2009 Dodge Ram 1500 – Four Seasons Update – September 2009

Months in Fleet: Five / Mileage to Date: 20,214

Long-Term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Update: Fall 2009 Array Miles to date: 20,214

Want to know something interesting? We’ve put more miles on our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 in five months than we did on our BMW 135i over an entire year. There are two frequently repeated comments over the first five months of our loan: we’re still impressed by the soft, yet controlled ride of the big Dodge, and the luxurious interior is holding up incredibly well. Initial comments were about how good the interior looked, but now we’re talking about how useful all the cubbies are and how well the materials are holding up, which has certainly been the Achilles’ heel for Chrysler products the past few years.

Praise for the RamBox has also been strong. Copy editor Rusty Blackwell managed to squeeze a (compact) golf bag into one side of the RamBox, thought he was quick to point out “this is the same golf bag that fit behind the seats of the Audi R8.” Road test coordinator Mike Ofiara took the Ram to northern Michigan for a long weekend and noticed a man inspecting the RamBox when he came out of a party store. Apparently the man thought the RamBox would conflict with the traditional duties of a truck, so he measured the bed and said: “Well, maybe they [Dodge] were thinking, it’s four-foot across.” If you don’t recognize the significance of a four-foot-wide truck bed, that’s the minimum width needed to transport a full sheet of drywall or plywood — certainly a requirement for any real full-size truck.

Our Ram continues to rack up some serious mileage, and that necessitated another oil change at 19,539 miles. The local dealer also tightened and inspected the serpentine belt during the service visit. A 5000-mile service interval means $45.73 service visits are rather frequent for us, but the cost isn’t unreasonable. We’ve also had good experiences with our dealer each time.

Though our fleet doesn’t typically feature many pickup trucks, senior editor Joe Lorio recently drove a Toyota Tundra and then spent time in the Ram the next day. He compares and contrasts the two trucks like this:

“I just had a Toyota Tundra back east yesterday, and now I’m driving the Ram here today. The Toyota V-8 is utterly silent at idle, where Dodge’s Hemi emits a low rumble. The Toyota’s steering is overboosted, while Dodge effort feels right to me. Both trucks ride amazingly well. Both are huge, but it seemed to me that the Tundra had a slightly tighter turning circle [Tundra 44 ft, Ram 45.4 ft]. The lack of a rear-view camera is absurd in a high-dollar pickup like this. The interior of the more basic-spec Toyota was not nearly as fancy as this Ram; more surprising is that the Ram’s cabin has suffered no wear to date, despite racking up the miles.”

As we head into the fall hunting season, the Ram is already signed out a week or two in advance. The need to close up summer cabins, haul boats and campers to winter storage, as well as the impetus to finish those last-minute home improvements before winter sets in will likely ensure the Ram remains our most in-demand Four Seasons test vehicle for the next few months. Be sure to check back next month to see how many more miles we can pile on our truck.

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Crew 4×4

Base price (with destination): $44,390
Price as tested: $52,230

Body Style: 4-door pickup truck
Accommodation: 5 passenger
Construction: Fully-boxed hydroformed steel frame

Engine: Hemi Pushrod 16-valve V-8
Displacement: 5.7 liters
Power: 390 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 407 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed auto
Drive: Rear-wheel/four-wheel
Fuel economy: 13/18/15 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

Steering: Power rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 3.3
Turning Circle: 45.5 ft
Suspension, Front: Double wishbone-type
Suspension, Rear: Multi-link, coil springs
Brakes F/R: Vented disc/solid disc; ABS
Wheels: 20 x 9-in chrome clad aluminum
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler HP
Tire Size: 275/60SR-20

Headroom F/R: 41.0/39.9 in
Legroom F/R: 41.0/42.0 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 66.0/65.7 in
Wheelbase: 140.5 in
Track F/R: 68.0/67.5 in
L x W x H: 229.0 x 79.4 x 75.7 in
Cargo Capacity: 38.7/7.4/46.1 cu ft (bed/RamBox/total)
Weight: 5809 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 56.1/43.9%
Fuel Capacity: 32 gallons (opt. tank size)
Est. Range: 480 miles
Fuel Grade: 89 octane recommended, 87 octane acceptable

Standard Equipment:
Front and side curtain airbags
Alpine surround sound with subwoofer
Two-zone automatic climate control
Power windows, locks, and remote start
Power adjustable pedals and steering wheel
Trip computer

Inferno Red Crystal Coat $225
Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats $500
Customer Preferred Package 25H $795
Protection Group $150
3.92 axle ratio $375
Power sunroof $850
32-gallon fuel tank $75
uconnect GPS $945
RamBox Cargo Management System $1895
Class IV Receiver hitch $335
uconnect Video Entertainment System $1695

Test Results:
0-60 MPH: 7.4 sec
0-100 MPH: 20.8 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.7 sec @ 89 mph
30-70 Passing: 7.7 sec
Speed in Gears: 1) 45; 2) 82; 3) 108; 4) 100; 5) 100 mph
Cornering L/R: 0.74/0.79 g
70-0 Braking: 181 ft
Peak Braking: 0.97

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