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Motoring: Chrysler brands Ram

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | December 6th, 2010

"My name is Ram and my tank is full" is the new slogan for the Ram pick-up truck. I think this is the worst slogan I have ever come across for any product, ever. Who came up with it and who at Chrysler approved it? I think it's due to such terrible decisions that the company almost went bankrupt last year.

However, they did do some things right. For instance, I like the idea that Chrysler has turned Ram into its own brand. This way those who just want to look at trucks, just need to look at their Ram lineup. Plus, in the future, they can sell Ram as a separate company, if the need to do so ever arises.

But you see, while the newly badged truck has a new identity, you can tell that Chrysler, who used to sell this truck as a Dodge, didn't pay enough attention in erasing its history. While you can't call this truck a Dodge Ram anymore, as soon as you climb inside, a big plastic emblem on the dashboard gets your attention because it says Dodge! One gets the feeling that Chrysler did all this rebranding in a hurry and forgot to look at details.

However, this is minor stuff all this after all, and it doesn't matter what the badge says or the silly ad slogan if the truck itself is good.

From a mechanical point of view, there are no complaints. While it is available with a few different engines, my tester came with the very potent 5.7-litre, Hemi-V8, which produced 390 hp and an earth-rotating 407 lb/ft of torque. In my test vehicle, power went to all-four wheels via a fivespeed automatic gearbox. This gearbox is fine, but the competition has better gearboxes, so Ram should look at updating their gearboxes soon.

Still, this monster truck can tow up to 10,450 lbs, so regardless of what you wanted to move, this truck can move it for you with ease.

The truck has a very good ride quality, thanks to its multi-link rear suspension set-up that includes coil-springs, for when it's cruising on the highway. However, this mean it doesn't handle like a sports car. In fact, due to its rather vague steering, the Ram is not the most confidence-inspiring vehicle to drive quickly. My tester also had a rather annoying vibration that would start at around 110 km/h, and as I increased speed, it got worse. Yes, I know these vibrations came at over the speed limit, but doing 120 km/h on our highways is normal, so all vehicles should be able to handle these speeds with ease. I just hope this vibration issue was unique to my tester and is not a common fault.

Any other complaints you ask? Yes, there are. I really disliked the door mirrors on this Ram. Like in most trucks, these gigantic mirrors had a blind spot mirror built into them, but instead of placing this mirror horizontally to cover more area, the Ram has the blind spot mirror placed in a vertical position. This means the mirror didn't cover enough area and acted as more of a distraction. So Ram, fix the mirrors. I cannot tell you how many close calls I had because I couldn't see the car beside me.

When overtaking, I would put my foot down so I would clear the other vehicle easily, but that was sort of fun too, because when you put your foot down in this truck, it makes the nicest sounds. However, this kind of driving is not good for your wallet, since it drinks a lot. Even on an urban run, I averaged just 16.5-litres/100km. Ouch!

As for pricing a base Ram 1500 ST can be yours from $22,495. My loaded Quad-Cab 4x4 stickered at nearly $55,000.

Is it the best truck on the market? Umm, no. All I can say is, it is the best-looking pick-up truck on the market, and also probably has the best sounding motor. But the best way to enjoy this motor is in the Dodge Challenger R/T, which I say is a big enough reason to keep Chrysler alive.
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