If it seems like it’s been a year (or two) since I’ve talked about Ram trucks, besides the amazing and ridiculous TRX super off-roader, you’re right – the pandemic supply chain has makes these vehicles a rarity in my readership, although I’ve seen a few Jeeps with shared technology.
So it was indeed quite a change to get a week in a crew-cab-sized 2022 Ram 1500, the Rebel model, upgraded to a new G/T grade. This is a designation created to offer more of the premium parts that come with the somewhat unearthly 700+ horsepower TRX, while still keeping you grounded with 395 horsepower from a Hemi V-8 engine. of 5.7 liters more standard.
Even this is no longer a boring option; my Ram had the eTorque version of the motor, which is rated for 410 lb-ft but uses a battery/generator system to allow up to an additional 130 lb-ft on demand for short bursts – with regenerative brakes and start /shutdown quite intrusive built-in system to correlate power.
The G/T also takes a bunch of TRX-derived bits, including a cold air intake, paddle shifters, a growling cat rear exhaust, and even a console-mounted shifter, rather than a pimple or mysterious pimples. As a perhaps slightly over-the-top ode to the tire-melting powers of the TRX, you also get the 0-60/quarter-mile performance meters on the digital instrument display.
I say this because, although there are a lot of trucks here – a ladder that’s actually longer than the Ford F150 Raptor I drove just before, which required me to cut the curbs and doing seven-point parking jobs – I didn’t find myself particularly drag-strip-mortified by the Rebel G/T’s exit. I was kinda hoping the eTorque would send me flying, but it just felt like I was in standard Hemi territory. (In fact, Ram often does the opposite, because its automatic braking system is so sensitive that you’ll often shiver and lock your brakes while trying to park or navigate, if there are other objects within range. 40 feet.)
Yes, it’s big and loud and relatively quick, but the Ford’s turbo really thumps, and… dare I say it, has better mileage too. I took the big Ram out on the same gravel and pothole stretch of Platte River Road as the Raptor and… hell, I got 14 mpg on my travels. More typical overall fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg combined, with a highway rating as high as 22 mpg. It was not my experience.
You’re also back to more traditional truck suspension and ride quality here, even with an optional $1,805 adjustable four-corner air suspension system and moderately pavement-friendly off-road tires. There were huge bounces and wobbles on the concrete highway sections, although the general ride was tolerable for the size of the truck.
It’ll clearly handle most real-world off-road situations, with massive wheel arches, tons of articulation, an industrial skid plate and oversized, easy-to-reach 4×4 controls.
Speaking of options, it wasn’t a cheap truck, despite looking very quiet and standardized from the side (it’s the nose and tail that get the ultra-aggressive, very TRX-style treatment, with plenty of decals and a power dome hood). The base price is $51,350, but two pages of G/T and Rebel extras bumped things up to $71,995, which seemed like a big stack of cash to me.
This included the full list of additions, such as a spray-on bed liner, tri-fold tonneau cover, an absolutely massive full cab sunroof, and tons of leather throughout.
The semi-gigantic center touchscreen stack, not as overwhelming as it was in the 2500s, has display graphics and settings that are oddly simple in this model year, though things work, and the healthy range of buttons hard for the air conditioning makes it easier than piercing through screens.
A brake controller in the cab speaks to the impressive towing capacity provided by the engine, with anything over 8,000 pounds on Rebel models and up to 12,750 pounds on other Ram 1500 configurations. Those numbers seem to get more impressive every year.
If you also need to load an industrial-sized freezer in the rear seating area, I think you might be able to do that, as it’s still the largest seating area of any vehicle on the market.
A little hope for you EV die-hards: Ram has announced its 2024 battery-electric pickup truck as a real project on the not-so-distant horizon. I’ll let you know when I hear more.
Andy Stonehouse’s “Mountain Wheels” column is published Saturday in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on automotive coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at [email protected].