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RAM is ready to rumble: The black sheep of the RAM family arrives in NZ

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The black sheep of the RAM family is now in 13 New Zealand RAM showrooms across the country with the arrival of the RAM 1500 Black Pack.

Bathed in Brilliant Black Metallic Paint, the RAM 1500 Black Pack lives up to its name with 20 inch black alloy wheels, black front and rear bumpers, a black grille, darkened headlights and all the badging is in black - with one exception.

That exception hints at how the RAM 1500 Black Pack has the power to back up its dark good looks with the one badge not blackened stating - in red - 5.7 litres, the capacity of the awesome 291 kW Hemi V8 engine that lifts its performance above all its rivals.

The RAM 1500 Black Pack operates in stealth mode with just an inimitable Hemi V8 rumble to hint at the awesome performance it offers or, with the optional RAM Sport Exhaust system fitted, the rumble turns into an orchestral V8 roar that enables the RAM 1500 Black Park to audibly announce its arrival, whether it’s the unmistakable rumble at low speeds or V8 roar under full bore acceleration.

Like the entire RAM 1500 range, the 1500 Black Pack sets new standards for towing capacity, tub size, interior space and comfort and, with the legendary 5.7 litre HEMI V8, the Black Pack further extends the return to the New Zealand market of the that national icon, the V8 Ute.

Based on the RAM 1500 Express, the RAM 1500 Black Pack has the Quad Cab with an interior space of 3.3 cubic metres placing it ahead of majority of conventional Utes, while impressive levels shoulder and hip room make it a comfortable place to be, front or back. Out the back is a huge six foot four inch tray and a standard heavy duty tow bar. That heavy duty tow bar is needed because the RAM 1500 Black pack can tow a class leading load of up to 4.5 tonnes.

The RAM 1500 Black Pack is available in two versions, the standard RAM 1500 Black Pack at a recommended retail price of $99,990 excluding on road costs. With the unique RamBoxes loading system the RAM 1500 Black Pack has a recommended retail price of $104,990 excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery. The RAM 1500 Sports Exhaust System is a dealer fit option, so is also available to existing owners, and has a recommended retail price of $3450 plus fitting.

"The RAM 1500 Black Pack slots in neatly between the standard RAM 1500 Express and the luxurious RAM 1500 Laramie to provide a combination of a strong unique visual appeal and the sound of Hemi V8 that goes to the heart of why hot Utes are so popular," explains Lawrie Malatios, General Manager of Fiat Chrysler New Zealand. "The RAM 1500 Black Pack does everything in terms of space, towing ability and tray size expected of class-leading Ute, to which it adds dark, muscular good looks and, matching the unique performance, the sound track that can only be delivered by a full size V8 engine. In short, the hot V8 Ute is back, and it comes in Black with the RAM badge, front and back!"

Other utes claim performance - The Hemi 291 kW V8 RAM 1500 delivers

Under the bonnet of the RAM 1500 is a legend. The Hemi name comes from its hemispherical combustion chambers which gives an efficient combustion chamber with an excellent surface-to-volume ratio, with minimal heat loss to the head, and allows for two large valves. It was first developed for the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft and M47 Patton battle tank before finding its way under a whole raft American muscle and motorsport cars.

The latest Hemi continues to power racing cars and muscle cars, as well as the RAM 1500 and matches the timeless Hemi design with the latest technology including a coil-on-plug distributorless ignition system, Variable valve timing (VVT) and two spark plugs per cylinder to shorten flame travel leading to more consistent combustion and reduced emissions. Its also now a smart engine to save fuel with Multi-Displacement System (MDS) is used in some versions which can shut off two cylinders on each bank under light load to improve fuel economy. The engine bay also features active grille shutters, which only allow the right amount of cool air to enter engine bay. This means more consistent engine temperatures, faster warm up from cold starts and less aerodynamic drag.

When the active grille shutters are closed, airflow is redirected over and around the front of the truck, enhancing aerodynamic performance rather than creating turbulence in the engine compartment. Engine coolant temperature and vehicle speed determine shutter position. The shutters remain closed when less engine cooling is required, and aerodynamic drag is most significant; the system will open the shutters when the truck’s cooling demands require additional airflow, for example traveling up a hill or pulling a trailer in high-temperature environments.

Behind the wheel of the Hemi power RAM 1500 this translates into effortless performance that, thanks to its eight-speed gearbox, is delivered smoothly and efficiently, all the while accompanied by the emotive V8 burble.

Owners will appreciate an innovative rotary e-shift dial for RAM 1500 trucks that controls the TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission that replaces both column and floor shifters. The exclusive rotary e-shift dial enables intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel, even with gloves on.

