Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: August 24, 2016
It’s no surprise that Dodge builds some of the coolest trucks on the market. They have a deep-rooted history that dates back to the late 70s with notable examples like the Lil’ Red Express, the Warlock, and the Macho Power Wagon. These trucks were built not for heavy duty work at the construction yard, but to tickle the imagination of the enthusiast.
This imagination hit a climax when Dodge stuffed the 500-hp V10 from a Viper inside a Ram and called it the monstrous SRT-10, which also came with a manual transmission. It still retains the top-speed record for a production truck at around 250 km/h. These vehicles are all about having fun over function. Other manufacturers have taken note as well, creating race-ready trucks like the old Chevrolet Silverado SS and the Ford SVT Lightning. These trucks are all but gone, but Dodge has kept the spirit alive regardless of low projected sales numbers.
While refinement, towing capability, and off-road prowess still take precedence over outright speed in a truck, Dodge will still sell you one that pays homage to the Lil’ Red Express and the RAM SRT-10. The 2016 Ram 1500 R/T comes awfully close to matching the performance of its wild predecessors while delivering a whole new level of refinement those toughies lacked.
Based on the mid-level Sport trim, this Flame Red 2016 R/T looks like a properly good muscle truck and is available only in a rear wheel drive, regular cab form with the 1.9 meter long box. The only engine choice available is a 395-hp 5.7-litre HEMI V8; it pairs with a ZF Torqueflite 8HP70 eight-speed automatic that spins a 3.92:1 rear-axle ratio.
Alas over our test week, we observed a meager 15.0 L/100km fuel average, but this puts it in line with other full-sized V8 picks we have evaluated. This R/T is a big boy, weighing in at 2,316 kg and it is not light in the least bit, so don’t expect to set any land-speed records. But the Hemi’s 410 lb-ft. of torque and the intelligent tranny do come to life when you put the pedal to the metal.
Surprisingly, 100 km/h comes in just over five and a half seconds, which is just half a second off the 0-100 of the mighty SRT10. However, the R/T won’t reach 250 km/h thanks to a governor that drops the anchor at 170 km/h. Driving around the countryside, the truck feels very well balanced and sure-footed, thanks to the multiple-link and coil-spring rear suspension.
Despite its purposeful stance, the R/T’s suspension setup is actually the same as that of a normal Ram 1500 model. As a result, overall ride quality remains SUV-like despite the short wheelbase, and the truck boasts payload and towing capacities of well over 2-tonnes. I immediately noted a much better ride quality compared to the Chevrolet Silverado Z71 I test drove a few months ago, to have that and still maintain the body-on-frame infrastructure, means you have a winning formula in my books. For what it lacks in not having a BMW-like 50/50 weight distribution, it makes up for with a tall-ride height and the ability to make the driver feel like they’re king of the road.
The regular cab R/T is a small, tidy package for a full-sizer that perpetuates a fishbowl-like feeling in the amount of glass that surrounds the cockpit. It gets appreciated at Home Depot parking lots and on the road by truck lovers who can’t help but stop and stare at the bright red hotrod. Our test truck’s bucket seats are limited to an occupancy of just two, which is okay for a young couple without any Rugrats. There is, however, space for a couple of duffle bags behind the seats, and you can add the two locking storage bins if you choose the $1,195 RamBox bedside compartments.
Dodge hasn’t set the R/T as a stand-alone model, and Sport models automatically become R/Ts when you configure one with the Hemi V8, rear-drive, short bed, and the regular cab. Pricing for the base setup is $42,995 and includes the R/T’s faux vented hood, big 22-inch chrome wheels, monochromatic styling, as well as a dizzying array of amenities compared with sport trucks of yesteryear: a limited-slip differential, 98 litre fuel tank, keyless entry with remote start, rearview camera, 8.4-inch touch-screen infotainment, heated steering wheel, rotary gear selector, and power-adjustable pedals.
The RamBox compartments were the priciest option on the test truck, but make for an extra bit of storage space to fit your tools, and thanks to the drain plugs in the bottom, you can turn it into a mobile drink cooler. Also included were the $825 trailer package (Class IV hitch, and an integrated trailer-brake controller) and a $450 soft tri-fold tonneau cover.
After everything was said and done, the total package rounds off to $50,000. That is a little steep for a truck that could be a wild horse come wintertime, but the overall execution is slick and menacing. It’d make for the perfect summer toy.
The Ram R/T does not have any direct competitors at the moment as the old Ford F-150 Tremor that was available in the U.S. was discontinued last year, and the new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor competes more with the Ram Rebel (sort of).
The Ford F-150 Tremor had a turbocharged EcoBoost V6 that lacked the R/Ts V8 rumble, enough of a sin that any enthusiast would obviously go with the Ram. GMC does have the 420-hp Sierra 1500 Denali does have a similar 0-100 km/h time, but the darn luxury-truck starts at $64,725, and is not on anyone’s list of hot rod trucks.
Sporty pickups are cool in many ways that go against our common sense. Although it is more agile and fun to drive than the workhorse bred behemoths that dominate the truck market, the R/T is still a daily pickup truck with which you can conduct some work. It can still haul the stuff you need while still maintaining a sporty outward appearance and who knows, if things go well for Ram, engineers may just find some clever way to stuff the 707-hp Hellcat HEMI inside one of these and call it a day.
型号 Model: 2016 RAM 1500 R/T Regular Cab 4x2
顏色 Paint Type: Flame Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $42,995
試車售價 Price as Tested: $49,030
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,061
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,309 / 2,017 / 1,894
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,316
引擎 Engine: 5.7-litre HEMI V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 395 hp @ 5,600 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 15.8 / 10.9 / 13.6
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 15.0
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 285/45R22