It's like one day there was no such thing as a jumbo-truck segment in Australia. And then the very next day the market was booming. And that's almost entirely down to the arrival of the locally converted Ram range in 2018.
We’re talking significant numbers, too. Ram sold almost 2700 of its 1500 truck in 2019 alone. And yes, I know that’s nowhere near Toyota HiLux figures, but for a truck that starts at around $80,000, and that is absolutely massive, those are some seriously big numbers.
So big, in fact, that other brands have taken notice. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has now launched in Australia, giving the Ram a true like-for-like competitor in our market. Toyota is eyeing the US-born Tundra for Australia, too. And likewise Ford with the next F-150.
All of which means Ram can’t afford to rest on its laurels. Which brings us to why we find ourselves in Los Angeles (before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, of course). See, the new 2021 Ram 1500 is expected to arrive in Australia by the end of the year, but we couldn't wait that long to tell you what it's like.
And given the vehicle had already launched in the USA, we knew exactly what we had to do…
It's a little tricky, the whole pricing thing. See, what you’re looking at here is the 2020 Ram 1500, now codenamed the DT in the USA, where it sits above the existing DS, now called the Classic.
In Australia, the new truck is yet to touch down, but it should arrive later in 2020 – coronavirus willing – and when it does, it is expected to sit above the existing DS model in the lineup, which currently spans $79,950 to $109,950, with the biggest number reserved for the existing diesel engine.
With pricing and specification for the 2021 1500 EcoDiesel – which is the engine choice we’ve tested here – yet to be confirmed for Australia, that leaves us with little more than guess work, but a starting price north of $100k seems a given.
Still, when it does touchdown you can expect plenty of equipment, with the existing top-spec model’s auto-dimming rear view mirror, parking sensors, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, satellite navigation, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, remote keyless entry, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents and remote-start functionality expected to stick around.
And in better news, it will be joined by new kit for 2020, headlined by a huge 12-inch, portrait-oriented touchscreen that’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto equipped, and that lends the cabin a seriously tech-savvy feel.