The Ram has always come across as the biggest and boldest of all the pickups in the industry.
The Ram is every bit a full-size pickup, with seating high off the ground, serious hood bulges regardless of which engine is under the hood, and an intimidating fascia. Ram buyers are a very loyal group and FCA has rewarded them with one of the best pickups on the market today. This is evident as the Ram is one of the best selling vehicles in Canada. Here on test is the 2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab, with the V6 powertrain, to be put through its paces.
Everything from the technology, ride and interior will have truck buyers impressed, because the full-size trucks of today are no different than the trucks of a decade ago. Consumer tastes have changed and trucks are no longer just for work on construction sites. These are the vehicles of choice for consumers that now own/rent cottages and need to haul gear or watercraft with effortless ease. Need to fit a family of six as well? Full-size trucks like this Ram 1500 Crew Cab can do that, too.
The muscular arches and bulges make the Ram one massive pickup on the road. You will need all the space in your lane maneuvering down city streets. The chrome bumpers are large and with a chrome grill and lip between the hood, the front is more imposing to those looking in their rear view mirror. The 20-inch chrome wheels add to the Big Horn’s mystique, and wrapped in 275/55/20 tires, they can pretty much go over anything with ease. The optioned Red Pearl Paint is also $100 well spent here!
Inside, there is a shifter dial on the dash that frees up so much space for convenience. A bench seat across in the front is a rarity today, and it’s very close to being exactly a three-seater couch. The centre arm rest is massive, and folds away to create a seat. Rear passengers have leg and shoulder room that rivals that of minivans, so being back there for long road trips to cottage country is more than doable. Passengers have 35.6 inches of rear leg room to be exact; the most in its segment.
The seats in our tester are covered in a great looking ‘Black and Mountain Brown’ color combination that just feels right at home in this truck. This color combination also extends to the dash and door panels. Large dials for the HVAC controls and major controls for the infotainment system help fill the console and make it easy to use when wearing work or winter gloves. A must have is the Big Horn Level 2 Equipment package, which adds a heated steering wheel, power seats, rear power sliding window, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adjustable pedals and remote start.
Now, mention the Ram and people will automatically ask, “does it have a Hemi?”. The entry level model doesn’t, but that’s just fine, because the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 does an admirable job at hauling this truck around. It outputs 305 horsepower at 6,400RPM and 269 lb-ft. of torque at 4,175RPM. It hauls the truck to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds and can tow up to 3,014 kilograms. Payload at 866 kilograms is also more than acceptable.
An eight-speed automatic transmission is just perfectly paired to this V6 and this combination is seen in many other places around the Fiat-Chrysler family right now. It’s a better and more responsive powertrain than the six-cylinder engines in the Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra, and is likely the only V6 in the class that’s actually really good. It’s also efficient, rated at 11.9L/100km city and 9.4L/100km highway. We observed 12.3L/100km in mostly city driving, and the huge 87-liter tank is a nice touch.
An area that the Ram 1500 completely surprised us is how well it rides and handles, considering its size. Even without the optional air suspension that was not equipped on our tester, it’s one of the best riding trucks on the road. No compromises have been made with the coil spring suspension setup here, and is better in observation versus the leaf springs used by Ford and GM. and handling capabilities.
Pricing starts at $53,745 for the Big Horn trim level, and our test vehicle came in at $66,825 with the equipped options. Pickup trucks are now the equivalent of luxury cars when it comes down to pricing, features and content. Plenty of suburban families have made them the vehicle of choice and are slowly moving away from the luxury sedans that have long been established as a symbol of success.
Our time behind the wheel of the 2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab has us coming to some strong conclusions. The other trucks in its class are good, but the overall capabilities, good looks, ride and interior have made this Ram 1500 a winner. It may be a softer truck than the hard-edged GM and Ford entries, but most truck buyers favour that. It’s the most car-like truck out there, and the one that would have our vote.