Ram 1500 Limited review: a beetle for breakfast – Reviews

“You’re going to love this thing: it eats utes for breakfast,” I was told when I got the keys to Ram’s all-new 1500 Limited. But as I approached the darkened behemoth, I must say I was somewhat intimidated.

Smile if you must, but this American giant is almost six meters long, over two meters wide and 2.5 meters high, so it will outshine most utes currently driving on roads in New Zealand – and it does. that with great pleasure.

Like so many American pickup trucks, towing is the bread and butter of the 1500 Limited, and it again outperforms the regular utes with a 4500kg rating. We put this to the test by traveling south from Auckland to rescue a classic Volkswagen Beetle from a shed in the Waikato.

The Ram 1500 is powered by a large V8 engine, but it comes with a system known as “eTorque”. That little “e” means it’s a mild hybrid and it gets a 48-volt system that works alongside the 5.7-liter Hemi.

While it may not seem intuitive to electrify such a large engine, it works wonders for fuel economy on public roads, while still providing torque when needed. In the brochure you’ll find the 391 kW/556 Nm figures, but on the open road neither seems to matter, and all you really need to know is that it has plenty of both.

On the southbound journey without a trailer, the 1500 averaged 10 l/100 km, with the cylinder shutdown function working for most of the journey. On the way back with the small German car in tow, it averaged 14 l/100 km, with all eight cylinders working around the clock. Even with the extra weight in the rear, the Ram never felt out of its depth on the road, and overtaking was always an option if a truck got stuck.

With its fancy air suspension system, the trailer was barely noticeable and would only pull the truck a little bit on uneven tarmac. The adjustable ride height also came in handy when hooking up to the trailer, as lowering the rear made it much easier to get the hitch in the right place to hook up.

The other specialty of the 1500 Limited is luxury. It’s not the same kind of luxury you’d find in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but the kind of luxury you’d expect in an expensive Texas hotel.

There’s more room than you’d ever need, and the second row seats three passengers without touching the shoulders. In the front row, the center console feels as wide as a small car, and a total of six cup holders are available. The “cowboy” stitching is the only thing I wasn’t a fan of, but it reminds you of the Aries country roots.

USB A and C ports are there in both rows and the wireless charging system “RamCharger” works just the way you want it to.

Prominent in the center of the dashboard is a large 12-inch portrait touchscreen that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It also gets an impressive 19-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system that’s loud enough to provide entertainment for any tailgater.

But in our test, it was really drag where the Ram excelled. Not only is it equipped with a pair of large towing mirrors that give a clear view of the trailer and everyone behind it, but the “Back Cam” is also incredibly useful: it can be accessed at any time via the touchscreen display and gives a clear view of the trailer hitch to make sure everything is running properly there.

As a whole, the Ram 1500 Limited is much more than just a ute in my eyes. It is one of the most luxurious and spacious vehicles on the market, which is also a ute that can pull quite a large African elephant.

Obviously the V8 thing isn’t great for the old ozone layer, but the hybrid system cuts fuel consumption considerably and at 10l/100km on public roads it’s better than some diesels. Inside, it certainly feels worthy of its six-figure price tag, and I’d say it’s one of the most comfortable vehicles to take a long drive in.

As far as US trucks in NZ are concerned, the 1500 Limited is really only comparable to the Chevrolet Silverado, which is also converted to a right-hand drive layout in Australia.

It certainly feels like the sun is going down on these kind of big beasts, which is a real shame, but I’d love to see the next generation come back with electric power.

ENGINE: 5.7-litre V8 hybrid
CURRENT: 291kW/556Nm
GEAR BOX: 8-speed automatic, 4WD
ECONOMY: 13.6l/100km


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