New Car Reviews

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 – Four Seasons Update – November 2009

Long-Term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Update: Fall 2009 ( 1 of 5 ) Miles to date: 0

Months in Fleet: Eight
Mileage to Date: 29,858

In a typical Four Seasons test, our goal is to get to 30,000 miles by the end of one year. Our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 will have no trouble reaching that milestone. In fact, it’s knocking on the 30,000-mile mark after only eight months in service. In just the last month we’ve added 4744 miles to our total. That’s pretty amazing given our supposed predisposition to sporty cars.

Web producer Evan McCausland helps explain why: “It’s one of our best long-haul vehicles, and the fact that it literally can haul is icing on the cake,” said McCausland. What makes the Ram so appealing to those who have never owned a truck before is that the unladen ride quality approaches that of an SUV and the fuel economy has been excellent for such a big, powerful truck. McCausland notes, “The Ram is more willing to shut off half the cylinders in the name of mileage than a Chevy Silverado with the 5.3-liter V-8, even though it will occasionally sound like a U-boat at full-tilt while doing so.”

What don’t we love? Well, like all modern pickups, the Ram quickly enters luxury-sedan pricing when you pile on the options, as we’ve done. Even a “moderately” equipped SLT 4×4 crew cab with the 5.7-liter V-8 is pushing the $36,000 mark before other options are added. It’s still possible to get a work truck in the $20,000 range from any of the major pickup manufacturers, but many people aren’t willing to live with the regular cab configurations that can dramatically reduce the price of a truck.

Assistant editor David Zenlea doesn’t think the price for our truck’s optional equipment is totally unreasonable given the intuitive nature of the technology in the cabin: “Chrysler doesn’t get much credit for its navigation/audio interface, but it’s one of the better ones out there. I especially like how easy it is to set up and use Bluetooth — worked on the first try and every time after that.” Zenlea recently took the Ram on a trip to Chicago and again mentioned the “quiet, comfy interior, smooth ride, and enormous gas tank” so many other staffers have noted.

Eight months into our year with the Ram, we seem to have answered our original question: A modern truck with luxury touches like leather seats, navigation, an innovative bed, and coil springs in the rear suspension can move transform a pickup into a legitimate replacement for an SUV while giving the owner more options for hauling thanks to the open bed. Now we’re preparing for the first snow of the season which will give us a chance to exercise our Ram’s four-wheel-drive system and justify all that extra weight we’ve been dragging around all year.

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