Auto123 reviews the 2020 Ram 1500 Limited.
Luxury aboard a full-size pickup truck is a concept that seems to have no limits in 2020. For several years now, the mastodons of the road have been appropriating features and functions from luxury sedans and placing them in their highly customizable cabins. And when engineering succeeds in making these work-focused beasts as comfortable as big American luxury cars, it's easy to see why pickup-truck sales are skyrocketing.
This time around, I had occasion to get behind the wheel of a 2020 Ram 1500 Limited, the most luxurious pickup in the lineup, and probably one of the finest pickups I've driven in the last 15 years. With its Patriot Blue Pearl dress and all that chrome trim, this elevated first-class lounge on wheels looks even more opulent than it actually is. Let's not forget that behind this $85,265 (with the $1,895 preparation fee) luxury vehicle is a work truck.
Portrait of a truck that thinks it's a Chrysler 300 equipped to the max
Just $6,625 in options! Now, It's not uncommon during a road test to be given a vehicle where most of the options have been checked. You then find yourself with almost a new subcompact-worth of added equipment. But in this case, the folks at FCA showed some restraint. Though of course, the Limited trim is already richly equipped coming out of the factory.
Still, our tester did come with the Limited Level 1 Package which includes advanced brake assist, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, forward collision warning with active braking, intelligent cruise control with stop/start, park assist, ventilated second-row seats (!) and a 19-speaker premium audio system courtesy harman/kardon.
Other individual options include a limited-slip differential ($595), the HEMI V8 Hybrid Lightweight Hybrid and Torque System ($995), a 124-litre fuel tank ($445) ideal for long rides, and a Class IV hitch worth $495. Oh yes, the special paint adds $100 to the bill!
A superior-quality interior
Beyond the added features, the Ram 1500 Limited is a great way to get around on a day-to-day basis, first of all because of the sumptuous materials lining the interior, which of course you have the right to expect in such a costly pickup truck. In fact, in my opinion, this most luxurious 1500 is the best of its kind in the industry at present - although the top trim of the next-generation Ford F-150 is sure to breathe down the Ram pickup’s high-class neck over the next few months.
From the leather that covers just about every panel in the cabin to the two-tone leather seats, not to mention the superb, heated and comfortable steering wheel and a screen that would make your smart tablet blush, the Ram 1500 Limited's interior is, to say the least, inviting. Inside, you'll quickly notice that the soundproofing has been reworked with acoustic windows, so that the sound of the V8 engine can barely be heard in the cabin.
And then there's storage, and lots of it. Now, this is something that all of today's family pickup trucks are pretty good at, but the Ram 1500 does a great job of helping you keep things organized within. There are also retractable running boards that make getting in and out of the vehicle even easier, another luxury totally appropriate to this Ram 1500's premium status.
At the wheel of a magic carpet
The Ram 1500 is already the most comfortable pickup on the market, thanks in part to the coil-sprung rear suspension, but with the optional air suspension, the absorption of road crevices is even more impressive, this even though the truck is equipped with 20-inch wheels that, by the way, almost look too small inside the fenders.
Driving a pickup of this size on a daily basis is certainly not for everyone – and good thing, probably - but with the drive-assist systems, excellent visibility around the truck and easily modulated steering, the Ram 1500 swallows up the miles without flinching. The 5.7L HEMI V8 needs no introduction, and neither does its cylinder deactivation system, which gives off a distinctive, but barely perceptible sound.
The 48V eTorque system is also on hand – so says the vehicle's technical data sheet - and works incognito without anyone noticing it. Its function is to replace the alternator and recover energy during braking and deceleration, and then reuse it when the right foot needs it again. But good luck trying to catch when it’s in action - there's no point in trying to isolate its effects, especially in such a soundproof vehicle.
The Ram 1500 - Limited or not - with crew cab can very easily play the dual role of family vehicle and daily work tool. Space on board is very generous and can even be used as protection for certain items that deserve to be transported in a weatherproof environment, while the truck’s bed is practical in so many different situations that it’s impossible to even imagine listing all the scenarios.
It remains to be seen, however, whether owner’s monthly gasoline bill will be deadlier than that of a big SUV with a 4-cylinder engine. Indeed, with an expected average of 14.1L/100 km (city) and 10.3L/100 km (highway) according to the Canadian EnerGuide, the V8-powered Ram 1500 eTorque is not the most frugal vehicle on the road. Plus, in the real world, these numbers are pretty hard to come by unless you’re prepared to be real gentle on the accelerator, at all times. A few momentary losses of self-discipline and it's all over!
The last word
I admit it, I have a soft spot for these big trucks, probably because I don't need such a machine twelve months out of the year. But for those who have to drive a pickup truck every day, the Ram 1500 is the most comfortable and definitely one of the most fun to drive - as long as you understand that you’re a long, long way from the Mazda MX-5 driving experience of course.
Its incredible look
The luxury cabin
The comfort provided by the air suspension
We like less
The asking price (!)
Reliability remains a question mark
When will a true hybrid version be available?