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RAM 1500 Limited 2021 NZ road test review

The new Ram 1500 Limited is a flash truck, packed with as many features as most luxury cars. It’s definitely a pickup for the boss.

Words: Kyle cassidy

| Pictures Tom gasnier

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What does the aspiring Ram buyer really want? A bigger, well loaded and more expensive truck of course. And to that end, Ram’s local outpost has been bolstered with the introduction of the latest generation “DT” of the 1500.

A quick explanation. In the United States, Ram Trucks sell both the DT 1500 and the older generation ‘DS’, dubbed the Classic, at a lower price. It’s this older model that we’ve had exclusively here, but with the arrival of the next-gen truck, the local lineup has been revamped. We now have the DT available in premium Laramie and Limited premium specs, while older DS trucks are available in lower quality Express and Warlock trims.

There is a price increase associated with the new model, but everything is more expensive lately. Sheesh, that inflation rate, eh? Where the old DS Laramie was selling for $ 119,990, the new DT is $ 132,990 while the Limited we were driving was $ 159,990. It is quite a ticket for a pickup but then it is quite a truck. Not that the old one was exactly lacking in space, but the DT is longer, slightly wider and sits on an extended wheelbase, making way for an even more spacious cabin.

The Hemi has a decent distribution of torque across its range, with real traction starting at 2,000 rpm, and pulls up to 5,500 rpm.

The Limited is a flash platform with a number of perks, such as automatic side steps that extend when you open the door, making it easier to enter the cabin. Here you’ll find a large 12-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen on the new dashboard. This truck is covered in leather, the seats are covered in soft full grain leather and there are miles of double stitching. Harder plastics are relegated to the lower regions of the cabin, while there are plenty of additional extras like the leather-wrapped grab handle and ornate stitching reminiscent of the Old West. There are countless USB chargers and plenty of storage space in the cabin. The seats are heated (as is the steering wheel), ventilated and motorized and there is additional adjustment at the steering wheel and pedals.

Its rear quarters are expansive with a true three-sided bench offering matching leg and head height, while there’s even a recline function. And the seats can also be folded up to increase storage in the cabin when on duty. If you tire of the V8 soundtrack, you can pump up the 900-watt Harman Kardon system with its 19 speakers; apparently it is the most powerful system ever installed on a pickup. When muted you’ll notice this Ram is roaming royally, noise levels are dampened through active noise cancellation and acoustic glass.

The Limited comes standard with the Rambox tray, incorporating storage compartments in the side of the well and a tri-fold tonneau cover. The bridge is more easily accessed with a retractable step in the rear left corner, while the tailgate features remote release, smooth falling action, and an assist spring that makes it easy to pull out. put back in place. Despite its size, the Limited’s payload is not huge, 701 kg. But that’s the towing capacity you buy the Ram 1500 for, with the capacity to haul up to 4,500 kg.

Adding to its repertoire of flash trucks, the Limited rolls on air springs for a more consistent progression. It’s still a body truck on a chassis, but with a big rear axle, so don’t expect a ride to rival a Roller, although it is lavish enough for something with such a towing rate. . It is also adjustable in height; you can lower it for easier loading or raise it for off-roading. With its switchable 4×4 system, which includes an on-demand type AWD mode, it rolls smoothly along gravel roads, driving up hills without any unruly differential jumps while flattening rough ripples.

The 5.7-liter V8 is the only engine option, with the same output of 291 kW and 556 Nm as before, again processed by an eight-speed automatic. The e-torque badge on the domed hood refers to the engine’s mild hybrid attributes now with idle / stop operation and improved cylinder deactivation.

The Hemi has a decent distribution of torque across its range, with real traction starting at 2,000 rpm, and pulls up to 5,500 rpm. The cylinder deactivation system goes into the background; you’ll notice an eco light on the dashboard and a flat exhaust note as the engine halves its displacement. It’s surprising how often four cylinders can get the job done. The idle / stop operation is well tuned and reactivates the V8 quickly and intelligently. However, that doesn’t really reduce the appetite for fuel, averaging in the upper range of 16 L / 100 km. And we haven’t subjected the Ram to any real work. We would hate to think about how much gas it sucks up when hauling a big trailer.

When cornering, body roll is not a problem but rather gigantic mass as it never feels small. It rides bumps smartly and has a lot of grip with all that rubber on the road. The 1500 steers fairly quickly around corners, although the bar itself lacks a significant connection; it’s the screeching of the tires rather than the steering feel that signals you’re trying a little hard. There are no drive modes – it’s a truck, remember – or paddle shifters, but buttons let you set a “speed limit” so the car doesn’t shift. beyond the selected report. This helps to stop any gear hunting and would be good for towing and hill work. The car is otherwise decent with both smooth shifting and a willingness to downshift.

The RHD conversion on this platform is done well by the Walkinshaw automotive group in Melbourne. The switch to an electric parking brake does away with the oddly located foot-operated mechanism of the old truck. Its mirrors are still too small – you can lose cars in the blind spot – but the DT generation brings with it new active safety features, including blind spot monitoring. There is an active cruise which is a smooth operator in heavy traffic, and additional parking cameras are definitely helpful. You can never tell how far (or usually how far) you are from sticking your nose into something. It’s still a beast to maneuver, with an even larger turning radius than the old model. Although it has a self-parking mode, trying to find a suitable spot is another thing.

It is the size of this Ram 1500 that determines the buyer. They will need a sufficiently wide aisle, a large operating budget, and something very heavy to tow. Although we suspect this rather chic truck won’t do too many tough jobsites, given its hefty price tag and sophisticated interior.


Badge image

Model Ram 1500 Limited Price $ 159,990

Motor 5654 cm3, V8, EFI, 291 kW / 556 Nm

Transmission 8-speed automatic, switchable 4×4

Vital 7.05sec 0-100km / h, 12.2L / 100km, 283g / km, 2749 (claimed) kg

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