe pick your own strawberries farm. (And no I didn't do donuts in the farm's dirt parking lot. Okay, so I did.)
By Sunday night I concluded that the coil sprung Ram is my favorite of the full-size truck choices. It's perfect for my city boy needs. Itsride and comfort levels are exemplary and its interior appointments are without a doubt class leading.
Still, not so sure I would get the Ram Box.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
June 11, 2010
So which coolant temp gauge do you prefer, an analog dial with no numbers or a digital thingamabob with numbers? Seems like the guys at Mom Mopar couldn't decide so they gave the Ram one of each.
Me? I want an analog deal with numbers.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
June 01, 2010
...A place to comfortably hold your pizza box, that is.
The Ram's center console and shifter couldn't be better suited to this job.
Yes, we were parked. Relax.
Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor
May 17, 2010
Sure, it's a little dirty today, but the Ram's interior is wearing well given its mileage. At more than 28,000 miles it's driver's seat bolster shows no wear. Because of the Ram's height I drag my backside over this bolster every time I get it or out. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Other areas are doing well, too.
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.
March 31, 2010
Our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 has been in the fleet forjust undernine months. This morning, on my way into work, it passed the 25,000 mile mark on a non-descript surface street in Gardena, California. No spectators at all witnessed this historic event.
While taking the above photo with my crummy point-and-shoot in poor light, I was reminded how nicely laid-out and clearly marked the Ram's gauges really are. And there a lot of them, too.
In addition to thesix dials you see here, the central display can be toggled with steering-mounted buttons to show engine hours, transmission temperature, oil temperature and a couple of others that are of particular interest to heavy-duty users and those who tow trailers. In fact the transmission temperature readout will be particularly useful when I tow my Miata up to Montereya couple of Saturdays from now.
Incidentally, 669 engine hours over 25,000 miles works out to a lifetime average speed of 37.4 mph, including idle time. Don't know what that means, but it would be interesting to compare to, say, a Porsche 911 GT3 if it had an hour meter.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 25,016 miles
March 09, 2010
Okay, I'm sold on our long-term 2009 Dodge Ram as a track support vehicle. I've used it a few times in this capacity, and each time it excels. This past weekend saw it serving tow and track supportduty from Los Angeles to Sonoma, home of Infineon Raceway. That track, by the way, is completely awesome. But I digress.
First, the Rambox. It's nearly as long as a Miata is wide, judging by the way it swallows an entire spare Miata steering rack complete with tie rod ends. Holds spare dampers, tiedown straps, tools... basically it's a great place for all the grimy stuff you don't want in the cabin but still want locked away. Knowing of the Rambox's fragility, though, I'm extra careful about what I put in there, and make sure pointy stuff is protected.
The Rambox does force you to be smart about packing the bed, but it'll hold everything I need --seven spare tires, a fueling rig, jerrycans, spare rusty suspension parts,a big plastic box full of important stuff that I never realize I actually have with me when the need arises, various and sundry other bits.
Flip-up rear seats are fantastic. Yeah, other trucks have them, too. I'm glad for that. Great feature.
Ridiculously tight turning circle. I mean really impressive.
Huge cabin. Lots of cargo capacity.
Hit the jump to see a list of a few items I wish the Ram had:
1. Stronger detents in the rear doors. They're weaksauce. If you open the doors all the way, the lightest breeze or a finger tap will close them, whacking you in your tookus. Heck, even the simple act of opening them briskly has them bouncing closed again. Very annoying.
2. A tailgate damper. I'm in a hurry at the track. I want to click the tailgate handle as I walk by without breaking stride sothat I can fetch the crap that needs to go in the bed. Yeah, it's only a few seconds to ease it down. But other trucks have damped tailgates; why can't the Ram?
3. An analog clock in the cabin. When the truck's switched off, there's no way to know how much of a hurry I need to be in while I'm rounding up items in the cabin. Can't wear a watch at the track; it'd get destroyed and/or risk breaking my wrist. And my arms are full of stuff, so no reaching into my pocket for the ol' cellphone watch.
Minor stuff. Great truck.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
February 04, 2010
Last night on my ride home, our Dodge Ram passed 20,000 miles.
