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Ram 1500 2022 review: Laramie - Towing test

The Ram 1500 pick-up truck is as good as synonymous with towing capability. 

Anyone who knows this brand will understand that it has built a reputation for towing capacity and credentials, with Ram Trucks more often hauling large, heavy loads than hitting their payload tub capacity.

So we thought we’d see just how good of a tow truck the 2022 Ram 1500 Laramie is. We used it to move house. Like, literally - we moved a tiny house with it.

This test of the DT Series Ram 1500 Laramie will cover off its towing specs, capacity, and drivability, but also fuel consumption and the practicality considerations you should know about. Read on…

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

With dual-cab utes commanding crazy prices and four-wheel drive SUVs seeing costs go crazy, a list price of $128,850 (plus on-road costs) for a Ram 1500 Laramie with Ramboxes actually doesn’t seem that big of an ask, even if it’s $4000 more than what you would have paid earlier this year. 

After all, this isn’t your average work truck. In fact, it’s such a primo piece of kit, the Ram 1500 has won awards for being the best luxury vehicle on the market in the US. Seriously.

12.0-inch touchscreen media system. (Image: Matt Campbell) 12.0-inch touchscreen media system. (Image: Matt Campbell)

Some of that must come down to the standard equipment list, which is extensive, and includes: 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, power side steps, part-leather seat trim, 5x USB ports and 4x USB-C ports, a wireless phone charger, 12.0-inch touchscreen media system, 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, 7.0-inch driver info cluster, sat nav, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more.

LED headlights. (Image: Matt Campbell) LED headlights. (Image: Matt Campbell)

It’s pretty loaded for the money, but one massive consideration you need to keep in mind: buyers who choose a Ram 1500 Laramie at the moment will miss out on a range of standard safety gear that the previous version came with due to the global semiconductor shortage.

20-inch wheels. (Image: Matt Campbell) 20-inch wheels. (Image: Matt Campbell)

All the following items are now missing, but were fitted to the vehicle I tested: pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, trailer sensing technology, a 360-degree surround view camera, and auto parking technology that are all now missing from the Laramie.

Premium paint - so, all colours but the Bright White you see here - adds $950 to the price.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

I mentioned above the Laramie (and Limited above it) have auto side steps. These are brilliant - they fold down when you open the door, and back up a few seconds after you close it. Seems really smart, and negates the need for low-slung numbers that you’ll damage off road. Just remember them when you’re parked somewhere that the might bottom out, though.

 The Laramie (and Limited above it) have auto side steps. (Image: Matt Campbell) The Laramie (and Limited above it) have auto side steps. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The Ram 1500 we had included the Rambox feature, a pair of covered, secure, and lockable storage pods at the sides of the tub, and they offer 210 litres of storage. Those boxes are clever in that they have LED lighting, a powerpoint, and can be drained - meaning the uses for them are many and varied.

The 5’7” tub, as Ram calls it, is good for 1712mm of bed length, 1687mm of cargo width (and a pallet-swallowing 1295mm between the wheel arches) and the tub is 543mm deep. 

Lockable storage pods at the sides of the tub, and they offer 210 litres of storage. (Image: Matt Campbell) Lockable storage pods at the sides of the tub, and they offer 210 litres of storage. (Image: Matt Campbell)

Sounds like it’s set up for a big load. And big, physically, sure. But big in terms of weight? Maybe not - the payload is just 779kg with the Rambox version of the ute (833kg without).

However, the Ram 1500 - like most other North American market trucks - is designed to tow, and with a 70mm towball fitted as our ute had, the maximum towing capacity is 4500kg.

A 70mm towball fitted as our ute had, the maximum towing capacity is 4500kg. (Image: Matt Campbell) A 70mm towball fitted as our ute had, the maximum towing capacity is 4500kg. (Image: Matt Campbell)

So, a Ram 1500 with Ramboxes has a kerb weight of 2671kg, and we were aiming to tow a tiny house at almost 4500kg. That takes a big bite out of the maximum gross combination mass of 7713kg. But with about 540kg up our sleeve, it wasn’t our intent to load up the cabin to capacity. I drove the truck by myself meaning I still had more than 440kg to play with.  

How practical is the space inside?

Have you ever booked a place on AirBNB, arrived there and gone, “wow, this is heaps bigger than it looks from the outside!”?

Well, don’t expect that vibe from the Ram 1500, because it’s huge on the outside, and it’s still suitably large inside, too. There’s certainly no chance you’re going to feel cramped, with plenty of space for five adults in the cabin.

If you have children there are ISOFIX child-seat anchors and a top-tether attachment, and I fit in my 11-month-old’s rearward facing seat and there was ample space ahead of it for taller front-seat passengers.

If you have children there are ISOFIX child-seat anchors and a top-tether attachment. (Image: Matt Campbell) If you have children there are ISOFIX child-seat anchors and a top-tether attachment. (Image: Matt Campbell)

Between the front seats there is a multifaceted storage box. The top compartment opens for a document box and it has a neat measuring tape/protractor emblazoned on it, and below that there is a shelf with cup holders that can be slid fore and aft, above a massive storage well that would easily be filled with too much junk if I owned this truck.

