The truth is this: We can't tell you anything about how the new Ram drives. Not one stinking thing. Not how the improved HEMI accelerates. Nothing about how the new coil spring rear suspension handles. Nada about its cargo-hauling capabilities or how it compares to the competition. All of this must wait until August 31, when Chrysler's embargo on driving impressions lifts.
Until then, go here to see what we can tell you about the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. But read on for some insights picked up during this press event that have nothing to with Ram driving impressions.
Jim Press, Chrysler vice chairman and president, talked with us extensively about what Chrysler LLC sees happening in the truck market. Press said, "We see the truck market getting back to normal—when people who needed trucks bought trucks." He continued, "We're coming out of a period where people who didn't need trucks bought them, and fuel prices are moving them out of this segment." Seems like common sense is coming back to driving the truck market. This shift in buying will help change the face of the truck market, and more than one Dodge engineer mentioned that they saw the opportunity for a unibody truck product emerging to fill the needs of pseudo-truckers. Remember the Rampage concept from the 2006 Chicago auto show? This truck was referenced in conversations by several Chrysler people.
This press event also confirmed that new powertrains are in the big Ram's future. At the Ram's 2008 Detroit Auto Show unveiling Dodge announced that a new light-duty Cummins diesel would arrive in 2010. The dual-mode hybrid drive system found in the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen will also find its way into the Ram 1500 in about the same time frame. The new piece of engine news is the V-6 engine that's under development. The current 3.7-liter mill is coming to the end of its lifecycle, so we're glad to hear general murmurs about the new engine. As is the trend today, expect it to carry direct injection. Engineers were mum on details or time to market, but we're thinking sometime after the 2011. This is good news for the Ram, as the current 3.7 is not an impressive engine by any measure.
Stay tuned for more on the Ram, and we'll get you a full review with driving impressions as soon as the embargo lifts.