A stab at the ignition button and the HEMI coughed to life before pulsing into a familiar V8 background burble, the undertones from engine and exhaust blending and resonating melodiously as I adjusted the seat and steering wheel, checking meters and mirrors.
And then it was time to awaken the beast. The wheels started rolling as we idled forward in anticipation. A quick goose of the go-pedal, just enough to annoy the engine, and the big motor moaned forth with a herd-scattering, Jurassic roar as we squirted out of the driveway and curved out onto the road.
“Man, I’d like to take this thing to the track,” I muttered to myself, not exactly a normal thought when picking up a pickup.
But this is the new G/T version of the 2022 Ram and, while no truck outside of NASCAR would really feel nimbly at home on a speedway, oh, just to hear that exhaust and engine duet reverberating off the pit wall while running full blast down the straightaway in this G/T . . .
Actually, to be more precise, my tester’s name was officially listed as a 2022 Ram 1500 Sport Night G/T Crew Cab 4X4. With a full slate of Ram models, varied seating configurations, engines, drive systems and box sizes to choose from, we’re starting with a Crew Cab truck in Canadian-exclusive Sport trim ($63,995), about three rungs up an eight-step Ram trim level ladder that starts at around $47K and tops out to over $102K with all the bells and whistles.
Not that this tester was missing much.
A long list of standard equipment on this Sport model was bolstered by an even longer list of add-ons, with pretty well all the option boxes checked off.
It starts with a Night Edition package ($1,495) that blacks-out the grille, badging and the big 22-inch wheels. The G/T package ($3,495) that really gives this pickup its identity includes a 3.92 rear axle ratio, MOPAR Cold Air Intake system, passive cold end exhaust and also adds attitude with a sport performance hood and G/T rear fender decal. That theme carries on inside with Performance Pages, G/T stitching on heated/ventilated power leather/vinyl front bucket seats with underseat lighting and MOPAR floormats. A heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with all the expected buttons and paddle-shifters sits above MOPAR bright adjustable pedals.
And the hits just keep on coming.
The Technology Group ($1,595) comes with digital mirror and HUD while a Comfort & Convenience Group ($1,095) adds keyless entry, a heated second row, wireless cellphone charge pad and extra USBs.
There are additions that really should be included as standard – Blind Spot & Cross Path Detection ($500) and a Bed Utility Group ($500) with adjustable tie-downs and box lighting.
But the option list includes other functional add-ons – an Anti-Spin Differential Rear Axle ($595), Trailer Tow Group($1,495), Power running boards ($1,195) and the combined efforts of the Multi-Function Tailgate ($1,095), Tri-fold tonneau cover ($650) and Ramboxes ($1,295) for cargo accessibility, security and storage versatility.
Whew! That’s not even the entire list of features, but two of the more important components of this G/T tester are the 5.7-litre HEMI VVT V8 engine and Four-Corner Air Suspension system. This modern V8 interpretation includes FuelSaver MDS that shuts down cylinders under light loads for better fuel economy and an eTorque 48-volt mild hybrid system that can add up to 130 lb-ft of short duration launch torque to the powertrain while adding regenerative braking and idle-stop technology. This powerful performer boasts 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque and, in this configuration, is tow-rated at 5,089 kg (11,220 lb).
The 5.7-litre HEMI V8 puts power down through an eight-speed automatic and four mode driveline with 2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD High and 4WD Low choices.
Fuel economy is listed at 13.4L/10.5L/100km (city/hwy). Well, maybe on some other planet, but my best efforts, including long highway runs diligently driving the actual 100 km/h posted speed limit only averaged 15.1L/100km (comb). If those numbers make you gulp a bit, mid-grade 89 octane is recommended but there’s no problem using regular 87 octane gas.
The optional Four-Corner Air Suspension system automatically (or manually, if you prefer) cycles through five air lift positions to adjust ride height, load-levelling and firmness. And it benefits the Ram with the kind of smooth ride and handling you’d expect in a premium SUV.
Inside, the Ram G/T boasts sophisticated accommodations. The stitched dash, doors and console combine with piano blacks, soft textures, brushed metallic highlights and shiny bits for an elegantly comfortable setting. The 12-inch tablet-style touchscreen is still novel enough to make you do a double take and the Uconnect 5 system and instrumentation works seamlessly enough (although I’d still prefer redundant steering/seat heater buttons instead of hunting and pecking at the digital screen).
There’s room aplenty in the cabin, enough headroom for your Stetson without a sunroof intrusion (one of the only boxes not ticked on this option list). And the second row accommodates three actual adults on a wide bench, with leg-crossing room even with the first row racked fully back. A slew of rear amenities includes vents, USB ports and a 115 V 400W power outlet in the rear of the console, a fold-down centre armrest and an underseat storage bin.
I could go on and on detailing more standard features and add-ons but how to summarize the sum total of this Ram’s many features?
Well, there are many flavours of Ram available, from entry-level models to diesel workhorses to the new uber performance TRX powered by an astonishing 702 hp Supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine (and starting at an equally astonishing $102,595).
For considerably less, you can pick and choose from the model selections and option bins and come up with your own mix that offers 4X4 ability, real five-passenger comforts and accommodation, lots of tech and amenities, a hefty tow rating and very usable cargo capabilities. And maybe even bolster the performance to a still impressive level with the 5.7-litre HEMI and G/T package. Customers will just have to decide for themselves.
What price for all that sound and fury?
2022 Ram 1500 Sport Night G/T Crew Cab 4X4
BODY STYLE: pickup truck (two-row, five passenger)
DRIVE METHOD: 8-speed automatic, 2WD, 4WDAuto, 4High, 4Low
ENGINE: 5.7-litre HEMI VVT V8 with FuelSaver MDS and eTorque (395 hp, 410 lb-ft of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: 13.4L/10.5L/100km (city/hwy). As tested 15.1L/100km (comb).
CARGO VOLUME: 5-foot, 7-inch cargo box 1,500 litres
TOW RATING: As tested 5,089 kg (11,220 lb)
PRICE: Ram Sport MSRP $63,995. As tested $89,870 incl. destination ($2,095)