May 12, 2016 11:04 AM MST
Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited :Dan Croutch
In 2014, Ram introduced something revolutionary in the half ton pickup market: a mid-duty diesel engine. Two years on, the EcoDiesel still leads the segment for torque produced and overall fuel economy. Now, with the tier topping Laramie Limited trim, high end truck owners have access to the class leading mileage of the EcoDiesel engine. Featuring full leather interior, the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited is adorned with interesting interior design flourishes. Matching embroidered stitching in seats, doors and center console add to the classy feeling of the interior. Road noise is muted, though still present at highway speeds.
Ride of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited is softened by the standard four corner air suspension, easily making it the most comfortable riding truck on the market. Ride height is fully adjustable: from low loading height to off road. The truck will automatically raise or lower ride height while driving, achieving optimal aerodynamics at highway speeds. Punctuating the experience is the EcoDiesel engine, mated to a smooth, eight speed transmission. Both perform exceptionally well. Mileage is exceptional for a full sized pickup, as is the shifting performance of the transmission.
Total: 33/40 – 4/5 stars
It’s difficult to compare the performance of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited EcoDiesel to its gas engine competitors, or Hemi powered twin. A diesel’s driving dynamic is very different than the driving dynamic of a gas engine. While the EcoDiesel lacks the acceleration and performance punch of gas powered competitors, it’s no slouch. At speed acceleration is good, taking advantage of gobs of low end torque. There’s plenty of power and pickup available when asked, if slightly delayed. However, the somewhat muted driving dynamics lend well to one of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited’s strengths: mileage. An eight speed transmission performs flawlessly. Shifting under acceleration and standard city driving is smooth, barely noticeable. Engine power is managed well by the transmission, keeping the revs in the sweet spot during acceleration, but settling things down nicely while cruising.
Easily the best part of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited is the mileage it achieves. Despite being a fully loaded, full cab, half ton pickup, test mileage finished with a 24 MPG (9.7L/100km) average; better than the 22 (10.6L/100km) MPG combined EPA rating. Testing was split between approximately 75% highway and 25% city driving. Ram’s EcoDiesel easily achieves the posted 26 MPG (8.9L/100km) highway mileage, and gets 19 MPG (12.2L/100km) in city driving. Other tests have shown the EcoDiesel can easily make the combined posted EPA mileage even while towing 6,000 pounds. Total test distance was 525 miles (850km), and only required one fill up at the conclusion, consuming 20 gallons (78 liters) of fuel. In a full-fledged pickup like the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited, these are some astonishing numbers.
Ride in the 2016 Ram Laramie Limited EcoDiesel comes courtesy four corner air suspension. In addition to adding practicality, the suspension cushions ride, and the results are excellent. Road bumps are easily soaked up by the air suspension. Long haul highway cruising leaves passengers, and driver, without any road fatigue. Air suspension is standard on the Laramie Limited, but available as an option on most other Ram trims. This is a highly recommended option. While the ride is soft and comfortable, the driver still has good feel of the road through steering wheel feedback. Turning radius is a bit wide, given the shorter length of the short box.
Seating comfort for driver and passenger is typical of the luxury truck segment. Leather surfaces are perforated, though not as soft to the touch as it appears. Seating is well padded, providing comfortable adjustability for driver and passenger. Memory settings allow for two unique driver positions to be stored. Rear bench seating is also perforated leather surfacing. Center row seating is moderately comfortable. Seat stiffness, combined with the sunroof bulkhead, makes for shorter headroom for the third passenger. Legroom is good for adult passengers. Heating is available for rear passengers behind the driver and passenger.
Ram’s four corner air suspension may seem like a bit of a gimmick, but the effects on ride prove it’s more than that. Loading a truck at full height can also be tricky, which the height adjustability of the air suspension also addresses. There is some practical gain in dropping the overall bed height a few inches while loading. Ram lacks the tailgate or bumper steps that its competitors have, but access is reasonable at load height. Front and rear sensors assist with parking in tighter spaces, but a 360 degree camera does feel missing. Comfortable truck drivers won’t miss the visibility, however, as the Ram Laramie Limited’s side mirrors do a great job when parking. Wide turning radius makes some parking lot navigation tricky, taking it into account when picking spots helps mitigate the issue.
Ram has made excellent use of the interior space. Cubby and storage bins are found everywhere. A large, dual level center storage bin can fit surprisingly large items, from coolers to small bags. Rear storage is located under the bench, where Ram has opted to use compartments instead of open under seat storage. While this does keep items from rolling across the floor of the cabin, access is difficult with child seats installed. There are three LATCH anchor sets in the rear of the Ram Laramie Longhorn, and its width allows three full child seats to be installed relatively easily. While the Ram’s EcoDiesel does have less towing capacity than many other half tons, it’s capable of towing 7,500 pounds in test configuration. For most truck owners, this should be plenty. When configured, the EcoDiesel can achieve a maximum 9,000 pounds towing capacity.
Ram, as a member of the FCA family, shares its uConnect 8.4 system with many of the other Chrysler products. uConnect has always been a capable, well designed system, something which has seen significant improvements throughout it life. In the 2016 Ram Laramie Limited, uConnect is the best yet. Simple, fast navigation supplemented by accurate and easy to use voice recognition. Bluetooth pairing is among the easiest tested, and music plays through a capable nine speaker Alpine surround system. Complimenting uConnect’s large screen, there is a feature rich driver information panel centered between the gauges on the dashboard. Larger than most, visibility of navigation directions in the information panel is never an issue.
Lacking in the Ram Laramie Limited are some of the electronic driving aids which have saturated the market. Blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, all technologies FCA has elsewhere in their fleet, are missing from the Ram Laramie Limited. Given the high end feature set the Laramie Limited offers, this feels like a missed opportunity.
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited EcoDiesel is the third year of the latest generation of Ram, launched in 2014. Reliability data comes from truedelta.com, a collection of owner surveys for thousands of vehicles. Scores are based on repair trips per 100 vehicles, with small sample size data omitted.
Ram 1500, both EcoDiesel and Hemi models, score an average of 31 repair trips per 100 vehicles, giving it an “average” rating. When compared with many other similar American luxury trucks, the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited rates slightly better overall for reliability. More than 90% of problems have cost less than $499 to repair.
For 2016, Ram has packed a lot of standard luxury items into the Laramie Limited. With the EcoDiesel engine, a silky smooth transmission, and very comfortable air suspension ride, these exclusives help take the Ram Laramie Limited from a good truck, to an excellent truck. For buyers looking for a competent, mileage superior hauler with sedan like ride comfort, the 2016 Ram Laramie Longhorn is the only option.