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The 2018 RAM 1500 pick-up truck will go on sale in Australia from July 1, with buyers to have the option of two different model lines, both with thumping petrol V8 engines.
The tag-line from RAM's Australian operations is a bold one - "eats utes for breakfast" - and that's precisely what the company will be looking to do at the top end of the dual-cab market, with pricing starting at a hefty $79,950 drive-away for the entry-level Express model, through to a starting price of $99,950 (plus on-road costs) for the flagship Laramie.
Think those prices are on the high side? RAM knows that, and says the new 1500 dual-cab model is targeting the likes of the Mercedes X-Class, Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, VW Amarok and Holden Colorado - even though the 1500 costs considerably more than even the most high-end versions of those utes. RAM Australia even played a clip at the media launch that stated "we're targeting blokes with money to spend".
The 1500 Express features 'sportier' styling, and has what RAM labels the "Quad Cab" body with a 1939mm (6'4") tub. The Quad Cab body is considerably smaller in terms of backseat space, but the room given up there is made up for with the longer tray. Both it and the Laramie are the same overall length (5816mm), width (2018mm) and height (1924mm).
The 1500 Laramie has more stylish exterior finishes, with chrome details on the grille, mirrors, door handles and wheels, and it also features full-length side steps. The Laramie has the Crew Cab body, allowing more rear seat space but with a shortened tub spanning 1712mm (5'7") in length.
Obviously with such a big price gap between the two models, there's also a difference in specification.
The Express model comes with a 5.0-inch media screen with reversing camera, cloth seat trim, a leather-lined dashboard, colour-coded grille and bumpers, side steps, halogen headlights and fog lamps, a spray-in bed liner, 20-inch wheels and a full towing kit with integrated electric brake control. The Express model will be available with a Black Pack version, which will go on sale later this year.
The Laramie adds luxury items such as leather seat trim, deep-pile carpeting, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, climate control, a heated steering wheel, an 8.4-inch media screen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (none of which are available on the Express model), and it has a 10-speaker stereo (six in the Express).
Other extras the Laramie adds over the Express include an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto wipers, power-adjustable pedal placement, rear seat air-vents, and remote engine start.
Both have six airbags fitted (dual front, front side, full-length curtain), but there is no auto emergency braking (AEB) or smart safety technology like blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assistance or rear cross-traffic alert.
The pair are both powered by a 5.7-litre 'Hemi' V8 engine, with 291kW of power and 556Nm of torque on offer. The engine is teamed to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all RAM 1500 models are four-wheel drive.
Towing capability tops out at 4.5 tonnes (braked) for both Express and Laramie models, and the Laramie can be had with a higher axle ratio (3.21 compared with 3.92) that reduces the towing capacity to 3.5 tonnes, but also positively affects the vehicle's fuel consumption rating.
Versions with the 3.21 axle ratio claim fuel consumption of 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres, while models with the 3.92 axle ratio use a claimed 12.2L/100km. The Hemi engine features cylinder deactivation so it can run on four cylinders under light loads.
The payload capacity for the Express model is rated at 912 kilograms, while the Laramie's payload is rate at 885kg. The gross vehicle mass (GVM) for both models is 3330kg.
The tray measures 1939mm long for the Express and 1712mm for the Laramie, and both have the same width (1687mm) and space between the wheel arches (1295mm - that's big enough for an Australian pallet). The depth of the tub varies between 511mm (best case: Express) and 508mm (worst case: Laramie).
The tub can be optioned with the company's 'RamBoxes', too - a pair of insulated, lockable boxes over the wheel arches that offer secure storage. Those add $5000 to the price.
If a petrol V8 isn't your type of ute, there will be a turbo diesel V6 coming later this year, which promises better fuel consumption and a higher torque rating. It will likely be offered across both model lines, and will attract a small price premium, too.
RAM 1500 2018 list pricing
RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6'4" Tub - $79,950 (drive-away)
RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6'4" Tub with RamBoxes - $84,450 plus on-road costs
RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6'4" Tub Black Pack - $89,450 plus on-road costs
RAM 1500 Express Quad Cab 4x4 6'4" Tub Black Pack with RamBoxes - $93,950 plus on-road costs
RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 5'7" Tub - $99,950 plus on-road costs
RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 5'7" Tub with RamBoxes - $104,450 plus on-road costs