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RAM ROD

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Feb 20, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

RAM ROD By HAROLD OSMER

Dodge led the sculpted pickup trend several years ago when they brought back defined fenders on their Ram lineup. Styling considerations aside, perhaps the greater benefit of sculpted fenders is the dramatically increased visibility when driving large pickups. Formerly, large squared truck hoods obstructed a driver's view everywhere but straight ahead. Dropping the fender lines allows for a curved horizon which ends a good ten inches from the side of the vehicle. It's tough enough to see around a large pickup, let alone its load or trailer. No longer. Thank you, Dodge Boys!

The 2007 Ram 1500 Lariat boasts several engine and cab configurations. Ours came with the time-tested 5.7 liter Hemi gasoline operated powerplant and Mega Cab 4-door passenger compartment with 6.25 feet of cargo bed. Engine horsepower peaks at 345 combined with 375 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to an electronic Multi-Speed Overdive Automatic transmission this Ram is ready for some heavy duty work. My test route did not include any towing, but Dodge rates this truck at a whopping 8,850 pounds on the heavy duty rear hitch. Weighing in at 6,350 pounds on its own, the Ram has enough heft to keep the trailer where it belongs - behind the truck. Maximum payload capacity is 1,356 pounds. Handy, built-in large roll out side mirrors include blind-spot mirror attachments.

Road manners are better than expected from such a large pickup. Measuring in at 20.6 feet in length, the Ram 1500 Mega Cab is longer than your typical pickup. This aids when towing of course and gives the non-loaded truck a smooth, predictable ride. Automatic transmission shifts either up or down are unnoticeable. Issues arise when attempting to park between vehicles in a standard lot. This is easily remedied with avoiding the situation and parking outside the tight confines of local lots. Select a spot beyond the front door of your favorite establishment and you'll be fine.

The alternative is to get very familiar with the size of this truck and learn to make wide turns. Then again, purchasers of a Ram 1500 Mega Cab won't be making regular grocery runs with this vehicle. They'll be heading for the river, racetrack, or recreational venue with a trailer in tow. For those trips sans trailer, the Ram offers a smooth ride with ample power to manage any traffic situation. As the name implies, "Mega Cab" means there is more than enough room for four full-size dudes to ride in comfort. You could even add a fifth if the need arises. Three of your biggest friends can fit comfortably in the rear seat area. Reclining rear seats are larger than the front due to the dashboard and console location. The split rears also fold partially of fully forward to allow more interior storage room when passengers are not the primary concern. Furthering the utility, rear doors open to 90° of the body, allowing large boxy items to be placed inside the cab.

Entry and exit of the Mega Cab's front seats is tight, with my head hitting the door frame just above eye level. The rear seat entry is no problem, but I'm the driver, stand 6'2", and am not getting any shorter. Driver controls are clearly marked, work without surprise, and are within easy reach. The manual climate control system itself proved to be either too much or too little and was a source of frustration.

Our test wagon came with an optional Satellite Radio/Navigation system. The Sirius radio operated flawlessly. But I am beside myself with the complicated nature of automotive Navigation systems in general. Sequential menu stepping could easily be reduced with proper programming and we will forever be in debt to whoever gets Apple Corporation tied in with an automaker's navigation system. Then again, it's a truck. A bit of planning, a good map, and the navigation guys are out of business. But OK, technology does have advantages and I can see some uses for an onboard navigation device. There's a lot to be said for large pickups. Even when stuck in traffic, one feels more stopped than stuck. The commanding view lifts you off the road, providing at least a visible promise of release. When empty, the Ram 1500's 5.7L V8 Hemi responds smartly with the mash of the pedal and stops in a straight line in fine fashion. We had many nods of appreciation from other drivers in Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Most of those were from folks in other trucks.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Living large in the HEMI-powered Mega Cab means never having to say you're sorry. For more information about Dodge products, go to www.dodge.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 Ram 1500 Laramie Mega Cab Price: Base $37,290, as tested $44,100. options include: Power Sunroof $850; Trailer Tow group $335; Leather-trimmed Bucket Seats $490; Supplemental Side Air Bags $490; DVD-based GPS Navigation system $1595; Rear Seat Entertainment Video Saytem $1200 Engine type: 5.4L EFI V8, OHV, Hemi, gasoline EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 14/18 Horsepower: 345 @ 4800 rpm Torque: 375 lb.-ft @ 4200 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / rear wheel drive Transmission type: Electronic 5-speed automatic overdrive 4.10:1 Anti-spin differential Suspension: Front: Independent Rear: Live Axle Wheels and tires: 17 x 8.0 Chrome clad aluminum wheels, LT265/70R17E BSW tires Brakes: 4-wheel discs with ABS power rack & pinion steering Overall length/wheelbase: 247.9 inches/160.5 inches Overall width: 80 inches Overall height: 75 inches Towing: Up to 8750 pounds. 2420 pounds max payload Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

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