Ram Trucks Australia remanufacture the vehicles on a purpose built assembly line in Melbourne. The brand new Ram is built at the Warren, Michigan Assembly plant and arrives in Australia as a left hand drive and leaves the Melbourne Factory as a perfect right hand drive vehicle. You can find out more about this by visiting the Ram Truck website.
I have always admired the Ram trucks but never thought of owning one (I was a little apprehensive about their size) But seeing them advertised and being readily available now through a large dealer network, curiosity got the better of me and I went for a test drive. Although a large vehicle their size does not make them hard to drive, actually I think their size makes them easier. The wide track and long wheelbase I suppose is what makes them very stable.
The first thing that I notice is that there is nothing to suggest that this vehicle has been modified in any way. The dashboard hasn’t been modified, a completely new dash has been made. The dash is covered in leather with very nice white stitching, with no squeaks or rattles. The windscreen wipers wipe to the full side as you would expect from a right hand drive vehicle.
I have owned 4WD utes and Wagons since the early 70’s. Landcruisers, Mitsubishi, Ford and they have all served me well. The Ram though is in a different class, it’s bigger, stronger, more powerful, more comfortable and can tow more.
Bigger; 5817 mm long, 2017 mm wide, 1939 mm long tub, kerb weight 2605 kg, GVM 3450 kg and Payload 845 kg.
Stronger; One look underneath the Ram and it becomes very obvious that this is a strong heavy duty vehicle. Although it is not advertised in the brochure the build sheet shows that it has: heavy duty Engine cooling, Engine oil heat exchanger, and Heavy duty transmission oil cooler.
Powerful; 5.7 Hemi V8.
Comfort; The Ram is very comfortable. After driving over 300 kilometers I feel far less fatigued and tired than I have done on the same trip in other vehicles. The cabin is spacious and quiet, the steering is effortless and the engine is made for country cruising. My wife who is no car enthusiast even commented on how comfortable and quiet the Ram is and how she doesn’t feel the bumps so much.
Towing capacity; 4500 kg.
One could assume these big trucks use a lot of fuel, well on that 300 kilometer trip I mentioned earlier the Ram returned 12 l/ 100 km, That was on an intermediate rural road.
The Ram is 4WD which would be of great use when towing a trailer, for instance on slippery, muddy roads or when driving down to your special camp spot by the beach or river. I did try the Ram in low range 4WD on a rough, hilly dirt track and it was able to crawl over obstacles with ease. The Rams size does hinder it on narrow windy tracks but it is not intended to be a bush basher.
To my mind the Ram has the strength of a truck, the acceleration of a sports car and the comfort of a luxury car, one drive and I wanted one. There is a certain allure about the big American made trucks and in particular the legendary 5.7 Hemi V8.
The tri fold tonneau cover of the Ram is a joy to use compared to those used on those “other utes”
One other thing and that is to acknowledge the great service offered to me by Danny and Adam at Thomas Bros Wagga. Thomas Bros is a highly regarded dealer in the area and their dedication to customer satisfaction is second to none. I would highly recommend you contact Thomas Bros if you are thinking about a new vehicle.
Now down to the real test “how does it Tow” Well I have just completed a 2000 kilometer trip that included 1500 kilometers of towing a 2500 kilogram caravan. The start of my trip was about 150 kilometers of good rural road where I sat on 100 klm/ hour with the Ram trip computer showing 16 l/100 klms. Normally I used to only travel at about 90 klm/hour when towing but as the Ram done the job so effortlessly I let it run on the speed limit. Then I joined the Hume Highway and a glance at the speedo showed I was doing 120 kls/hour, I let it sit on this speed all the way to Moss Vale (about 150 Ks) because I was amazed at how well it handled the job of towing the caravan. Admittedly the fuel consumption increased at this speed (about 21 l/100 klms) Then down the Macquarie Pass to Kiama, down to Bega then up the Snowy Mountains Highway cutting through Jindabyne, Thredbo ( then chair lift and walk to the top of Australia’s highest mountain Mt Kosciuszko)
So for anyone thinking this big V8 would chew the fuel it averaged 19L/100 kilometers for the whole of the time it was towing and as shown above this included some higher speed highway travel as well as climbing one of Australia’ steepest mountain highways.
Although fuel consumption is a thing everyone asks about I think the most important feature of any tow vehicle is how well it tows, and the Ram does the job remarkably well. In fact the Ram is definitely the best vehicle I have ever towed with. The Ram is extremely stable even at high speeds. The Ram does not feel unsettled when rounding a bend and encountering undulations in the road surface. The OEM brake controller is certainly the best I have ever used, it is so very smooth yet strong.
When towing you simply select Tow / Haul mode. Not only does this select the correct gear for the load being pulled but it also selects the correct gear when descending a hill, that together with the V8 engine meant the Ram had far better engine braking than any of the diesels I have driven. The 8 speed automatic gearbox in the Ram really is seemless in its operation, where with other vehicles I often found I had to use manual mode with the Ram I simply just leave it in auto.
Reversing with a caravan even seems easier, I don’t know exactly why, maybe the standard mirrors give me a better view and of course the V8 just idles along when parking the van (with a lot of other vehicles I had to use low range to slowly reverse a caravan)
Now one of the most impressive things is that during this whole test no towing aids were used, no weight distribution hitch, no anti sway etc I just coupled the van to the ball, connected chains and trailer plug and off we went. This Ram is so stable it doesn’t need any of those aftermarket aids, this I think is a great testament to the Rams ability. Another good indicator of how the Ram handles the job of towing is that there is no noticeable difference in engine or transmission temperatures when either towing or not towing.
There are a number of options when selecting your Ram. You can have the Crew Cab that offers bigger rear seat area or the Quad cab where the priority is the size of the bed. Another good feature is that a low diff ratio can be chosen for those who wish to tow or carry heavy loads or the higher ratio diff that is ideally suited to those using the vehicle on motorways at higher speeds without heavy loads and where increased fuel economy is important. The Express Quad cab is shown below.