2009 Dodge Ram 1500 – Four Seasons Update – August 2009

Long-Term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Update: Summer 2009 Array Miles to date: 0

Months in Fleet: Four
Mileage to Date: 17,297

Mere days after our last update on the Dodge Ram, a minor tragedy struck when the passenger side of the truck suffered a major scrape, necessitating a trip to the body shop. We took the opportunity to also repair hail damage that the Ram suffered a few months ago. After three weeks, the grand total came to a substantial $5712.54: 78 hours of body and refinishing labor came to $3276, paint was $898.35, parts were $1404.71, and other miscellaneous expenses made up the remaining $133.48.

Despite its time in the shop, we’ve continued to pile miles on the Ram, using it for a variety of truck-y tasks. Copy editor Rusty Blackwell has spent lots of time in the Dodge this summer doing everything from helping his brother-in-law move to towing a camper to northern Michigan. Blackwell reported a lot of positive attention from Ford and Chevy truck owners during the move. The RamBox seemed to be the main draw, but the bed extender and cargo management system also came in for praise. On the way home, Blackwell was stopped for speeding, although he swears the speedometer read lower than the speed at which the officer had clocked him. We’re going to have the accuracy of the speedometer checked out to make sure no unsuspecting staffers accidentally break the law.

Blackwell also reports the Ram handled his pop-up camper and associated accoutrements with aplomb: “I used cruise control at times while towing, and I was impressed that the system is smart enough to downshift for engine braking on downhill grades.” Like other pickups, the Ram rides best with a little weight in tow. “On regular roads, the Ram’s ride gets noticeably clunkier once trailer and gear are unloaded, but the Dodge is still much smoother than its competitors.”

Throughout the Ram’s first four months in our fleet, we’ve seen nothing but positive comments about its ride quality and handling, which is quite impressive for any truck, especially one that is being scrutinized by a group of handling-obsessed automotive journalists. The interior has also gotten heaps of praise for its well-placed storage compartments, multiple 12-volt outlets, and generally impressive material quality. Certainly this is a big achievement for Chrysler, seeing as how the interior of our Four Seasons 2008 Town & Country minivan came in for some sharp criticism. Here’s hoping the rest of Chrysler’s new vehicles continue to show this level of improvement as they come to market.

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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