Stellantis is recalling 212,373 Ram vehicles over issues relating to the side-mounted airbag inflators. Relevant safety reports were filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier in the month and describe circumstances somewhat similar to the nightmare that preceded the Takata airbag recall. Inflator components exposed to moisture may have a tendency to lose components or outright rupture, potentially spraying the interior with metal fragments.
The Ram inflators are believed to have been exposed to unnecessary levels of moisture during the manufacturing process, resulting in a weakening of the materials under pressure. FCA US (which is the name used on the NHTSA report, rather than the global Stellantis) started an investigation in December of 2020 after it had determined some pickups had been installed with side-curtain airbags with defective inflators. The company traced the issue all the way back to the 2015 model year.
Domestic automakers are enamored with the full-sized pickup segment because it’s a reliable way of securing hundreds of thousands of sales in North America on an annual basis. Here, Ford’s F-Series reigns supreme. That might not always be the case, however, especially with younger buyers opting to purchase their pickups at competing brands.
Last month, Edmunds released a study claiming Ram is leading the charge with buyers under 35 — saying the brand had won over “the most coveted section of the market.”
It will surprise exactly no one to learn that a diesel engine option needs some sort of killer app in order to command the cash. Whether it’s power, towing capacity, or fuel economy matters not so long as it has some sort of advantage over its gasoline-powered brethren. Unfortunately for Ram’s EcoDiesel, the old engines were scarce on all three.
Being first to market is sometimes fraught with peril, but also has its advantages. Ram learned this in a number of different ways with its first couple of forays into the half-ton diesel game. Now that Ford and GM also have compression-powered arrows in their quivers, Ram is back with a third kick at the EcoDiesel jerry can.
This time around, it’s more than just a curious sideshow. This time around, it’s the first Ram EcoDiesel with a pulse.
If we were to have told you a few short years ago that The General would soon be producing mass copies of a rear-drive vehicle powered by a turbocharged straight six diesel, you’d have had us committed to the nearest madhouse. After all, such a bumf reads like sport European sedan from the eighties, when cars were cars and most passengers were terrified.
But it isn’t a sports sedan, nor even a performance coupe. Getting inline at GM these days means moving into a Silverado half-ton pickup truck, the latest entrant from the Detroit Three in a quickly escalating war of diesel supremacy in trucks not competing in the Dreadnought-class. These are the volume trucks, folks, and all of the diesel powertrains — Ford, Chevy, and Ram — displace an identical 3.0L from their six cylinders.
Differences abound between the three, causing your friendly neighborhood gearhead’s mind to temporarily out of control, even more so than it does after his third ration of Lamb’s Rum. Let’s dive in and decipher it all.
If the pithy sub-title to this review sounds familiar, give yourself a pat on the back. Or an extra carrot during feeding time. “Fresh horses” is a term deployed to describe steeds that riders substitute in place of the exhausted horses that grew tired during a long ride.
When Ram introduced its new 1500 pickup back in April, it was clear to all that the company shovelled many cubic acres of cash into revamping its exterior, chassis components, and interior. Lighter, sleeker, and more luxurious, about the only thing missing at launch were tweaks to the venerable Hemi V8 – an apparent lack of fresh horses, right?
The company promised tweaks in the form of a forthcoming mild hybrid system appended to both the truck’s V6 and V8 engines. Now, those fresh horses are here and we had a chance to let them run.
We’ve all taken a few chances in our lives. Whether it was jumping off the roof of a shed as a youngster or accepting that new job in a different town as an adult, most of us find there is very little reward without some risk.
Some 25 years ago, two brothers in our rural fishing community built a new vessel which explored the edges of legal length at the time, banking on future changes to regulations allowing them to use such a big boat in their type of fishery. The brothers, naturally, christened the boat Takin’ Chances, because if their gamble didn’t pay off, they’d be out a significant investment. Guess what? They gambled correctly and, with regulations changed in their favor, Randy and Ross went on to enjoy a great deal of success.
For 2019, Ram is also taking a few chances. With the deep-sixing of the truck’s mini-Kenworth styling and signature gunsight grille, the company has crafted a pickup that is arguably its biggest gamble since 1994.
Ram announced pricing today for its snazzy new 1500 pickup and, while the relentless upward march of MRSPs continues unabated, starting prices may not have risen as much as you may think.
Critically, Ram also saw fit to release the costs for upgrading to their intriguing eTorque Hemi, a power team that promises the trucker’s holy grail – extra low-end grunt for hauling and increased fuel economy on the highway.
Hewing to another law of retailing, while base prices for the 2019 model haven’t moved the needle significantly from last year’s sticker, 2018 models now enjoy large rebates in some markets.
