Archive for the ‘ram 1500’ Tag

2019 Ram 1500 First Look

Since its 2009 model-year launch, the current Ram has very gradually increased its share of the full-size truck market from 16 to 22 percent. Half-ton pickup buyers are fiercely loyal, and indeed no other manufacturer has seen fluctuations of more than a couple percent during that time, which suggests that Ram is growing by snagging first-time truck buyers. It makes sense that the truck with the most carlike ride might attract unbiased folks moving out of cars or crossovers, so for 2019 Ram is amping up the comfort, efficiency, and luxury of its 1500 models to keep those newcomers coming.

Headline upgrades include 48-volt mild hybridization, a claim to the longest and strongest chassis, and class-leading 0.357 Cd aerodynamics. Will this be enough to continue attracting new blood in the face of a recently refreshed 2018 Truck of the Year–winning Ford F-150, an anticipated all-new Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra duo expected in 2019, and a renewed Toyota Tundra arriving shortly thereafter?

Let’s start with what’s not new: the interior window switches, the pickup box floor stampings, and some fasteners. Although the gasoline powertrains mostly carry over, the Pentastar V-6 and Hemi V-8 engines both employ fancy new eTorque starter/generators that store deceleration energy in a 0.43-kW-hr battery pack. The energy is then fed back to the powertrain in such a way as to optimize fuel economy—like helping sustain a cruising speed without downshifting or reverting from four- to eight-cylinder mode. More than 40 shift maps allow the eight-speed transmission and the eTorque motors to cooperate to wring every possible mile from a gallon of gas. The V-6’s unit is water-cooled and contributes 12 hp and 90 lb-ft; the V-8’s is air-cooled and delivers 16 hp and 130 lb-ft. These motors start the engine in 0.55 second after an auto stop, and they’re used on initial starts except in cold conditions, when a conventional starter does the job.

Two more novel fuel-economy boosters: A heater/cooler for the rear differential oil in rear-drive trucks enables the use of lighter-weight lower-friction oil, and a pair of active mass dampers on the frame cancel vibration so the Hemi can lug a bit more in cylinder deactivation mode without anyone feeling it. The ultimate fuel-saver, an EcoDiesel V-6, arrives later in 2019 without eTorque mild hybridization (that same engine in the new Wrangler produces a Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel-besting 260 hp and 442 lb-ft).

Let’s talk chassis: The entirely new, 98 percent high-strength-steel ladder frame features a taller, narrower boxed cross-section that improves bending strength. Octagonal-section front frame-rail extensions are mandrel-bent and welded into that shape from tailor-rolled sheet steel that varies from 3 to 2 mm thick going forward to ensure they crumple. These octo-rails splay outward to capture small-offset crash forces. Despite a 4-inch wheelbase stretch (to a claimed longest in class), the new frame dropped 100 pounds for a 17 percent weight savings. Max payload increases by 420 pounds to 2,300, and towing capacity increases from 10,650 to 12,700 pounds. (That beats Chevy, Nissan, and Toyota but falls short of Ford’s 3,270 and 13,200 ratings.)

Other chassis upgrades include a novel upper control arm made of reinforced nylon molded around a steel stamping. It doesn’t save weight, but it efficiently adds the strength needed to permit a 22-inch wheel option on 4×4 models. New frequency-response dampers from Hitachi—a Ram exclusive feature—greatly improve ride quality, especially on high-frequency chatter bumps. (Rebels still get off-road-optimized reservoir shocks.) New variable-rate rear coil springs help comfortably shoulder heavy loads without bottoming out.

Available off-road options include an electronic-locking rear differential and unique rear-axle-locating geometry to raise the coil-spring suspension’s ride height by an inch. This setup becomes standard on Rebel models, lowering the entry cost relative to the 2018 model with standard air ride. Upsizing the base wheel from 17 to 18 inches allows the front brakes to grow from 13.2 to 14.9 inches in diameter, which shaves a claimed 7 feet from the 60–0-mph stopping distance. (We’ve measured 122 to 138 feet.)

That claimed class-leading aero figure—a 9 percent improvement over the current generation—is due primarily to a new active front air dam that lowers 2.7 inch at speeds above 35 mph and rises again below 15 mph. It’s standard on all coil-sprung Rams except Rebels and those with the Off-Road package. Raising the sides of the bed by 1.3 inches and sculpting a vortex-generator into the center of the trailing edge of the roof to manage airflow over the truck helped considerably (and gave Ram the largest standard box capacity). The HFE fuel-economy-special model adds flatter, smoother wheels and air-damming running boards that span between the front and rear tires.

