New Car Reviews

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 – Four Seasons Update – October 2009

Months in Fleet: Six / Mileage to Date: 25,114

Long-Term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Update: Fall 2009 Array Miles to date: 25,114

We’ve got a race on our hands. The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2009 BMW 750Li are engaged in a bit of a battle to rack up the most Four Seasons mileage. The BMW arrived in our test fleet before the Dodge, but also spent an entire month out of service due to a body shop visit. Our Ram is quickly racking up the miles – more than 5000 in the last month alone! – and continues to prove Four Seasons vehicles create demand by being versatile.

As our last update highlighted, the Ram is getting tons of praise for the well screwed together interior. With more than 25,000 miles on the odometer, we still haven’t noticed any signs of wear. To make sure our minds haven’t been playing tricks on us, we borrowed a brand new 2010 Dodge Ram for comparison purposes. Here’s what executive editor Joe DeMatio had to say after driving the trucks back-to-back: “The day after I drove the Four Seasons Ram on a 350-mile round trip to West Branch, I drove another, nearly identically equipped, Ram Crew Cab, with only about 2700 miles on it. And the two vehicles felt pretty much identical. The new Ram was not tighter, or quieter, or smoother, or more of a piece than our Four Seasons Ram.” This is a huge improvement over our 2008 Chrysler Town and Country minivan, which suffered economy-car plastics dressed up with faux wood trim.

But trucks aren’t really about the interior. The nicest leathers in the world won’t help you sell trucks if they can’t tow, haul, and get dirty. I tested all of those functions using the Ram as a tow vehicle for my 24 Hours of LeMons team during the October race at Nelson Ledges road course. Towing our race car to the track posed no problem whatsoever for the Ram. It would probably be better for trailer towing if Dodge had upgraded to a six-speed auto, as Ford, GM, and Toyota have done for half-ton trucks, but around here, I’d rather have the five-speed automatic and the coil-sprung rear suspension than a six-speed and leaf springs. Perhaps I’d have a different opinion if there were more severe hills near Ann Arbor and I did more towing.

It seems the trailer brake controller is the only legitimate truck feature missing from our test vehicle. It’s interesting that only a few years ago all trailer brake controllers were aftermarket equipment until Ford integrated a factory unit in its 2008 Super Duty trucks. Now, only two model years later, a truck without a factory-installed brake controller option might as well have an unsynchronized three-speed manual transmission. That’s how fast every segment in the market changes these days.

With all that driving, it’s no surprise we needed another oil change. We also had the tires rotated and a few technical service bulletins performed while the truck was at the shop. Dodge added anti-squeak tape to the hood hinges, replaced the rear spoiler on the tailgate, which Blackwell broke earlier this year, and some new RamBox locks are on the way all covered under warranty.

Other than that, our truck has been bulletproof. Remember to check back next month to stay on top of the Ram’s adventures. Given Michigan’s unpredictable weather, we could be going snowmobiling or to the beach before October ends. Either way, the Ram would be a great way to get there.

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