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Ram 1500 is the 2019 MotorTrend Truck of the Year

Americans ask more of our trucks than we do of any other vehicle. In any given week, the average half-ton pickup might find itself commuting like a sedan, hauling a bed full of bricks and sand, towing some Jet Skis, navigating muddy ranchland, or exploring off-road trails. It’s no wonder that we bought 2.8 million of the things last year.

The best-selling pickup in the United States last year—and indeed in every year for the past four decades—has been the Ford F-Series. But our 2019 Truck of the Year should give pause to prospective Blue Oval loyalists (or buyers of any truck, for that matter) because there isn’t a truck out there that so precisely hits the diverse needs of the segment better than the 2019 Ram 1500.

The fifth-generation Ram 1500 is the latest in a long line of evolutionary leaps for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ bread-and-butter truck. The newest version, more than any other, seems poised to meet the needs of the 21st century truck buyer, with more variety, capability, comfort, convenience, and value than ever before.

Advancement in Design

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no arguing that Ram retains its reputation for stylish functionality. “Best-in-class: sophisticated without going over the top,” editor-in-chief Ed Loh said.

The 2019 Ram 1500’s clean-sheet redesign throws out many of the design cues we’ve come to expect from a Ram pickup—while still being unmistakably Ram. Gone are the crosshair grilles, mini-Mack fenders, and even the traditional Ram badge in most places. Instead, the 1500 provides buyers a choice of seven grilles and three head- and taillamp designs. Its 15 wheel designs feature stronger six-bolt hubs, ranging from an off-road-friendly 18 inches to an urban cowboy 22-inch style. And that’s on top of your typical pickup choices of extended or crew cab and bed sizes of either 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4. A regular cab and 8-foot bed are expected next year.

 “I love the styling,” road test editor Chris Walton said, eyeing the Ram 1500 Rebel. “It’s like the Viper of Rams.”

The interior updates, from the volume-grade Big Horn all the way up to the luxurious Limited, are even more impressive. Every Ram cabin has the tools needed for both work and play. The Ram’s configurable center console turns the space into an office, with room inside to swallow a bag and laptop, space for your phone and drinks, and a center console lid that can function as a desk.

When it comes to technology, Ram provides three versions of its Uconnect infotainment system, including a choice of an 8.4-inch or Tesla-like 12.0-inch touchscreen. “The center stack layout is a combination of Volvo (screen), Audi (switches), and Jaguar (rotary shifter),” Walton said. “The clever center console (phone charger/pocket, sliding bins, and side pockets) is something Honda would do. Ram has done its homework on picking the benchmarks for both design and packaging.”

Although a Silicon Valley-aping infotainment suite will certainly draw eyeballs in showrooms, the cabin’s functionality and furnishings are even more impressive.

Crew cab versions feature a flat floor in back and seats that flip up, allowing you to store valuables in the safety of the cabin. RamBins, hidden underneath the rear floormats, have grown in size to better accommodate hitch receivers or ratchet straps. In a first for pickups, the new Ram 1500’s higher trim levels have a rear bench seat that reclines up to 8 degrees and is heated and cooled, as well. Ever been chauffeured in a truck before? Now you can be.

2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 front in motion
2019 RAM 1500 Limited 4x4 front in motion
2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 front three quarter in motion
2019 RAM 1500 Limited 4x4 front three quarter in motion

We were particularly impressed by the level of fit and finish. Every trim, from the base Tradesman up to the Limited, furnishes at least one two-tone cabin treatment, injecting a bit of personality and style into the cabin at any price point. Unlike some of its competitors, Ram took the profitable luxury market seriously by offering two flavors of luxury trucks—the saddlebag-equipped (seriously) Laramie Longhorn and the thoroughly modern Limited.

“GM has to be kidding, going up against this with the High Country and Denali,” features editor Scott Evans said. “This is a luxury interior. Look at this wood! This leather! The metal, stitching, design, attention to detail! The leather on the grab handles! Cadillac could learn a thing or two by spending an afternoon in this cabin.”