Another 100 pounds came out of the body, thanks to clever hydroforming of the front upper crash rails and tailgate surround structure and use of aluminum for the hood and tailgate (the latter saving 15 pounds). Speaking of the tailgate, it offers electric release, a tailgate-ajar warning, damped lowering from any height, and assist with lifting. Added content like this conspires to limit net weight reduction to about 130 pounds—not bad for a cab body that’s said to measure roughly 4 inches longer and a half inch wider and lower.

Ram is parting with a few storied design icons for 2019. Gone is the cross-hair grille, replaced by seven designs featuring a revised Ram wordmark in the center, most of which are offered in multiple finishes. The ram’s head logo, which dates to 1981, gets updated to a more angular look and now adorns the tailgate of all but the Rebel model, which retains the giant wordmark.

The low-fender/high-hood big-rig look is only hinted at now—the fender gets taller and narrower and the hood bulge widens. Oh, and those tacked-on fender flares that adorn over half of all Rams are tacked on more robustly to reduce car-wash warranty claims. And hallelujah! Ram has ditched the metal mast radio antenna most pickups still employ.

Six price classes plus HFE are now offered: Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited. These are amply differentiated, thanks to three headlamp and taillamp designs, the aforementioned array of grilles, 15 wheel designs spanning 18-inch steel through 22-inch aluminum (all of which now attach with six bolts, up from five), and the choice of chrome, blackout, or body color for various trim pieces. Also new: Sport (body color trim) and Black appearance packages are available across nearly all of the lower price classes instead of occupying a single rung on the price ladder. Speaking of ladders, a motorized running board is now available.

New electrical architecture brings all the expected safety gear, including available adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot detection with trailer sensing, and 360-degree camera view. Parallel and perpendicular parking assistance is offered, but trailer-backing assistance is not. Ram expects to achieve best-in-class safety ratings.

Interior space, comfort, and noise levels will all take a big step forward in 2019, we’re assured. On crew cab models, the aforementioned 4-inch stretch amounts to an extra inch in the front and rear doors plus 2 inches behind the rear door. (The eTorque battery and a subwoofer reside behind the rear seat.) The rear floor is now completely flat and features four tie-down rings and in-floor stowage bins that are enlarged to fit the receiver drop hitch. The seat bottom flips up as before to facilitate carrying large items indoors. Beneath it is a 1.4-cubic-foot storage area (twice as big as before) that can now accommodate rifles or fishing rods. On upper trim models, the rear cushion can slide forward 3.1 inches, reclining the backrest 8 degrees in the process. The entire center third of the seat back folds down as an armrest and cupholders, forming both a more comfy armrest and a better third-passenger backrest.

All of the price classes look classier, with even the cloth or vinyl-lined Tradesman variants getting some contrast stitching and a 3.5-inch color driver-information screen in the cluster. These bench-seat models get a three-point center front seat belt for 2019. Big Horn models add the option of two-tone interior trim. Rebels get red anodized trim and other red accents, seats with inserts patterned after its new Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire tread, and a larger 7.0-inch info screen in the cluster. Laramie leather seats get suede bolster inserts, and Longhorn models add filigree accents in the leather and wood trim.

The Limited trim is what happens when a company has no Imperial sedan with which to separate rich folks from big money. The wood veneers have argent stripes laminated in, and there’s all sorts of fancy embroidery. Leather covers the dash, console sides, and seat backs, and the navy blue and “frost” two-tone leather treatment would suit Aston Martin’s first pickup truck. These trucks reportedly offer more real wood, leather, and metal trim than any other. And between acoustic-laminated glass and active noise cancelation on all models, Ram claims this will be the market’s quietest truck. So much the better to enjoy the top 900-watt 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

A choice of three touchscreen infotainment systems is offered—two 8.4-inch versions (with and without navigation) and a fabulous 12-inch one that seems to split the difference between Volvo’s Sensus and Tesla’s Model S screens (see sidebar). Naturally there’s onboard Wi-Fi served up by a dedicated SIM card that comes with a 12-month “free trial” and five USB ports—four of which incorporate a forthcoming Type C format slot (FCA will be first to market with this) and three of which can contribute content to the Uconnect system.

