2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Should We Lose the Step Bars?
June 26, 2014
The soundtrack to this 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel update is the song "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" by The Clash. That's what it comes down to really. Should those massive chrome side step bars stay or should they go?
You know how it is. You want to buy a vehicle but you're unwilling to encumber yourself with the six to eight-week wait that comes with having one built to order. So you buy off the lot (or off a nearby lot via a dealer trade) and wind up something close to what you wanted, but not an exact match.
That's how we ended up with these $600 chrome step bars. We didn't go looking for them, but EcoDiesel Ram 1500 trucks were (and still are) in short supply. It was a take-what-you-can-get situation. And even at that we had to travel 500 miles to get this one out of northern California.
The case for removing them? Their sheer chrome massiveness is more than a bit ugly. They don't seem necessary because this 4x4 isn't particularly tall. They stick way out, and our drivers tend to step past them, not on them. If they've got mud on them, presto, you've got mud on your jeans. And they hang way down where they're certain to drag and snag when driven off road as they thumb their nose at the concept of a breakover angle.
The case for keeping them? Well, we did pay $600 bucks. And some people will never take their 4x4 off-road; it's more of a snow traction thing. Apart from that, I guess the answer is contained within the title of a Randy Newman song.
Maybe I'll take one of them off and see if anyone notices. And once they do I'll do some back-to-back testing with staffers of all sizes. Take a poll, kind of thing. Find the over-under of the usefulness of this rather pricey and possibly counterproductive bolt-on accessory.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,567 miles