Hyperbole aside, he’s right. The Ram’s cabin ain’t just good for a truck. It’s good, period.

Engineering Excellence

Looks can be deceiving, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the 2019 Ram is a bit old school in its approach. Freed from the obligation (and expense) of chasing maximum payload and towing capacities with all-aluminum construction, the Ram team instead invested in a shotgun approach to improve capability, efficiency, and performance. Underpinning it all is a new high-strength steel platform, 4.0 inches longer and about 17 percent lighter than the old chassis. The aerodynamic sheetmetal is largely built from steel but with the strategic use of lighter metals for a total weight decrease of about 200 pounds.

Like the previous version of the Ram 1500, our 2019 Truck of the Year continues to come standard with a coil-spring rear suspension (now with frequency dampers), which slightly sacrifices towing and payload capacity in favor of a better ride when compared to leaf-sprung competitors. A four-corner air suspension with five ride heights and load leveling is available, giving the best of both worlds when it comes to ride and performance.

“It’s really a surprise on the road,” testing director Kim Reynolds said after a stint in an air suspension-equipped 1500. “It’s way more refined and sophisticated than the GMs. Steering is fluid and quality-feeling.” The standard suspension won praise at the expense of its competitive set, too. “The coil-spring suspension is better in the Ram than the ride in any of the GM trucks,” MotorTrend en Espanol managing editor Miguel Cortina said.

Despite the minor diet, maximum payload is up to 2,320 pounds, and max towing capacity rises to 12,750 pounds, besting Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, and Toyota‘s half-ton offerings (though shy of Big Daddy Ford’s max towing by 450 el-bees).

Things get even more impressive under the hood. Embracing global realities, two of the three available Ram 1500 engines come with supplemental electric motors to improve fuel economy and performance. These mild-hybrid powerplants, dubbed eTorque, use small starter-generators and a tiny 0.43-kW-hr battery stashed in the rear wall of the cab to aid the stop/start system and provide torque assist to allow the engines to lug around at cruising speed in four-cylinder mode longer and without having to downshift.

The eTorque system is standard on the base 3.6-liter V-6, which makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, and is also available for a small premium on the top-level 5.7-liter V-8, which turns out 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. A non-eTorque 5.7-liter V-8 generating the same output as the eTorque version slots between the two electrified mills. (Because these motors aren’t assisting when the engines’ are generating peak power and torque, they don’t affect those figures.) An eight-speed automatic is standard across the line, as is rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive, limited-slip or locking rear axles, and three final drive ratios are also available.

2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 Limited 4x4 8
2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 side in motion
2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 engine 2
2019 RAM 1500 Limited 4x4 engine 2

In back-to-back driving of our otherwise identically equipped V-8 Ram 1500 Longhorn and Limited models, Evans was one of the few judges who could feel the Limited’s eTorque assist at work. “I find the eTorque drivetrain a bit smoother through the revs and shifts and when accelerating up steep grades,” he said.

The fuel economy benefits of the eTorque V-8s show up in our data, but towing performance is a bit of a wash; all of the Ram V-8s, eTorque or not, performed nearly identically in both instrumented tow tests (where the Rams towed between 6,600 pounds and 11,400 pounds) and in our Davis Dam frustration test, which saw our V-6 Ram tester tow 4,020 pounds and the V-8s tow 7,780 pounds.

Performance of Intended Function

Despite the many hats we expect our trucks to wear, at their heart, they are beasts of burden. To that end, the 2019 Ram 1500 excels.

The most important part of any pickup is its bed, and Ram continues to deliver. The bed rails have been raised 1.5 inches to increase cargo volume, and the optional RamBoxes grow in size with minimal impact on bed space.

Some previous Ram innovations carry over, including the segment’s best combo bed extender and cargo divider, which stashes against the cab when not in use, and a CHMSL-mounted camera that looks down into the bed so you can triple-check your tie-down work while on the move.

