Interested in a Ram 1500?
    • Modern, comfortable interior
    • Powerful, effortless V8 engine
    • Impressive towing performance
    • Laggy, buggy touchscreen
    • Prices are up across the range, and safety options have been removed
    • Misaligned speedo and cruise control
    Not tested

    Full-sized American pickup trucks are charging on the sales charts in Australia at the moment, and the Ram 1500 is arguably to thank.

    Built in the USA by Stellantis, imported to Australia by Ateco, and remanufactured to right-hand drive by Walkinshaw in Clayton, the previous-generation 1500 was the first modern, full-sized pickup to be sold at scale Down Under.

    It’s been a runaway success. The cheaper, less sophisticated DS-generation that launched Ram locally lives on as an affordable workhorse, but it’s been succeeded at the top end of the range by the DT model on test here.

    Even in mid-range Laramie trim, the DT Ram 1500 has a spec sheet that wouldn’t look out of place on a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. From its oversized touchscreen to its leather-lined interior, to the fact it features a mild-hybrid system on its V8 engine, this isn’t your grandaddy’s pickup.

    With that new focus on technology and luxury, however, comes a steeper price. This Laramie with RamBoxes is worth $129,000 before on-road costs, which is a lot of money for a truck.

    Can it justify that sticker?

    How does the Ram 1500 compare?
    View a detailed breakdown of the Ram 1500 against similarly sized vehicles.

    How much does the Ram 1500 Laramie cost?

    The newer DT version of the Ram 1500 kicks off at $127,950 before on-roads for the Laramie, although the RamBoxes fitted to our tester upped the sticker price to $132,900 before on-roads.

    UPDATE, 21/03/2023 4:00pm – Ram has shared an updated price list for the 1500, which includes the Laramie tested here. We’ve updated our price list, and references to options packs that have since become standard.

    The Limited is a $153,950 proposition before on-roads with RamBoxes fitted, while the wild TRX kicks off at $219,950 before on-roads.

    Rivals are thin on the ground. The Ram 1500 locks horns with one direct competitor, however, in the form of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. When the updated 2023 model touches down in Australia it’ll be priced between $121,000 and $124,000 before on-roads.

    The new Ford F-150 is more expensive again than the Ram 1500 Laramie in similarly-equipped Lariat guise, with a sticker nudging $140,000 before on-roads.

    What is the Ram 1500 Laramie like on the inside?

    If you’ve been raised on a diet of HiLuxes and Rangers, the 1500 will blow you away with the amount of space and technology on offer.

    The driver sits in a different postcode to the passenger, and the front-row pews feel like Gold Class cinema seats. They’re trimmed in leather, and are designed to make even broad-backed (or pot-bellied) owners feel comfortable during long stints behind the wheel.

    Not only are the seats electrically adjustable, the pedals can be brought closer to the driver using a switch on the dashboard. The view of the road ahead is commanding, as you’d expect from such a burly beast of a ute.

    Ram put technology in the spotlight when it revealed the DT 1500. The vertical infotainment screen dominates the dashboard, and wouldn’t look out of place in a modern Mercedes-Benz.

    Unfortunately, the software in our tester was slow and buggy. It was prone to cutting out or resetting itself on the move, and jumping between functions could be enough to completely flummox the car for long periods of time.

    According to a Ram Australia spokesperson, the problem is “known and can be fixed with a simple software flash”. I’ve spoken with a few DT owners who only have good things to say about the technology, which suggests our car was the outlier.

    Under the skin, the car is running a version of the same Android Automotive system rolling out across the Jeep range, where it’s proven pretty snappy.

    When it is working, the system is excellent. It’s easy to navigate and looks fantastic, with modern graphics and snappy responses. Apple CarPlay looks great, and the ability to show more than one thing – maps and radio, for example – saves you from having to take your eyes off the road for too long.

    Ram also deserves credit for keeping some physical buttons and dials, rather than forcing you to dive through sub-menus to adjust your temperature. A few of the big German brands should be taking note.

    There’s more storage space than most owners will know what to do with.

    Along with the removable cupholders and coin tray on the centre console, there’s a wireless phone charger slot below the touchscreen, and a bin big enough to hide a whole handbag, or a laptop and all your work kit. It puts the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in the shade, let alone something like a Ranger.

