The first move in redesigning a 21st-century truck is to shed weight. Ram started with the ladder frame, which it claims is 100 pounds lighter than before thanks to wider use of high-strength steel and an aluminum transmission crossmember. Overall weight savings total a claimed 225 pounds on the volume model, a V-8 crew-cab 4×4. The next step is to make everything around the structure look better, and the mostly steel body—save the aluminum hood and tailgate—is visually sleeker. Next, make it more aero friendly. To accomplish this, Ram raked the windshield another 2 degrees versus that of the outgoing model. A venturi roof design smooths airflow over the bed, the sides of which are 1.5 inches taller to reduce the parachute effect. Redesigned active grille shutters help the new Ram slice through air; they remain closed in cold temperatures to heat the engine as rapidly as possible.
Ram left no box unchecked in the hunt for aerodynamic efficiency. Coil-spring versions of the truck receive a 2.5-inch deployable air dam that reduces turbulent air movement under the pickup, increasing its aerodynamic slipperiness (air-spring versions simply lower the whole truck at speed). Tucked beneath the front bumper, the air dam lowers in less than two seconds when speed exceeds 35 mph and the ambient temperature is above 38 degrees. Clutched hinges allow it to fold backward in the event of a territorial dispute with road debris. This active air dam, Ram claims, helps lower the drag coefficient from 0.39 to 0.36.
The previous-generation Ram was the best-riding truck in the segment, largely thanks to the five-link live-axle setup at the rear with either coil or air springs. Building off that fabulous ride, Ram engineers retuned the front suspension with a lightweight composite upper control arm and revised the geometry. A relocated front anti-roll bar better controls body list. The standard coil-spring package makes a strong case for skipping the air-spring system in the new truck—the updated dampers have internal bypass valves that adapt to the speed of impacts, turning road irregularities into velvety afterthoughts. Twisting the Ram through ranch roads north of San Antonio shouldn’t be this fun, but the electrically assisted steering is precise, if a bit light. Scrubbing speed is easier than before, due to larger 14.9-inch front rotors.
We drove the Ram 1500 with its most popular engine, the unchanged 5.7-liter iron-block pushrod V-8. Its 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque are more than ample to move this lighter rig with enthusiasm. And there’s no need to pump artificial exhaust noise into the cabin with all eight cylinders barking through the dual exhaust. The vibrations caused by cylinder deactivation are largely quelled by using electronically controlled mass dampers—essentially computer-controlled Shake Weights—attached to the frame. Active noise canceling furthers the cause to the extent that we noticed the switch to four-cylinder mode only when the windows were down.
Folks, This is an all around amazing truck. Stop by your family owned and operated Sterling Chrylser Dodge Jeep Ram in Navasota, Texas to see our massive inventory of Ram trucks! We are your local Bryan/College Station, Hearne, Conroe area Ram dealer.