Raves for the Ram
LATE this summer I did a comprehensive road test of a Ram 1500 pickup truck, equipped with Chrysler’s new six-cylinder engine, very sophisticated eight speed gearbox and height-adjustable suspension.
It’s an interesting vehicle, and the best fullsized pickup I’ve ever driven
As chief instructor of British Columbia’s premier resource road driver-training program, I spend a lot of time in pickup trucks. I’ve also worked with development engineers on a couple of truck platforms, and it’s a testament to them that they’ve made something as awkward in its basic form as a pickup truck drive reasonably well.
Unfortunately, at some point reality has been cross-checked by marketing, with the resulting mythology that pickup trucks are dynamically as good as, or better than, well-designed road cars. That’s simply not true, so the Ram should be compared to other pickup trucks — in other words, apples to apples. By that standard, the Ram really is a very well-done vehicle.
My test vehicle had the Outdoorsman package, and looked good with a body-coloured grille. (I’m not a big fan of chrome on utility vehicles — to me, it’s like wearing a necktie with tennis shorts.) Climbing inside, I was greeted with a proper bucket seat and nice cloth upholstery, not the faded mousefur stuff that looks and feels cheap. Cloth is a better seating surface than leather, naturally cool in summer and warmer in winter, though its lacks that gentleman’s-club appeal.
The driver’s compartment is one of the best aspects of the Ram 1500. Seat position, relationship to the steering