    Rear seat space is standout. The bench is wide enough to comfortably cart three apprentices (or kids) across, and legroom is excellent behind tall drivers.

    Rather than an afterthought, the back seats feel like they were a key consideration for Ram from day one.

    Along with device power, there are air vents back there to keep kids cool on hot summer days. The central square rear window is also a winner, allowing cool air to circulate when you’re moving without the buffeting that comes with open windows.

    Two ISOFIX and three top-tether points feature for child seats, and shorter occupants will be able to hop in more easily thanks to the powered side steps that magically appear when you open the doors. Carsick passengers will appreciate the panoramic view out the side windows, too.

    Just make sure you turn them off if you’re planning to open your door on, say, an offset mogul off-road course.

    Finally, the tray. Our tester was fitted with the lockable RamBox storage system, which is essentially a pair of hose-out backpacks flanking the tray designed to hold smaller items like tools – or beers and ice.

    The tray measures 1705mm long, 1270mm wide between the arches, 1215mm wide at its top (due to RamBox), and 550mm deep.

    The soft tonneau can be removed fully, allowing you to use the full tray space in a way a roller shutter doesn’t, although it’s fiddlier to operate than a powered roller.

    What’s under the bonnet?

    All Ram 1500 DT models in Australia use a naturally-aspirated 5.7-litre Hemi V8 producing 291kW of power and 556Nm of torque.

    It’s mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, along with a four-wheel system capable of operating in 2H, 4H, and 4L, as well as a 4A mode that offer all-wheel drive on sealed surfaces.

    There’s a limited-slip differential on the rear axle, but no locking rear differential. The 1500 also lacks any form of off-road modes.

    It features the new eTorque 48V mild-hybrid system, automatic stop/start and cylinder deactivation. Claimed fuel economy is 12.2 litres per 100km, and you can fill the 98L fuel tank with regular unleaded.

    Braked towing capacity is 4500kg, its payload is 779kg, and gross vehicle mass (GVM) is 3450kg.

    How does the Ram 1500 Laramie drive?

    With a big, under stressed V8 engine and long wheelbase, the the Ram 1500 is a relaxed old-school cruiser.

    The V8 settles into a relaxed idle, and offers plenty of shove down low. It makes this 2550kg truck feel surprisingly sprightly off the mark, and means the eight-speed automatic can slur smoothly from gear-to-gear while keeping the rev needle below 2500rpm in daily driving.

    It never feels strained in the same way four-cylinder, and even six-cylinder, dual-cab utes do when you ask for more as well. It revs happily to redline, backed by an old-fashioned V8 growl.

    Can you feel the 48V system working? The start-stop system is smooth, but the HEMI just feels like a HEMI for the most part. That’s no bad thing.

    WATCH: The Ram 1500 takes on other dual-cab utes in a drag race!

    The 1500 feels right at home on the open road, where its massive footprint and powerful engine make it feel more like an SUV with a massive boot than a ute. Ride quality at the rear is excellent without a load on board, with very little of the busyness that afflicts some work-oriented vehicles, although that does mean the Laramie has a limited payload.

    With the cruise control set to 100km/h (and the car doing 3km/h more than that, for some inexplicable reason in our tester) it eats up the miles better than even the Silverado, with hardly any road or wind noise sneaking into the cabin to ruin the serenity.

    The lack of adaptive cruise control is baffling in such an expensive ute, as are features such as rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. Sure, you can get them as options, but forcing buyers to pay for safety isn’t good enough at any price, let alone at $130,000.

    For the most part it’s nicely tied down, but as is the case in its big American rival, the sheer weight of the 1500 makes itself known over crests or dips. Maybe the Limited and its air suspension solves that; we’ll need to spend time behind the wheel to find out.

    In our Ute of the Year mega test, it hit 100km/h in 7.0 seconds, did the 60-100km/h run in 3.9 seconds, and did 80-120km/h in 4.8 seconds.

    It’ll more reliably do those figures in a broader range of conditions, too, thanks to a four-wheel drive system that can be activated on sealed surfaces. It was significantly quicker than the diesel dual-cab utes we tested, although the Silverado 1500 was quicker again.

