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Exclusive: Next-gen RAM 1500 V8 arrives for testing in Australia

This is the first look at the next-generation 2020 RAM 1500 Limited DT in Australia before its factory-backed conversion.

The next-generation Ram 1500 ‘DT’ has landed in Australia and begun testing before its on-sale which is due late-2020 or early next year.

The new generation ‘DT’ Ram 1500 is planned to be sold alongside the current ‘DS’ model Ram 1500 when it goes on sale in Australia. As per the current arrangement, the new Ram 1500 will be imported by Ateco and converted by Walkinshaw in Melbourne as the only factory-approved converter.

Thanks to images sent in from Practical Motoring reader Warren S, we can see that an early left-hand drive version of the car is already testing for compliance, not far from Walkinshaw’s right-hand-drive conversion facility in Clayton.

While badging and key design areas of the truck have been covered up, it appears that the pick-up in testing is a RAM 1500 4×4 Limited, which is differentiated from the Laramie by its corrugated mesh grille and chrome bumper and trims up front. On the side we see a Rambox for storage.

Like the current RAM 1500 ‘DS’ generation model on sale in Australia, the DT is similarly powered by a 5.7-litre V8 petrol engine, producing 291kW and 556Nm. However, the next-generation model adopts a newer version of the eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, and in the US, the engine is further improved with a 48-volt belt-generator mild hybrid system producing 12kW and 176Nm in addition to the V8 motor. It’s unclear if this system will make it’s way to new DT-generation Ram 1500 models sold in Australia.

Other enhancements that distinguish the new Ram are found inside, where a huge 12.0-inch infotainment system sits in the centre console dash connected to a 900-watt Harman Kardon sound system with 19 speakers. There are also real wood trims, wireless phone charging, a USB hub for everybody to use, and heated front and rear seats.

There will also be some NVH and ride and handling improvements via the new ‘Active-Level’ four-corner air suspension system with automatic load levelling and active noise cancellation in the cabin.

Payload and towing specifications for the new Ram 1500 in the US also improve, now up to 5783kg braked towing capacity and 1043kg payload. However, it is expected towing capacity will be capped at 4500kg, and as we can see in these spy images, payload capacity is currently being evaluated.

The Ram 1500 DT will compete directly against Walkinshaw’s other truck conversion project, the new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 which is currently sold at HSV dealers. Pricing for that model is $113,990 plus on-roads – you can read our full review on it here. The current DS model Ram 1500 starts at $79,950 plus and it is expected the new-gen 1500 will be much closer to the new Silverado 1500 given its next-gen equipment and platform.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae