RAM 1500 a tough pick-up truck

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

The RAM 1500 has ar­rived in Aus­tralia and is a large pick-up, or ute if you pre­fer that term. Pow­ered by a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 (291kW, 390hp and 556Nm at 3950 rpm), it is aimed to re­place the much-loved V8 utes that once upon a time were sold by Ford and Holden.

Priced from $79,990, drive-away the RAM 1500 sits a fair way above the late lamented Aussie utes, but you do get a lot of au­to­mo­tive real es­tate for your money. At 5.8m long and a lit­tle over 2m wide, the RAM 1500 is sig­nif­i­cantly larger than other utes. There is sig­nif­i­cantly more space in­side and out­side and a much larger tow­ing ca­pac­ity, at 4.5 tonnes.

This is a proper truck, built on a sep­a­rate chas­sis, but with a so­phis­ti­cated sus­pen­sion sys­tem.

The front in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion com­bines up­per con­trol arms and alu­minium lower con­trol arms. The rear has a multi-link, coil-spring set-up.

Four-wheel disc brakes are stan­dard on all Ram 1500 Truck mod­els sold in Aus­tralia.

RAM 1500 is of­fered in two cab sizes, the Ex­press with the Quad Cab, and the Laramie with the Crew Cab. Although the Quad is the smaller of the two it has im­pres­sive lev­els of shoul­der and hip room. The Laramie has a full crew cab with 3.5 cu­bic me­tres of in­te­rior space with a rear seat legroom length of more than a me­tre, mak­ing it is as spa­cious in the back as the front.

There are two tub sizes, with the largest al­most 2m-long and more than 1.2m-wide be­tween the wheel arches. RamBoxes, two 240-litre lock­ers on ei­ther side of the tub, can be used as se­cure stor­age or as a pair of ice-filled cool boxes.

The RAM 1500 Ex­press has a colour-matched grille, bumpers and in­te­rior trim, mak­ing it a sort of sporty model. It can op­tioned with a Black Pack which turns ev­ery­thing to black.

RAM Laramie has a more tra­di­tional chrome grille as well as chromed high­lights and is aimed at those look­ing for lux­ury. It has heated and cooled ven­ti­lated leather-faced front seats, even a heated steer­ing wheel. Then there is deep pile car­pet­ing.

Un­for­tu­nately, ill­ness pre­vented us from get­ting to the Aus­tralian launch of the RAM 1500, but we have our names down for test ve­hi­cles.

RAM Truck was launched as a stand-alone di­vi­sion of Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles in 2009. The Ateco Group is the sole au­tho­rised im­porter and dis­trib­u­tor of RAM trucks for Aus­tralia and New Zealand. The trucks are im­ported di­rectly from the North Amer­i­can fac­tory in left-hand drive and then re­man­u­fac­tured to right-hand drive on a pur­pose-built pro­duc­tion line in Melbourne.

RAM Trucks are pro­duced with full vol­ume im­port ap­proval, mean­ing they are fully com­pli­ant with all Aus­tralian De­sign Rules.

They are sold and sup­ported by an Aus­tralia and New Zealand­wide dealer net­work.

“Our aim has al­ways been that, so far as the cus­tomer is con­cerned, buy­ing and own­ing a RAM, be it the new 1500 or its heavy-duty broth­ers, the 2500 and 3500, should be ab­so­lutely no dif­fer­ent from buy­ing any other main­stream ve­hi­cle,” RAM Trucks Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager Alex Stewart said.

“This means ev­ery­thing from pro­duc­tion line qual­ity and con­sis­tency of prod­uct, to a na­tional dealer net­work, a fac­tory sup­ported war­ranty, through to back up of a full parts and ac­ces­sory ware­houses in Syd­ney and Auck­land that can de­liver parts to any­where in the coun­try within 24 hours.”

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Big, bold, brash and very Amer­i­can, the RAM 1500 is re­man­u­fac­tured in Aus­tralia.

The Laramie in­te­rior.

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