And it does all this with a pretty spiffy interior that includes heated seats and a glorious heated steering wheel.
We like it. What about you?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
January 28, 2010
I don't know why I've never used this feature before. You know how I'm always going on about heated seats. Well, our Dodge Ram has a heated steering wheel. This is nothing new, I know. I've just never tried it before. I thought it was kind of silly in Southern California, the way some of you think we're silly for using seat heaters so often.
It's sooo nice. It gets really warm but not too warm. So cozy. Oh no, I'm at work already? But I don't want to let go. I think I'll drive around the block. Tee hee.
Now all I need is a heated cupholder for my coffee.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
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 14, 2010
You might remember the Megacab. It was Dodge's attempt to out-crewcab Chevrolet and Ford and it was a marketing failure.
It was huge in a way that wasn't necessary. It made the exterior of the Ram look out of proportion and the benefits inside seemed minimal. It didn't last very long.
The latest version of the Dodge Ram has a more traditional crew cab and as you can see, there is more than enough passenger room. Cargo room is pretty solid too if you fold up the seat bottoms.
Sure, instances will come up when a little extra room in back would help. But having a 10-liter diesel up front might help every once in a while too and Dodge hasn't bothered making that an option. Yet.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line
January 13, 2010
Among the many things I like about the Dodge Ram, here are two interior features that I appreciate.
When listening to Sirius radio, I like when I get full information on the music. For example, in the picture above, I can see the name of the show, the year it was produced, the song title and artist. All important stuff when listening to B'way showtunes. With the many show revivals, I like to know who is singing and in what year. Not all vehicles provide complete information. Some just show the name of the song or the show. I want it all.
I also like the small shelf that sits above the screen. It looks nice and is convenient for little things like coins or a pen.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 18,280 miles
January 05, 2010
During the several long drives my lady and I took around the Southland and up to San Francisco in the last two weeks in our long term Ram, I was so very thankful for extendable visors.
It may seem like a little thing, but with a large amount of glass comes a big exposure to glare. That annoying kind of glare you get while driving for hours and hours, burning your retinas and making your drive miserable. Being able to cover that windshield corner and the bit near the B pillar are major aggravating relievers.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 17,181 miles
December 02, 2009
You asked about the interior of the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. It's holding up just fine, thank you.
There's some stubborn dog hair in the back that doesn't want to be vacuumed up. But other than that, so far, so good.
Did we ever show you how easy it is to stow the rear seats? No buttons, straps or special instructions. Just lift it with your hand and push it back down.
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
November 02, 2009
Yesterday, I decided to tackle changing the clock in our long-term Dodge Ram. It was a pleasantly quick and easy process. No RTFMing needed.
I just tapped the clock display on the radio's main screen and up popped the screen pictured above left. Tapped the "daylight savings" virtual button once and it moved the clock to standard time just like that (above right). I hit the "save" button, and was done with it.
Did you change your car's clock yet? Was it easy?
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 12,774 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 20, 2009
I went for an extended romp in the Mojave over this past weekend. After spending quite a bit of time in the harsh climate, you get dried out.
At about 1am, I woke up plenty thirsty even though I had been putting down the water all day. I stumbled out of my tent and out to the truck to grab a something to drink. I was pretty sure I'd have to hunt for the water in the moonless night, but to my surprise, the thing light up when I popped the hatch! It was like Vincent Vega opening the case in Pulp Fiction.
September 22, 2009
Our long-term Dodge Ram Laramie has a stitched dash top. It looks fantastic and lends some high-class flair to a type of vehicle not known for such frivolity and to a brand that's, well, Dodge. Of course, this isn't a real stitched dash. The stitches are real, but they aren't keeping two pieces of leather (or pleather) together. That's OK, it still looks nice.
I bring this up because it's a growing fad in the industry. To my best recollection, the first mainstream car in recent memory to have a stitched dash top was the Cadillac CTS. I always thought the stitchingwas a big reason for that car'sperceived high-quality look and feel. Our long-term 750i also has the stitching and it too looks great -- ditto our long-term Genesis, which actually puts some of those stitches through real leather. The list is growing by the day it would seem, as the Lincoln MKT also has stitching
My question is when does this design element jump the shark?I don't think including it in a high-lux pickup like the Ram sullies the effect in a $90,000 BMW, but what happens if they throw blatantly fake stitching ina future Nissan Sentra or Kia Rio? Perhapsfake stitching that looks like this?Will it become like all that ridiculously fake wood trim they decided to stuff into every car about eight years ago and some companies still insist upon? Indeed, look around and you'll notice that more and more brands are switching tometal trims, darker woods or different materials altogether to spruce upinteriors.
