2009 Dodge Ram - By Design

1 Bumpers are integral parts of the design composition, more like passenger cars than utility vehicles.

2 Big, lockable bins for small items are a long-needed innovation for pickups. A lot of empty space inside the rear fenders becomes useful, but the RamBox option costs $1895.

3 Add-on lips to the wheel openings are a bit clichéd, but they do add to the impression of toughness and capability.

4 These curved crease lines over the front and rear wheel arches add some distinction to the flat body sides.

5 The domed hood gives an additional feeling of power, over and above the raised section inboard of the front fenders.

6 Chrome crossbars look neat in these retouched photos, but in reality, the diagonal edge of the grille texture reflects a bit too much. Cost considerations eliminated the matte black areas that designers originally wanted.

7 Having the grille lean forward at the top seems antiaerodynamic, but it allows a longer hood, increasing the sense of strength and power.

8 The back end is quite tall, but these strong horizontal feature lines reduce visual height and further increase the notion of strength.

9 The highly styled rear bumper includes nice cutouts for the exhaust pipes, another nod toward family rather than artisan use.

10 The side indents just above the doorsills draw the eye downward, making the blocky vehicle seem longer and more elegant.

11 Short front overhangs enhance the impression of massiveness and improve maneuverability.

A A-pillar handhold is a boon for small people climbing into the cabin, and it's angled to avoid blocking outward vision too much.

B Composition of the entire instrument panel is a clever and successful blending of square-cut, trucklike elements and a passenger car-style instrument cluster.

C The center stack and console are exceptionally wide, really separating the driver and the front-seat passenger. Not a vehicle for dating.

D That thing got a laptop? Very possibly. There's a lot of storage space in the cab, a requirement established during research done for the last generation of Dodge pickups.

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