Event coverage of the 2014 Ram lineup Milton, ON – Ram and Chrysler were kind enough to invite us out to the beautiful Halton Hills area to drive some new trucks in their natural habitat.
Milton, ON – The fine folks at Ram invited us out for a day at the picturesque Country Heritage Park in Miltonto drive the entire 2014 Ram lineup. It turned out to be a gorgeous sunny fall day and a great chance to get out into the countryside to take in some crisp air and enjoy the fall colors. Arriving at the park it was clear that it was the perfect place to get acquainted with the full line of Ram trucks; the huge park offered plenty of winding dirt paths, old barns and farm equipment, just where you’d expect to find Ram trucks.
The day started with a presentation from the Ram brand and product development team. This presentation focused on two key messages for the 2014 line of Ram trucks; the new and highly anticipated EcoDiesel 3.0 engine now available in the Ram 1500, and the new air suspension technology available throughout the pickup line. Having just spent a week with the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, also equipped with Chrysler’s air suspension, I already knew just how impressive of a ride the system was capable of, so I had high expectations for the Ram. However, what intrigued me more was that diesel engine.
I consider myself a bit of a pickup truck enthusiast and despite having no real use for one; I easily fall in love with the big luxurious V8 trucks. The problem for me has always been that I can’t justify spending horrendous amounts in fuel just to get back and forth to work. This means I’ve been a member of the large mass of consumers who, for years, have been pleading with manufactures to offer a light-duty pickup with a diesel. It seems so simple that it’s hard to believe that we’ve taken this long to get here.
Following the presentation we were set loose into fleet of Ram trucks of various configurations to enjoy the Heritage Park and the colorful country roads of Milton and Halton Hills. While anxiously awaiting my turn with the EcoDiesel, my colleague and I took the opportunity to get some seat time in the rest of the Ram lineup. Starting out with the Ram 3500 equipped with the 6.7L Cummins turbo diesel and Long Horn package, I was immediately impressed with just how nicely finished and luxurious and interior was; it absolutely did not feel like any commercial truck I’d been in before. The heavy-duty suspension made the ride rather bouncy and brisk acceleration was merely a dream, but I figure that goes with the territory of a truck this large and wouldn’t necessarily be a concern for the typical 3500 buyer.
I thought I’d flip to the opposite end of the line for my next run and hopped in the Ram 1500 R/T with a regular cab, short box and a 5.7L Hemi V8. This truck was definitely more my style and the combination of V8 power in the lightest possible Ram meant it was an absolute hoot to drive up and down the winding country roads. The backend was ridiculously easy to break free and despite being a big lumbering truck it was very easy to maintain control and the truck took the twisties surprisingly well.
Next up was a Ram 2500 with the all-new 6.4L Hemi followed by a loaded crew cab 1500 with the 5.7L Hemi. Both trucks seemed to just float over the rough gravel and dirt farm roads with no drama at all. As expected the big V8 delivered more than enough power to handle whatever you could throw at it. Inside they were both similarly equipped with the UConnect 8.4” infotainment screen which I personally think is one of the better systems out there right now.
I finally stepped up into the driver’s seat of the new EcoDiesel and happily the first thing I noticed was just how little difference there was between driving this truck and the standard gas version. Gone are the days of nasty little rattling diesel engines. Power delivery was smooth and slowly navigating through the narrow farm tracks the truck didn’t feel much different than its gasoline-powered siblings. Out on the open road, the 8-speed transmission did a great job keeping the engine within the powerband allowing for ample passing power and minimal turbo lag. Taking off from a stoplight the EcoDiesel isn’t the tire-squealing HEMI, but it briskly reaches speed without feeling strained at all. Better yet, with a posted 420 lb-ft of torque, the EcoDiesel should have no trouble towing or hauling anything it might have to.
The market asked for a light-duty diesel and Ram not only delivered, but has managed to retain the same luxurious comfort, versatility and drivability that full-size truck buyers have come to expect – sounds like a winner to me, I just can’t wait to get some more time behind the wheel of an EcoDiesel to see how it really performs in the daily grind.
After thoroughly enjoying the scenery, fresh air and of course the trucks, it is obvious to me that Ram knows how to make a proper full-size truck. Now that they’ve begun adding the right features, such as the impressive and first to market diesel option, the UConnect system, air suspension and even front Park Assist, I expect that Ram trucks are going to continue to become more and more popular, not only with the rural crowd, but even with the city-slicker pickup buyers that seem to be the source of a lot of growth in this market – after all, it’s like the Ram ad says; “there’s a little farmer in us all”.
First Drive – 2014 Ram Lineup Gallery