Caraganza First Drive Review Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X2: Have it your way

(FCA)

(FCA)

Pickup trucks are a uniquely American thing; they are also very subjective.  That’s why there are so many to choose from. If a buyer wants a pickup they can get one large or small, plain or luxurious, short or long.  They can be diesel powered, sip regular gas, be turbocharged or naturally aspirated, four-wheel drive, front or rear wheel.

Perhaps that’s why I myself have never found a truck I considered “just right”.  Yes, I’ve driven some good ones through the years, but like Goldilocks, could never find the “one”; the not too soft, not too hard, not too hot, not too cold.

Until last week that is.

Ram (which is actually Dodge, even though they don’t want to call it Dodge Ram anymore) sent me a 2018 1500 for a few days.  The 1500 is the baby of the Ram family below its big brothers the 2500 and 3500 series.

Like most trucks on the market, there is an almost dizzying array of trims to choose from; the base Tradesman, the Express, Big Horn/Lone Star, Sport, Night, Harvest, Lone Star Silver, Laramie, Rebel, Laramie Longhorn and Limited. Eleven in all.  All with four configurations, crew, quad, regular, 2WD, 4WD, and three engine options; a 3.6-liter V-6, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 or a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.  The engines can deliver the power to the rear wheels or all four via a 6-speed or 8 speed automatic.  The regular cab has an 8-foot or 6-foot-4-inch bed, a quad cab with a 6-foot-4-inch bed, or a crew cab with a 5-foot-7-inch bed or a 6-foot-4-inch bed.

Okay, got all that?

Like mentioned, the auto manufacturers try to make pickups for everyone who wants one. And while the design of the 1500 might be a bit dated, the beauty of the Ram is being able to get one in just about any configuration you want.

My 1500 for the week was the Sport Crew Cab 4X2.  Not the top of the line, but not the entry level, and that was just fine for me. The Sport has the Sport package with a 22-inch aluminum wheels painted black; a sport hood, bucket seats, and a power sunroof among other things. The outside was “True Blue” pearl and from the outside the 1500 in this configuration looked great; that carried over to the black interior.  That interior by the way did not seem dated to me at all. It was comfortable, and the bucket seats provided perfect support.

My like of the 1500 went beyond the way it looked however.  While considered smaller than the 2500 and 3500, the 1500 really isn’t all that small.  In fact the size, to me at least, was just right.  I’ve had other ‘small’ trucks and those were just that, small. The 1500 seems big enough to get the job done, yet small enough to park in a regular parking spot, and nimble enough to navigate everyday commuter traffic.

(FCA)

(FCA)

One of the reasons for this nimbleness is the brute power of the 5.7-liter Hemi my Sport had under the hood.  There is very little wrong with a Hemi under any hood and the 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft torque seems perfectly matched.  The 1500 can tow 8000 pounds and haul the mail (almost 1800 pounds) in the back when needed.

Speaking of mail hauling, the Hemi gave me a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds, which isn’t bad for a pickup truck.

At the end of the week, I knew that I had finally found a pickup that was “just right”, at least for me. And therein is the beauty of the Ram. It may have so many configurations that you can get confused, but it also means that if you try hard enough you can get one that’s not too soft, not too hard, not too hot, not too cold.

There are plenty of pickups on the market. Unlike sedans, coupes, hatchbacks or SUVs. With pickups you can find one that suites you if you try hard enough. I found mine, that is should I ever decide to buy one.

The 2018 Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X2

MSRP: $ 40,795
MSRP (as tested): $53,690
Engine: 2.7-liter V8 Hemi.  395 horsepower @ 5600 rpm, 410 ft-lb torque @3950 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 15 city, 22 highway, 17 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions): 19 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 5369.00 lbs

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity: 5
Front Head Room: in 41
Front Leg Room: in 41
Front Shoulder Room: in 66
Front Hip Room: in 63.2
Second Head Room: in 39.9
Second Leg Room: in 40.3
Second Shoulder Room: in 65.7
Second Hip Room: in 63.2

Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Box Length @ Floor: in     76.3
Cargo Box Width @ Top, Rear: in     66.4
Cargo Box Width @ Floor: in     66.4
Cargo Box Width @ Wheelhousings: in     51
Cargo Box (Area) Height: in     20
Cargo Volume: ft³     57.5

Trailering
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Trailer Wt.: lbs 8060
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Tongue Wt.: lbs 806
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Trailer Wt.: lbs 8060
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Tongue Wt.: lbs 806
Maximum Trailering Capacity: lbs 8060

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: in   149
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in 79.4
Height, Overall: in 77.5
Cab to Axle: in     36.9
Ground to Top of Load Floor: in 34.8
Ground Clearance, Front: in 9.3
Ground Clearance, Rear: in 9.3

Warranty
Basic: 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion: 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 5 Years/60,000 Miles

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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