Raves for the Ram

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - AUTOS - DLDN SIDOROV

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

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