I’ve been the butt of some jokes recently over my love for pickup trucks. Frankly, I don’t mind one bit. It’s been a rough winter and after spending the last few weeks driving low-slung sports cars and sedans, I was more than happy to jump into the luxurious 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie to see how well it stacks up to the tough pickup competition. Plus, after getting a couple hours of seat time in the latest Rams at a local Ram event back in the fall, I was eager to find out just how versatile the Ram really could be by putting it through my daily grind.
It’s well known that truck buyers are the most brand loyal shoppers out there. Even so, I am yet to meet a pickup truck fan who doesn’t like the looks of the latest Ram. It’s just a great looking truck, and the luxurious Laramie package and deep cherry red paint my tester came with took those handsome good looks to the next level. The sheer size of the truck is offset by well-executed details such as LED accent lighting and tail lamps, 20-inch chrome wheels, and the tan Laramie body cladding. These touches help make the truck look at home on the farm, the jobsite or even within the city limits of downtown Toronto.
The interior is equally beautiful and despite the fact that I was extremely impressed with the interior in the latest iteration of the Chevy Silverado I tested last year, after spending some quality time inside the Ram I have to admit that the Laramie has to be the class leader when it comes to the interior. The plushness of the cab in the Laramie rivals that of almost any luxury sedan on the road, and the real wood accents along with the two toned light frost beige and canyon brown leather are the perfect combination. Both the interior and the exterior in this truck look so good, you can’t help but feel good driving it. On a particularly sunny afternoon I was forced to give into temptation to lower my window and crank up some country music on the Laramie’s fantastic Alpine 9-speaker stereo.
The Laramie, which starts at $52,000 for a 4×4 Crew Cab, comes fully equipped with just about everything you’d want in a big comfy hauler like the Ram. Standard equipment includes heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power sliding rear window, LED interior lighting and Chrysler’s corporate Uconnect media system with a 8.4” touchscreen. Uconnect is one of my favorite infotainment systems. Notice how I said the Laramie comes with just about everything? I found that it is missing a couple features I’d like to have in a truck at this price, namely a sunroof and step bars, both of which are additional options. As equipped, with premium leather buckets ($1200), 4-corner air suspension ($1500) and some extra conveniences my tester came to just over $58,000.
On the road the Laramie does not disappoint either and is surprisingly well mannered for such a beastly truck. Unlike both the V8-powered Silverado and F-150 which I found to be quite sluggish and non-responsive off the line, the 5.7L HEMI (395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque) feels much more responsive and less burdened by the weight of the truck. Fuel mileage was not compromised either and aided by the HEMI’s seamless cylinder deactivation system, I averaged 13.7L/100kms in my busy commute. That’s on right on par with the 5.3L Silverado, and notably better than I could squeeze out of the 5.0L F-150.
As I mentioned, my tester was equipped with the optional 4-corner air suspension system, which allows for 3 different ride height positions; off-road, normal and aero. With that in mind I was slightly underwhelmed by the ride in the Laramie and while it’s not at all offensive, it does have a distinctively pickup-truck type of ride, which does feel a little strange from such a plush and luxurious cabin. For what it’s worth, I do feel that the ride quality in the Silverado Z71 is still the best in class.
My week with the Laramie took an abrupt turn from my typical commute back and forth to work and running around town, to some last minute challenges which gave me a great chance to find out first hand just how versatile the big truck could be. I took the Laramie on an impromptu trip out of town to pick up a large load of bulky furniture, and the Laramie kept my two passengers and I in absolute comfort on the trip. I think it is worth noting that access to the bed is not nearly as well planned out as the F-150 I used similarly last year, but the Ram happily handled the weight and got the job done like only a proper pickup truck could.
From getting the loved ones home safely to hauling furniture and battling traffic and the elements, this the 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie can do it all with style, comfort and confidence. That’s why I’m not at all surprised that this relatively new breed of luxurious workhorses continues to grow in popularity despite rising operating costs and more congested roads. My high-school auto shop teacher taught the importance of having the right tool for any given job, and the Ram Laramie was definitely the right tool this week.
2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Gallery