The front console offers a smartphone/tablet docking slot with Qi wireless charging, and in the rear of the console there are two cupholders across which is a slot sized to hold a tablet at a comfortable viewing angle for rear-seat occupants. Cool. Similarly, the center console incorporates a hanging file folder area in the back with room for purses or laptops (which can be plugged into a 110-volt outlet—there’s another in the rear and one in the optional deeper cargo Ramboxes). There’s also a sliding lid with cupholders and a shallow stowage bin. Inside is an Easter egg image of the four generations of “big-rig” Ram trucks.

The steering wheel now telescopes as well as tilts, the pedals also still adjust for reach, and the front power seats now feature four-way headrests and four-way lumbar adjustment and can motor 0.8 inch lower to better accommodate 10-gallon hats.

As new truck launches go, this should be an exceptionally smooth one because Ram production is moving to the Sterling Heights plant recently vacated by the Chrysler 200. That’s allowed Ram to start production early and ramp it up gradually. Considerable overlap of the current-gen 2018 Ram is expected from the nearby Warren plant, so we can expect a rich mix of fancy 2019 Rams selling alongside lots of 2018 Tradesman models at the beginning. If Ram’s claims on the comfort, quiet, and efficiency front pan out, we’re bullish on Ram’s likelihood of continued market share growth.

Big-Screen Uconnect

Ram introduced 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment to the pickup world, and now it’s doubling down with a portrait-oriented 12.0-inch screen that works like two of the old screens, only brighter and sharper. How bright? 1,000 candela per square meter. Recent iPhones manage only 625 cd/m2. And at 1,280 by 800 pixels, it about matches the iPhone 8’s Retina HD display for resolution.

Not surprisingly, this tablet doppelganger functions much like a tablet, supporting pinch-to-zoom and the ability to move frequently used app buttons to the home row at the bottom. As in a Tesla, you can view the map, audio, or other content in full screen or opt to split the screen with any choice of content on the upper and lower halves of the screen.

Another cool feature is expanded SiriusXM functionality including On Demand content. This allows you to listen to archived shows or stream your favorite team’s game from a home-team station. You can also pause streaming content of any type and resume it on your smartphone or home system (where you can ask Alexa to resume it). Better still, your onboard cellular Wi-Fi link can seamlessly switch to the online stream if you drive into a tunnel or skyscraper jungle and lose the satellite stream. Uconnect gets exclusive access to this feature for a year.

Read more at: http://www.motortrend.com/cars/ram/1500/2019/2019-ram-1500-first-look-review/

 

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100+ mph, off-road: 2017 Ram Rebel TRX concept pickup truck

First shown as a surprise launch at the Texas State Fair, the concept Ram 1500 Rebel TRX was powered by a 575 horsepower supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi, with 37 inch Toyo tires and six-piston calipers. It has side-exiting exhausts ahead of the rear tires, built into the rock rails; steel bumpers, skid plates, and “all the cooling you’d want.” It has two spares, and six-point harnesses to hold the driver and passengers in.

575 horses easily beats the Ford Raptor’s 450 horsepower. Why, people ask, is it “only” 575 hp, when the Challenger does 707 with the same engine? Our guess is two-fold: so you can still control the truck, and because it’s a 4×4, and the powertrain parts (particularly the front differential) can only take so much.

Jim Morrison said it could “handle the harshest terrains at speeds over 100 mph,” aided by a full 13 inches of suspension travel, at all four corners. To support all that suspension movement, they had to make the fenders six inches wider than those of a normal Rebel, resulting in an hourglass shape (as seen from above).

Why the Borg-Warner 44-45 transfer case? It doesn’t have an automatic mode, but it locks fully, which is better for durability off-road or in deep snow. It’s the same transfer case used by the Rebel and Outdoorsman.

The transmission is the “TorqueFlite Eight,” an eight-speed automatic, with paddle shifters. The 4×4 performance control system works with the BorgWarner 44-45 transfer case, with user-selectable normal, wet/snow, off-road, and Baja modes.

The front and rear axles have severe duty components, and the 13” wheel travel is over 40% more than the normal nine inches front, 9.25 inches rear. Adjustable front and rear bypass shocks are included.

