The new ‘DT’ specification of the RAM 1500 pickup has been launched in Australia, offering a new look and a longer, wider body than the existing ‘DS’ spec. There’s also a new variant – the 1500 Limited - which comes with a premium specification level and a mild hybrid engine.
Essentially, DT is the new-style RAM 1500 and DS is the old-look version (called ‘RAM Classic’ in the US) that has identified RAMs here since 2013 and remains available on several 1500 variants locally.
“We’re delighted to officially welcome the next generation 1500,” said RAM Trucks Australia National Manager Jeff Barber, announcing the new model’s launch on 18 May.
“The all-new 1500 DT marks the culmination of a detailed planning, development, remanufacturing and testing programme with our local and global partners, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (US).”
The DT spec is offered in 1500 Laramie form and as an all-new 1500 Limited; a premium variant that sits at the top of the RAM 1500 range. That range now covers five variants, from Express Quad Cab, through Express Crew Cab, Warlock Crew Cab and Laramie Crew Cab to the new Limited.
While starting price for the existing DS 1500 remains at $79,950 for the Express Quad Cab, rising to $108,950 for the Warlock Crew Cab, the extra standard features on the upgraded, DT spec RAM means it starts at $114,950 for the new 1500 Laramie, rising to $139,950 for the all-new 1500 Limited.
“With the all-new 2500 and 3500 also arriving later this year – and some other exciting developments – 2021 looks set to be a record year for RAM Trucks Australia,” Barber adds.
To test the design and manufacturing process for locally-converted DT RAM 1500s, a fleet of the big pickups undertook a thorough validation trip, travelling from Melbourne to Broome, then across to Townsville before returning to Melbourne via Alice Springs. In total, 50,000km and 7,000+ hours of real-world driving were undertaken on the trip.
RAM Trucks Australia declare that the new 1500 Limited is Australia’s most luxurious full-size pickup truck. Standard features on the 5-seater include an active noise cancelling system, dual pane panoramic sunroof, 900W premium Harman Kardon sound system, heated and ventilated front and rear outboard seats in leather with premium accent stitching and piping, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, 60/40 reclining rear seats and a 12-inch centre console touchscreen that’s reconfigurable and offers Uconnect and voice-control satnav.
Power comes from a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine producing 291kW and 556Nm, but in the 1500 Limited, this is matched to an electric motor and 48-volt battery pack to create a mild hybrid system.
Combined with the existing ‘Multi-Displacement System’ cylinder deactivation that shuts down four cylinders under light load (that’s available range-wide), this new ‘eTorque-engineering’ package allows longer engine operation on four cylinders and “more refined” engine stop/start capability, as well as short-term torque assistance and regenerative braking to recharge the electric motor’s battery.
Also available on the 1500 Laramie, the HEMI V8 with eTorque is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission and RAM’s existing on-demand four-wheel drive system.
Safety features on the 1500 Limited include 'LaneSense' Lane Departure Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go function, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Rear Cross-Path Detection, Blind Spot Monitoring with Trailer Detection, Trailer-sway Damping Control and Lane Departure Warning. These are on top of active and passive safety tech that includes multi-stage front airbags, side-impact beams, a 360-degree surround view camera system and dynamic front crumple zones.
Convenience and assistance tech includes ParkSense parking assist, Hill-start Assist, LED SmartBeam intelligent headlights, in-floor storage bins, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility, wireless phone charging pad, nine USB ports, a proximity key and remote starting.
In the 1712mm x 1270mm (LxW), 1.5 cubic metre tub, there’s a 230V power outlet and LED lighting, as well as a power-release tailgate and fold-out rear step for easier access to the tub. The RamBox lockable side storage - that’s a $4,950 option on some RAM 1500s - is standard on the 1500 Limited. Power-operated side steps are also standard.
The 1500 Limited retains the RAM’s leading braked towing capacity of up to 4.5 tonnes, while the multi-link rear suspension and the latest version of RAM’s Active-Level Four Corner self-levelling air suspension claim outstanding ride and on-road manners. As well as lowering and raising overall ride height by 51mm either way, Active-Level air suspension can also lower the back end of the pickup for easier trailer attachment.
Despite appearances to the contrary, the DT 1500 is one of the most aerodynamically efficient pickups in the world, according to RAM Trucks Australia, who claim that the new shape produces a supercar-like drag co-efficient of 0.357. Aero tech includes active shutters in the grille (also available on the 1500 Express), that automatically open and close, depending on engine temp and load. These are primarily a cold climate feature to prevent engine freezing, but have been repurposed to reduce aerodynamic drag.
The RAM 1500 Limited is offered in Billet Silver, Granite Crystal and Diamond Black colours, with body-coloured bumpers and wheelarch flares, while black 22-inch alloys are exclusive to this model. A 1500 Limited Launch Edition swaps the blackout bumpers and wheels for chrome, also adding chrome badging and trim, with the standard bonnet fitted in place of a ventilated sports bonnet.
The all-new RAM 1500 Limited and new-look 1500 Laramie are now available. See your RAM dealer for details.
2021 RAM 1500 range pricing*
DS 1500 Express Quad Cab $79,950
DS 1500 Express Crew Cab $89,950
DS 1500 Express Crew Cab w/RamBox $94,450
DS 1500 Warlock Crew Cab w/RamBox $108,950
DT 1500 Laramie Crew Cab $114,950
DT 1500 Laramie Crew Cab w/RamBox $119,900
DT 1500 Limited Crew Cab w/RamBox – Launch Edition $139,950
DT 1500 Limited Crew Cab w/RamBox $139,950
*list pricing, excludes on-road costs.