Test Drive Notes Library
- Welcome to 2020, America. The “luxury car” segment has been well established for decades. This is a “luxury truck.” This could actually be used as a serious work truck with room for a crew of four, a towing capacity of 12,500 pounds with its diesel engine, and the ability to go anywhere with four wheel drive. And yet it has heated, leather seats and steering wheel, a 19-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, and electric running boards that deploy automatically for you, like a butler, when you open the door.
- Mileage. For an enormous beast, it gets pretty reasonable mileage. We averaged about 20 mpg, driving about half city and half highway. We saw mileage in the 20s while driving on the highway. The EPA claims you’ll get 24 overall. If you even come within a mile or two per gallon of that, on average, that’s pretty impressive. To do it, you’ll have to opt for the 3.0 liter V6 diesel engine, which commits you to buying diesel fuel, which is closer to the cost of premium gasoline than regular gasoline. The Ram’s diesel engine has 260 horsepower and nearly twice that much torque. That doesn’t sound like a lot these days, but we never felt the truck was underpowered. And the eight-speed transmission performed flawlessly and without calling attention to itself—as good luxury transmissions are supposed to.
- Range. With the EPA rated fuel economy of 24 mpg and a 26 gallon tank, you’re looking at 600 miles between fill ups. Even if you shave a few points off the expected mpg, that’s still an impressive amount of travel between gas stations. You’ll have to stop to use the restroom before you have to stop for fuel.
- Ride. There are times when you’re reminded that you’re driving a truck. Notably, when you hit certain imperfections in the pavement and the truck jiggles a little bit. But mostly, this is a smooth riding monster truck. It’s notably comfortable for a pick up. It cruises on the highway like a high-riding car. OK, a very large and wide high-riding car. And at that speed, the diesel engine is mostly inaudible. Except for that diesel engine noise under acceleration, in fact, it’s very quiet in the Ram. Interior room is huge, as you’d expect.
- Thoughtful touches. The multifunction tailgate is useful. It opens down, like a traditional pick up truck, and out, like barn doors. There are volume controls and audio selectors on the back side of the steering wheel, right where your fingers naturally rest. There’s optional adaptive cruise control, that adjusts to the speed of traffic, and even comes to a full stop when necessary. There’s a huge, iPad ExtraSuperMaxi sized touch screen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also optional, a self-parking program. Unfortunately, it refused to bash the neighborhood Toyotas out of the way to make a space big enough for itself, but hopefully, Ram is working on that feature.
Test Drive Notes Library
- It’s huge. It’s a beast. Unless you either a) genuinely need a full size truck for work, b) live well outside an urban area, where parking spot size is never an issue, or c) both, this is not a truck you want to commit to owning. You can maneuver it around a city or a suburb, but it’s not going to be fun for long. It takes up every inch of most parking spaces in terms of width, and sticks out the back of many in terms of length. Every three point turn becomes a five to seven point turn. And while the visibility is actually pretty good, because its cab is a box, driving in parking lots, garages, and tight spots in general will take care and skill.
- Diesel clatter. Modern diesel engines have pollution profiles that are pretty close to gasoline engines these days. There’s also no diesel odor, and no diesel vibration to speak of. But when you start from a dead stop in the Longhorn, you really hear the diesel clatter. Once you get off the line, it fades away, but comes back whenever you ask for sudden acceleration.
- Safety is optional. What, pick up truck drivers shouldn’t be protected from crashes, too? You have to upgrade and pay extra for automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and other now-essential safety systems.
- Price. If you’ve priced loaded, full size pick up trucks lately, you won’t be surprised to learn that our test truck rang in at just over $67,000. If you haven’t priced loaded, full-size pick up trucks lately, we’ll wait for you to stop laughing. No, seriously. This is what loaded, luxury trucks sell for now, and why Ford, Chevy, and Ram are so committed to them.
- Tacky Longhorn Stuff?
Tacky is often in the eye of the beholder. And one of our beholders found the preponderance of faux-western curlicue add-ons in the “Longhorn” edition a bit much. On the other hand, an older beholder on our staff rather liked them. If you wear a belt with an enormous buckle, the Longhorn decorations may be for you. Keep in mind that you can almost certainly get a similarly equipped RAM 1500 without the schmaltz.
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