The standard Ram 1500 front axle is used with an open differential and custom constant-velocit half-shafts to handle the wider track; spindles were moved forward to make room for the 37 inch tires.

The rear axle is a Dynatrac Pro 60, which uses a selectable electric locker to 35-spline, 1 1/2 inch axle shafts. The locker is available on all modes and “commits both rear wheels to traction at the same speed, spreads the torque load and maximizes the tractive effort (power put to the ground) in full-throttle maneuvers.”

The unique from grille was needed for extra airflow. Inside, it adds not only the six-point harnesses but leather/suede seats, carbon-fiber trim, and new materials and colors.

The frame is “virtually unchanged” from the standard one. The front suspension uses custom-built upper and lower A-arms with special attention to caster and camber angles during suspension cycling. The goal was to have a smooth ride over smaller bumps, and when the bumps become mounds, to have high reaction speed and heat dissipation to avoid shocks while keeping full traction.

The Ram 1500 link coil rear suspension system shares its basic architecture with desert racing trucks; the frame’s hard points for the suspension were unchanged. The 2.5-inch bypass shocks use factory mounts, but performance rear coil springs were put into the factory-spec positions.

The factory hydraulic-boost compensation unit was kept but calipers were swapped out for Baer six-piston monoblock calipers with 15 inch rotors up front, 14 inch rotors in back.

High-speed off-road truck racing teams commonly use a 37-inch tire for its height and durability; hence the Rebel TRX’s 37 inch high tires, 13.5 inches wide, with a 10-ply design and custom Mopar beadlock wheels (which pinch the outside of the tire to the rim).

The two complete spare tire and wheel packages, with tools and jack in lockable storage in the bed, reflect the rigors of off-road racing.

The special grille was needed for air flow. A steel lower brush guard was needed for the “rock knock” test. To clear the Roots-style blower atop the HEMI engine, the Rebel TRX uses a hood based on the taller Ram Heavy Duty design.

The truck has bright LED clearance lighting, matching LEDs elsewhere in front and rear.

 

An open upper glove box with elastic straps holds a sturdy TRX-labeled bag with color matched tools. A camera mount is on the rear-view mirror. The Rebel TRX interior floor trades carpet for black rubberized coating. Black all-weather mats from Mopar reduce foot slip when foot-to-pedal placement is crucial.

Will it be made? It’s quite possibly a design study for a challenge to the Ford Raptor — so “maybe.” As we say in the following video, you can certainly see how they thought about production as they designed the concept.

Update: Will it be made? If not, why go out of their way to use (and point to use of) production parts and attachment points? Ram’s web site has this interesting disclaimer: “Concept vehicle shown. Vehicle specifications may change.”

It goes on to say, “With a 6.2L supercharged HEMI® V8 engine and sturdily built with an off-road suspension, the RAM 1500 Rebel® TRX will be the most powerful factory-engineered half-ton pickup.” At least one observer believes they would use the 392, though, and not the Hellcat.

A company named Prefix, which does Viper work, makes a similar-concept, Ram-based truck called the Minotaur. “Ramajama” pointed out that they use a Kore Tactical suspension with close to the same specs as the TRX, but with 35” tires rather than 37”; the Minotaur is even available with a 475-hp Hemi 392, with TRX-like side exhausts.

Read more at: Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/cars/concepts/ram/rebel-TRX.html

Master Every Job with the 2016 Ram 2500

No matter what the workday calls for, you can rest assured that when you’re behind the wheel of the 2016 Ram 2500 you can tackle it all, and then some. We at Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Dick Scott Motor Mall know you will absolutely be impressed by all its power, refinement, and dynamic features once you take this tough pickup for a test drive.

To be a truck that is ready for any sort of job, you need to have an impressive engine, and the 2016 Ram 2500 has three available powertrains to choose from, depending on your needs. Coming standard is the 5.7L HEMI® V8 with Variable Valve Timing. When you put the pedal to the metal, you’ll have 383 horsepower, 400 lb.-ft. of torque, a 13,890-lb. towing capacity1 for bringing a boat to Lake St. Clair, and a 3,060-lb. payload capacity1. You also have the choice of the 6.4L HEMI® V8 with best-in-class gasoline horsepower and torque with 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque. It also boasts a 16,320-lb. towing capacity1 and a 3,990-lb. payload capacity. If you prefer diesel, the 6.7L Cummins® Turbo Diesel choice holds nothing back with 370 horsepower and a whopping 800 lb.-ft. of torque. You’ll also have a best-in-class 17,980-lb. tow rating in addition to a 3,160-lb. payload rating.

