In other powertrain news, the base 3.7-liter V6 engine will be mated
to a new Variable Line Pressure (VLP) transmission. All 4x4 models will
have electronically controlled transfer cases, and the 1500 models will
be equipped with a front-axle disconnect system to disengage the front
shafts while on 2WD. This move should help with fuel economy as will new
brake calipers designed to offer less drag and a rear spoiler on the tailgate
to improve airflow over the bed.
last redesigned the Ram in 2002, the company introduced a hydroformed,
fully boxed frame. That configuration returns but in a stiffer mode to
accommodate an improved 4x4 front suspension and other improvements to
reduce noise and road harshness transferred to the cab. Dodge also developed
new body mounts based on a “shear” design. It consists of
two concentric tubes: one bolted to the frame and the other bolted to
the body structure. There are internal steel reinforcements and rubber
bonded in between. Four-wheel-drive models no longer have torsion bars
up front. They’ve been replaced with a coil-over-shock double-wishbone
similar to the 2WD models. Dodge also retuned the springs, monotube shocks,
jounce bumpers and bushings to achieve a more respectable ride. Max GVWR
remains at 6800 pounds.
“Keeping in mind that more and more truck buyers use their vehicles
for both work and personal use, we designed the new Ram to strike a perfect
balance of comfort and refinement with exceptional capability. The ride
is refined while controlled, the steering is taut and the cab is quiet.”
to reduce noise are laminated front-door glass, improved door seals and
extensive use of Polymer Constraint Layer (PCL) materials in the dash
and firewall area to reduce road noise. Ford has garnered considerable
praise for the quiet ride in the F-150 that was introduced two years ago.
think the level of refinement in terms of quietness will put us up there
with anybody,” boasts Donoughe.
The interior received a makeover to go along with the quieter, refined
ride. A new instrument panel is under a redesigned cluster brow to reduce
glare. The center stack is wider to accommodate full-screen nav system
and new HVAC controls. The seats were restructured to increase bolstering
and support. Also, bucket seats in optional leather trim, power sliding
rear window, adjustable pedals, sunroof, satellite radio, Infinity sound
system and a rear-seat DVD system (in Quad Cab only) will be available.
Ram was going to be redesigned for the 2006, some observers expected it
to follow the sharp-edged styling of the Dakota. While the Ram steals
some cues from the Dakota, it has softer blending of sheet metal to juxtapose
with its big, bold grille and angular headlights. The Ram has a new fully
chromed, ingot-like grille that sits over the massive front bumper. The
crosshair design remains a focal point, but the signature ram head logo
has been moved from the top of the grille to the center ala Dakota. Optional
20-inch chrome wheels will also be offered.
Following the success of the Dodge Power Wagon, the Ram 1500 will get
it own off-road trim package. Called the TRX4, this model includes 17-inch
alloy wheels, aggressive off-road tires, painted monotube shocks, tow
hooks, skid plates and a limited-slip differential. Other features include
fog lamps, body-color grille and TRX4 decals. The TRX4 package is available
in 2- or 4-wheel-drive models, both regular and Quad cab configurations
and with all three trim levels: ST, SLT and Laramie. Officials don’t
expect the TRX4 to draw customers away from the highly-praised Power Wagon.
“The Power Wagon has its own unique solution for the real extremist,”
explains Donoughe. “If anything, what the TRX4 will do is further
enhance the capability of the Power Wagon in the market for those who
want to step up.”
Two new colors will be added to the 2006 line: Inferno Crystal Metallic
and Light Khaki. There was no indication of pricing. A closer look at
the truck and driving impressions will be available in the fall.