We exist in a society that relies heavily on looks. It’s a sad truth, and one we all have to live with whether we agree with it or not. Looks not only attract or dissuade, they also send a very clear message. In high school it was grunge/jock/prep/valley girl and in the car world it’s mundane/sophisticated/sporty/get the hell outta my way or I’ll crush you.
So, where does the ’15 RAM 1500 Black Sport fit into this mosaic of vehicle looks on the road? Well, you might have guessed from the name that it falls into the last category I mentioned above. And no, not the valley girl.
This thing looks properly mean and aggressive on the road, fully blacked out everything, and larger than life in every way. Do I think it works? I most definitely do. Would I pay the extra $1,600 to get that look? Well, let’s look at a few other things first …
The poser pickup?
I spoke to a few pickup owners/lovers throughout my week with the 2015 RAM 1500 Black Sport and they all had the same sort of response: the RAM is a damn good truck, but it’s not an F-150. For those who want to get the job done and have their trucks last (and not just look good and fancy) you opt for the Blue Oval over the RAM horns on the front.
I’m not well-versed enough in truck ownership nor have I ever owned a pickup for longer than a week, so I’m not really in a position to talk about longevity. However, in the short term I have become more and more impressed with the RAM and its capabilities on the road in comparison with the Ford F-150.
It might not be the “leader” in the pickup game, but the RAM 1500 puts on a seriously good show and offers up some great assets, most notably its height-adjustable active-level four-corner air suspension that makes a massive difference on the road and when towing. The comfort level this pickup offers on multiple road surfaces is unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. It’s seriously smooth. Always.
So, does its smoothness negate its manly truckness? Perhaps that’s why amongst the truckies it’s seen as a bit of a poser pickup and not the “real deal.” And clearly I’m the right market for such a truck because I think a feature like the four-corner air suspension elevates it in my eyes (pun fully intended).
Driving an enforcer
Thanks to the overly aggressive and “mean” look of the 2015 RAM 1500 Black Sport, I felt a bit like I was driving the biggest bully on the block wherever I went. With blacked-out everything, and a menacing chrome and black grille that filled every rear window and rearview mirror instantly upon approach, I found little in the way of traffic or cars in front of me all week. They were all too scared to stay there.
Sitting on 20” black aluminum wheels, with flat-black everything (badging, grille), as well as a sport performance hood with snarly looking flares, it really does look like a menace -- of the coolest kind.
And perhaps it also had something to do with the dual exhaust system channeling the baritone rumble of the 5.7L HEMI V8 engine out the rear and across the surrounding areas that also intimidated all who dared stand in my way. With 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, the 5.7L ensures the RAM 1500 is capable of towing up to 10,650lbs and that it can manage a payload of 1,820lbs. Those are big-boy numbers that ensure while the RAM 1500 Black Sport may look like a poser, it is more than capable of putting in the necessary work.
Coupled with that 5.7L HEMI V8 is a Torqueflite 8-speed transmission that’s a pleasure to manipulate and works really well with the V8. Never a jerky gear shift, never a confused moment with the transmission, the RAM 1500 sailed smoothly from one location to the next, just not very quietly.
Space for days
Of course, the 2015 RAM 1500 Black Sport is immensely huge. And here’s where a few gripes come up for me: for the near $65k price tag for my particular tester it was not equipped with a side step for the likes of my 5’2” frame to get up. It was also lacking a back-up camera. There are rear and front parking sensors, but no camera. For a truck this size and this high up, I was a bit miffed that it lacked such basic features, and for the price!
Besides those oversights, the interior is stellar and comfortable and offers everything you’d hope to find in a pickup: storage space, USB ports, cup holders, comfy seats, and big knobs for easy manipulation in work gloves.
The back seat offers up plenty of leg- and headroom, and my son’s baby seat was easy to install and he had all the room in the world to kick and flail to his heart’s content without making contact with the passenger’s seatback.
For all its size, does it measure up?
Here’s the thing: I know this wasn’t the most technical or spec-driven truck review, but that’s because I’m not a truck aficionado. And not everyone who buys a pickup will be. Sometimes, you just want to know that it can tow and haul stuff, without getting too technical. And you want your pickup to kind of drive like a car because, well, it will be your car. So, this is for all those truck buyers out there.
And in that vein, the 2015 RAM 1500 Black Sport does the job. Some might call it a poser, but it’s an aggressive-looking, menacing poser that few will want to mess with it, so I think it does the job just right.