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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Chrysler Group (now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles): Most of the Money on the Half Ton Truck; Blast from the Past in the Toy Lineup

Since its launch as a stand-alone division in 2009, the Ram Truck Brand has steadily emerged as an industry leader, setting the bar in innovation, capability, efficiency and durability along with great looks, a smooth ride, and refined interiors that make driving a truck no less comfortable than driving a luxury car. 

The historic Scat Pack name was resurrected for Challenger and Charger R/T models just last year with multistage Mopar performance packages on the 5.7-liter Hemi engine. 


2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4x4
 Ram apparently polled more than just the men in designing this truck’s storage areas, too; they are plenty of thoughtfully designed compartments for keeping the clutter at bay.  Ram 1500 customers who drive their trucks day in and day out will appreciate that U.S. News & World Report just named the 2015 Ram 1500 the Best Full-size Truck for the Money for the second year in a row.  The long list of best-in-class titles includes America’s most fuel efficient pickup at 29 mpg with the exclusive EcoDiesel.  A 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6 is standard, and there are options for a 395-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 or the 240-hp 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 with plenty of grunt for towing, as well as great fuel economy. All are mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission with either rear or four-wheel drive.   With multiple trims and special editions, the 1500 lineup pricing ranges from $26K for the Tradesman to over $51K for the Laramie Limited.

For 2015, the Challenger Scat Pack gets the naturally aspirated 6.4 liter V8 SRT Hemi delivering 485 hp and 475-lb. ft. of torque plus an active exhaust, appearance package and Brembo brakes. That’s only “middle ground” in the Challenger line-up.  No, it’s not the 707-hp Hellcat, but does that really need to be on the street?  The Scat Pack Challenger roars with more than enough authority, combusting plenty of air and fuel along the way to give it a combined 17 mpg rating from the EPA—not to worry, this one isn’t designed for the environmental crowd!  (If you position as a “green builder,” you could get it in the bright green color, but that probably still doesn’t make a consistent marketing statement).  Our 6-speed manual was remarkably easy to drive for a muscle car and its suede/Napa leather high performance seats cradled us with confidence as we swiftly accelerated.  It does allow you to choose Sport or Normal drive modes too, just in case you can ever resist showing off.  The inside has as much tech as the engine has torque, with a long list of conveniences and sound experience capabilities.  Total price on our tester was $41,785.

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