2022 RAM 1500 Laramie review (video)

Yes, it’s big. Obviously. And yes, as a result, it is not for everyone. But for those that need and rely on big rigs like this, whether you’re towing a massive caravan or giant speed boat, or simply need a big ute that fully accommodates five passengers, the 2022 RAM 1500 Laramie is a great proposition worth considering.

RAM has been conducting official right-hand drive operations in Australia for a few years now, and Australian consumers have certainly caught on. During 2021, RAM sold 3819 examples of the 1500 in Australia, which was up 15.8 per cent on the previous year. To put that into perspective, that’s more than what Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Citroen, Fiat, Jaguar, and Genesis sold from their entire showrooms, combined.

There are now four main variants of the 1500 available, spanning from the Express, Warlock, Laramie, and Limited, all in double-cab format. All feature a 291kW 5.7-litre petrol V8, connected to a part-time four-wheel drive system and eight-speed auto transmission. The one we’re sampling here is the Laramie. Prices start from $119,900, but you can approach the Express from $89,950 (excluding on-road costs).

2022 RAM 1500 Laramie – THE SPECS

Engine: 5.7-litre petrol V8
Output: 291kW@5600rpm / 556Nm@3950rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Drive type: Part-time RWD/4WD with low range
Wheels: F: 20×9.0, 275/55
ANCAP: Not tested
Tare weight: 2553kg
Power-to-weight: 8.77:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 12.2L/100km
Economy during test: 13L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 98L/98 RON

Power efficiency: 23.85kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.48 seconds*
0-100km/h: 7.31 seconds*
60-110km/h: 5.14 seconds*
1/4 mile: 15.35 seconds at 150.9km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.690g
100-0km/h braking: 3.39 seconds at 41.97 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.141g
Decibel at idle: 45*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 78*
Priced from: $119,900

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2022 RAM 1500 Laramie – THE PACKAGE

That is a lot of money, but you do get a lot of car for that. In the Laramie’s sake, you get many different cars in one because this is surprisingly luxurious and pampering inside, but also utilitarian. Firstly, the size of the cabin puts it clearly in front of all of the common diesel 4×4 ute rivals, in terms of passenger space. The rear seat area in particular is just mind-blowing. It’s like a limousine back here. And we love that RAM doesn’t just give you a measly charging port. No. In here you have four of the things, including two USB and two USB-C, just in case. And a 12-volt socket if that’s still not enough.

It is comfortable in the back, and more so thanks to the large flip-down arm rest complete with cup holders. The seat cushion spans deep and wide, so it’ll fit any size bum, with yet more storage available in the doors and even at the back of the centre console. Basically, if you have a full-size family and you regularly all travel in the same vehicle, this will not disappoint. Coil springs under the rear end also contribute to rear seat comfort.

In the front, well, do you like touch-screens? This has perhaps one of the best in the business. Coming from RAM’s parent group, Stellantis (Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep etc.), the mammoth 12-inch vertical-oriented screen runs the group’s fantastic Uconnect operating software. We love the simple and clear menu options that run along the bottom, and the loading times and graphics are also top notch for this segment. But what we love most about the interface is the sheer level of engagement and properly useable functionality it offers.

There’s a menu dedicated to reversing, for instance. You can toggle through various camera angles, including a high-mount camera that provides a clear view of the tub area so you can keep an eye on your load. This is ideal as most utes only feature a camera at the back, on the tailgate, behind the load area. The menu to select different camera angles is easier than scratching your head, which is great especially when you’re trying to hitch up a boat on a busy ramp.

Like in the back the front also showcases a plethora of charging options, with different socket types and so on. And there isn’t just one port either. Down within the deep centre console storage tub is a brilliant wireless phone charger as well. It allows you to slot you phone into a rubber sleeve, vertically, and it automatically presses your phone against the charge pad. How annoying is it when your phone slides about on typical flat charge pads? You end up getting to your destination and you find your phone actually lost charge. Not here. It is held securely in place.

In other areas, the driving position feels high up and commanding, with a wide range of adjustment in the Laramie, and going with the Laramie gives you access to luxuries such as heated and cooled front seats, heated rear outer seats, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and 20-inch polished alloy wheels including a full-size alloy spare wheel.

Loading-carrying capabilities are not as impressive as its size might suggest. The tub floor stretches 1712mm long with the tailgate shut, and spreads 1687mm wide or 1295mm between the wheel arches, while standing 543mm deep. However, the payload is rated at just 833kg. We find that a bit strange considering the braked towing capacity is a monstrous 4500kg.