2019 RAM 1500 Limited 4x4 rear interior seats
2019 RAM 1500 Limited 4x4 interior detail 8
2019 RAM 1500 Limited 4x4 interior detail 5
The one area where the Ram’s bed could be better is its use of tie-downs, or lack thereof. GM changed the game this year—providing 12 standard tie-downs in the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra (three in each corner) and the ability to expand with movable optional tie-downs. Ram offers the standard four (one in each corner), plus another four optional moveable rail-mounted tie-downs. Ram would do well to follow GM’s lead here.

The ability to access the bed is arguably as important as its construction. Missing GM’s standard bumper steps, Ram makes up for it with its option sheet. One of the air suspension’s many benefits is its access height mode, which lowers the bed’s step-up height to match that of the bumper step. For those who skip the air suspension, Ram also offers a kick-down rear step that stashes up and away behind the rear bumper.

Ram made towing improvements, too. For those who simply want to hitch up and go, Ram makes life easy. The rearview cameras have high resolution, making it easy to hitch up without a spotter. Trucks equipped with blind-spot sensors have an extra party piece, too; after you hitch up and make a couple of turns, the blind-spot sensors will determine the length of your trailer and increase the size of the alert zone to include the trailer length.

2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 front interior seats
2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 rear interior seats
2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 engine 2
2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4x2 exterior detail 2
 As for straight-up towing, the Ram 1500 is rock-solid, especially when equipped with the air suspension. Towing the exact same 8,300-pound trailer as the GMC Sierras and Chevrolet Silverados, the Rams feel so much more confident and just plain happy while at work.

Efficiency

Pickups aren’t traditionally known for fuel efficiency, but that didn’t stop Ram from easing the pain at the pump. Lots of credit goes to the lineup of eTorque engines, but Ram also worked hard at ensuring the new 1500 is as aerodynamic as possible without sacrificing the utility of its pickup body. Its segment-best 0.357 Cd is achieved using grille shutters and spoilers integrated into the trailing edges of the roof and tailgate. On trucks without air suspension, an air dam deploys automatically at 35 mph; those with air suspension get an aero-mode ride height.

The result is that Ram has the most efficient V-8 in its class; the V-8 eTorque is EPA-rated at 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined with rear drive or 17/22/19 with four-wheel drive. Non-eTorque Ram V-8s net 15/22/17 (rear drive) or 15/21/17 (four-wheel drive) mpg. Our Real MPG testing of the V-8 models generally falls in line with the EPA’s results, but our eTorque V-8-powered 1500 Limited 4×4 beat the feds’ numbers with an 18.7/22.6/20.3 score.

The one weak point would be the hard-working V-6 eTorque powerplant. EPA-rated at 20/25/22 mpg with rear drive and 19/24/21 mpg with four-wheel drive, our Big Horn 4×4 model achieved an unimpressive 15.4/19.7/17.1 Real MPG score.

Safety

The NHTSA has not crash-tested the 2019 Ram 1500 yet, but the IIHS has. The new Ram achieves top scores with a Good rating (the highest possible) in all six crash tests, with its only demerit a Marginal headlight illumination score. The 1500’s new chassis is built of high-strength steel and includes octagonal front-frame rail extensions designed to protect occupants in often-deadly small-overlap front crashes.

The Ram 1500 is also available with forward and reverse collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitors, and 360-degree camera systems, with the ultimate aim of helping the driver avoid accidents in the first place. That’s the true measure of safety.

Value

With pickup trucks, value is ultimately relative over a life of hard knocks and long miles. But we were impressed by the breadth of the Ram lineup. The base Tradesman model starts at $33,390 and should need little more than a spray-in bedliner and tow hitch to be ready for work. The volume Big Horn model is even more impressive. One step up from the Tradesman and starting at $40,090, the Big Horn models offer two-tone interiors, a smartphone-friendly 8.0-inch touchscreen, and more. Editors lauded our two Big Horn testers for their premium-feeling materials and high amount of content for the dollar.

