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Ram 1500 2021: mild-hybrid efficiency meets 4.5-tonne towing


The next generation of the Ram 1500 has rolled out of the factory to complete a lineup that has now swelled to five core grades.

Ram Trucks Australia have begun delivering the fifth-generation 1500 to its local customers following a year of explosive growth despite less than ideal conditions. 

Known as the ‘DT’ generation, the new Ram 1500 will be offered alongside the fourth-generation DS which will become a more affordable entry point into the full-size ute range, in a move echoing the American market.

The Ram 1500 DT continues to be remanufactured from left to right-hand drive in Walkinshaw’s factory in Melbourne and will be offered in two grades known as the Laramie and Limited – both in the crew-cab body style.

Ram 1500 DT Limited 2021 rear 3/4 driving
The fifth-generation Ram 1500 DT has arrived in Australia

What’s under the bonnet of the new Ram 1500?

Both the DS and DT series of the 1500 shoehorn a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 under the bonnet which produces 291kW of power and 556nm of torque, with the new model adding a 48–volt mild hybrid system said to improve refinement and efficiency. 

That motor is mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic which feeds power through to a four-wheel-drive system that gains an automatic function to shuffled between the high and low ranges in the new generation.

Thankfully Ram has also fitted a decent set of stoppers in form of dual-piston calipers over 336mm ventilated discs at the front and a single caliper setup at the rear over 352mm discs.

Ram 1500 DT Limited 2021 front 3/4 driving
Every Ram 1500 continues to use a huge 5.7L V8 Hemi engine

How much can the new Ram 1500 tow?

Of course, the real reason people buy a Ram 1500 is its towing capacity, and while the new DT retains the same 4.5-tonne max braked capacity it’s also gotten a lot smarter.

For starters, the Ram 1500 can be optioned with a trailer detection system that won’t confuse your safety systems, while the fitment of a 360-degree camera on 1500 Limited models will make backing up even easier in such a big vehicle. 

Available only on the Ram 1500 Limited is the four-corner air suspension that allows the standard-fit tow bar to dip under the tow ball and raise again to save any faffing about with the jockey wheel when hooking up a trailer.

As part of its signing off process for Australia, Ram says it took the 1500 through a tortuous journey from Melbourne through Broome to Townsville, before heading back down to Melbourne via Alice Springs where it drove across all kinds of surfaces in less than ideal conditions.

Even more impressively, one of the 1500s in convoy was equipped with a 4.5-tonne trailer across the 30,000km journey to make sure all the engine and chassis could take the punishment.

Ram 1500 DT Limited 2021 driving
Ram Trucks Australia too the new 1500 DT on a 30,000 journey in the outback to put it to the test

Inside the new Ram 1500:

The Ram 1500 is pitched and priced as a luxury vehicle in Australia, so customers will be happy to know Ram have notably stepped up the interior this generation.

For starters, both bigger and smaller drivers will applaud the addition of a telescopic function for the steering so it can move fore and aft, while the overall cab length has grown by 80mm.

A reshuffle of the internal packaging has seen designers free up 150-litres of space that is found in a slew of bins around the cabin and including a storage space under the rear seats – which also has the ability to recline up to eight degrees. 

Ram 1500 DT Limited 2021 interior
With 80mm more space in the cabin and a larger 12-inch screen the interior is a nicer place to be

Ram offered heating and ventilation in the front leather seats which continues over to the outboard rear seats in the 1500 Limited, though the 1500 Laramie only receives a heating functionality in the back. 

Sitting in the centre is a much larger 12-inch touchscreen equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with voice-controlled satellite navigation, with an additional seven-inch digital display sitting in front of the driver.

Passengers can keep their phone topped up with a wireless charger along with a slew of USB ports and play audio through the 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

Ram 1500 DT Limited 2021 interior rear
The cabin has up to 150-litre of storage includes under the rear seats

The new generation also adds 10-way power-adjustability for the front row while the driver seat is fitted with a memory function to make it easier for couples to swap over.

The 1500 Laramie is fitted with a partially leather-clad upholstery while the 1500 Limited is trimmed in a higher grade of leather and also offering a dual-pane sunroof.

As is tradition with the Ram range, the new 1500 can be specified with a ‘Ram Box’ which offers additional storage either side of the bed in an enclosed space with a 230-volt outlet.

Ram 1500 DT Limited 2021 driving off road
The optional air suspension should make it even more capable off and on road

How safe is the new 1500?

The DT generation now offers parking sensors at the front and rear of the nearly six-metre ute, in addition to existing features such as three child seat anchor points and a reversing camera.

The Ram 1500 Limited gains a 360-degree camera, blind-spot mentoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure parking and adaptive cruise control. These features can also be optioned to the 1500 Laramie with the optional driver-assist package.

Other handy features for this generation include rain sensing wiper and adjustable pedals to make driving more comfortable and safer.

Ram 1500 2021: prices in Australia

All prices listed are before on-road costs.

  • 1500 (DS) Express Quad Cab: $79,950
  • 1500 (DS) Express Crew Cab: $89,950
  • 1500 (DS) Express Crew Cab RamBox: $94,450
  • 1500 (DS) Warlock Crew Cab RamBox: $108,950
  • 1500 (DT) Laramie Crew Cab: $114,950
  • 1500 (DT) Laramie Crew Cab RamBox: $119,900
  • 1500 (DT) Limited Crew Cab RamBox: $139,950