I love trucks and it isn’t just because country music sounds so much better in them (or, more pertinently, it is commonly believed women find men who drive these big rigs hugely attractive...) but when they are as handsome, capable and smart as the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie, it is hard not to be totally besotted.
Remember, pickups used to be purely utilitarian vehicles driven by farmers and workmen — but these days they would shame some luxury saloons. In my month with this ravishing Ram, I didn’t haul any timber or tools to a work site (didn’t want to get the bed dirty...) nor did I stop to give that hapless old lady a tow (those ropes snap — could have chipped the paint of my tailgate...) in fact I didn’t risk doing a thing that may have put a mark on it because I like it so much — but thanks to its sophisticated chassis and suspension engineering, I did eat up endless miles of highway in total comfort. It’s pretty clear that offering a luxurious ride was high up on the agenda with the new model. It may even have been on a par in keeping with those impressive payload and towing capabilities, which stand at 1,043kg and 5,783kg respectively. The air suspension really works wonders for the 1500; it keeps the ride nice and supple at all times and when you near 60kph, the vehicle automatically drops 15mm to improve aerodynamics. Another reason why it drives so well is because its new frame is made from 98 per cent high-strength steel which not only improves durability and rigidity but since it uses an exclusive front splayed rail design it creates an efficient energy-absorbing structure. When I did throw the Ram around it always displayed a sure-footedness; the handling isn’t sportscar like of course, but with the 2019 model dropping a whopping 102kg by switching to aluminium for the tailgate, engine mounts, front axle centre section, front suspension crossmembers, transmission crossmember and steering system gear, it feels far more nimble than before. Pleasingly, it rolls heavily in the corners when pushed too hard and the giant Nexens can be heard screaming down below, pleading for kinder treatment. But there’s no tyre roar even when you’re doing 100kph and the cabin’s pin-drop-like silence is only broken when you mash the loud pedal and awake the Hemi. I did that a lot — and it sounded terrific.
It’s left our long-term garage and I’m not sure what I’ll miss more — those rugged looks, that melodious V8, its slick eight-speed Torqueflite automatic, massive grille or the ever so roomy back seats. They’ve made it easier to live with and more fun to spend time in. It’s still every bit as tough as you’d hoped — yet classy enough for the valet to park outside a five-star hotel.
Actually, I know what I’m going to miss the most about this Ram, and that’s everything.
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