Where Ram makes the biggest value argument is surprisingly in its two most expensive trims: the $52,685 1500 Laramie Longhorn and $55,285 Limited. These two luxe trucks simply blow the competition out of the water. They offer the tech that contractors and civilians alike require and expect, and quite a few luxury automakers could learn a thing from the way Ram matches colors, textures, and materials in these cabins. And it’s a bargain, considering our loaded Ram Limited tester stickered for $68,340, about the price of a comparable GMC Sierra Denali and less than an equivalent F-150 Limited.

Bringing Home the Gold

No segment is more competitive or more important to Detroit’s automakers and blue-collar American workers than half-ton pickups. These trucks are the face of their brands—purchased, driven, and loved by millions. They’re dependable commuters, tools, and toys that form the backbones of our families. With such a diverse skill set needed, it’s easy to just miss the target. But the Ram 1500 hits the bull’s-eye. No pickup in the segment better balances capability, efficiency, value, and quality. The Ram 1500 retains its old-school appeal while being refreshingly modern in style and substance. It’s refined and sophisticated without surrendering its dirty-fingernails roots. For that, the Ram is our 2019 Truck of the Year.

 

Read more at: https://www.motortrend.com/news/ram-1500-2019-truck-of-the-year/

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Crossovers replacing sedans: Back to the past

Sergio Marchionne’s comment that the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 would be allowed to “run their course” and then be replaced by cars from a “potential partner” caused a range of emotional reactions.

This is not the first time for such thoughts. In the late 1980s, GM, Ford, and Chrysler all lost money on each compact car. Chrysler changed that with the Neon and Cirrus/Stratus, which made hefty profits even while GM and Ford kept losing money. This time, though, insiders claim the company does not have the facilities nor the experienced engineers to make it happen; and even Ford now wants a partner for its sedans.

The earliest mass-produced cars included sedans, but many were the equivalent, in size and shape, of today’s crossovers — the area where Sergio Marchionne wants FCA to focus, at least in North America. Long, low, and sleek appeared as “the look to have” a few years after World War II, for 20-30 years; then the hatchback came into style.

Chrysler sparked a resurgence in the large sedan market in the early 1990s, then helped to rejuvenate midsize and small cars. The moribund large sedan market revived, and sedans in general gained a new lease on life.

Still, the popularity of the low sedan is recent and may be at an end. Ordinary sedans have been getting taller, with the 300 just two inches from the Nissan Juke and six from the Compass and 500L. The 1946 Plymouth was taller than any of them — and the Jeep Cherokee: 68 inches.

So why do many of us, including me, prefer sedans? Is it because they are lower to the ground and handle better? I don’t think so, given how most people drive, and the competent handling of most new crossovers (not to mention the popularity of BMW and Porsche’s crossovers).

Even gas mileage is not really penalized much now, with their larger frontal area countered by aerodynamic design, valve timing, and wide-range transmissions. They also have more space for the large batteries and other gear needed for light and full hybrid systems.

I have had numerous sedans in my life, no SUVs, and just two minivans; my only crossover was a PT Cruiser GT. Still, I can see the attraction of the crossover, especially now that everyone has minivans, SUVs, pickups, and crossovers, which makes visibility rather hard from a low-slung car.

I think the sedan will become more and more specialized over time. Two-door cars (including sedans) used to be extremely common, but they rapidly declined from the 1970s on, and now FCA US only makes the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Viper, Jeep Wrangler, Rams, and Fiat 500 in that form; and even in pickups and Wranglers, the two-door form is less and less popular.

I don’t think this presages the death of Chrysler or Dodge. The 200 and Dart (and Fiat 500) need high incentives to sell. Is replacing them worth delaying rear wheel drive cars for Dodge or large cars and crossovers for Chrysler and Dodge? Mr. Marchionne has a finite number of engineers at hand, and only so many factories. Paying off $5 billion in debt will earn the company more cash than building a new plant.

(I am very, very disappointed that Mr. Marchionne’s pledge that Chrysler would “lead” the engineering of future compact and midsize and large cars has been completely ignored and reneged upon.)

