Recently, we had the opportunity to sample the Truck of Texas winning Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at Knibbe Ranch just outside San Antonio, Texas, and we were impressed with the vehicle. The 2014 version of the Ram features a 5-link coil rear-suspension, and our test version was also fitted with the optional air suspension. In addition to the suspension technology, the EcoDiesel provides ample torque for off-roading and hauling. But even though we were impressed with the truck, is it the truck someone should buy over stiff competition from Toyota, Ford, and General Motors? Ultimately, that is up to the buyer. But for those liking advanced technology, the Ram 1500 is definitely a truck to consider.
Diesel engines are definitely the talk of the truck and SUV world at the moment. Now that cleaner diesel is available in North America, refined diesel motors are making their way into vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and the Ford F-250 Super Duty. In the Ram 1500, it definitely changes the character of the truck in a good way. While it is almost impossible to tell that the truck is a diesel while driving (props to Ram for sound isolation and build quality), there is plenty of torque when it is needed. Whether its climbing up a challenging rock formation, hauling a trailer, or just overtaking on the road, the Ram 1500 feels like it is capable for any task.
The beauty of diesel torque is that it is available down low, almost immediately as the accelerator is pressed. It behaves more like the EcoBoost in the Ford F-150 than the V8 in the Chevrolet Silverado. One additional benefit to a diesel in a half-ton pickup is range. That will make road trips even more enjoyable without as much stopping for fuel.
The owner will want to take road trips in this truck, because if they order the Big Horn edition, it is lavishly-equipped. Chysler’s Uconnect system is present, and also features a fully-customizable 7″ TFT display in the instrument cluster for important information. Again, build quality is top-notch with nice leather and soft-touches everywhere the hand goes. The King Ranch Ford products sell so well in Texas because King Ranch is a symbol of quality. In the Ram, the Big Horn feels just as good as the King Ranch to our grubby hands.
The Ram 1500 also has a nice, thick steering wheel. Some people like it, and others don’t. We do like it and feel like we’re holding something substantial when piloting a big truck like this.
The Big Horn features a two-tone paint scheme that looks great in person (and we really haven’t liked two-tone paints in the past). Actually, two-tone paint is becoming popular in the higher-trim trucks across all marques.
What are some other things that we like? The locking Ram Box is truly an innovation that we’re surprised no one else has really duplicated. Now, the tailgate features a power-locking mechanism along with the Ram Box. In Texas, tailgate theft is really a problem and having it automatic with the keyless entry is brilliant.
We look forward to spending more time with this truck later on, but our first impressions were quite positive. We haven’t even scratched the surface with this truck that features a 5-coil link rear suspension and optional air suspension. What we can say is that this truck drives nicely both on and off road, and has clearly moved Ram into the 21st century in terms of design and innovation.
Note: Vehicle provided by Ram for review.