Ram Outdoorsman Crew Cab: Truck load of upgrades

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Ram gives buyers of its 2015 1500 pickup trucks a choice of 10 models, four cab/box configurations, three powertrains, and a long list of options. This ensures considerable studying is necessary to identify the Ram formula best suited to one’s needs. The decision-making process includes making a determination among three engine options: 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel, 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar or the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.

The EcoDiesel, a $4,270 investment, propels the Ram 1500 with 240 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm. It delivers a small-truck-like 28 miles per gallon highway (2×2) and 20 mpg city. A sacrifice of 1 mpg city/highway comes with the 4×4 model. Contributing to fuel efficiency and smooth shifting is an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

Maximum towing for the EcoDiesel Crew Cab is 8,840 pounds. The 4×4 test truck, with the 3.55:1 axle ratio for greater fuel economy, touts a 7,660-pound towing max.

Cold starting the EcoDiesel requires waiting a few seconds for block preheating before the engine comes to life with a subdued, but distinctive diesel sound.

We tested an Outdoorsman Crew Cab — an uplevel trim, following in the lineup after a trio of luxury-focused Laramie models. While base-priced at $44,925, the tester is packed with extras that bump up the total to the low-$50,000s.

Optional black aluminum wheels complement its two-tone body color scheme that features Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat contrasted below by glossy-black wrapping the lower sides, bumpers, and wheel arches. These $1,400, 20-inch, five-spoke wheels are wrapped by P275/60R-20 OWL tires. Standing tall on the 20-inchers, a must for the 4×4 Ram are wheel-to-wheel side steps or running boards, available through Mopar for about $650.

Power black trailer-tow mirrors with turn signals and courtesy lamps are paired with a trailer brake control in a $330 Trailer Tow Mirror and Brake Control Group option.

A significant storage boost comes with the $1,295 RamBox Cargo Management System, which features lockable and lighted storage compartments built into the bed sides. The drainable boxes can be used to ice down beverages, and can accommodate gear and tools. Protecting the 5-foot-7-inch cargo box is a spray-in bedliner that adds $475 to the price.

When loaded with cargo, the optional Active-Level Four-Corner Air Suspension activates to automatically level the load. Priced at $1,695, the smart air suspension also automatically lowers the pickup at highway speeds, though the driver can manually lower the truck to one of five height settings to increase off-road capability and assist in entry/exit and loading.

Standard on Ram pickups are Active Air Grille Shutters, which reduce drag and improve aerodynamics by automatically closing at highway speeds. More clever technology, designed to enhance safety, comfort, and convenience, is found within the spacious cab.

When maneuvering the 229-inch-long crew cab in tight parking spaces, the Rear Camera and Park Assist Group is a significant help. This $595 option features the ParkSense front/rear park-assist system that detects nearby obstacles and offers readouts and audible chimes to notify the driver of object proximity, and ParkView Rear Back-up Camera that shows what’s behind the truck on a full color multimedia touch screen display.

Infotainment is provided by a $500 Uconnect 8.4AN AM/FM/SXM/HD/BT/NAV option. Along with navigation assistance via an 8.4-inch color touchscreen, the package features a one-year subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio with more than 130 channels and SiriusXM Traffic, which provides traffic information updates.

Complementing the Uconnect system, passengers aboard the test truck listen to music enhanced by a $300 speaker system featuring nine amplified speakers and a subwoofer.

Making the interior toastier during winter weather is a $395 Comfort Group package that provides heat for the steering wheel and front cloth-upholstered buckets.

Crew cabs give passengers sitting in the 60/40-split-folding rear seat excellent legroom — almost as much as those up front. Leg-stretching space is 41 inches front and 40.3 inches rear.

Its spacious cabin, infotainment extras, and EcoDiesel efficiency are ingredients making the test truck an appealing choice to those looking for a comfortable, practical, and capable pickup.