Limited resources, limited time, and a class of car that appears to be disappearing, selling only with large incentives … I can’t say I’d have been able to do anything different.

Or… it’s another trial balloon or an attempt to mis-lead competitors. We are talking about Sergio Marchionne, after all; and his announcements tend not to be set in stone.

Update: When buyers choose sedans, they almost invariably choose imports. Of the top ten 2015 best sellers in the US, there were no American sedans — Camry, Corolla, Accord, Civic and Altima accompanied two imported crossovers (CR-V and RAV4) and the three American pickups. The best selling cars (Camry and Corolla) combined barely outsold Ford’s pickups. In Europe, Fiat’s Panda has grown to challenge its best-seller, the 500; while the 500X, in its first year, nearly matched the declining Punto (both were beaten by the 500L). Fiat’s sales in Europe, 500 aside, are heavily biased in favor of crossovers, vans, and utilities. The same is not true for everyone — over half of Ford’s sales are the Fiesta and Focus.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2016/02/crossovers-replacing-sedans-back-to-the-past-31159

Standard Features of the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon

By now you’ve seen the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon. You know it’s got unmatched off-road capability, and you may have even seen it in action. Whether you’re familiar with the Power Wagon’s capabilities or just starting to check it out, here are a few features you’ll be glad to know come standard.

Electric Winch

That’s right, the winch is standard. So if you’re taking your Power Wagon out for some off-road fun or need to rescue “the other guys” from a stuck situation, you’ll find yourself well equipped in the Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon. The Warn 12,000-pound winch is mounted right behind the front bumper, so you can pull up to the scene and save the day … and prove just how powerful your Ram Truck really is.

Front Disconnecting Stabilizer Bar

If you’re in the market for an off-road vehicle, we know you’ll want to be pushing it to the limits. That’s why the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon also comes standard with the unique Ram Articulink front suspension system. High movement joints and the sway bar disconnecting system give you increased control over your axels, so you anticipate bumps in the road with excitement, not dread.

Electronic Lock Differentials

Why go the four-by-four route if you aren’t going to go 100%? Front and rear electronic-locking differentials come standard on every Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon to give it true four-wheel drive and maximum traction. You’ll be in control every bit of the way.

Of course, this isn’t all the Power Wagon has to offer. You know it comes with a 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 with best-in-class 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque … all this featuring an unsurpassed powertrain warranty of five years or 100,000 miles. Equip it with a Ram Box, and you’ll be the envy of every other truck on (or off) the road.

Read more at: http://blog.ramtrucks.com/features/standard-features-2014-ram-heavy-duty-power-wagon/

How to Choose the Right Vehicle for Towing Your RV

Selecting the right tow vehicle to tow your RV, especially one that is that is agreeable as a daily driver, can be a very difficult decision. And even if you begged, most dealers would not allow you to actually hook up your RV and test the combination out. Much of what you have to go by has to depend on the vehicle’s specifications, its towing capacity, and your driving impressions. Whether you have your heart set on a particular vehicle or not, there are still many choices to be made about the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, comfort and luxury features, and whether you want two or four-wheel drive.

Here are some important steps you should take when considering buying a vehicle to tow your RV.

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1) Trailer weight: Know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the actual weight of your RV. You can find the GCWR of the RV on the weight placard. Never use the “dry” weight rating typically found in a brochure, as this is the weight of the RV with no options or any of your stuff loaded in to it.

To find the weight of your RV, visit a public scale and have it weighed. See the Related Article section below for instructions on how to do this.

2) Vehicle loading: Consider the weight to be carried in your vehicle. Every vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This is the maximum permissible weight of everything on board your vehicle, including the vehicle itself plus passengers, cargo, and fuel. Estimate the weight of all your camping gear, passengers, and luggage that is going to be in the vehicle, then add up the weights. You must also include the tongue or pin weight of your RV. This can add substantially to the vehicle’s total weight and put many vehicles over the permissible GVWR.

If you’ll be carrying close to the maximum GVWR while towing near the maximum towing weight, you should forget about that particular vehicle and go to something with more load and towing capacity.

