RAM! BAM! BLIZZARD, WIZZARD
by Casey Williams
When The President wakes up to find piles of snow in his driveway, he orders up an armored Suburban and continues with his appointed rounds. When Casey wakes up and finds the same mess of white, he brushes off a Dodge Ram 2500 4×4 and laughs in the face of Mother Nature. She puts up a good fight with 8″ of snow and 30 mph winds, but the Ram is no baby. Snow, sun, empty, or loaded with a fifth-wheel trailer, the new Ram Super Duty is not to be stopped.
Of course, brushing off the Ram takes a big brush with an extendable handle as the updated styling rides high on a raised chassis. Coming a year later than the half-ton overhaul, the Super Duty has been streamlined, finessed, and beautified, but looks just as Ram tough with its Peterbilt-eater grille, flared fenders, and chiseled features. Heavy Duty models look ready to head-butt a Chevy with raised hoods and snarling louvers on each side. Tow hooks dictate strategically placed holes in the big chrome bumper that outshines the Chrysler Building.
Customers were clear that they wanted no pansy-assed designer messing with their tough truck, but they mentioned a couple of other things they wanted. Regular cabs are OK on the ranch, but they really want four full-size doors to carry friends and offspring. Dodge complies with roomy Crew Cab models like our test truck, or the Maybach-sized cabin in Mega Cabs. It won’t shock you that 90% of Ram buyers are male, average 55 years old, and married. Over a third graduated from college.
Before we coo over the tough work boys behind the wheel, Ram’s interior is fit for cowboys who keep their precious little hands warm with heated steering wheels and toast their chapped buns with heated leather seats. I’m afraid they also need to protect their manicures with thick rawhide gloves, but a man has to look good. Power adjustable pedals let their strong legs fit right in.
Tough boys also like Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connections for cell phones, cooled seats (God Bless Texas!), rear in-floor ice boxes for soda (or other beverages), automatic climate control, touch-screen navigation, Super Gulp drink holders, trip computer, and an Alpine audio system with in-dash CD changer. Sirius Backseat TV with three channels of programming is available to keep the tykes content. Fashionistas will go nuts over the perfectly shaped three-spoke steering wheel, woodgrain dash and door inserts, and new age silver finishes on the center console.
Nothing looks like a Ram, and nothing works like one either. Trucks come standard with a 383-horsepower 5.7-litre HEMI V8, but real men will shell out for the available 6.7-litre Cummins Turbo Diesel that produces 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and Godlike 650 lb.-ft. of torque at only 1,500 rpm. Diesels are 50-state compliant. If you can’t pull the trailer you own with the Ram, buy a Kenworth. Giving a hint to the engine’s longevity, Dodge recommends overhaul intervals of 350,000 miles. You can get a six-speed manual transmission for that over-the-road big truck feel, but most of us will prefer the six-speed automatic transmission and let the computer do the heavy shifting.
All of that torque is divine when towing or hauling, but spins the wheels in deep snow and ice. That’s where the 4×4 system comes into play. Forget about torque-shifting autoweenie systems, Ram Heavy Duty comes with a knob that that lets you select “four-high”, “four-low”, or “off”. Even with unplowed roads and fellow motorists slip-sliding in their bumper cars, the Ram in 4-High tromped through like it was on dry pavement. During the worst of the storm, my partner insisted on buying a new flat screen television for our bedroom. I didn’t even flinch, and neither did the Ram. We were watching Project Runway while snow was still drifting.
Engineers refined the chassis for ride comfort. A front five-link coil spring with beam axle system compliments rear leaf springs. I don’t know that I would commute to the office in it every day, but traveling from sea to shining sea would be a no-brainer. Fluid-filled hydromounts in the C-pillar improve damping and remove vibration from the truck’s chassis. Compared to previous Rams, this is a dreamboat.
Since way before they became handsome, Rams earned a well-deserved reputation for doing the tough jobs that other trucks couldn’t. The 2010 edition is just as capable, but wears finer tailory, pampers weary guys and gals in a luxury cabin, and provides a ride that no other heavy-duty truck can match. It will also blow snow with glee. The President can take his Suburban. I’ll choose the blizzard wizard Ram Heavy Duty 4×4.
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