The gross combination mass is 7713kg. That means, minus the 2617kg kerb weight, you have 5096kg leftover for a trailer, and passengers and cargo. That’s going to be plenty enough for most buyers in this space.

2022 RAM 1500 Laramie – THE DRIVE

Americans calls these ‘trucks’, while in Australia anything referred to as a truck is usually in a derogatory or negative way; ‘That thing drives like a truck.’ Well, here we can say for sure this does not drive like a truck. With its long 3572mm wheelbase and coil springs all round, it is actually quite pleasant to trundle about in suburban streets or cruise on the highway. You can just hear the soothing bellow of the V8 under normal loads, although it does turn into a refined yet metallic growl and rumble when tickled. It’s a really cool vehicle in that sense, a bit like our old friend the Chrysler 300 SRT8 in terms of its gangster-like drive character.

The steering system seems fairly rudimentary, in that it just does what it says on the tin. Nothing more, nothing less. There is some communication there so you can feel the road and the loads the front wheels are under, but it is obviously not tuned for outright precision and response. In fact, there is some minor free-spin/play on centre, but not as much as the bigger 2500, we notice. On the same note, it does not feel like a backyard right-hand drive conversion, rather, this is simply how the truck is designed. Having a bit of play and freedom can be a good thing in really technical off-road situations, but this is hardly a finicky and technical off-road vehicle.

Speaking of which, the ground clearance is rated at just 217mm, which is not much compared with most 4×4 diesel dual-cab utes. This is not helped by the long wheelbase as it is more prone to belly-out over humps and mounds. The approach and departure angle are 20.4 degrees, and the break-over angle is 18.6 degrees. Neither of these numbers are good. You do get a bit more from the Express and Warlock variants though if you regularly tackle rough terrain.

For that reason the Laramie is best on the road, or at least dirty roads or loose surfaces. Even the steering setup is suggestive of this, requiring 3.1 turns from lock-to-lock compared with 3.5 in the Express and Warlock. You can engage four-wheel drive at the flick of a switch, and there’s even low-range for really tricky conditions. But the 275/55 Nexen tyres will give way before you get that far anyway, or it’ll be snagging the underbelly or either end.

Across the standard 0-100km/h sprint we clocked a best 0-100km/h run in 7.31 seconds, making it one of the quickest dual-cab ‘utes’ we’ve ever tested. The quarter mile was also achieved in 15.35 seconds at 150.9km/h, using a private road and Racelogic Vbox Sport GPS data-logger. It’s not slow, in other words. You don’t necessarily need to strangle it to appreciate its performance either. Peak torque of 556Nm is available at about the middle of the rev range, at 3950rpm, although it feels like most of it is available instantly. It’ll chirp and scramble for traction if you just bury your foot to get off the line, for example, all while in a controlled and stable manner.

What we love most about the drive experience is its smooth-cruising nature. It purrs around like a boss, but it’s also relatively easy to manage and handles well enough for its size. Push it hard along a mountain road and the weight becomes apparent, although the steering’s vagueness is probably more off-putting under these pressures. Compared with the smaller, 4×4 diesel ute offerings, some are certainly more agile and feel nicer in such conditions. However, you’re in the wrong market segment if this is high up in your priorities anyway.

2022 RAM 1500 Laramie – THE VIDEO

2022 RAM 1500 Laramie – THE VERDICT

It’s just a big friendly bear at heart. It loves cruising, humming along to the tune of a lovely V8 bellow, and the interior is easily one of the most practical environments you’ll come across in this class – you couldn’t possibly need any more cup holders or USB ports, or storage options. Passenger space is obviously a standout too, and the massive touch-screen is one of our favourites. Towing is of course a major drawcard, along with a monstrous 7713kg gross combination mass.

Things to consider. Fuel is one of its main ingredients, and it’s a big V8 pulling a heavy vehicle. So, be prepared to feed this machine more than a typical pipsqueak in this segment – the official average is 12.2L/100km and we average 13L/100km over a distance of 780km. The handling and off-road characteristics are also average and under-par, respectively; it offers trustworthy road manners but it is not as capable as some.

PROS:
– Refined V8 grunt (and soundtrack)
– Loads of practical-minded features inside; 8 charge ports, big storage, clever wireless phone charger
– Huge rear seat area with amenities
– 12-inch Uconnect touch-screen; great graphics and useful/wide range of functionality

CONS:
– It is big, tricky to park in tight areas
– No adaptive cruise control, despite the high-spec/price of the Laramie
– Off-road capabilities limited due to low clearance angles

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