The 2016 Ram 2500 helps you make the most out of all this impressive power with a variety of features. For instance, the standard class-exclusive2 5-link coil rear suspension works to reduce overall friction without limiting your towing capabilities for improved turning ability and an enhanced ride.

You’ll also have the trailer harness connector and heavy duty hooks for control over whatever it is you need to bring with you. For smaller items, take advantage of the available class-exclusive RamBox® Cargo Management System. This toolbox is built-in to the side rails of the truck bed, and is lit, secure, durable, and drainable. Also within the truck bed are box rail caps to reduce the number of scratches and scrapes that occur when unloading cargo, and the Ram Truck Tailgate Lift Assist to make lowering your tailgate smooth and easy.

To go with all this power and functionality is an interior you’ll actually enjoy spending time in. Like the versatile exterior, 2016 Ram 2500 provides an abundance of room for a variety of cargo. For instance, the standard 40/20/40 split-folding rear bench can easily accommodate all your gear, while the built-in under-seat storage on Crew and Mega Cab® trims keep the essentials close at hand. When the winter months are upon us, take advantage of the available heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats. Up front, you’ll find the available largest-in-class 8.4-inch touchscreen display with Uconnect®. Here, you can use SiriusXM® Satellite Radio, Hands-Free Calling, and even available navigation. Also on this screen is a view from the available ParkView® Rear Back Up Camera, helping you to hook up your trailer and reverse out of a tight parking space at The Home Depot.

You are sure to be confident in your ability to tackle any task with the 2016 Ram 2500. To see all its impressive power and tough features, visit Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram or Dick Scott Motor Mall to take one for a test drive. Our new-vehicle showroom is open six days a week, so it’s easy to find time to check out this commanding truck.

2017 Ram Power Wagon Laramie caught

Brian Williams caught this 2017 2500 Ram Power Wagon Laramie while it was being tested in high altitudes in the Rockies. He wrote that it’s only missing the legacy “Macho Power Wagon” graphics and blacked out bits.

2017-HD

The brawny, off-road-oriented Power Wagon, revamped for 2017, will gain a more luxurious version for those who need the muscle but also want the pampering of the wood and leather-lined high-end trim offered on other Ram pick-ups.

The Laramie will get more brightwork as befitting of this top-spec Ram, with a new take on the Power Wagon’s Rebel-derived grille – a sort-of chromed mesh insert replaces black plastic. Chromed wheels are now wrapped in the chunky off-road tires, too.

Inside, the Power Wagon should get the typical Laramie treatment, which means upgraded leather with thick stitching and wood-like trim.

Expect to see the Laramie Power Wagon later this year.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/2016/06/2017-ram-power-wagon-laramie-caught-31987

The 2016 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards

Best Truck: Ram
2016-Ram-1500-Rebel-pickup-01

– Base price: $26,605
– Towing capacity: 9,000-plus lb.
– EPA mileage: 17 mpg city/25 highway

Give it up for the Ram! Top to bottom, this is the model to beat. Chrysler is a perennial third-place finisher in the domestic-truck sales battles, which means that these new Rams are the product of a striver mentality. Chrysler knows that, unlike with a Ford or a Chevy, you probably won’t buy its truck out of habit or hallowed family tradition. So it wants to give you other reasons, compelling technological reasons, for joining the Mopar crowd.

And there are certainly plenty of those. The Ram is the only pickup with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, a device so manifestly excellent that Rolls-Royce and Range Rover put the same one in their cars, too. That transmission can be bolted to a satisfying 305-hp V-6, a beastly Hemi V-8, or a 3.0-liter diesel, the only small diesel you can get in a full-size truck. The Ram EcoDiesel nets 29 mpg highway and can tow more than 9,000 pounds, which makes you wonder why it has, as yet, no direct competition.

The Rams also have the most ambitious suspension. The 1500- and 2500-series trucks come standard with a coil-spring rear end, so when you’ve got nothing in the bed (which is probably most of the time) they still manage a smooth ride with superior control, none of the rear-end hopscotch that leaf springs can give you on a bumpy road.

