RAM: Picking up the passion

RAM Trucks are recognized as one of the best brands among truck buyers across the country. Their dedication to creating a dependable, rugged vehicle to meet the demanding needs of farmers, contractors and numerous other professions is obvious, but they also strive to meet the demand of outdoor recreationists.

RAM’s commitment to their customer is apparent, as is their commitment to the National Wild Turkey Federation. As a title sponsor of the NWTF Convention and Sport Show, RAM offsets much of the expense of throwing a shindig for 50,000-plus turkey hunters. In addition, their donation of the annual raffle truck helps raise needed funds for conservation and hunting heritage work nationally. On the local level, the Chrysler Affinity program offers discounts exclusive to NWTF members.

“The most important part of this relationship is that RAM cares about clean air, clean water and good habitat,” said Danny Young, NWTF VP of corporate partnerships. “The effects of this relationship cannot be measured in the number of trucks sold but in the impact that their dollars will have on wildlife, on habitat and on the future. RAM is playing a pivotal role in constructing what the American landscape will look like in 10, 20 and 30 years down the road. All Americans will benefit from the job they are doing to conserve our natural resources. We owe them a great big thank you!”

With such dedication to the cause, I was excited to check out the technology and amenities offered on these third-generation models.

PICKING UP THE PICKUP

 When I pulled up to Bob Richard’s in Aiken, South Carolina, a steel-gray 2017 2500 Mega Cab was waiting for me. With the plush Laramie trim package and all of the bells and whistles, it was like stepping up into a limousine. It featured supple, vented/heated leather seats, wood trim and an 8-inch console touchscreen display bigger than my first computer.

After an abridged computer 101 class from my sister Jenifer, who works at the dealership, and the realization that they sent the 6.4 Hemi gas engine versus the diesel, I was on the highway headed toward Edgefield.

GAS IS FAST

 I soon forgot any reservations I held that the gas engine could properly move the 7,020-pound, 3/4-ton truck as I stepped on the gas and 410 horses kicked in. And with about 430 lbft of torque, hauling the Cherokee Wolf Pup toy hauler from CSRA Camperland in Martinez, Georgia, to Edgefield for the photo shoot — found in Gear Up on page 72 of the November/December 2017 issue of Turkey Country magazine — felt like I was towing air.

HAULING A… WELL, ANYTHING YOU WANT

 Built for towing big toys, the truck came equipped with 10-ply tires, a class 4 receiver, anchor points for a fifth-wheel/goose ball and integrated break assist. The 2.5-inch class 4 receiver threw a little wrench in my plans when I arrived to pick up the camper with just a 2-inch, class 3 hitch thrown in the back floorboard. A $20 sleeve fixed it, but a sleeve added to the accessories package would have been nice.

FILL ‘ER UP

Around town and back and forth from my home in North Augusta, South Carolina, for a week, I averaged about 14.5 mpg based on the truck’s computer. Hauling the 5,700-pound camper on a round trip of 66 miles averaged 11.2 mpg.

Wanting to test it on a long-haul trip, I packed up my family of four and a bed full of gear and headed to Florida to spend a long weekend with my buddy Jeff and his family and friends. On that 1,100-mile round trip, most of which was on the interstate, the truck pulled an amazing 16.4 mpg, very respectable for a nearly 4-ton, 4x4 vehicle.

WRAPPING IT UP

The truck was a knockout from the beginning. It’s a head-turner on the road and at the curb. It’s interior comfort and usability is on par with a private jet, though a lot cheaper. And while no new truck is inexpensive these days, knowing part of the price goes back into the NWTF and conservation makes it a deal.

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