Then again, wood is still around (just look at the Ram)and probably will always be around. Is dash stitching like that or will it be like digital instruments? I guess only time will tell. For now at least, I like it.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 7,724
September 18, 2009
I like most things about the Ram's cabin. It's spacious and comfy, and it looks great, too. But I just don't get the shifter.
First of all, there's the size -- sure, a big truck deserves a big shifter, but the Ram's is too big for most hands to comfortably grip. And there are these chrome things that look like buttons on either end, but they're not buttons -- their only purpose seems to be making the shift knob feel even more awkward in your hand. Also, the shifter feels hollow and flimsy -- it lacks the weightiness you'd expect from a shifter in such a hefty truck.
Anyway... not a deal-breaker by any means. How do you feel about the shifter in your ride?
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
September 11, 2009
In celebration of the fourth day of Fourth Grade, I drove my daughter to school in our long-term 2009 Dodge Ram pickup.
"It's fun up here," she said. "I like to look down at all the little people."
At which point I tried to point out the safety benefits of a large vehicle witha high seating position and wide visibility, even introduced the phrase, "commanding view of the road."
"Look at the little VW Beetle," she replied. "It's soooo cute from up here."
She won. Again.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 6,880 miles
September 01, 2009
The more time I spend in the Ram the more I like it. It's got the refinement and on-road solitude of the F-150 with the grunt of the Tundra and Silverado. Two things I've noticed may bother future owners. It's often tough to find a position for the fuel filler nozzle that lets the pump fill the tank while unattended. I may have just been having bad luck with swift filling pumps (this shot here at a slow filling Mobil pump did not make the nozzle constantly click off during the fill -- a first for me), but when you've 20-plus gallons to pump, being able to leave the nozzle unattended is pretty convenient.
And about that chrome trim.
August 18, 2009
This past weekend we used the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 to tow a Miata racecar up to Buttonwillow for the 24 Hours of Lemons Buttonwillow Histrionics. I'll leave it to JayKav to go over how the towing went. I just wanted to express my appreciation for the truck's rear tinted windows and ample room in the second row.
Ya see, our team's theme was Molly Maid, meaning we had to dress up like French maids complete with feather dusters. And thanks to the roomy second row and tinted windows, I was able to use the truck as a dressing room. And this was even though the second row was filled with racing helmets, driving suits and groceries. This saved me from having to walk the length of the paddock in costume since our teammate's parents' air-conditioned motorhome was located clear on the other side of the paddock. Thank you, Dodge Ram!!!
The truck also served as a handy locker that protected our valuables. Apparently there were some thefts during the race. So every time we all left our pit to go watch the race, we threw everything we didn't want to be stolen into the rear seat where the tinted windows protected them from prying eyes. Made us feel secure and able to focus on more important things...like racing!
BTW, this morning when I was gassing up the truck, this lil ol' man waddled up to me after having just finished washing his windows and asked me if I was from Detroit. He rapped his knuckles on the truck, referring to its Michigan plates. "I'm not but the truck is," I replied. "I'm from Detroit and I used to work at Dodge Corporation," he beamed proudly. "Wow!" was all I could think to say since that was the response he seemed to want. We both smiled at each other and then parted ways. "Dodge Corporation"?
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 5,844 miles
August 05, 2009
Our long-term Ram has 2 convenient cupholders in the center console. But it also has 2 cupholders (actually bottle holders unless you want some major spillage) in each door that are below the seat.
You can reach down to grab the bottle, but it's very inconvenient. And if you try to pull the bottle up from there, you may do a deep bend that will take your eyes off the road and might put a hurt on your arm & hand because of the tight clearance. Weird.
I suppose you could keep the drink in there until you stop for your picnic.
Albert Austria, Senior Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 4,300 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.
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.