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RAM 1500 – a workhorse with prestige car specification

I’ve just tested the new RAM 1500 pick-up truck or super-sized ute – the third-best selling pick-up brand in America converted in Melbourne to right hand drive – this smaller 1500 model has quickly become RAM’s best-seller here in its first few months on sale. It comes in two dual-cab 4WD models Express from $79,950 and the Laramie from $99,950 – one power train 5.7-litre hemi V8 in eight speed automatic with a braked towing capacity of 4.5 tonnes. Cylinder de-activation sees two cylinders on each engine bank shut down under light load for improved fuel economy – just part of the sophistication of the RAM 1500 – it may be deemed a truck but it’s a very polished performer and you can see why on U S roads there the vehicle of choice. With the creature comforts of a luxury car the RAM 1500 Laramie as tested wants for little – dynamically very well sorted with electric power steering, powerful four-wheel disc brakes and top-level electronic safety features. I tested the RAM 1500 with a load of top soil and played truckie for the day much to the delight of three grandsons and it handled it with ease – if you need a top class tow vehicle or a super-sized pickup they don’t come much finer. Importantly, the right hand conversion is done to a very high standard with a new full-sized scuttle – the only disappointment – the location of the foot-operated park brake which by necessity is on the right side of the foot well and awkward to operate. Otherwise, an impressive driver. I’m David Berthon

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