News Column

Stand Aside for the Dodge Ram 1500 SLT

March 19, 2009

Ralph Gray, for

dodge ram, 1500 slt, car review, test drive, hands on

Regular cab pickup trucks can be pretty uninspiring. Then there's the Dodge Ram.

Just add a big V-8, big wheels and a slick interior and you get the Ram 1500 SLT.

With its 380 horsepower Hemi V-8, it zooms to 60 mph in a sports car like 6.1 seconds. That's a far cry from your basic bench-seat, regular cab workhorse.

Base price is $25,465. But add optional equipment like navigation screens, 10-way power seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and it's $33,565.

In place of the middle passenger seat is a massive center console. There are double glove boxes and lots of storage.

The three-spoke steering wheel can be easily grasped by a gloved hand. Control knobs are large and round. Seats are well bolstered and side mirrors are large.

Optional 20-inch wheels call for a running board to assist in the climb to the cab. The big 18-wheeler Ram grille is canted forward. Dodge calls it a "get out of the way" design.

The bold appearance does appear to work. Slowpoke drivers with the Ram crosshairs in their rear view mirror do eventually move over. Mercury Grand Marquis drivers seemed immune.

The ride is extremely firm. The slightest ripple on smooth pavement is felt. Don't try it on brick cobblestones. It was cobblestones 1,000, Ram zip.

Yet the Ram feels tied down and solid. On highway curves the truck holds the line with just a touch of understeer.

All that power flows through a smooth five speed automatic transmission. There's four-wheel disc brakes with anti-locking and electronic stability control.

Despite its outlaw looks, the Ram is a well-behaved truck.

Dodge Ram 1500 SLT

Engines...3.7L V-6, 4.7L V-8, 5.7L V-8.

Dimensions... 120" wheelbase; 209" length.

Base price...$25,465/tested $33,465.

Fuel economy...14/20 mpg.

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Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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