Thursday, October 21, 2021
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2021 RAM 1500 DT Limited Crew Cab (car review)

IT’s big, brawny, American and ready for, well anything you throw at it. It’s the 2021 RAM 1500 DT Limited and it’s RAM-tastic. And thanks to a local dealer network, cheaper pricing and Australian remanufacturing, you can own one of these epic US trucks too.

The vehicles are imported, homologated and managed through the entire process (including servicing and warranty) by the Ateco Group owned RAM Trucks Australia. Walkinshaw Automotive is contracted to complete the switch to right-hand drive.

It’s the only setup of its kind recognised by the parent brand, RAM Trucks, and that’s important, because it means piece of mind. So let’s introduce you to the DT Limited, which sits above the previous top dog, the Laramie, and is only available in Crew Cab.

It’s big. Real big. Like 5.916-metres long, and 2.057-metres wide. It dwarfs normal sized pickups and utes. With enormity comes weight, 2,749kg in all, but when we tell you all about this beast, you’ll understand why.

The 2021 RAM 1500 DT Limited looks tougher than the models that have gone before it, with more of a square shape, and a sleeker design, and boy does it look schmick (yes we know that’s not a word, but we reckon every Aussie on the planet knows what it means).

The longer wheelbase and cab gives more additional space inside, and it boasts a host of stealth black accents including the sports bonnet, badging and those huge striking 22-inch shoes, painted in an exclusive diamond black crystal pearl.

RAM says that the new sleeker design helps improve aerodynamics, but lets be honest, this thing still has the aerodynamics of a Westfield’s shopping centre. The rear tub is huge, with enough room for lots of items, and is lined with a hardy thick plastic.

Our test vehicle came with the RamBox cargo management system. It provides plenty of controlled storage for smaller items and lets you keep things safe, and locked away. It even comes with 230V 400W power outlet on one side.

But, there’s a few small issues. You see, the inside of the boxes, follow the curve of the wheel arch, which means you lose space inside them. The other issue is the power outlet.

It’s great, but if you want to have a camp fridge in the tray, you have no easy way of powering it, because there’s no access from within the RamBox into the tub. Another outlet in the tub, or an access flap, would solve this.

One of the cool things the DT Limited has though is automatically folding side steps, that come out when you open the door, just to help you climb into the cabin, and tuck away seamlessly once you’re inside.

It’s here in the cabin where the range-topping RAM 1500 proves it’s 100 per cent in a league of its own, truly going above and beyond its competitors. Spend any sort of time in this thing and jump into a HiLux or Ranger.

It’s almost like going back in time, and stepping into a small box. You’re surrounded by opulent materials and accents, blending chrome, leather and stainless steel. Luxurious leather seats feature premium accent stitching that is finished with a stylish piping trim.

It is very American, perhaps drawing its inspiration from Texas cowboys. But you forget all that pretty quickly when you sit in the front seats, and get to enjoy the captain’s chair experience.

Powered 10-way adjustable seats feature on both sides of the cabin, including lumbar adjustment, and three levels of heating and ventilation settings. Rear passengers in the two outer seat positions also benefit from combination of both heating and ventilation.

Yes, you read that correctly, even the rear seats have heating and cooling. The rear seat has as much leg room as a limousine, and a similar feature set to boot. There are USB-A and USB-C power outlets everywhere.

All passengers enjoy an electric panoramic sliding sunroof, giving a spectacular skyward view. We can honestly not name another pickup on the road that has all of this kit. But much like a Demtel ad from the 80s; wait there is more.

The DT Limited is loaded with technology, including a huge 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that offers a crisp high definition display, coupled to the most powerful audio system ever fitted to a pickup.

Harman/Kardon has implanted one of their 900-watt 19-speaker boom boxes, and boy doesn’t it crank. To make things feel like your at a live concert, they’ve thrown in active noise cancelling and acoustic glass, reducing ambient sounds to extremely low levels.

The acoustic glass also helps make the DT Limited the quietest RAM 1500 ever. The driver also gets a 7.0-inch multifunction display, a 360 degree camera, adaptive cruise control, park assistance, tyre pressure monitoring, and automatic wipers and lights.

Safety is big too, with the RAM 1500 sporting forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, ready alert braking, trailer-sway damping control, lane-departure warning and automatic LED headlights.

You also get a factory electric brake controller for those loads above 2.5 tonnes.

Under the bonnet is a petrol 5.7-litre HEMI V8, the same HEMI that has been a round for donkey’s years. Well not quite, because this one is slightly different. It has a mild hybrid system attached to it.

And before you poo poo it, we spent some significant time with it, drove it, got acquainted with it, and we like it. The platform effectively replaces the alternator, feeding 48V into a 0.4kWh lithium-ion battery.

The electric motor, made by Magneti Marelli, makes 12kW and 66Nm, but grows to 176Nm of assistance via gearing, along with regenerative braking and a silky smooth stop-start system.

The electric motor can also provide small assistance to the engine, as well as extend the four-cylinder (cylinder deactivation) operating times. That’s right you get cylinder deactivation as well.

With electric assistance, official figures for the eTorque Hemi V8, are 291kW and 556Nm. The whole box and dice is paired to 8-speed auto and 4×4 transfer case. Official fuel scores place it at 12.2-litres/100km.

We couldn’t match it in the real world, but did manage 15.2-litres/100km with some pretty spirited driving. Then we threw an almost 3.0-tonne caravan on the back and that blew out to about 30-litres/100km. That’s not fantastic, but it was a heavy haul.

The 2021 RAM 1500 DT Limited does come with a standard 4,500kg braked towing capacity, so you could theoretically tow anything. Just make sure you do your sums before towing anything decent, and loading up the cab and tub at the same time.

Regardless of the fuel it drinks, there is heaps of power on tap. Don’t think for one minute that the ride is harsh either, as the DT Limited is sitting on fully adjustable air suspension that no matter the road condition, it soaks it up like it’s on a cloud.

RAM Trucks Australia has delivered a new breed of pickup, with a muscular V8, luxury levels out the wazoo, and more room than you can poke a stick at.

And while most will continue to scoff at the pure size and presence of these yank tanks, don’t pay them any attention, as they haven’t likely experienced a RAM.

The 2021 RAM 1500 DT Limited starts at $139,950 (plus on-roads) and comes with a 3-year 100,000km warranty. It is also only available in four colours, Billet Silver (as tested), Diamond Black, White and Granite Crystal.

You can build and price a new RAM 1500 DT Limited direct from RAM Trucks Australia website, but it’s also worth shopping around to see if you can get a better offer. Alternatively, can take a look at a platform like PriceMyCar to get the best deal.

Our 2021 RAM 1500 DT Limited was provided by RAM Trucks Australia. To find out more information, contact your local RAM dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
9
Interior look and feel
9
Technology and connectivity
9
Family friendliness
9
Value for money
9

SUMMARY

Pros - muscular design; heaps of room; technology and luxury everywhere.
Cons - fuel consumption; RamBox system doesn't make much sense; towing weights.
Mick Glenn
Mick is a car fanatic, with petrol pumping through his veins. With a deep love for cars, and what makes them tick, Mick likes things that go fast, very fast. But he also appreciates a Sunday cruise in the Rolls...... who are we kidding, he'd drive the wheels off that too.

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