The Detroit Auto Show is on at the moment, so naturally, the American car industry has given us a new pick-up truck. Welcome to the all-new Ram 1500.
And the first thing you need to know about it is that it’s, technically, a hybrid. Yep, a hybrid pick-up truck. Sort of. We wonder if Leonardo Dicaprio will be ordering one to go alongside his fleet of Toyota Priuses.
You see, power comes courtesy of either the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 that has already seen service in plenty of Jeep-Chrysler-Dodge cars, or else the famous 5.7-litre HEMI V8. However, in the Ram 1500, an electronic motor system has been bolted onto the engines.
The system is called eTorque. It combines a motor generator unit with a 48-volt battery pack, which takes care of the start/stop functions, and provides a torque boost when needed. That’ll add up to 90 lb ft of torque to the V6 or 130 lb ft of torque to the V8.
Along with the extra grunt, you also get additional efficiency, particularly on the V8, which has been modified so that some of the cylinders cut out when they’re not needed.
The efficiency is also helped by the fact that the new RAM 1500 is a lot lighter – over 100 kg – than its predecessor. That’s thanks to an all-new frame that’s 98% high-strength steel.
Don’t worry, though, because Dodge has also made the RAM 1500 a lot stronger – maximum payload has increased to 1,043 kg, and maximum trailer tow has increased to almost 5,800 kg. To put that into perspective, the new Land Rover Discovery, which last year towed a 110-tonne land train for a PR stunt, has a certified towing capacity of 3,500 kg. The Ram 1500 could do that stunt with its eyes closed. If it had eyes, that is.
The new Ram 1500 should also be pretty good off-road. There’s new independent front suspension, and a five-link coil suspension design at the back. And if you must, there’s an optional air suspension package that’ll provide even more off-road chops. There’s also a new electronic locking rear differential, which comes as standard with the 4×4 Off-Road Package.
On the road, you’ll be thankful for the new adaptive dampers, and an active noise cancellation system, which should make the Ram 1500 comfortable and quiet. Practical, too – Dodge claims the biggest carrying capacity in the segment.
The interior has been thoroughly redesigned. And you get a whole bunch of toys, too. The Ram 1500 comes with the fourth-generation version of Fiat-Chrysler’s Uconnect system, housed in a 12-inch touchscreen at the top of the centre console. You can split the screen so that each side is displaying the information you want, and you get things like a 360-degree camera that provides a bird’s eye view of the vehicle when you’re parking. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, and there’s even an optional wireless charging pad.
There’s a ton of safety stuff, too, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warnings, lane departure warning and a clever parallel parking assistant. Handy in a big pick-up truck.
And naturally, this pickup is ripe for upgrades, and it’ll launch with a bunch of hardcore packages available from the off.
So, what do you reckon, Internet? This, or a Ford F-150?