OPINION: Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor was fortunate enough to be out of the country when his 'Fit for a Better World Progress Update 2021' was released at Fieldays.
So the arrival of the new Ram 1500 at Fieldays should bring the brand into the scope of the high-end ute buyer, a sector that seems to know no bounds in New Zealand.
The new Baby Ram 1500 is obviously nothing of the sort: 6m long, 2m wide and just short of 2m high.
It’s powered by a 5.7L V8 Hemi engine pushing out 291Kw and 556Nm torque, mated to a Torque-flite 8-speed automatic; this ‘baby’ can haul up to 4.5 tonnes and is best in its class for power, cab size and cargo space.
The new 1500 range is offered in six configurations centred on two trim/cab formats – the Express/Quad Cab or the Laramie/Crew Cab.
The Express/Quad seats five – confusing given the title – and looks sportier and aimed at dual-purpose use.
Colour-coded grille, bumpers and headlights combine with a load bed of 1939mm long x 1295mm wide between the wheel arches; it carries a standard pallet and has a payload of 912kg.
The higher-specification Laramie also has five seats, but the rear cabin offers as much leg space as the front cabin – over 1m of legroom. Add to this leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats (heated in the rear), a heated steering wheel, touchscreen display and lots of chrome and you’ll get the idea of the Laramie.
At the rear, the tray shrinks slightly to 1712mm long and has payload capacity of 885kg. But it retains the 1295mm between the wheel arches. Standard in the whole range are 20-inch wheels, a sprayed-on bed liner, side-steps and fog lights. Safety is via vehicle stability control, brake assist, ABS, traction control, trailer sway control, hill start assist and hill descent control.
Also available in the range is a RamBox – clever secure storage lockers built into the sidewalls of the tray and above the wheel arches. Combined storage is reckoned 243L -- in ‘rural Kiwi’ terms 140 drink cans per side.
Also in the RamBox format is a clever bed-extender frame and divider system that allows loads to be carried safely over the lowered tailgate.
All Ram vehicles sold in NZ are switched to right-hand drive at a dedicated facility in Melbourne: the cabs are removed, steering re-engineered and a host of RHD required modifications are made, all to factory standards.
A three-year/100,000 km warranty applies.