Australia’s ever-growing ute market is about to get a shakeup with the release of the 2018 Ram 1500, the V8 powered American truck will have a starting price of $79,950 drive away.
At launch, the Ram 1500 will be offered in two trim levels across two body styles, those being the Express Quad Cab and Laramie Crew Cab.
Ram Australia is wanting the 1500 to capture a 10 per cent market share above the $57,000 price point. That means the 1500 will be competing with the range-topping versions of the Volkswagen Amarok, Toyota HiLux, HSV SportsCat, Ford Ranger and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
What sets the Ram apart from its competitors is size. Dimensionally, the Ram measures in at 5816mm long, 2018mm wide and 1975mm high with a whopping 3573mm wheelbase. Express Quad Cab models feature a 6'4" tray, whereas the Laramie Crew Cabs get a shorter 5'8" tray, either size can be purchased with the RamBoxes storage compartments.
Then there’s the engine, power comes from a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 developing 291kW and 556Nm. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Both variants feature low range, however, Laramie models get an electric full-time on-demand transfer case while the Express variants use a part-time unit.
Up front, the Ram 1500 uses an independent suspension set-up while the rear gets an exclusive multi-link, coil-spring system to improve ride and handling with no loss of capability. The coil-spring design reduces the amount of friction in the spring system and is some 20 kilos lighter than a leaf-spring configuration.
All models get four-wheel disc brakes, with 336mm rotors and dual-piston calipers at the front and 352mm rotors with single-piston calipers at the back.
Opening the range at $79,950 drive-away is the 1500 Express Quad Cab, standard kit includes a body coloured front bumper and grille, side steps, spray-in tub liner, heavy duty tow bar, trailer sway control, rear-view camera with rear parking sensors, 20-inch alloy wheels and a 5.0-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system.
An aggressive looking Black Pack option will also be available for the Express, which is exactly as it sounds, it turns everything black.
For more of a premium vibe, the 1500 Laramie brings the bling by adding chrome bumpers and grille, 20-inch chrome wheels and chrome side steps.
Laramie versions also get leather trim, remote keyless entry, climate control air conditioning, rear air vents, an electrochromic rear-view mirror, front parking sensors, automatic wipers, power-adjustable pedals, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The infotainment offering is upgraded to an 8.4-inch Uconnect system with satellite navigation and smartphone mirroring tech Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
For those with something to pull, the 1500 has a maximum braked towing capacity of up to 4500kg, giving it a 1000kg advantage over mainstream rivals.
Consumption isn’t as high as one might expect for this type of ute, on the combined cycle all Ram 1500s are rated between 9.9L - 12.2L/100km depending on the axle ratio. Express models get a 121-litre fuel tank, while Laramie variants get a smaller 98L tank.
Diesel fans can relax, a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel is expected to join the range before the end of 2018. Interestingly, at the 1500’s launch, one of the Ram team told Car Conversation “buying a V6 diesel Ram is like buying a four-cylinder Mustang.” To get the full American truck experience the V8 is the way to go – who could argue?
Ram Australia has set very ambitious sales targets for the 1500, in the first year of production the brand is chasing 2100 buyers and growing to 4500 annual sales after three years.
While the targets are ambitious, this is the first time a converted full-size pick-up has been priced within reach of buyers shopping for a high-end mid-size ute.
We can’t wait to drive it!
2018 Ram 1500 pricing (excludes on-road costs unless otherwise stated):
Ram 1500 Express
Ram 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6’4” Tub - $79,950 drive-away
Ram 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6’4” Tub with RamBoxes - $84,450
Ram 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6’4” Tub Black Pack - $89,450
Ram 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6’4” Tub Black Pack with RamBoxes - $93,950
Ram 1500 Laramie
Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 5’7” Tub - $99,950
Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 5’7” Tub with RamBoxes - $104,450
Metallic paint - $850
Pearl paint - $850
Trifold Tonneau cover for non-RamBox versions - $1795
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