The big, bold and very powerful RAM pick-up is heading over here with its sights set on shaking up the sector’s hierarchy, reports International Van of the Year judge George Barrow.
America definitely does some things better than other nations.
Their BBQ food is always great, customer service is always on-point, and where would we be without a good old Hollywood blockbuster?
They’re pretty handy at cars too, providing you don’t want anything too dynamic and you’re happy with a massive great engine that only produces the same amount of power as a European family hatchback.
And then, of course, there is the pick-up truck. I’m sure you’ll have heard it before, but the world’s best-selling vehicle is a pick-up only available in one country, the US, and it’s the Ford F150.
Trailing in its wake are any number of other gargantuan pick-ups, but there’s one in particular that nearly manages to match the Ford for both its sheer presence and popularity: the RAM.
Formerly known as the Dodge RAM, it’s been nearly 10 years since the name-change, when Fiat-Chrysler rescued the struggling brand, but despite Fiat Group products heading to the States, very little has come the other way. That is until recently when Fiat announced the RAM would be coming to Europe (and the UK). While that hasn’t actually worked out exactly as planned, the new-for-2019 RAM pick-up is now available through the next best thing: an importer with strong and credible links to the manufacturer.
The RAM is still a hulking great thing, but there’s a reason why it might now not be quite so inconsistent and out of touch with the wants and needs of the UK market. Our love affair with the pick-up truck continues to grow with nearly 54,000 sold last year, and across the board the models purchased are typically the more powerful on offer.
The new RAM 1500 is then, with its 5.7-litre Hemi V8, surely a ripe candidate for the UK buyer, particularly as this new iteration has been on a diet and shed 102kg. These are down to changes to the chassis and bodywork, with 45kg coming from the use of high-strength steel in the ladder chassis frame alone. It does still weigh 2,404kg as a crew cab, but for a pick-up as traditional as the RAM any weight saving should be considered progress.
Unlike the pick-ups sold in the UK, the engine is petrol not diesel, and the power it produces is more than 50% more than the next nearest rival on sale here – the 258hp VW Amarok.
For a commercial vehicle as a working tool, the numbers are quite hard to imagine – 390hp and 555Nm of torque all through its TorqueFlight eight-speed torque converter auto gearbox.
That is until you remember the weight and size of the thing. At 5,916mm long it feels as though nearly two metres of length is between you and the bumper – it might be lighter, but it’s definitely still big.