Dodge has been building trucks since 1917. They have always built a good truck, but it seemed that Ford and Chevrolet might have been a step ahead. Well, the 2009 Dodge Ram Truck will change that.
I spent several days driving the new Dodge trucks, and comparing the Dodge trucks with comparable models offered by Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, and Nissan.
Historically, Dodge trucks have always fared well on off-road conditions. It was the on-road driving that caused them problems. But the 2009 Dodge Ram R/T regular 4X2 model with a short bed that I drove, equipped with the new Hemi V-6, has changed all that. All five trim levels offer different sized engines, bed sizes, cabin options, and towing capacities. The Ram trucks that I drove were quiet, durable, economical, and powerful.
Dodge has developed a new-generation 5.7-liter Hemi which produces best-in-class 300 hp of torque, the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram offers a 4.7 liter V-8 providing 310 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.7-liter V-6 generating 215 horsepower.
The Dodge Ram is offered in regular cab, quad cab, and crew size cab with three box lengths: regular cab size 8-foot, 6 foot 4-inches regular cab and quad cab and a new for 2009 bow length of 5-foot 7-inches for crew cab.
The info on the R/T said it would go from 0 to 60 in less than 6-seconds. I tried it, and the Ram lived up to the advertising.
Most trucks bounce when driven on smooth surfaced highways. All that I drove did that. But of all those trucks, Ram had the least bounce, driving more like a sedan than a truck. An improved frame design incorporating high strength steel supports an all-new, first-in-segment, multi-link, coil spring rear suspension improved ride and handling characteristics without sacrificing payload (up to 1,850 pounds) and towing capacity (up to 9,100 pounds).
As impressive as the smooth ride and the Ram appetite for taking on rugged terrain were, the most impressive features were the safety and security. Side guard door beams, supplemental side-curtains air bags, tire pressure monitoring gauge, trailer sway control system, and vehicle theft security alarm are a few of the many available.
Mileage with all engine sizes included ranges from about 15 mpg in town to 20 mpg on the highway. Prices range from the low $20s to the high $30s across the line of trucks, depending on engine size and features.
After driving all the different brands of trucks, I would say that the Dodge Ram is the leader in most classes. Only the Ford F Series can compare. But Dodge is hungry, and is willing to spend the resources for new technology discoveries that manufacturers must have to remain competitive.
Durhl Caussey writes an auto column that appears in papers around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com.