The Ram Trucks Laramie 2500 4x4 Crew Cab.
The Ram Trucks Laramie 2500 4x4 Crew Cab.

Road test review: Ram Trucks Laramie

LOOK at the grille. Subtle as a punch in the face.

The quintessential big American pick-up, Ram Trucks' Laramie makes no apologies for being brash and intimidating.

When you dwarf a Ford Ranger or a Toyota HiLux you know you're at the helm of a beast. Yet the Laramie somehow manages to feel smaller than its hefty proportions, and not like being at the wheel of a B-double.

Driving the hulking pick-up market is the grey nomads and the pony club set. When it comes time to haul big tonnage, then it's one of these immense Yanks you holler.

During recent times "gross vehicle mass” has been at the forefront of concern for grey nomads.

Crackdowns in New South Wales and Victoria have found many caravans to be overweight - with a combination of incorrect compliance plates, underpowered tow vehicles and inexperienced drivers causing issues.

With an ability to haul braked trailers up to 4500kg on the standard ball, the Laramie makes mince meat of just about any home on wheels. Or get Pinto to pony club with sublime ease.

During recent years we've seen a many conversion experts undertake the left-hand drive modifications to a range of pick-up trucks, including the Ford F-Truck and Toyota Tundra, but the Ram operation is slightly different. Wielding the tools is Melbourne-based Walkinshaw Automotive Group - the same crew responsible for the Holden Special Vehicles - which was founded by the British engineer, race car driver and entrepreneur Tom Walkinshaw, who died in 2010.

Using state-of-the-art facilities to make the change from left to right-hand drive seamless, our test vehicle was tight as a drum. A massive amount of work goes into making the Ram Truck a right hooker, including accessing a new steering box that is designed and produced by the original manufacturer. Millions has been invested and it shows in the final product with no gaps, cracks or noises.

The Ram Trucks Laramie 2500 4x4 Crew Cab.
The Ram Trucks Laramie 2500 4x4 Crew Cab.

ON THE ROAD

Despite lummox proportions, the Laramie is reasonably easy to navigate. Highway travels are simple and easy in the dual cab, often you forget about the hulking size until passing another ute where you make a HiLux look like a Fiat 500.

The large column shifter takes some muscle and rekindles "three on the tree” days (the millennials would have no idea what that's all about). Just shifting into drive is typical of the experience behind the Laramie wheel. You need to be brash, a little ballsy, tough and confident.

The big six-cylinder Cummins turbo diesel gets things moving in a hairy-chested fashion and surprisingly quickly.

The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie.
The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie. Iain Curry

Given maximum power is below 3000rpm and a massive 1000Nm of torque just above idle (that's like strapping six Toyota Corolla engines together), you don't have to exercise the right foot much to get the desired result. It's not a true off-roader but does its best work on the bitumen.

At 110km of easy driving the fuel consumption dipped below 10 litres per 100km and was hardly working at just above 1000rpm. About the only compromise is the area for your resting foot is a little cramped.

The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie.
The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie. Iain Curry

Our average consumption was about 12 litres for every 100km with a reasonable amount of highway driving - it drinks from a 117-litre tank, so be prepared to dig deep when heading to the bowser.

Tight car parks are challenging. One occasion called for about 20 forward and reverse manoeuvres to get out...the 6m long proportions can prove problematic.

The cabin is well appointed and doesn't feel rugged, aided by the driver's six-ring instrument cluster which surrounds an electronic display full of data, leather trim and the 8.4-inch touch-screen system with full Bluetooth, sat nav and voice command functionality.

The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie.
The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie. Iain Curry

FUNCTIONALITY

Got stuff? Well, the Laramie has an array of storage options.

Inside, and there is a hefty front seat cargo area with three bottle holders, two glove boxes, huge bins in the front doors, hidden rear in-floor storage bins under the carpet and the rear seats fold up or down for a level floor.

Check out the RamBox in the 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie.
Check out the RamBox in the 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie. Iain Curry

Our model also had the new RamBox system which converts the sides of the tub into additional storage areas. They even have their own lighting and they create a space that is 152cm long and 243 litres (that's nearly more than a Mazda CX-3 boot alone).

Oh, and the load area can handle a pallet too with space to spare.

The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie.
The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie. Iain Curry

SAFETY

It comes standard with six airbags, a camera which shows cargo and rear view for hooking up, stability control and trailer sway dampening.

There are child seat anchor points for the rears, but they're not easy to access.

The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie.
The 2017 Ram Trucks 2500 Laramie. Iain Curry

VERDICT

The $140,000 plus on-roads price tag will make some wince, but those familiar with these hefty haulers will see the value proposition.

Surprisingly easy to drive, the big dual cab eats up the highway kilometres with ease and the conversion to right hand drive has been undertaken to high standards.

With many Ram Trucks outlets joining Fiat Chrysler dealerships, it's added peace of mind that you can find support when you hit the road.

AT A GLANCE

Ram Trucks Laramie 2500 4x4 Crew Cab

PRICE $139,500 plus on-roads.

ENGINE 6.7-litre 6-cyl turbodiesel generating 276kW/1084Nm.

TRANSMISSION 6-speed column shift automatic.

THIRST 12.8-litres/100km (as tested).

PAYLOAD 913kg.

TOWING 6942kg (pintle); 4500kg (70mm ball), 3500kg (50mm ball).

WARRANTY Three-year 100,000-kilometre warranty and roadside assist.



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