General Motors has a similar system for many of its 2006 SUVs and a few cars. Called Displacement on Demand (DOD), the operation also uses special lifters shut down half the cylinders when there is little or no load on the engine. DOD was designed into the new GEN IV engine family, and GM is starting to offer that line of engines in more vehicles. But no GM pickups will have DOD for 2006.
Other changes to the 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 were discussed in a recent First Look story. Briefly, the exterior was sharpened with angular headlights, a bolder grille and more robust surround collar. Under the revised sheetmetal is a stiffer fully boxed frame and new coil-over-shock suspension on 4x4 models. A retuned suspension for all models results in a slightly more pleasant ride but the big news comes from inside the cab. Added feature content and improved comfort levels and complemented by noticeable quieter cabin. Dodge officials promised a quieter interior when talking about the new models. Engineers added laminated front-door glass, improved the door seals, designed new body mounts and used more polymer constraint layer (PCL) in the firewall area. Premium amenities such as GPS navigation, rear-seat DVD player, booming Infinity sound system, heated seats, power sliding rear window, sun roof and adjustable pedals are all available this year.
All the improvements on the 2006 Ram 1500 serve notice that quality product and focused engineering are what’s needed to compete in a segment that now has five strong players. For the past two years, gimmicky cosmetic packages seem to have dominated Dodge’s marketing efforts. Combined with the release of Mega Cab, Dodge’s lineup is now extremely potent with solid offerings to suit a variety of truck customers. Watch for more updates as vehicles become available. We’re especially interested in testing a new trim level for the Ram 1500, the TRX4 Off-Road. It features an electric-shift transfer case, 17-inch aluminum wheels, more aggressive off-road tires, skid plates and limited-slip differential.
Pricing for the Ram 1500 starts at $21,700. Here’s a rundown of the trim levels and prices. All prices include $900 destination charge.