The big, bad, and slow
There are numerous advantages to going the pickup route; enough room for tools, flexibility to tow your trailer or even your boat on weekends, and don’t forget the biggest perk of all…
The lease on your Ford Econoline is about to come to an end and being a tradesman, it’s essential to ensure a quick replacement. You will need a new vehicle that best suits your tough daily routine. The choices are left between getting into another cargo van, or a pickup truck. There are numerous advantages to going the pickup route; enough room for tools, flexibility to tow your trailer or even your boat on weekends, and the biggest perk of all – not having to drive a cargo van. A disadvantage would be that your neighbour would continuously pester you to borrow your 2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman to pick up his new flat screen TV.
Other than the typical Ford, GM, and Ram trucks on the domestic market, there are also a few competitive offerings from Japan – namely the Nissan Titan and the Toyota Tundra. My test this week was particularly interesting as I had the big boy Ram 1500 Outdoorsman which, instead of a big rumbling V8, was powered by Chrysler’s signature Pentastar 3.6L V6. It’s important to note that rather than remaining under the Dodge banner, Ram trucks are now their own brand under the Chrysler umbrella.
Painted in a Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl, my Ram 1500 came draped with a bunch of optional features including the RamBox cargo management system, an 8.4” touchscreen with UConnect, a phenomenal adjustable air suspension system, a remote starter, and something incredibly useful on a big pickup, a ParkView backup camera system. At just over $50,000 as-tested, the Ram isn’t exactly cheap.
Though a bit sluggish at first, the UConnect system in my Outdoorsman is pretty simplistic to use once I got used to the lag. Bluetooth capabilities are particularly great, which is important as my job involves being on the phone quite a bit. Other parties on the call commented on how good the sound quality was, which isn’t unlike the other competitors. Nonetheless, over the course of my test week I became quite used to the media interface and it grew on me quite a bit.
I found the Ram 1500’s air ride suspension top notch and confidence inspiring. I had no worries about clearance over the rocky terrains in new developments. I live in Georgetown, ON, which seems to be developing more and more with every passing day, and road quality seems to be deteriorating as well. A week with the Ram and all my troubles disappeared. Initially I had concerns with the 3.6L V6’s ability to handle the rough terrain, but it proved itself as being extremely capable of the task at hand. Venturing off the road into a bit of mud proved effortless for the truck.
Although initially befuddled about the overall concept of the Ram 1500 known for rumbling V8s adapting what is essentially the Grand Caravan’s engine, I’ll have to admit I came out quite satisfied with the combination. I’ve always associated the Ram with its torquey 5.7L V8, so the 3.6 with its 305-horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque did render some scepticism from me. With a 120L fuel tank, the range was absolutely awesome. I didn’t drain the whole tank over the course of the week, and averaged a pleasant 10.6L/100km. A note from the week that I found interesting is that I actually averaged better mileage with this Ram than my colleagues did with the Subaru Impreza STI we had at the same time.
The Outdoorsman trim on my Ram 1500 is directed right at fishermen, hunters, campers, and anyone who loves the outdoors. Despite the fact that I’m far from being an outdoorsman, I began to appreciate the truck. It’s actually a brilliant thing. The fuel savings from the Pentastar engine were great, the towing capabilities and the confidence the truck inspires are all awesome. This is all adding onto the fact that the Ram is far and away the best looking pickup on the market right now. If I were to buy one though, there’s no doubt about the fact that it needs to have the V8. After all, what’s a Ram without a Hemi?
2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman 4×4 Gallery