2014 Ram 1500: Suspension Articulation and Ramp Travel Index
March 13, 2015
We've had our 20-degree RTI ramp much longer than we've owned our 2014 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4x4 Ecodiesel. On more than one occasion they've been in the same room at the same time but, for one reason or another, the latter was never driven up the former.
That changed last week. I finally pointed the Ram at the ramp and crept up the slope until the big 4x4 just barely began teetering. The point at which the tiniest sliver of light is visible beneath the left rear tire is where Ramp Travel Index is measured.
On the way up, the Ram passed its first test by clearing the ramp with its underhanging aero flap, a feat the Colorado didn't come close to managing.
From there it's all about determining the distance the left front tire traveled up the ramp, either through direct measurement or by measuring wheel lift and dividing by the sine of 20 degrees, the RTI ramp angle. I prefer the latter because my ramp doesn't come to a sharp point.
The Ram generated 20 and 3/8 inches of wheel lift, which works out to a climb of 59.57 inches up the ramp. The 2015 Ford F-150, if you remember, recently chalked up 20 and 13/16 inches of wheel lift and 60.85 inches up the ramp.
At first this seems like a victory for the Ford, but such measurements only have meaning after they are related to the vehicle's wheelbase. A given amount of suspension deflection is a bigger deal on a short wheelbase vehicle than a longer one, which is why the ramp-climb distance must be divided by the wheelbase to determine RTI.
And this is where things start to swing back into the Ram's favor. Our crew cab 4x4 rides on a 140.7-inch wheelbase, but the Ford SuperCrew spans 145.0 inches.
In the end they finish neck and neck, with the Ram edging out a narrow advantage with an RTI score of 423 compared to the Ford's 420 points.
Here's how they both stack up against other pickup trucks we've recently measured.
518 — 2014 Ram Power Wagon, front stabilizer bar disconnected (149.3-in WB)
484 — 2014 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro (145.7-in WB)
423 — 2014 Ram 1500 (140.7-in WB)
420 — 2015 Ford F-150 (145.0-in WB)
412 — 2014 Ram Power Wagon, front stabilizer bar connected (149.3-in WB)
We still need to measure Toyota's mass-market version of the Tundra 4x4 and one of the GM 1500 twins to have a complete picture of the full-size segment. The new Nissan Titan is still some months away, too.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 25,823 miles