A coil-spring rear end would be revolutionary enough, but Chrysler also offers the industry’s only available air suspension. Going off-roading? Hit a button and it’s like you installed an instant lift kit. If you’re loading cargo, drop the suspension and you can heave those bags of mulch into the bed without approximating the caber toss at the Scottish Highland Games. The truck even knows to drop the body closer to the pavement at highway speeds to improve fuel economy.

On the heavy-duty side, Ram’s got the most torque (a downright silly 900 lb-ft from the high-output Cummins diesel) and the most powerful gas engine with the 410-hp 6.4-liter Hemi. The trucks with an HD badge also get optional rear air suspension, which means the bed stays level even when you’ve loaded it with two yards of gravel or your pet hippopotamus or a bunch of caber poles.

No, the Ram isn’t perfect—the fancy Laramie Longhorn interiors exhibit the aesthetic sensibility of a Reno whorehouse circa 1895—but in terms of fearless ambition and overall goodness, the striver makes a compelling case. You ought to hear it out.

Read more at: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/g2573/2016-popular-mechanics-automotive-excellence-awards/

Ram, FCA Foundation Support Texas Flood Relief

Ram and the FCA Foundation are donating $100,000 to the First Response Team of America for recovery and relief support in flood-stricken Texas, where 15 people have died and there is widespread damage.

The First Response Team of America and its fleet of Rams and equipment are on their way to Central Texas, where they will focus on home site recovery and delivering food, water, and cleaning materials.

Ram has been partners with First Response Team of America since 2012, donating more than $300,000 through the FCA Foundation (formerly the Chrysler Foundation) in that time to help in previous deployments to Tupelo, Mississippi, and to Moore, Oklahoma.

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/05/ram-fca-foundation-support-texas-flood-relief-28825

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel First Drive

Let’s get one thing straight from the start: The Ram Rebel is not a Ford Raptor-fighter. That was the Ram Runner, and it’s dead now. No, this is Ram’s rebuttal to Ford’s FX4 Off-Road package for the F-150, Chevrolet’s Z71 Off-Road package for the Silverado, Toyota’s TRD Pro package for the Tundra, and Nissan’s Pro-4X package for the Titan. Set your expectations accordingly.

That established, let’s talk about what makes a Rebel. The Ram people say it’s a reaction to customer behavior, as a lot of truck buyers immediately install a lift kit and a new wheel and tire package. Ram figured it could offer something like that from the factory easy enough, with the added benefit of having the modifications designed to work together, covered by the warranty and serviceable at Ram dealers.

Ram’s modifications are as clever as they are simple: The Ram 1500’s optional air suspension is standard on the Rebel, but the default ride height is now an inch higher, what a standard Ram would call Off Road 1. It’s now backed by Bilstein monotube shocks, and the alignment, steering gear, and rear anti-roll bar have all been tuned for the higher default center of gravity. A rear limited-slip differential is optional. A new front bumper incorporates tow hooks and a skidplate, with additional protection under the vehicle, and 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires increase capability and the wow factor. Fender flares, blacked-out trim, and giant badges round out the look. The interior features red accent trim, beefy rubber floormats, and the tire tread pattern embossed in the seat backs.

You’ve likely come to the conclusion I first did, which is that Ram didn’t really do all that much. Compare it with rival packages, though, and you’ll find it perfectly matched. Ram simply came up with a cooler name and tougher look than most of the competition, and what the Rebel might lack in quantity of modifications it more than compensates for in quality.’

We’ll start off-road because that’s the whole point. To demonstrate the Rebel’s capability, Ram took us to the San Francisco Volcanic Field outside Flagstaff, Arizona, in what turned out to be mostly terrible weather. The terrain Ram had intended us to conquer was made mostly of volcanic cinder, which is more or less like coarse, loosely packed gravel. The weather, however, ensured the rest of the driving would involve standing water and several inches of snow on top of mud the consistency and stickiness of saltwater taffy. That none of us managed to get a single truck stuck in any of that mess is a testament, as the cinder Ram wanted us to drive on had the trucks dug in to their rims more often than not.