3) Vehicle type: For comfortable, no-nonsense hauling, heavy duty trucks with towing packages and big diesel engines cannot be beat for towing the big 5th wheel. But for towing a smaller travel trailer or a pop-up camping trailer on the weekends, you don’t necessarily need a truck. You might be able to get by with a passenger vehicle, like an SUV or large sedan.

Check the vehicle’s manual for tow ratings. Be aware though, that seemingly similar vehicles (in power, size, and weight) can have quite different towing capacities, and some vehicles don’t allow towing at all.

4) Frame type: There are two type of frames in today’s vehicles: full-frame and unit-body. Full-frame vehicles and traditional trucks are the better choice for hauling very heavy loads because the tow hitch can be attached directly to the frame with trucks and full-frame SUVs, minimizing the strain placed on the body of the vehicle.

With a unit-body vehicle, there is not a traditional rail frame. The body and the chassis share the load together. The tow hitch is attached to the body or bumper in a unit-body vehicle. If you tow heavy loads regularly in a unit-body vehicle, you’re likely to find more creaks, rattles, and body integrity issues. If you just tow occasionally on weekends, it’s nothing to worry about.

5) Drive train: The undisputed choice for serious towing is rear-wheel drive. It offers better traction and stability compared to front-wheel drive. Truck-style four-wheel drive is not advised, as it should never be used while towing, unless you are in an emergency situation. All-wheel-drive systems are a mixed bag: some aid in towing, while others have a reduced towing capacity and are vulnerable to added wear or damage from towing.

If you’re thinking about the all-wheel-drive model, check that the towing capacity for the all-wheel-drive model is similar to the two-wheel-drive version. Some of the more sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems will change the proportion of torque going to the front and rear to compensate for any change in stability due to the RV. These systems are typically available on the car-like SUVs that are otherwise front-wheel drive.

6) Transmission: An automatic transmission is usually the best choice for towing. A manual is OK only for experienced, careful shifters. With an automatic, just remember a few precautions: make sure your vehicle has a transmission cooler, and remember to always disable overdrive to prevent excessive wear.

7) Engine type: Think torque rather than horsepower for towing. If the terrain permits, see how confident the vehicle can accelerate from a stop up a steep hill. Torque is what gets the load moving so in general, the more you have the better.

Modern turbo-diesels really excel in towing, and they’re a great choice when available due to their better mileage and long-term durability. They also maintain their power at higher altitudes where gas engines tend to lose power, as much as 3% power per 1000 feet of altitude. This assumes the gas engine is not turbo or supercharged.

Be aware that if you choose a smaller engine for economy, it might be so strained that it actually uses more fuel than the larger engine, not to mention all the extra engine wear.

8) Brakes: Most modern vehicles have assisted braking, known as ABS. Ensure that the vehicle you choose has ABS. It can really help in a panic situation, especially towing a large RV.

Some vehicles have an electronic trailer brake option which is incorporated into the vehicles braking system. This feature controls the brakes on the RV in relation to how much you are braking the vehicle. If the vehicle you are looking at has this option, get it!

9) Towing packages: Make sure you get a vehicle with the special towing package if it’s available. If it’s not, look at another vehicle.

The towing package should include an oil cooler, transmission fluid cooler, heavy-duty alternator and battery, higher-capacity rear springs, and possibly a stabilizer bar (or larger one than standard).

Trucks might also get a lower final drive ratio (a higher number means lower gearing which is desirable for towing), and heavy-duty differential. Don’t get a stripped-down version of the vehicle you want thinking to add all of these things as needed. It will be cost-prohibitive and likely void your warranty.

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Tips & Warnings

Along with the vehicles GVWR is another important specification: the GCWR, or Gross Combined Weight Rating. This is the maximum combined weight the tow vehicle and the RV can weigh legally. Exceeding this can not only damage the tow vehicle, but may have insurance implications in the event of an accident.

