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Ram charges ahead with 1500

Sheep’s clothing: The Ram 1500 hits dealerships next month and is offered in Express and Laramie model grades.

Aggressive $79,950 D/A price for Ram’s entry-level 1500 to take on Ranger Raptor


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12 Jun 2018

RAM’S 1500 pick-up truck range will go on sale from next month priced from $79,950 driveaway – and its local distributor expects to secure a 10 per cent stake in Australia’s burgeoning premium 4x4 ute market.


Taking on top-end mid-size one-tonne utilities such as Ford’s forthcoming Ranger Raptor, the bigger 1500 is imported and re-engineered for right-hand drive by American Special Vehicles (ASV), which has official backing from Ram parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).


As GoAuto has reported, ASV became a wholly owned offshoot of Ateco Group after it took over Walkinshaw Automotive Group’s stake late last month. However, Walkinshaw is still contracted to convert the Ram trucks – including the heavier-duty 2500 and 3500 models – at its Clayton South facility in Melbourne’s south-east.


Whereas the 2500/3500 range attracts only a narrow band of customers and is priced accordingly from $139,950 to $150,950 plus on-road costs, ASV expects to shift about 2100 units of the 1500 in its first full year (2019) – some three times the total number it has managed with the heavier-duty models since launching two-and-a-half years ago.


The company then expects Ram 1500 sales to ramp up to 4500 units annually from 2020 as it aims to capture 10 per cent of the premium (over $57,000) 4x4 ute segment.


Pricing ranges from $79,950 driveaway for the base 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 and tops out at $104,450 (plus on-roads) for the 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 with RamBoxes. This upper ceiling is still $35,000 shy of the entry-level 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4.


The top-end mid-size utes in the Ram’s crosshairs include Ford’s Ranger Wildtrak ($60,590-$63,990 plus on-roads) and Raptor ($74,990), the HSV Colorado SportsCat ($60,790-$68,990) and Toyota’s HiLux Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue trio ($54,990-$63,690).


Forthcoming V6 variants of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class are yet to be priced but are expected to hit around $80,000, while Volkswagen’s uprated 190kW Amarok V6 is expected to break through the $70,000 barrier.


Walkinshaw Group is also converting the Chevrolet Silverado to right-hand drive, however the 1500 version is not part of the program at this stage.


ASV describes the right-hook version of the North American-built, V8-powered Ram 1500 as being “designed and developed in Australia and refined for Australian requirements”.


Ram Trucks Australia general manager Alex Stewart said the company was expecting the 1500 to become one of the more popular offerings in the premium pick-up segment.


“Our aim has always been that, so far as the customer is concerned, buying and owning a Ram, be it the new 1500 or its heavy-duty brothers, the 2500 and 3500, should be absolutely no different from buying any other mainstream vehicle,” he said.


“This means everything from production line quality and consistency of product, to a national dealer network, a factory-supported warranty, through to back-up of full parts and accessory warehouses in Sydney and Auckland that can deliver parts to anywhere in the country within 24 hours.


“The Ram 1500 resets the ability, value and style measures for the Australian ute market. We fully expect it to have as dramatic effect on Ram sales in Australia as it has done in the USA, where the Ram brand has enjoyed eight years of consecutive growth, making Ram a significant player in the top end of the Australian ute market.”


Four 1500 Express Quad Cab variants are available, all with a 1.93m-long tub, and two come with the RamBoxes, which are two 240-litre lockers on either side of the tub that can be used for storage or cool boxes.


Two 1500 Express variants are offered with a Black Pack that blacks out various exterior panels and inserts. It carries a $9500 premium.


The 1500 Express Quad Cab is a four-door but has a smaller interior volume of 3.3 cubic metres, according to Ram, while the more luxurious Laramie grades are Crew Cab and offer 3.5 cubic metres of space and more than a metre of rear legroom length.


Laramie variants offer a 1.7m-long tub and are available in regular ($99,950) guise or with the RamBoxes ($104,450).


The Express has colour-matched grille, bumpers and other trim and Ram says it is the sporty member of the 1500 family, while the Laramie features the more traditional chrome grille and other chrome exterior highlights and is not offered with the option of the Black Pack.


Under the bonnet of the 1500 is a Euro 5-rated 5.7-litre Hemi petrol V8 pumping out 291kW of power at 5600rpm and 556Nm of torque at 3950rpm, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive.


The maximum braked towing capacity is 4500kg for the 1500 Express Quad Cab and 1500 Laramie Crew Cab that both have an axle ratio of 3.92, but Ram also offers the 1500 Laramie Crew Cab with a smaller 3.21 axle ratio that drops the towing capacity to 3500kg.


The latter is also the most frugal, consuming 9.9 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, while the former two 1500s return 12.2L/100km apiece.


Payload in the 1500 Laramie Crew Cab variants is 885kg, while the Express Quad Cap can take a 912kg load.


The 1500 is 213mm shorter, 49mm lower and 1157kg lighter than the Ram 2500.


Under the skin the 1500 has electric power-assisted steering, multi-link coil-spring rear suspension and a front independent set-up that combines upper control arms, aluminium lower control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs.


In terms of safety features, the 1500 has trailer sway control, hill-start assist, child seat attachments, cruise control, front foglights, rear parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system and a full suite of airbags, including curtains. It does not have autonomous emergency braking.


The Express is offered as standard with a 5.0-inch uConnect 3 touchscreen, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio, 12V auxiliary outlets, manual air-conditioning, steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, cloth trim and 20-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare.


Stepping up to the Laramie adds front parking sensors, auto-dimming rear mirror, rain-sensing wipers, leather trim, an 8.4-inch uConnect 4 touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 10-speaker audio, sat-nav, rear-seat auxiliary outlets, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, remote keyless entry/start and climate-control air-con with rear air vents.


Options for the 1500 include metallic paint ($850), pearl paint ($850) and a tri-fold tonneau cover for non-RamBox variants ($1795).


The 1500 is offered with a three-year/100,000km warranty with three years of roadside assist and service intervals of 12 months or 12,000km.


2018 Ram 1500 pricing*

1500 Express  
Quad Cab 6’4” tub (a) $79,950 D/A
Quad Cab 6’4” tub with RamBoxes (a) $84,450
Quad Cab 6’4” tub Black Pack (a) $89,450
Quad Cab 6’4” tub Black Pack with RamBoxes (a) $93,950
1500 Laramie  
Crew Cab 5’7” tub (a) $99,950
Crew Cab 5’7” tub with RamBoxes (a) $104,450
*Excludes on-road costs unless otherwise stated  

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