All this perhaps best illustrates the Rebel’s key feature: Ram’s inspired choice of the Toyo Open Country A/T tire. Not just for show, these knobby wonders clawed their way through every surface we could find. Even completely saturated with taffy mud, they continued to dig in and keep the truck moving. Note that this was the same sort of mud that shut down the off-road driving course at the nearby Overland Expo (where, incidentally, attendees had high praise to sing of the Toyo Open Country A/T). More than simply getting us through the cinder, mud, and snow (without needing to be aired down, as we discovered by trying it both ways), the tires helped keep the truck well under control in all conditions. Be it blasting down a packed gravel road, working through the mud, or turning onto a paved road, the tires bit hard and kept the rear of the truck firmly planted. Getting it sideways took considerable effort, and any slip it gave was predictable, linear, and easily controlled.

Of course, credit for this stability also goes to the Bilstein shocks and Ram’s suspension tuning. The air spring and shock combination (not to mention the fat tire sidewalls) provided a surprisingly comfortable ride both on-road and off. The combo proved adept at handling large and small bumps and holes in pavement, and it soaked up off-road obstacles just as well. The suspension has no more travel than standard Rams, but in all our beating on it, we only managed to bottom out the suspension once. Let’s be clear about this: My co-drivers and I were not nice to this truck, at all, and we couldn’t hurt it.

It could, however, hurt its own cause. Our mutual major objection to the Rebel (aside from the grille) was the electronic stability control. On the Rebel, you’re supposed to be able to turn stability control completely off. This is not the case. Putting aside the fact that you can only achieve full deactivation with the truck in 4WD, if you find yourself several inches deep in gravel or mud, you’ll find you don’t have full authority over the throttle. Every time we found ourselves in this situation, the computer ignored our throttle inputs and limited wheelspin, even when it would’ve been far more advantageous to keep engine and wheel speeds up to avoid getting stuck. On more than one occasion, we found ourselves slowing to a crawl and unable to modulate the throttle, relying instead on the computer’s wisdom and the tires’ bite. Yes, the computer saved us from potentially overdoing it and digging ourselves in, but it also restricted our options at a critical moment. There are few more helpless feelings than being in control of a vehicle on the verge of getting stuck, and it’s only worse when you’re prevented from doing everything possible to avoid it. The lack of a hill descent control feature is also a small disappointment.

On the road, where most Rebels will spend most of their lives, it was really no less livable than a standard Ram 1500. The big off-road tires make a little more noise than street tires, but the truck rides, handles, stops, and goes just as well. You sit a little higher, and there’s a stronger urge to get off the pavement than usual, but there’s no real compromise to the driving experience in return for the greater off-road ability. As the suspension is mostly the same, there are no penalties to towing or hauling ratings, either.

All of this must be read with the caveat that the only pre-production Rebels Ram had available for this test drive were V-8 four-wheel drive models with the optional 3.92:1 rear end. The Rebel is also available in rear-wheel drive, with a V-6, and with a 3.21:1 rear end — the V-6 model is available with four-wheel drive and 3.92:1 gears only. For now, the EcoDiesel engine is not available, as the factory that builds them is maxed out, and the Rebel will only be offered in the four-door Crew Cab and 5-foot-7-inch bed, as that combination accounts for 70 percent of Ram sales. The RamBox bed pictured is optional.

The Ram Rebel may not be a factory Baja pre-runner, but it’s an impressively capable truck nonetheless. Ram has built a more aggressive and better branded off-road package for a half-ton pickup than any of its competitors. Doubters are welcome to try to keep up on the trail.

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autos-trucks/2015-ram-1500-rebel-first-drive/ar-BBjVY72

Changes for the 2016 Ram HD pickups

A reliable source oh2o provided a list of what will be changing for the 2016 model year in the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pickup trucks.

Production of the 2016 model year pickups begins on July 20, 2015, and will include the new Limited, with the same controversial grille and tailgate appearance as the Ram 1500 Limited (shown below). Available as a crew cab or mega cab only, it will have unique wheels (except on double-rear-wheel setups, or “duallies,” which will carry over the old wheels). The interior is all-black and similar to that of Ram 1500 Laramie Limited; bumpers are painted, with optional chrome.

The photo above shows a 2016 Ram 2500 Laramie Limited, as shown at the Chicago Auto Show. Other models are likely to have a grille similar to those of the 2015 trucks.

