Diesel-powered luxury in a Ram pickup
As far as pickup trucks go, we were over-equipped with a 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4X4, capably powered by FCA’s newest 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Utility, luxury, diesel power and fuel economy in a top-of-the-line model
- What’s Worst: A $4,700 premium for a diesel engine, still out-pulled by a gasoline-powered V8. But it was once offered as a no-charge option on Jeep Grand Cherokee, so we can only hope . . .
- What’s Interesting: Ram 1500 may be only full-size pickup with a fuel-efficient diesel this year but after the intro of the Colorado diesel last year it seems inevitable that GM’s Sierra and Silverado, not to mention Ford’s F-150, won’t allow Ram to monopolize the diesel segment for much longer.
A friend in need is, umm, probably someone who knows you have a pickup truck.
Or, in this case, a Dad in need, who was moving from one, building to another within the same grounds of a seniors’ complex.
A perfect challenge for a pickup truck, requiring only short runs with no appliance worries, moving just a modest pile of furniture and goods, easily handled by back-and-forth shuttling.
And, as far as pickup trucks go, we were over-equipped with a 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4X4, capably powered by FCA’s newest 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine.
First, let’s briefly touch on the Ram 1500 half-ton lineup, even though we can’t do it justice with its varied mix of choices, including Standard, Quad Cab and Crew Cab configurations, V6, V8 or diesel V6 engines, 4X2 or 4X4 drivelines, six-speed or eight-speed automatic transmissions, three different box lengths, a whopping total of eleven graduated trim levels, twelve colours and countless other variables, including differential, rear axle ratio and trailer towing choices, along with a head-scratching list options, packages and accessories galore.
The price breadth of the Ram lineup stretches from just under $30K to more than double that amount, topping out at $73,835 for, you guessed it, our as-tested Laramie Limited model.
This top-of-the-line Laramie Limited model is regarded as the “black tie” luxury alternative to the southwestern-styled, cowboy-themed Laramie Longhorn pickup. And, for 2016, the Ram Laramie Limited pushes the opulence envelope further with unique badging, premium leather seating, real wood trim pieces and other upscale materials blended with meticulous attention to detail.
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If you spotted this truck on a job site, you would probably instantly assume it was the boss’s truck, thanks to its classy, optional Granite Crystal Metallic colour ($195) and posh-looking add-ons that include 20-inch aluminum wheels and a Limited Appearance package ($300), bolstering the bling with chrome front and rear bumpers to complement an all-new chrome billet port grille up front, instead of the old crosshair grille, also adding chrome bodyside moulding and the bold, chrome “RAM” badging on the tailgate.
The glitz and glamour carries over inside with a new all-black headliner and pillar treatment, a new console accessed through a classy tambour wood sliding door, pin-striping and accent stitching, Berber carpet inserts, Uconnect communications and infotainment system, navigation, heated/ventilated front leather seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, sunroof and, well, just about every extra that money can buy.
Luxury? We got luxury.
But, as to the business end of this vehicle, the Laramie Limited trim level usually starts with a 5.7-litre V8 engine but our tester has been optioned with the 3.0-litre EcoDiesel ($4,700) boasting best-in-class low-end torque rating of 420 lb/ft at only 2,000 rpm. That kind of serious grunt enables a 4,173 kg (9,200 lb) tow rating.
The EcoDiesel V6 is mated to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission that contributes to a best-in-class highway fuel economy rating of 8.0L/100km (4X2). Our as-tested 4X4 version is rated at 12.1/8.8L/100km (city/highway) which could give this Ram a potential range of more than 1,300 km on a tank of gas (with the optional 121-litre tank).
Impressive numbers but my real world results of mixed roads and conditions worked out closer to the city rating at 11.7/100km (comb). Still pretty impressive for a full-size pickup.
And although rumour has it that Ford and GM are scrambling for diesels to compete in their half-tons, the Ram’s EcoDiesel remains unique in its segment.
Our Laramie Limited mounted the shorter 5’7” box, still roomy enough for fair-sized loads and covered with an optional soft tri-fold tonneau cover that offers some weather protection and load security. The tonneau cover folds back easily in thirds to make room for bulkier, end-of-the-box loads or it can be easily removed and stored after a simple release of four corner spring clamps.
A RamBox Cargo Management System with LED box lighting and a cargo bed extender/divider system is also available. And the Ram even offers ample interior room for more secure storage. Second row seats flip up and, along with underseat cubby storage, offer fold-out sections to create a flat load floor for a roomy and versatile interior space that we used during our moving duties to shift more fragile articles – lamps, plants, TVs and electronics.
We certainly didn’t provide much of a challenge for a truck that recently won Four Wheeler’s 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year and ranked first as the 2016 Canadian Truck King Challenge winner. The Ram even made it onto the list of Kelley Blue Book’s 15 Best Family Cars, a notable achievement for a pickup truck.
But not surprising, because with this combination of pickup utility, SUV-like interior room and the kind of luxurious appointments we only used to expect in premium sedans, the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4X4 has raised the bar of both pickup quality levels and customer expectations.
Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4X4 2016 at a glance
BODY STYLE: Full-size, half-ton light-duty pickup truck
DRIVE METHOD: Four-wheel-drive; eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission
ENGINE: Turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 EcoDiesel (240 hp, 420 lb/ft)
TOW RATING: 4,713 kg (9,200 lb)
FUEL ECONOMY: 12.1/8.8L/100 km (city/hwy)
PRICE: MSRP $61,495. As tested $73,835 incl Customer Preferred Pkg ($3,150), 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 ($4,700), Power sunroof ($1,395), soft tri-fold tonneau cover ($450), anti-spin differential rear axle ($525), trailer brake control ($375) and more. Destination fees and taxes not incl.
WEB SITE: www.ramtruck.ca