It was 1994, and I was testing cars on the radio and for magazines back in Houston when our delivery service brought a vehicle to the station that was about to set the truck world on fire. The Dodge Ram that arrived that day drew more stares on the street than anything I had driven up to then, including a Ferrari, a Hummer, and various new model Mustangs, Corvettes and Mercedes Benzes. It was what is kindly referred to as a “polarizing” design. That is writer-speak for you either loved it or hated it.
I loved it, and it took a bit of time to love its successor, and its successor. Oh, the new Ram is a better truck in every aspect…better interior, better engine, etc. But the formal grill that set the Ram apart and made Ford and GM scramble back to the drawing board, has been enlarged to big-mouth bass proportions.
When I first saw it, I thought they’d frankly gone too far. It looks like the product of an illicit affair between a Dakota and a Kenworth. Well, I still prefer the more subdued original model, but the Ram has grown on me.
Ad then there’s the engine. The 5.7 liter Hemi V8 cranks out 390horsepower which is more than enough to haul the groceries…for a small European country. This Hemi dates back to a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth and truck motors were by gosh tough. It is proof positive that Darwin was right. The fittest do survive.
The interior, always the most accommodating and handy of the big 3, is even better. Adjustable gas pedals mean my 5 ft. wife can easily fit in the big Dodge, and the dash, huge fold-down armrest/console and seats have all be redesigned with nicer materials and a better layout. The cab comes either standard with two doors, or the Quad-Cab with four forward hinged doors, or the crew cab, or just about any configuration you want.
The R/T package gives you the body-colored grill and other do-dads…lots of them.
And frankly, it all works. Room with a good ride, excellent build quality a nicer engine and more comfortable interior, the Ram 1500 has improved enough to be considered a true equal of Ford and Chevrolet in all aspects, not just style. And, I’ve gotten used to the grill, because behind that swollen nose is one great truck.