The convenient, dash-mounted, easy-to-understand and operate system provides total control of the sophisticated eight-speed transmission and is Ram Truck's innovative approach to electronic shifters. This new design allows quick blind-shift transitions from "Reverse" to "Drive" when towing or navigating out of mud, snow or busy parking lots and crowded worksites. The new rotary e-shift dial also yields space for more functional and usable storage in the console.

The Ram 1500 features electric power steering (EPS). By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack and pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of a constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8 percent and adding 5 horsepower.

Also, the introduction of EPS reduces complexity by removing the previous hydraulic pump, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and cooling apparatus. This greatly streamlines manufacturing and maintenance. With EPS, each Ram 1500 model can be specifically calibrated to optimize steering effort and precision regardless of body or powertrain configuration. Additionally, EPS senses constant input from the driver, for example a crown in the road, and compensates for improved comfort.

The RAM 1500 - Built to tow to the max!

The RAM 1500 is, quite simply, built to tow, with a range of features that combine to make it uniquely capable and safe.

In addition to the usual swath of electronic safety features, the RAM 1500 adds Trailer Sway Control, Ready Alert Braking and, on the Laramie, trailer brake control.

Trailer Sway Control does what it says - it works to counter one of the most common problems with towing, a traying weaving behind the tow car. Using sophisticated electronics combined with the RAM 1500’s brakes, it detects and counters a trailer swaying and pulls it back in line behind the RAM 1500, allowing the driver to maintain full control.

Ready Alert Braking has two functions, first if the driver suddenly takes their foot off the accelerator, the brake system pumps up the brakes ready to provide maximum braking performance in the time it takes the driver to move their foot from accelerator to brake pedal. Additionally, in the Laramie, when the automatic rain sensing wipers are activated by rain the Ready Alert Braking system moves the brake pads slight closer to brake disks so that they sweep any water off their surface to ensure maximum, instant braking ability.

The Laramie also has slider controls on the dashboard for to control the electric brakes on a trailer or caravan. These also bring up a choice of two readouts on the display screen in the instrument cluster to inform the driver exactly what setting the trailer’s brakes are set.

A not inconsiderable part of the RAM 1500’s excellent towing ability is built on the foundations of its advanced separate chassis and sophisticated suspension which is mounted on it.

The front rails are 20 per cent stronger thanks to the use of high-strength steel while portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed for both strength and durability. The front frame section incorporates advanced, high-strength steel that maintains overall strength and durability and to further improve NVH, new larger body mounts are located on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar.

The Ram 1500 uses an exclusive multi-link, coil-spring rear suspension and this innovative rear suspension provides improved ride and handling characteristics with no loss of capability. A coil-spring design centralizes and absorbs bumps and impacts, while reducing the amount of friction in the spring system and it is some 20 kilos lighter than a leaf-spring configuration.

The front independent suspension combines upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs for improved responsiveness and handling while robust ball joints on the front suspension yield greater durability and are engineered with improved sealing methods.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all Ram 1500 Truck models. The front rotors measure 13.2 inches (336 mm) in diameter and are clamped with dual-piston calipers, while rear rotors are 13.8 inches (352 mm) and utilize single-piston calipers. ABS brakes lead a whole phalanx of electric chassis assistance packages that reduce the chances of a road accidents by a significant margin.

The RAM 1500 is the latest in a long line of Pick-up Trucks that have become legends in North America, but it has taken local expertise to make the RAM 1500 fully available in New Zealand.

The right-hand drive RAM 1500 has been designed and developed in Australia and refined for New Zealand requirements. It is built in North America and then remanufactured on a brand-new state of the art production line in Melbourne. This process means production line quality and consistency. A New Zealand market RAM 1500 is built specifically for this market, imported by the factory appointed distributor, remanufactured to right hand drive in Melbourne and then sold through a nationwide dealer network.

The RAM 1500 - ready for New Zealand

"Our aim has always been that, so far as the customer is concerned, buying and owning a RAM, be it the new 1500 or its heavy-duty brothers, the 2500 and 3500, should be absolutely no different from buying any other mainstream vehicle," says Lawrie Malatios, General Manager of Fiat Chrysler New Zealand. "This means everything from production line quality and consistency of product, to a national dealer network, a factory supported warranty, through to back up of a full parts and accessory warehouses in Auckland that can deliver parts to anywhere in the country within 24 hours."

"The RAM 1500 resets the ability, value and style measures for the New Zealand Ute market," says Mr Malatios. "We fully expect it to have as dramatic effect on RAM sales in New Zealand as it has done in the USA, where the RAM brand has enjoyed eight years of consecutive growth, making RAM a significant player in the top end of the New Zealand Ute market."

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