2017 RAM 2500 Laramie – Boot Camp – Part One (Sponsored)
In our series of articles on the RAM 2500 Laramie, we’re looking at its excellent conversion and capability in Australia.
MAKE NO MISTAKE, the RAM Truck 2500 Laramie gets plenty of attention.
In our two weeks of testing, we were constantly stopped and asked about it. And it was common to be driving down the street and watch pedestrians just about twist their heads off as they watched the RAM drive by.
Previously we looked at the pain-staking and detailed conversion process the RAM Truck 2500 undergoes when it arrives in Australia, and you can read all about that by clicking HERE. But, together with RAM, we decided something a little tougher was in order… we called it, Boot Camp.
We Australians love our dual cab utes, indeed one of the best-selling vehicles in the country is a dual-cab ute. So, if the RAM is going to cut it Down Under, we needed to see if it could handle everything the Australian bush could throw at it.
So, we booked out Werribee 4WD Proving Ground and, over the course of two days put two RAM 2500s through the absolute wringer, and over the next few weeks we’ll cover off the things performance in the rough both on its own and towing. But, for now, let’s take a look at what you get…
The RAM 2500 Laramie eclipses just about every other dual-cab ute on-sale in Australia. For a start, its thumping Cummins 6.7-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine makes 276kW of power and a planet-pulling 1084Nm of torque, or more than double that of the Ford Ranger (470Nm), and almost double a LandCruiser 200 Series (650Nm). And the numbers get better, the RAM 2500 can haul 913kg in its tray and has a maximum braked towing capacity of 6,942kg which is basically double the 3500kg most vehicles in Australia can tow. The even better news, is that the RAM 2500 can carry its maximum payload in the tray and tow its maximum braked capacity at the same time; almost no other vehicle on-sale here can claim that.
The re-engineered Australia RAM Truck 2500 offers an interior that’s a mirror image of its US-based sibling. It’s perfect and with a fit and finish that’s better than many other ‘original’ right-hand drive vehicles, and all the ‘new’ parts are certified as original equipment. Excellent.
Sit behind the wheel and it’s easy to get comfortable, the pedals can be adjusted to bring them closer or push them further away from you and electric adjustment on the front seats makes it easy to find a perfect driving position. There are numerous storage bins and hidey holes stashed around the cabin and plenty of electrical points for charging phones, etc.
Another clever feature is the fact you can fold up the seat base of the back seats and then fold out a ledge to create a flat floor and thus cavernous load space behind the front seats. The front seats are both heated and cooled, and even the steering wheel can be heated.
The infotainment unit is excellent, with the driver’s display offering more information than any car we’ve ever tested. Even better, the display always displays basics such as the temperature, range, heading and fuel consumption regardless of which of the many information sub-displays you have on screen.
The RAM Truck has the usual brake traction control, engine traction control and stability control. When 4WD is engaged, you can disable stability and engine traction control, but brake traction control happily remains active in both high and low range, so you’ve got the traction assists you need. The transfer case ratio is 2.64:1 and the crawl ratio is 29:1. Tyres are 265/70/18 which equate to an overall diameter of 32.6-inches, and the wheels are eight-stud. The RAM runs 20L of AdBlue for diesel emissions purposes, and on the dash, there’s even a gauge marked DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid).
Despite the fact you have nearly 1100Nm of torque, delivery is nice and smooth, and any errant wheel-spin is briskly controlled by the electronics with no loss of momentum. One surprise to many drivers will be just how nimble the RAM 2500 is, thanks to direct and fast steering, a responsive throttle, and tweaks by local engineers to the suspension it can be piloted with confidence. The RAM 2500 really is an easy cruiser. You’ve got the height to see over the top of everything bar a truck, more torque than you’d ever need, and more luxury features than average.
The 2500 has a coil-sprung rear and so it doesn’t suffer from the handling issues associated with leaf springs, such as spring twist leading to a dancing unladen back end. You can hustle the big RAM along nicely indeed, and it’s even fun to do so. The exhaust brake can be engaged even though you’re not towing. The luxury features start to be appreciated too, like cooled seats on a 40-plus degree day…
In our next article we’ll explore the RAM 2500’s towing capability, but here’s a hint… it’s excellent. Stay tuned.