What is a 2018 Ram 1500?
It’s Ram’s new entry-level 4X4 ute, which is aimed directly at those looking to buy top-end 4WD utes like Ranger Wildtrak, V6 Amarok and X-Class. It’s still a Ram, but a 1500 model. This means it’s shorter, smaller and lighter than the big brother heavy-duty models. Along with a lower asking price, it also has a different motor under the bonnet.
Like the 2500, the 2018 Ram 1500 is mostly built in the USA especially for the Australian market, before getting some final manufacture here. These guys are proud to be a fully approved factory importer, with full homologation to Australia ADRs and full volume import approval.
What’s under the bonnet?
The 1500 uses Chrysler’s Hemi 5.7 litre V8, which makes 291kW @ 5,600rpm and 556Nm @ 3,950rpm. Relatively speaking, it’s very similar to Nissan’s VK56 in the Y62 Patrol and Chev’s LS2. If you want a diesel, you’ve got two options: Spend a fair whack more money for a 2500 or 3500 with the Cummins ISB 6.7-litre motor, or wait for the diesel 1,500 late this year. Be still, your beating heart, it’s not the big Cummins six-banger. Instead, the VM Motori 3-litre V6 diesel, used under the bonnet of Jeep’s Grand Cherokee (making 184kW and 570Nm).
The Ram 1500 uses an 8-speed Torqueflite automatic gearbox, has a part-time 4WD system and a low-range transfer case.
There are a few big surprises with this Australia-bound RAM 1500. Firstly, it’s significantly lighter than you’d expect. It’s a huge 1,100 kilogram saving in weight over the ‘Heavy Duty’ models, coming in at a somewhat spritely 2.4 tonnes. The GVM is a bit on the spritely side as well for a full-size truck, coming in at 3,330kg. More than one tonne of payload is lots, but we would have like to see the full 3.5-tonne GVM for some extra flexibility.
What does it tow?
3.5 tonnes is the simple answer. Interestingly, the towing capacity can be increased to 4.5 tonne as a no-cost option, but changing the gear ratio in the differentials. The ratio gets shortened from 3.21:1 to 3.92:1, trading off efficiency for a bit more punch through the lower overall gearing. Beyond the gearing, only a body control module re-flash is needed for the extra tonne in towing capacity.
What about GCM, I hear you ask? Pertinent question, with no answer yet. Our spec sheet still says ‘TBC’ unfortunately. That’s something they must still be figuring out. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out.
How much fuel does it use?
I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when the friendly folk at Ram told us it had a combined cycle of 9.9 litres per hundred kilometres. Such little fuel usage for a big petrol V8 truck is mighty impressive, helped no doubt by the cylinder deactivation technology and variable valve timing that the Hemi V8 uses.
I have to say I’m a little sceptical about how accessible 9.9 litres per hundred will really be, especially after spending some time in Y62 Patrol with a very similar engine under the bonnet. The Patrol is a few hundred kilograms heavier, but it was using an absolute bull’s roar from anything resembling 10 litres per hundred. Stay tuned, because we’ll be putting this figure to the test.
Why would you buy one?
One reason: you want something bigger than old mate next door. Beyond that, there are quite a few reasons why a RAM 1500 makes sense: If you’ve outgrown your (insert ute name here) and want more, well, everything, then this RAM does become a logical step. Aside from having an on-road presence only a big yank tank can muster, the RAM 1500 does have more space, payload, towing capacity and power than any other 4WD ute. Well, not including RAM 2500, HSV Silverado and other RHD-converted big rigs with 6.5+ litre turbo diesel motors and four-figures worth of newton-metres. Being bigger means you’ve got more load space inside and out, and have the option of towing up to 4.5 tonnes. Or, maybe you just want a 4X4 ute with a 300kW petrol V8.
Different sizes and specs
You can have your Ram 1500 in two main flavours: mid-range Express and top-end Laramie. Along with getting some extra chrome and nice interior finishes, the Laramie trades off tub size for some extra space in the 2nd row. It’s a noticeable change: the tub shrinks from 192cm to 170cm, which turns into handy legroom. It’s worth noting here the tub stays very wide, giving a lot more space than your typical dual cab ute. So if you want a real family ute, it’s worth thinking about stumping up for the more expensive Laramie ($99,950).
How big is it?
If you thought the Ram Truck was always too big, then you might be happy with the smaller footprint of the 1500. It has a 3,573 mm wheelbase and 5,816 mm of overall length. Width and height are 2,018 mm and 1,968 mm.
Compared to a Ranger Wildtrak, the 1500 is 390mm longer, 158mm wider and 120mm taller. It’s still bigger, that’s clearly evident when looking at and sitting in the Ram 1500. But it is a touch smaller than a 2500. How easy is the 1500 to drive? We’re not sure yet, we’re also not sure how well it will tow or go off-road, so stay tuned until we get some time behind the wheel.
When is it available?
The first available will be the Laramie, from July 2018. Then the Express is coming in September, followed by V6 diesel-powered variants and a ‘Black Pack’ towards the end of the year.
What do you think? Will the Ram 1500 become an Australian success story?
2018 RAM Price List from 1 July 2018
Recommended retail prices excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery unless indicated as driveaway
|RAM Model and version||Price|
|RAM 1500 Express|
|RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub||$79,950|
|RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub with RamBoxes||$84,450|
|RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub Black Pack||$89,450|
|RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub Black Pack with RamBoxes||$93,950|
|RAM 1500 Laramie|
|RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 5’7” Tub||$99,950|
|RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 5’7” Tub with RamBoxes||$104,450|
|RAM 2500 Laramie|
|RAM 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub||$139,950|
|RAM 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub with five seats (*)||$140,950|
|RAM 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 8’ Tub (*)||$140,950|
|RAM 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub Sport Appearance Pack||$146,550|
|RAM 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub with RamBoxes||$144,350|
|RAM 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub with RamBoxes and five seats (*)||$145,350|
|RAM 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub Sport Appearance Pack with RamBoxes||$150,950|
|RAM 3500 Laramie|
|RAM 3500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub, car driving license rating||$144,350|
|RAM 3500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 8 Tub, car driving license rating (*)||$145,350|
|RAM 3500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 6’4” Tub, light rigid truck driving license rating||$146,950|
|RAM 3500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 8 Tub, light rigid truck driving license rating (*)||$147,950|
|Options||1500 Express||1500 Laramie||2500||3500|
|Wheel to Wheel side steps||N/A||N/A||$1500||N/A|
|Trifold Tonneau cover for non-RamBox versions||$1795||$1795||$1795||$1795|
|Auto level rear air suspension (*)||N/A||N/A||$4000||N/A|