The RAM Report | REVIEW – RAM Truck

Since its launch as a standalone division of Fiat Chrysler Australia (FCA) in 2009, the RAM Truck brand has steadily emerged as an ideal solution for Australians needing a vehicle with high capacity towing abilities that combines high torque availability with the stability and safety not available from smaller capacity vehicles.

The RAM 2500 and 3500 models are distributed in the Australian market through American Special Vehicles (ASV), under a venture comprised of Ateco Automotive and the Walkinshaw Automotive Group.

The Walkinshaw Automotive Group’s well established credentials from its production of Holden Special Vehicles are then used to completely remanufacture the RAM vehicles from left to right-hand-drive on a purpose-built production line in Melbourne. The ASV-produced RAM trucks have full volume import approval, meaning they are fully compliant with Australian Design Rules and that ASV is the sole importer of RAM models covered by that approval with sales and support through an Australia-wide dealer network.

The RAM Trucks’ range continues to evolve, and for the second half of 2017 the line up includes for the first time the innovative RamBox storage system. This feature capitalises on the space that is wasted in most utes and turns it into a flexible, easily accessible, versatile and secure storage box.

The RamBoxes on either side of the RAM 2500 Laramie turn the load area into a vertical sided box and create two lockers the length of the load area.

These lockers are weatherproof and are included in the central locking, or may be securely locked separately. They have their own lighting and they create a space that is 152 cm long and provide 243 litres of storage space on either side of the RAM.

This space is easily accessible, regardless of the load being carried in the main tray, with lids that open a full 90 degrees. The RamBoxes have drain holes so that they may be used as cool storage with ice and space for up to 140 drink cans on either side. The RamBoxes are large enough to hold items including a set of golf clubs, helmets, toolboxes, kayak paddles, fishing rods or chainsaws.

The RamBox system also includes an adjustable and lockable bed divider that creates individual compartments in the pickup bed to separate payload equipment such as tools or equipment. It can be conveniently stowed in the front of the bed when not in use.

In addition, the RamBox system adds a cargo rail system with sliding, adjustable cleats for infinitely adjustable tie-down versatility.

Even with the RamBox system in place, the RAM 2500 tray is still wide enough to take a standard pallet with the added benefit that the load bed divider may be used to hold the pallet – and its load – firmly in place, allowing the rest of the tray to be used for other items while securely separated from the palleted load.

“Having convenient, secure storage for your gear – whether it is worksite tools, sporting equipment or ice cold slabs of refreshments for the team – makes RamBox one of the greatest innovations that you’ll find on a pickup truck,” says Alex Stewart, general manager of RAM in Australia. “RamBoxes are available now on the model year 2017 RAM 2500 Laramie, and we expect a significant proportion of customers will take up this version”.

The range-topping 2017 RAM 3500 is now available in two versions, one that may be driven on a normal car driving licence to complement the range-topping variant that requires a light rigid truck licence to meet Australian licensing rules.

“These changes are aimed at creating a version of the RAM 3500 Laramie that is a superb platform for use with fifth-wheel and gooseneck towing, and which may be driven on normal driving licence,” explains Mr. Stewart. “This is thanks to all the existing RAM towing advantages combined with the leaf-spring suspension in the 3500, compared to coil set-up in the 2500, to produce a strong and stable towing platform”.

The re-rated RAM 3500 continues to offer a maximum towing capacity of 6171 kg, but the payload in the tray drops from the 1713 kg load of the normal RAM 3500 to 894 kg, to provide a GVM o

f 4490 kg. The RAM 2500 Laramie continues to offer a maximum tow weight of 6942 kg and payload of 913 kg in the tray.

Emphasising the sheer size of the interior of the RAM Laramie truck, the 2017 model gains a second microphone for the standard Bluetooth hands-free system, so that both driver and front-seat passenger have their own microphones in the roof lining above their heads. The change has been made to ensure that the front-seat passenger has the same voice clarity as the driver, despite width of the interior of the RAM Truck.

The 2017 RAM Truck will also be quieter thanks to the fitment of new tyre size and type with Nexan Roadian AT Pro RA8 LT275/70R 18 fitted as standard, which reduce noise and absorb road harshness.

Prices for the 2017 model year RAM range start at a recommended retail price of $139,500 plus statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery for the RAM 2500 Laramie, and $142,900 plus statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery when fitted with the RamBox system. Both have a six-foot four-inch tray. The RAM 3500 Laramie has a recommended retail price of $143,900 plus statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery for the version that may be driven on a normal car driving licence, and $146,500 plus statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery for the range-topping variant that requires the driver to have a light rigid truck licence.

All versions of the RAM range are powered by Cummins 6.7-litre straight six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces a 276 kW and 1084 Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with gear preselector. Additional features include twin-mode exhaust brakes, switched chassis electronics with a tow/haul mode, factory-fitted controls for separate trailer brakes and a standard towing hitch, as well as a spacious six-foot four-inch tray.

The standard equipment list features heated and ventilated front seats that are 10-way power operated for the driver and six-way for the front passenger, with all seats being leather trimmed. As well as 12-volt power outlets, there is a 240-volt 100-amp mains power socket; the ventilation system is climate control dual-zone; the steering wheel is heated; the pedals are power adjustable; a sun roof is standard; the audio system has nine speakers and a sub-woofer and the dashboard includes a vehicle information system, while there are two rear cameras, one for the cargo area and another for reversing, which display on the 20 cm touchscreen display.

The RAM range is backed by an official nationwide dealer network and a three-year/100,000 km warranty that includes 24-hour roadside assistance.

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