Just in: Our new Ram 1500 pickup is tons of truck

Just in: Our new Ram 1500 pickup is tons of truck

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Just in: Our new Ram 1500 pickup is tons of truck

What's more fun than a celebrating a long weekend with such American icons like a pickup truck and a corndog? Both are incredibly popular American inventions. New at our track is one of the top contenders--a four-wheel-drive Ram 1500 "Big Horn" crew cab model. We already think it's tons of fun.

Of course, it's not light and lively sports car fun. (It weighs almost 5,500 lbs.!) But it packs a wallop of an engine. Ours has the 295-hp, 5.7-liter V8 that gets to breathe through a cool-looking and sweet-sounding dual exhaust system. However, the big deal for the new model year is a new eight-speed automatic. We're hoping that these extra gears improve the big beast's fuel economy; the last Hemi-powered Ram we tested delivered a measly (but competitive) 14 mpg overall.

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What sets the Ram apart from other trucks is the coil-spring rear suspension. It did wonders for improving ride comfort from our last model, transforming it from delivering a washboard-rough ride to being one of the more civilized pickup trucks, without a lively rear axle.

Another essential option we got was the 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat. You want to be able to see over the enormous Ram hood, but the non-powered seats might make you feel like you're sitting too low. And visibility isn't just an issue looking forward; a rearview camera is also another option we'd get. Unfortunately, we skipped this item, which would have been invaluable when backing up this gargantuan vehicle.

Our truck came in at a hefty $42,810, with 20-inch wheels, heated front seats and steering wheel, and Uconnect with a 8.4-inch touch screen. That infotainment system includes Bluetooth pairing, hands-free calling, and voice text reply. We think Chrysler's Uconnect is among the better touch-screen systems, as it does a good job helping the driver navigate the various audio and climate functions. On-screen icons are large, clearly labeled, and use large fonts.

The truck's bed already shows slight scratches, as our many homeowners here have put the Ram to work hauling stuff.

Check back as we put more miles on this truck and celebrate an all-American machine. (Well, sorta. The engine is built in Mexico and the transmission is from Germany. But its final assembly is Michigan, so simmer down.) And we'll be testing more trucks soon, including the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado.

—Mike Quincy

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