All 2016 “heavy duty” Ram pickup trucks will have a new center console layout; Longhorn and Limited will also use a new, wooden tambour (sliding console) door.

New 18 inch aluminum wheels will be used on Big Horn, Lone Star, and Outdoorsman, with new pickup box lighting (LED lights on each side at the rear) on Longhorn and Limited, optional on some other models, and included with Luxury Group and Rambox.

Engines appear to remain the same, except for a new compressed natural gas (CNG) option on Crew Cab / long-bed in rear wheel drive, and regular cab models in rear and four wheel drive. Ram continues to have the only factory-upfitted CNG option, not using an aftermarket solution.

The base radio on Tradesman remains the same but will be renamed from RA1 to Radio 3.0 AM/FM. Some models will get optional front and rear parking assistance (standard on Laramie and higher trimlines).

phablet holderThe rear camera will be able to toggle between a cargo view and the backup camera; the cargo view camera will be packaged in the Convenience Group with rain-sensing wipers and automatic-beam headlamps.

Finally, the usual paint changes are going to be made, with red pearl replacing deep cherry red, “Luxury Brown” replacing “Western brown,” and a new pearl white option on higher-level trucks starting with September production.

It normally takes a month or two for trucks to reach dealers after production begins.

As read on: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/05/changes-for-the-2016-ram-hd-pickups-28681

2015 Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 SAE Tow Ratings

The 2015 Ram pickup trucks now have new tow ratings that were certified under the stricter demanding SAE J2807 regulation. Impressively, not a single model sees its ratings decline under the new certification process — and some even see ratings increase slightly. All versions of the 2015 Ram 1500, 2500 HD, and 3500 HD will henceforth have towing figures that meet the stricter tow ratings.

For light-duty pickup trucks, the 2015 Ram 1500 has SAE J2807 tow ratings as follows. Models with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission can tow up to 9200 pounds, trucks with the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 can manage up to 7600 pounds, and Ram 1500 models equipped with the 5.7-liter V-8 engine can tow as much as 10,650 pounds. For the 3.6-liter V-6, that’s an increase of 150 pounds compared to 2014 ratings, while the 5.7-liter V-8 see its maximum rating rise 200 pounds.

The 2015 Ram 2500 and 3500 are also subject to the new SAE J2807 ratings. With a 6.4-liter gasoline V-8, the 2500’s max tow rating is 16,300 pounds, or 17,970 pounds with the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel inline-six. Those figures are unchanged from last year. As for the 2015 Ram 3500, trucks with the 6.4-liter engine can tow as much as 16,420 pounds, while models with the 6.7-liter mill boast maximum tow ratings of 30,000 pounds.

Earlier this year, General Motors, Ford, and Ram all confirmed plans to adopt the SAE J2807 ratings. The new certification process is more rigorous and is designed to test the real-world towing abilities and safety of the trucks. It includes tests for the vehicles’ acceleration, braking, and cooling-system performance, as well as things like understeer and double-lane-change handling tests.

GM already confirmed the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s ratings under the SAE J2807 standards. The pickup truck saw some of its models’ ratings decline by 300-400 pounds, depending on engine and configuration, when switching to the new rules.

Source: Chrysler

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autostrucks/2015-ram-1500-2500-and-3500-sae-tow-ratings-announced/ar-AA2T4pr

Ram’s Black Sport / Black Ram 1500 Express

Ram Man tipped us off to the 2015 Black Ram 1500 Express (in Canada, Ram 1500 Black Sport), a pickup truck with blackened headlights, badging, wheels, mirror cases, and paint. Builds on the Ram 1500 Sport package, which includes a Hemi V8 and eight-speed automatic, it also has a “sport performance” hood, unique 20-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control (except regular cab), and nine amplified speakers.

The Ram 1500 Black Sport package (26L) is only available in “Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl” but comes in regular, quad, and crew cab formats. The normal price for Ram 1500 Sport is $36,150 (regular cab, short bed, rear wheel drive). Ram Man wrote that the package price was C$1,795 in Canada, which equates to around US$1,415 given an unusually strong U.S. dollar; chances are it will run at least $1,495 in the US to account for short-term currency changes.

The truck is now shown in preproduction form on Ram’s web site, with the slogan, “black on black on black.” The dual exhaust tips are chrome, but little else deviates from the black theme.

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/ram-launches-black-sport-black-ram-1500-express