Lightest and most advanced Ram 1500 yet unveiled, but business case for Australia still up in the air.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) launched its newest Ram 1500 at the Detroit motor show this week, but would-be Aussie Ram buyers will have to wait a bit longer to find out if the best-seller will be factory-built in right-hand drive.
Speaking to journalists at the motor show, FCA head of Jeep and Ram brands Mike Manley confirmed that the company is evaluating right-hand-drive production, and that vehicles could arrive on Australian shores if the business case stacks up.
Current-generation Ram 2500 and 3500 pick-ups are converted to right-hand drive locally by independent company American Special Vehicles (ASV), but it is understood that FCA Australia is keen to import factory-built right-hook 1500s to compete in the booming light-commercial market.
Vehicles could arrive on Australian shores if the business case stacks up.
Lighter, more aerodynamic, and with a host of new tech, the latest 1500 is set to rival the Ford F-150, the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado, the Toyota Tundra, and more.
The fifth-generation Ram 1500 has shed more than 100kg overall, thanks in part to a new steel chassis frame.
FCA says the 1500 is the most aerodynamic in its class with a claimed 0.357Cd drag coefficient. An active front splitter helped achieve this figure, which lowers itself at about 70km/h to provide more downforce.
While a diesel variant is on the horizon, the pick-up was launched at the Detroit show only in petrol-engine form, carrying over the 227kW/365Nm 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and 294kW/556Nm 5.7-litre V8. Both powerplants are connected to an updated eight-speed automatic transmission.
While the engines remain largely unchanged, some variants get a mild-hybrid belt-driven 48-volt generator/motor that recovers energy under deceleration and feeds it back to start the engine and give a burst of extra torque of up to 122Nm to conserve fuel.
A massive 12.0-inch touchscreen is the centerpiece of the interior.
Class-first frequency response dampers are used to improve ride and handling, and segment-topping 378mm front discs are added to aid in braking.
The 1500’s payload and towing capacity also put the pick-up amongst the best in the segment with claimed 1043kg and 5783kg figures respectively.
The front-end of the Ram 1500 has also undergone big changes with FCA axing the familiar crosshairs grille and replacing it with modern black fascia.
The off-road-focused 4×4 Rebel variant gets an under-bumper bash plate, wheelarch flares and matt black plastic body protectors.
A massive 12.0-inch touchscreen is the centerpiece of the interior, running off the latest U-connect multimedia system that includes 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability and a 19-speaker harman/kardon audio system.