    The Ram shaded its big rival in our towing tests, however.

    It feels settled at the rear end with a 2.5-tonne trailer hooked up, with less bouncing over our rough ride road than the Silverado, and the large-displacement engine makes molehills out of mountains.

    Off-road, its broad footprint and torquey engine made the Ram very capable. Its limited-slip differential isn’t as effective as a proper locking differential, however, and the lack of off-road pages or a front-view off-road camera seems like a waste given how much screen real estate there is in the cabin.

    As for in the city? There’s no getting away from the fact this is a big old beast, but criticising a big, American pickup truck for being big (and American) seems like a waste of words.

    If you live in Brunswick, this isn’t the truck for you.

    What do you get?

    Ram 1500 Laramie highlights:

    • 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
    • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto (wired)
    • Satellite navigation
    • 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system
    • 20-inch polished aluminium wheels
    • Black partial leather upholstery
    • 10-way power driver’s seat with memory
    • 10-way power passenger’s seat
    • Heated and ventilated front seats
    • Heated outboard rear seats
    • Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel
    • Power tailgate
    • Keyless entry and start
    • Remote start
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • Tyre-pressure monitoring
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • LED headlights
    • Automatic headlights
    • Power-adjustable pedals
    • Tub liner
    • Tow hooks
    • 12-pin wiring harness
    • Heavy-duty tow bar
    • Power sliding cab window
    • Carpet cabin flooring with carpet mats
    • Wireless charging pad
    • 5 x USB-A outlets
    • 4 x USB-C outlets
    • Power-retractable side steps (previously optional)

    Ram 1500 Laramie with RamBox adds:

    • RamBox cargo management system with 230V power outlet
    • LED tray lighting

    Ram 1500 Limited adds:

    • Air suspension
    • 22-inch black-finish alloy wheels
    • Black ‘premium’ partial leather upholstery
    • Power-retractable side steps
    • Rubber floor mats with carpet inserts
    • Heated and ventilated rear outboard seats
    • Panoramic sunroof

    Accessories include:

    • 50mm or 70mm tow ball mount kit
    • Tonneau cover

    Is the Ram 1500 Laramie safe?

    The Ram 1500 has yet to be tested by ANCAP.

    Standard safety equipment includes:

    • Front, front-side and curtain airbags
    • Reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors

    Previously optional, and now not available on the Laramie are the following:

    • AEB with Pedestrian detection
    • Surround-view cameras
    • Blind-spot monitoring
    • Rear cross-traffic alert
    • Lane departure warning
    • Lane keep assist
    • Adaptive cruise control

    How much does the Ram 1500 Laramie cost to run?

    The Ram 1500 has a three-year, 100,000 kilometre warranty, with three years or 100,000km of roadside assist.

    Servicing is required every 12 months or 12,000km.

    CarExpert’s Take on the Ram 1500 Laramie

    The Ram 1500 takes the pickup truck to new heights in some areas, but falls short in others.

    UPDATE, 21/03/2023 4:00pm – Ram has shared an updated price list for the 1500, which includes the Laramie tested here. We’ve updated our price list, and references to options packs that have since been removed.

    Its interior is a high-tech showcase, and there’s no doubt it’s a grown-up brute to drive. It’s also an effortless hauler, and will take you into the wilderness… if you’re happy to risk scratching your $130,000 pride and joy in the process.

    Recent updates to the specification list damage the equation, even though the price has risen. Active safety should never have been optional, but it’s even worse to take the option away if it’s not standard in the first place.

    The infotainment bugs in our tester also made it harder to appreciate what is by most reports a flashy, fast system that makes the Ram feel significantly more modern than its pickup rivals.

    There’s no doubt it’s an impressive truck, and one that in some ways outshines its high-profile rivals from the USA, but some spec refinement is required – or you’ll need to be willing to spend on the Limited.

    WATCH: Ute of the Year goes off-road!

    Click the images for the full gallery

    MORE: Everything Ram 1500

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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    Overall Rating

    Cost of Ownership7
    Ride Comfort8.5
    Fit for Purpose8.5
    Handling Dynamics8
    Interior Practicality and Space9
    Fuel Efficiency7.5
    Value for Money8
    Technology Infotainment7.5
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