DODGE RAM DEBUTS IN CHICAGO
By: Michael Levine
of Dodge trucks opens a new chapter with the introduction of the evolutionary
2002 Ram full-size pickup, debuting at the 2001 Chicago Auto Show.
about the same time the Internet started to revolutionize the way people
communicated and did business with each other, Dodge introduced the all-new
Ram, revolutionizing the way pickup trucks were perceived in the marketplace.
No longer would 'corn flake' box looks define the shape of trucks. Dodge's
sleek and retro 'big-rig' design came roaring into dealer lots and just
as quickly went roaring out. A powerful, and very unique, V10 engine and
well outfitted interior completed the Ram's exciting packaging.
seven years later and it's ironic to see how both the Internet and Dodge
seemed to have slowed things down greatly. The Internet and its 'New Economy'
have not quite lived up to the hype that everyone expected back in 1994.
Common sense and a return to traditional business metrics rule over irrational
exuberance in .com possibilities.
also experienced recent growing pains and lowered expectations after Chrylser's
one-sided merger with DaimlerBenz. Its Ram pickup has shown its age of
late as fierce competition from Ford, Chevrolet and newcomer Toyota quickly
raised the bar to compete for buyers just like old line companies coming
in to take back market share from upstart .com's.
something to note however with regards to both the Internet and Dodge.
If you look beneath the surface and examine what's going on exterior perception
can be deceiving. The Internet and the technologies it has spawned continue
to mature and become more refined even if not apparent to the lay person.
Looking beneath the nearly unchanged surface of the 2002 Dodge Ram there
is much going on that people may not notice at first, but look closely.
A revolution is still going on.
Dodge Ram retains the same basic formula for its exterior as the previous
Ram, most notably seen in the broad shouldered hood and headlights, but
virtually every detail has been improved aerodynamically.
length is about the same as the current model but the proportions have
changed. The bed has been shortened to 6-foot, 3-inches after Dodge market
research found that the smaller box would still be long enough for everyday
use but the extra room could be applied to the interior of the cab and
allow owners to park their trucks in the garage at night.
truck are much more dramatic changes. The front of the cab gets a slew
of high end features designed to improve functionality, comfort, and style.
Dual climate controls and power outlets, power adjustable pedals, an electric
transfer case and optional heated leather seats are all welcomed additions.
of extra room taken from the bed allows rear passengers to enjoy full-size
60/40 bench seating or front passengers to use the abundant space used
to stow cargo when the rear bench is folded up and out of the way. An
optional steel load floor, tucked under the seat and away from view, folds
open to hold gear securely. Side curtain airbags are available in addition
to standard driver and passenger airbags.
An all new
hydroformed frame provides 400% greater torsional and 150% greater lateral
bending and attachment stiffness - resulting in better handling and less
noise, vibration and harshness while driving. An independent front suspension
adds to ride comfort. Suspension travel has been increased from 8-inches
imposing hoodline two new engine options have been created specifically
for the Ram. Both engines provide more power, torque and fuel economy
than the engines they replace. A new 3.7-liter, 210hp Magnum V-6 adds
35 more over the 3.9L it replaces and a new 4.7-liter, 240hp Magnum V-8
adds 10 more horsepower over the 5.2-liter it replaces. The venerable
245-hp 5.9-liter V-8 returns for 2002 to round out the lineup. The 45RFE
transmission is brand new and improves smoothness and efficiency with
electronic controls and optimized gear ratios.
GCWR are increased for 2002. GVWR is up to 6650 lbs and GCVW stands at
an impressive 13,500 lbs when properly equipped.
subtlety is the keyword when it comes to the 2002 Dodge Ram. It's hard
to imagine seven years ago we would ever associate the Ram with conservative
design but it still keeps an aggressive spirit underneath.