When selecting your tow vehicle, make absolutely certain that you consider the tongue or pin weight of your RV when determining the payload you need. For example, if you have a vehicle that can carry 1500 lbs., 750 lbs. may be tongue weight from the RV, leaving 750 lbs. for cargo, including people, fuel, bikes, coolers, chairs, wood, generator, etc. This might not be enough reserve payload capacity for your needs.

CLICK ON THE BRAND NAME to Check out the TOWING CAPACITY on a CHRYSLERDODGE, JEEP or RAM Vehicle!

As read on: http://www.ehow.com/how_2094697_choose-right-vehicle-towing-rv.html#ixzz1yobcFwCi

Looking for an affordable way to go on vacation this year?

Despite record high fuel costs, RV vacations remain affordable!

The experts are predicting fuel costs will reach $4 a gallon this summer. Don’t let this affect your vacation plans! Even if you factor in higher fuel prices, RV vacations remain the most economical. In fact, A recent study by PKF Consulting found that fuel prices would have to triple for RVing to be more expensive than other forms of travel.

A typical vacation, even with just a family of four, can become quite expensive. There are costs for transportation, lodging, food—and don’t forget the entertainment. Amusement park tickets, museum admission, historic tours, boat rentals and the like all add to vacation expenses. RV family vacations are, on average, 26 to 74 percent less expensive than travel by personal car, airline or cruise ship.

The RV combines your transportation, lodging and restaurant all in one. RVs come fully equipped with state-of-the-art kitchens, bathrooms, central air and heat, king-sized beds, entertainment systems and more, allowing you to bring all the comforts of home when you travel. Here are some tips that will help you save money on fuel while still enjoying all the fun, freedom and flexibility that RVing has to offer.

Camp closer to home. There’s no need to venture outside leave the state! There are over 1,000 campgrounds in Michigan, located near popular destinations, along major tourist routes and even in metropolitan areas. You’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive home.
Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more!
Eat in. Cook your family favorites in the convenience of an RV to avoid the high costs of eating out. Better yet, cook over your campfire!
Drive 55 instead of 65. AAA reports, for every 1 mph increase over 55 mph, fuel efficiency decreases 2.2 percent.
Adjust home thermostats to save energy when traveling.
Pack light and purchase firewood, water and other camping materials at the campground to keep the RV lightweight while traveling.
Tune up the engine of your motorhome or tow vehicle, inflate tires properly and conduct regular maintenance to maximize fuel efficiency.
Use the grade of fuel recommended by the engine manufacturer to increase miles per gallon.
Travel during off-peak times. Avoid rush hour or travel at night when the weather is cooler and the vehicle air conditioning is needed less.

Veteran RVer, Jayne Kasper travels nearly 2,000 miles in Michigan each year with husband Ted and dog Jasper. Jayne doesn’t let the cost of gas slow her down, “We stay at campgrounds closer to home. I’m on vacation the moment I step into my motor home, whether we’re 20 minutes or 2 hours from home.”

Here are some other facts to remember:

Airfares and hotel rates are rising rapidly as fuel costs increase and fuel surcharges are added. You can avoid those costs in an RV. Fuel prices would need to triple from their current level to make RVing more expensive for a family of four than other forms of travel.
Fuel is typically only the fourth largest expense on a road trip, behind lodging, food and vehicle payment and maintenance.
Save on entertainment costs by bringing along your family’s favorite DVDs and game systems.
Memories made on RV trips will last a lifetime—as will the physical and mental health benefits. With a few simple adjustments for fuel price increases, RVing remains as affordable and as fun as ever.

RVing is still one of the most cost effective ways to explore Michigan. Replace family memories of airport delays, cramped hotel rooms and expensive restaurants with those of scenic drives, comfortable, amenity-filled campgrounds, campfire cookouts and outdoor adventures. There’s so much to see and do right here in your home state! RV owners surveyed by Robert Hilton Associates cited the most important benefits of family camping are bringing the family closer together, having new experiences and teaching a respect of nature.

As read on: http://www.marvac.org/rv-fuel-costs-affordable.htm