Then there’s the charge port section, with a wireless phone charger, a dock section to park your phone/s. As mentioned in the spec section, there are USB and USB-C ports everywhere in this rig.

Between the front seats there is a multifaceted storage box. (Image: Matt Campbell) Between the front seats there is a multifaceted storage box. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The 12.0-inch touchscreen is in portrait orientation, and does take some learning. It’s a big, crisp display with good usability once you get to know it, but I wish the smartphone mirroring software went bigger than just half the screen. When you have your phone mirroring on, you can select what you want the bottom screen ‘card’ to be - it was climate, for me. 

Either side of the screen there are knobs (tuning and volume), buttons (fan, temperature, recirculate, de-mister) and there’s a nice “Screen Off” button, which is great when you just want to focus on the road.

The 12.0-inch touchscreen is in portrait orientation. (Image: Matt Campbell) The 12.0-inch touchscreen is in portrait orientation. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The rotary dial gear selector near the driver’s left knee is easy to get to grips with, and happily there’s an electronic park brake. 

Storage in the doors is good, with drink holders abounding, and in the back there is a section under the floor known as the Ram Bin, a hidden storage box which would be good for wet gear. 

Back seat riders get plethora USB ports and directional air vents, as well as map pockets and the back windshield has an opening centre section as well.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

You bet there’s a big old honking V8 under the hood. It’s a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 petrol engine, producing 291kW at 5600rpm and 556Nm at 3950rpm.

As you can see by those power figures, this isn’t a low-down grunt fest like some diesel utes, but the power is surprisingly usable thanks to a clever eight-speed automatic transmission. 

It’s a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 petrol engine, producing 291kW at 5600rpm and 556Nm at 3950rpm. (Image: Matt Campbell) It’s a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 petrol engine, producing 291kW at 5600rpm and 556Nm at 3950rpm. (Image: Matt Campbell)

Power goes to all four wheels via an electric full-time 4WD system, and there are different modes to drive it in - 2WD high for normal on-road driving, 4WD Auto if you want the truck to do the thinking for you, 4WD high for dedicated four-wheel driving (low traction surfaces), and low-range 4WD for more serious, slow-speed off-road driving.

The Ram 1500 engine features fuel-saving cylinder deactivation tech. (Image: Matt Campbell) The Ram 1500 engine features fuel-saving cylinder deactivation tech. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The Ram 1500 engine features fuel-saving cylinder deactivation tech, and you’ll see the benefit of that when the motor is under lower loads.

What's it like as a daily driver?

Easy to live with, and surprisingly easy to drive… provided you’re not stuck somewhere that the lanes are tiny, the parking spaces are a joke and you don’t have too many tight roundabouts to concern yourself with.

It’s big. You can’t escape that fact. But it has a solid footprint on the road, and you might be surprised just how manageable it feels from the driver’s seat.

The steering is light. In fact, at times I felt it was a bit too light, especially on the highway. It responds quicker to inputs at pace than you might expect, though you still need to have a bit of arm-twirling at parking pace to pilot it into position, with a 14.08m turning circle making it a bit of a monster to park. 

That makes the move to remove the auto-parking system a little more annoying for those who aren’t confident parkers… But if you’re not confident parking, you’re unlikely to be driving something quite this large. 

The V8 engine and eight-speed auto team really well together. (Image: Matt Campbell) The V8 engine and eight-speed auto team really well together. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The ride is something else. Having coil springs at all four corners (the rear is a five-link, solid axle, coil spring setup) means this truck doesn’t drive like one. It’s far more considered in the way it hits bumps and recovers from them, though nothing can hide the bulky nature of those 20-inch chrome wheels, which can exhibit a notable thump over sharp edges.

It has a solid footprint on the road, and you might be surprised just how manageable it feels from the driver’s seat. (Image: Matt Campbell) It has a solid footprint on the road, and you might be surprised just how manageable it feels from the driver’s seat. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The V8 engine and eight-speed auto team really well together, with a nice free-revving nature that allows quick acceleration and quite a soundtrack, too. I had no real issues with the powertrain at all, but some people might find the switch to four-cylinder mode a bit unnerving, as it can sound like the engine is misfiring.

I really liked driving it. I didn’t load up the tub, because that’s not what the job called for. Instead, we put it to the test towing a tiny (not so tiny) house.

What's it like for touring?

If your idea of touring includes towing something that weighs up to 4.5 tonnes, you’re a different person to me.

I did it. I towed this tiny house, which tipped the scales at 4475kg, but it’s not something I’d want to do daily. We did the calculations to make sure we wouldn’t be going anywhere near the Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of the Ram, and I certainly am happy we did.

