Once upon a time, American giants roamed Philippine roads. Pickups and SUVs that looked more at home on a Texas ranch somehow squeezed their way into our more modest-sized streets and driveways. As fuel prices steadily shot skywards, the effect was that of a large comet striking the Earth: Large American trucks disappeared as quickly as they arrived. But their day is not over, as vehicles designed for America have returned with better equipment and driving dynamics, and, most importantly, more fuel-efficient drivetrains.
One brand that was not present for the original wave of the jaeger invasion was Dodge. Previously known as the Dodge Ram, the Ram pickup is now available from Chrysler’s exclusive distributor in the country, CATS Motors. Taking its name from the parent brand’s distinctive hood ornament, the Ram pickup line was spun off into its own brand in 2010. The rationale was that the customers for the pickup were apparently a very finicky lot, with their own distinctive needs and even their own subculture. And, also apparently, the Ram branding was strong enough to stand on its own—a prime example of a sub-brand eventually becoming more recognizable than that of the parent brand.
The Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 5.7-liter Hemi V8 pickup makes no bones about its intention. It may be classified as the smallest of American pickup classes (the “half-ton” pickup), but it is large. Clocking in at 5816 millimeters long and 2016 mm wide, the Ram is indeed built for the land of the free.
The front features a huge chromed crosshair grille, underscored by an appropriately-sized chrome bumper. A roomy four-door cabin stretches ahead of the five-foot pickup box.
High level of standard
CATS Motors is known to provide a high level of standard specification, and the Ram pickup is no exception. Under the hood is the top-of-the-line Hemi V8 engine, displacing 5.7 liters. It pumps out 395 horsepower and 550 Newton-meters, coursed through a six-speed automatic transmission. Twenty-inch aluminum alloys decked in chrome fill out the wheel wells.
Inside, there are plenty of gadgets, including an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, nine-speaker system with subwoofer, Bluetooth phone and audio system, leather seats and steering wheel, wood grain trim, power seats, and dual-zone air-conditioning.
The Ram 1500 has picked up a box full of awards, including the coveted 2013 North American Truck/Utility of the Year, voted by journalists. The cabin was also named one of Ward’s best interiors.
Interestingly, the Ram pickup was the first in America to offer a small displacement diesel engine. The 3-liter diesel with 240 HP and 569 Nm would be perfect for Philippine use. However, it’s not available at this time. CATS Motors’ marketing department is not ruling out its availability in the future.
Here and now, the Ram 1500 is the brawniest, largest and most well-equipped pickup on the market. The price of admission is P3.18 million.
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