The "big rig" styling and iconic crosshair grille are back. However, it's the 35 interior and exterior changes that characterize the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. Highlights include a more powerful and fuel-efficient HEMI, Dodge's first-ever crew cab, an upgraded interior and an innovative new storage system.

A New HEMI

You can configure a Dodge pickup six ways to Sunday, and then some for 2009.

The 2009 Ram is offered in regular cab, Quad Cab and a Dodge-first crew cab, with three box lengths: 8-foot (regular cab), 6-foot 4-inches (regular cab and Quad Cab), and a new box length of 5-foot 7-inches for the crew cab. Five unique trim levels are available: ST, SLT, TRX, Sport and the top-end Laramie.

For the power hungry, the new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI produces 390 horses and 407 lb.-ft. of torque and blasts from 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds in its regular cab, short bed model.

Even with this 13 percent power surge over the previous model, Dodge says the new HEMI holds the line on fuel economy—actually, improves it—by an estimated 4 percent with the help of Chrysler's Multiple Displacement System (MDS). The system works by shutting off four cylinders under light load conditions. A Variable Valve Timing (VVT) system optimizes engine breathing for better productivity.

Other engine choices are a 4.7-liter V-8 with 310 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 3.7-liter V-6 generating 215 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4.7-liter V-8 is Flex-Fuel compatible.

Expect a hybrid powertrain—the same dual mode hybrid unit found in the Durango and Aspen Hybrids—in the 2010 model year. A light-duty diesel will arrive after 2009.

Underneath, a new rear suspension setup features coil springs fitted to a solid rear axle held in place with multiple links. The improved frame is designed to improve ride and handling without sacrificing payload (up to 1,850 lbs.) and towing capability (up to an estimated 9,100 lbs.). [PAGEBREAK]

Highlighting Utility

Work truck users will find the new Ram's improvements emphasize utility, convenience and comfort.

The 2009 Ram offers 42 storage locations, nearly twice as many as the previous model. The new RamBox system includes a bed divider and two-foot bed extender as well as a rail system with sliding, adjustable cleats. The Ram's tailgate features a standard assist feature for easy ups and downs.

Interiors have been upgraded with "soft-touch" materials and a two-tone interior trim.

Heated and ventilated front seats and even a heated steering wheel are available.

The first-ever crew cab model, the Ram Crew 1500, fits six adults.

In the safety department, standard on all 2009 Dodge Ram rear axles are an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability program (ESP). ESP is designed to help drivers maintain directional stability by applying selective braking and engine control. A rear back-up camera is available.

The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram will arrive this fall.

 

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