I had towed this exact tiny house before using the previous-gen Ram 1500 Warlock, but back then it was essentially just a skeleton of a tiny house. Since then, the interior has been fitted out, and so has all the wiring, battery pack, solar panels, kitchen and bathroom, plumbing and cabinetry.

So it was a fair bit heavier than last time, and I felt that from behind the wheel.

One of the best features of the Ram 1500 Laramie as the trailer sensing system, which will automatically adapt the blind-spot monitoring to accommodate for the trailer. (Image: Matt Campbell) One of the best features of the Ram 1500 Laramie as the trailer sensing system, which will automatically adapt the blind-spot monitoring to accommodate for the trailer. (Image: Matt Campbell)

But I didn’t feel the Ram was struggling to do the job. It was more my nerves about this almost 4.5-metre tall, almost 9.0-metre long trailer being in tow. Admittedly, most trailers at this weight and size would more likely be Gooseneck or fifth-wheel setups rather than the conventional drawbar style, and I feel that would definitely make for an even more stable towing experience.

The transmission was great. It held gears when it should have, and downshifted when I thought it would on descents. (Image: Matt Campbell) The transmission was great. It held gears when it should have, and downshifted when I thought it would on descents. (Image: Matt Campbell)

Now, one of the best features of the Ram 1500 Laramie as the trailer sensing system, which will automatically adapt the blind-spot monitoring to accommodate for the trailer (it uses sensors to measure the size of the trailer in tow, and figures it out once you’ve done a 90-degree turn), meaning your merges and lane changes will be safer. It’s really disappointing this tech has been removed due to the semiconductor shortage.

The engine was excellent - offering great torque, albeit higher in the rev range than some people might appreciate. It was especially evident to me that the engine needs revs on board as I watched the fuel consumption figure on the screen climb, and drove past a service station with regular unleaded listed at $2.14/L.

The transmission was also great. It held gears when it should have, and downshifted when I thought it would on descents, too.

The engine was excellent - offering great torque, albeit higher in the rev range than some people might appreciate. (Image: Matt Campbell) The engine was excellent - offering great torque, albeit higher in the rev range than some people might appreciate. (Image: Matt Campbell)

There wasn’t much of that ‘praying mantis’ experience that you get in some utes when towing, though the nose was pointed a bit more skyward than when it was unladen.

Braking was fine, too. There is an integrated trailer brake system in every Ram 1500, and that means that you don’t need to bother adding a RedArc system after the fact. There’s a menu on the driver info screen to help you see the settings as you’re adjusting them, but I could have sworn that in the last Ram I drove, the screen came up automatically when I was hitched and hauling and touched that ‘plus’ or ‘minus’ toggle to adjust the brake sensitivity. In this Ram, I had to search for it.

While the mirrors fitted are pretty wide and offered a field of view beyond the towed load in this instance, I’d probably option a set of Clearview mirrors if I were planning to tow often.

How much fuel does it consume?

The official combined cycle fuel consumption figure is 12.2 litres per 100 kilometres, and the Ram 1500 will run on 91RON regular unleaded. 

In our testing, I did the maths on the towing leg, and without a load in tow. 

First, the regular running around, including more than a hundred kays of open road and urban testing - I saw a real-world consumption figure, at the pump, of 13.8L/100km.

With the load in tow, including a fair bit of slow-speed manoeuvring, without any long-distance highway driving, and sticking below 80km/h, I measured a return of 30.0L/100km.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

There is no ANCAP crash test rating for the Ram 1500 range. Normally, I’d say that a truck with all the active safety gear that the Laramie previously had fitted as standard was on its way to benchmark-setting levels of equipment.

However, due to the semiconductor shortage and the subsequent removal of potentially life-saving technology like pedestrian detection, surround view camera, active lane keeping, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, I would be suggesting you think twice about committing more than $130,000 on the road to a vehicle missing so much stuff.

There is no ANCAP crash test rating for the Ram 1500 range. (Image: Matt Campbell) There is no ANCAP crash test rating for the Ram 1500 range. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The worst part? Ram’s Australian operations could not confirm when the 1500 Laramie would be reinstated with all the important equipment at the time of writing.

Until the brand adds that stuff back in, you’d best be considering stepping up to the Limited spec, if you can bear the $20,100 price hike up to that trim level.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

More disappointment here. The Ram 1500 warranty cover is just three years/100,000km, making the brand one of the last in Australia with such a level of cover.

That duration is the same for roadside assist, included at no cost.

Servicing? 12 months/12,000km, whichever comes first - again, well below industry expectations. And there’s no capped-price servicing plan, either.

It’s big, and it’s good. Helping out my mates who needed to move their tiny house was a great excuse to spend a week in the newer Ram 1500 DT Laramie, and the vehicle I drove was impressive in many, many ways.

Just keep in mind that if you’re shopping for one, you need to make sure it has the safety gear fitted. Otherwise it’s a far less compelling tow truck than it could otherwise be.

 

$89,950

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.5/5

Adventure score

4.5/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Price Guide

$89,950

Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.