Truck buyers are a notably finicky lot, often demanding the ability to personally spec their vehicles down to the microscopic level. Pickups used as tools will be deployed in a myriad of different ways based on customer needs, so it makes sense for manufacturers to offer them in a dizzying array of trims. Styling tastes have a lot to do with it, too.
With the addition of a Canada-only Sport model to the 2019 Ram 1500 lineup, the breadth of trims available on FCA’s new pickup rivals only that found at a good buffet restaurant. Take some of this, take some of that, and make up a lunch to suit your specific tastes.
Most truck owners customize their rigs to some degree – witness the multimillion dollar aftermarket industry and the popularity of SEMA. Not to mention the existence of Truck Nutz.
Ram, after refurbishing the 1500 pickup in an effort to quash its competition like beetles under its tires, wants in on some of that high profit action. Today, at the Chicago Auto Show, the company unveiled a passel of Mopar gear for its snazzy new truck.
It’s NAIAS week in Detroit, signaling a parade of press conferences and more shrimp than what’s found in all the North Atlantic. While buzzwords this year are “mobility” and “disruption,” the Detroit Three still found time to show us new versions of machines in my favorite segment, the full-sized pickup truck market.
Now we’ve seen them all, here’s my question to you: if forced to choose one, what would you select?
Since Dodge started producing trucks way back in 1921, it has never held the crown of the best-selling pickup truck in America. Not once. Not even when Dodge was the top brand in America.
It seems from the get-go Dodge has played third-fiddle in Ford versus General Motors pickup truck wars. But being third child meant that Dodge often struggled to be recognized in the market when compared to its more famous competitors.
For enthusiasts, that has always been a good thing.
It meant Dodge always had to be different. Dodge always had to be innovative, or more enthusiastic, or just plain shout more than anyone else. The result of all that was Dodge brought us some very trick trucks along the way that were cutting-edge, that defined a market, or were just plain cool.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 40 years of pre-Y2K Dodge truck highlights (even when they haven’t been so successful).
In the war for ever-lucrative pickup truck money, conspicuous consumption is key. General Motors’ latest salvo in the pickup arms race has mudders, LED lamps, a spray-in bedliner and the letter “X” in its name, jack.
GMC announced Wednesday that it would sell this spring a Sierra 1500 All Terrain X package, which is derived from its All Terrain trim, and includes a handful of goodies thrown on at the factory instead of at the dealership to pry a few more hundred dollars out of the burning pockets of pickup buyers.
Interestingly, the All Terrain X package is available on its 5.3-liter V-8 (with performance exhaust!), not the hi-po 6.2-liter V-8 because product planners will have a name for that later.
A lawsuit filed in Southern California said that GMC’s headlights in their 2013 and 2014 pickups are too dim and that the automaker knowingly expanded the use of its headlights to other trucks and SUVs, despite customers’ complaints that the cars were unsafe to drive at night.
The lawsuit, filed on Oct. 19, was first reported by Law 360.
According to court documents, the trucks were fitted with a single bulb for low and high beams, rather than three bulbs normally used for fog lights, low- and high-beam lights. According to the lawsuit, the truck owner paid for aftermarket lights to make the truck safe to drive.
2015 GMC Sierra Crew Cab SLT 4×46.2-liter OHV V-8, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT (420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 460 lbs-ft @ 4,100 rpm)
Hydra-Matic 8L90 8-speed automatic
15 city/21 highway/17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
16.5 mpg, mostly city driving while yelling “AMERICA!” at full trot. (Observed, MPG)
Tested Options: 6.2L Ecotec3 V-8, navigation, polished exhaust tips, sunroof, spray-in bedliner.
A farm, lots of mud thanks to rain from the previous day, and a dose of sunshine to dry out the ground just enough so my feet wouldn’t lose their boots in the slop. This is the perfect location — along with the perfect conditions — to test one of the latest from the pickup crop, the 2015 GMC Sierra.
Or is it?
Under the hood of the SLT-trimmed Sierra sits a V-8 less suited to farm duty and better equipped for automotive trolling.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the Sierra, I have a small announcement to make. TTAC now has an off-road area for testing trucks and SUVs. Sort of. It probably won’t be fully available for us for a little while, but shenanigans will be had before the end of the summer. Here’s hoping the automakers send us some metal so we can put it to the test at this newfound playland.
As for this Sierra, well, it isn’t a farm truck. Hell, it’s barely a work truck. The Sierra is available in four different trim levels — base, SLE, SLT and the top-trim Denali. Our SLT-trimmed tester arrived with its bench seat still intact, which is great for mid-summer-romance canoodling and one of the reasons girls dig guys with trucks, maybe.
Interior configuration aside, the real news for this Sierra is under the hood. The 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V-8, with its 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque, is a nod to old-school solutions to making power and a pragmatic approach to efficiency. The pushrod V-8 might sound antiquated next to the new turbo and diesel units from Ford and Dodge, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.