Mr. Creed says the target for the Ram’s internal makeover was General Motors’ full size pickups. But the influence of the F-150’s interior design themes can’t be overlooked here either. It’s like a cross between GM’s ‘pure pickup’ interior and the F-150, plus a dose of Mercedes sensibility. There’s complex surfacing and high grade materials that are interesting to look at, where the previous Ram offered only flat expanses of plastic and boredom.
In Laramie and Sport editions, the crash pads over the instrument panel have French-stitched borders, like a King Ranch or Platinum Ford F-150. The doors feature soft armrests on all models, and for Laramie Rams there are tastefully integrated wood appliqué inserts with chrome surrounds.
Ergonomics have also been overhauled. Most switchgear is within easy reach of the driver. And there’s an all-new, optional, serpentine gated shifter mounted in the floor console.
The instrument panel’s meters and gauges are large and easy to read and the Euro-style trip computer in the IP is the best information display I’ve seen in current full size pickups, outside of a dedicated navigation unit in the center stack.
The seats in all Rams have been redesigned with more surface area and improved lumbar and lateral support. The Sport and the Laramie feature high-shouldered front buckets and can be optioned with heaters and ventilators, for cooling. Dodge says they’re first in the segment with heated and cooled front seats, but the discontinued Lincoln Blackwood luxury pickup offered this feature back in 2002. Heated rear seating is available on crew cab models.
Chrysler also paid close attention to rear seat comfort in the new crew cab, which replaces the Mega Cab. The seating angle is 24-degrees, the same as typical front seat lean back. There’s also plenty of bottom cushion length for extra comfort.
The final upscale touch – the truck’s new ‘smart key’ is a Mercedes-style radio frequency fob that slides into a slot on the lower dash below the instrument panel, replacing the old steering column mounted metal key insert.
Ram drivers and passengers won’t have any problem looking for storage. Crew cabs have 10 cupholders! Six up front and four in the back. And there are two new, segment exclusive load floor storage boxes in the back of crew cab Rams that can hold up to ten 12-oz beverage cans per bin. The storage boxes have built-in drains, so you can keep the cans on ice.
Secure storage doesn’t start and end in the cab.
Remember the plastic storage containers the Ram’s design team watched owners place in the backs of their trucks to hold loose items and protect them from the elements? The 2009 Ram features new, optional side saddle storage containers that Dodge calls ‘RamBox’.
The two 8.6 cubic-foot RamBox bins are smoothly integrated into the truck’s bed rails. They are weatherproof, lockable, drainable, illuminated and can fit up to 120 12-oz beverage cans per side. Brilliant!
For those keeping score, including the in-cab bins, you can take up to 11 cases of 12-oz beverage containers to a tailgate party. RamBox equipped trucks can still fit 49-inch wide materials (enough for a 4’ X 8’) between the rails, which are flush with the wheel wells. It’s sure to be something we’ll see in other future trucks as well, it’s that cool.
RamBox is much more useful than the smaller bed mounted boxes in the Chevrolet Avalanche or the tiny cubby in the Nissan Titan, which not so long ago was a big deal.