If you’re looking for a little bit of over-kill in your next tow-car then the new RAM 1500 with a 5.7-litre V8 Hemi should probably at least make it to your short list. Little brother to the Yank-tank RAM 2500 (which has a 6.3-litre Cummins diesel six-cylinder and produces over 1000nm of torque), the more reasonably sides 1500 is still bigger than most other dual-cab utes on the market. And it’s got nearly 300kW and over 550Nm under the hood, so it’ll proper go.
Slated to go on sale from $79,950 for the base model Express version, or $99,950 for the up-spec Laramie version, the two-model range is well and-truly at the expensive end of the dual cab ute market. Even the Mercedes-Benz X-Class tops out at around $78,900.
Both styles of RAM 1500 are capable of towing up to 4500kg, although in standard form, the Laramie will come only able to haul 3500kg (which is still plenty for towing a camper trailer). The reason is that RAM is offering the choice of two different diff ratios. The higher, at 3.21:1 offers a bit better fuel economy and lower revs at cruising speeds, but sacrifices the ability to tow a small house. The lower geared diff, a no-cost option, is 3.92:1 and decreases fuel economy but helps managed that low-end torque better needed for hauling big loads. It’ll be something to look out for later down the track on the second-hand market, as there’ll no doubt be some confusion.
The two styles are most different in cab and tray size. The lower-priced Express is expected to be the work-horse of the two, so it gets fitted with a larger tray (six feet by four feet) but a smaller cab. Fortunately for the driver, it’s only the back-seat passengers who are really affected, as it’s quite cramped back there. The Laramie comes with a smaller tray, but there’s a higher level of specification fitted and heaps more space in the back-row seats. Tellingly, the 1500 Laramie and 2500 Laramie share space dimensions between the A and C pillars. The biggest difference is that the 2500 has six seats (two rows of three) while the 1500 replaces the front centre seat with a deep centre console bin.
Both models feature a good suite of safety features which includes trailer stability control and a built-in, factory fitted electronic brake controller. I’ve used it in other RAM trucks and it’s dead-set the best brake controller not on the market.
RAM Trucks Australia says it wants to sell 2100 of these trucks over the next 12 months, and be moving over 4000 a year by 2020. Whether or not it does remains yet to be seen (its target demographic is cashed up blokes with a penchant for adventure). Either way, this is still a stonkin’ V8 ute that’d haul a camper trailer like it’s not even there.
RAM 1500 Prices
RAM 1500 Express – $79,950 driveaway
RAM 1500 Express with RAM boxes – $84,450 driveaway
RAM 1500 Laramie – $99,950
RAM 1500 Laramie with RAM boxes – $104,450
RAM 1500 Specs
Engine – 5.7-litre Hemi V8 petrol
Transmission – Eight speed automatic
Power – 291kW
Torque – 551Nm
Fuel economy – 9.9l/100km to 12.2l/100km
Towing – 3500kg to 4500kg braked
Payload – 885kg to 912kg
GVM – 3300kg
GCM – TBC by RAM