The Ram 1500 was the winner of Best Performance Ute and Best Towing Ute on our recent Ute of the Year Mega Test – here’s how we tested it, and why it was a winner.
When it comes to performance, we put the 1500 through a series of tests alongside its biggest rivals.
Along with a round-robin drag race, we put the utes through a series of performance tests on the high-speed bowl at the VinFast (nee Holden) proving ground in Lang Lang.
They included 0-100km/h, 80-120km/h and 1/4 mile performance runs, 100-0km/h brake tests, and acceleration tests with our dyne trailer hooked up.
We also put the utes on a dyno to see which could come closest to matching their claimed outputs.
What stood out about the Ram 1500 was its consistency. It was near the top of the charts for our laden and unladen acceleration tests, and was the fastest ute to stop from 100km/h on the bowl.
As for towing?
First test was a trailer dynamometer with a variable load retarder that allowed us to impart up to 10kN of resistive load to the tow vehicle.
It allowed us to simulate a long, steep climb for the tow vehicle, which ultimately puts immense load on the engine.
This 1600kg trailer dynamometer is wirelessly linked up to a computer that lets the operator adjust the degree of resistance force as measured in kN – in our tests we set it to 3kN, which simulates a fairly steep ascent, but one that should be within each ute’s abilities.
We tested fuel economy without the trailer on the back, and then again with the 3kN trailer hooked up to see how heavy hauling will hit your hip pocket.
We also hitched each ute to a 2500kg trailer and tackled a road loop representative of regional Australia, including a 15 per cent climb, a descent to test engine braking, and some choppy bitumen to test the ride quality.
With its 5.7-litre V8, the Ram 1500 is tailor-made for towing. It can tow a whopping 4500kg with a bigger 70mm tow ball fitted, which is a tonne greater than the rest of the pack. It uses a full-time 4×4 system and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 360-degree camera on the big portrait screen is very helpful. Paul found it to be effortless when pulling the 2.5t trailer up the hill, to the point where it felt barely different to when it was driven unladen.
To give some insight, while many other utes battled to increase speed at all up the 15 degree incline, the Ram’s transmission shifted up a gear.
This carried over to the ride quality, where it proved to be more controlled with the trailer over undulations than the Chevrolet was – a key advantage in this part of the market. Down the hill the Ram held third gear and maintained its speed using engine braking.