What exactly does the high-performance R/T badge mean. In the 1960’s on musclecars like the Dodge Coronet it meant Rapid Transit, I’ve also heard that it meant Real Trouble for anyone who would dare to challenge any Mopar at the strip or at a streetlight. In the 1990’s with the birth of the Viper it meant Racing Technology. But today on our 2010 Dodge Ram Sport, the R/T badge stands Road/Track, and although I couldn’t imagine any Chrysler Engineers clocking a Nurburgring time I’m sure the new coil spring rear suspension should be up to the job. One thing is for sure; the restyled aggressive exterior would be right at home in any NASCAR paddock.
My first experience with a Dodge R/T vehicle was when my brother came home with a 1998 Dakota R/T. The charm of this light pick-up was its exclusivity as the only truck in its segment to be powered by a V8, a 5.9 Liter Magnum V8 making a ground pounding 250 HP, impressive for the late ‘90s. Soon after I would find Mopar tuning catalogs next to his toilet, and eventually he ordered every single one of those parts. The truck was modified from head to toe. New lowered Bilstein suspension, 4 inch exhaust fed by beautiful Mopar stainless steel headers, K&N intake, MSD ignition, he even went so far as to replace the rockers underneath the Mopar valvecovers.
This Deep Amethst pick-up rode low on the stock 17 inch wheels and had a rumble at idle that would scare cats and wake the neighbors. This truck had enough torque to spin the tires well into second gear and handled like a sports car. The Dakota R/T was extremely fun to drive and even though it only made a little over 350 HP after all the modifications the gas mileage was horrible. Our 2010 Dodge Ram Sport R/T is a beast of similar nature, except where the Dakota was small, the Ram is spacious; and the Ram R/T benefits from over a decade of internal combustion advancement, using a smaller displacement engine to make a lot more horsepower and get a lot better fuel economy. Sorry to say it Mopar, but this R/T needs no aftermarket modifications.
Just like the rest of the fourth generation Ram line up the R/T is more aggressive with its sharp sharp edges and imposing front end. Acording to the experts at Motor Trend “Ralph Gilles, [the] newly appointed vice president of Design for Chrysler and lead designer on the new Ram, worked with his team for more than two years to make the new truck look modern, yet still appealing to a typically traditional buyer.”
Setting the R/T apart from the rest of the Rams are lower hanging body colored bumpers, in this case Inferno Red, that create a smoother profile for the factory tuned Dodge work truck and a set of 20 inch chrome rims come standard.
In order to better hit every aspect of the Dodge Ram R/T I’d like to play a little game called "Spot the Ram", there are 11 in all. Do you think you know where they are?
The first Ram is not hard to find, it is located right smack dab in the middle of the traditional Dodge cross bar front grill you will find the first of many Ram emblems on the vehicle. The way the front-end slants towards you at the top almost feels like the Ram is putting his horns right in your face, as if to say watch out. The low hanging front bumper smooths out the lines and adds to the aggressive attitude to the front fascia. Finishing off the front end is a very attractive R/T emblem down on the driver’s side of the grill.
The second Ram will become familiar to commuters staring at the back end of the Ram R/T in traffic. I would find it hard to focus on anything else aside from the over sized Ram emblem. The most attractive feature of the rear end is the spoiler like lip at the top of the tailgate. While beneath the body colored rear bumper the dual exhaust is poking a pair of chrome tips out the back.
The third Ram is located inside of the 8 foot bed a black plastic Ram, molded into the bed liner, stares at you when you drop the tailgate to unload up to 1900 pounds of cargo.
Rams four, five six and seven can be found in the middle of the 20 inch chrome rims. The thick five spoke wheels give the R/T a bold stance, and the 275/60 tires are effective at getting the power to the pavement.
The first thing the driver should notice after stepping into the wide-open cab is the eighth Ram located in the center of the very attractive leather wrapped steering wheel. The R/T gets unique gauges for the instruments and painted plastic pieces for the air conditioning surrounds and center stack that featured a large LCD display and satellite radio. The ninth Ram is ridiculously large and sits on top of the two leveled arm rest/storage space. The only thing that was a little concerning was that the armrest unit is so huge, that when flung open it looked the entire piece was going to detach itself from the interior of the vehicle. The seats are wrapped in leather with cloth inserts running up the middle keeping the driver in place. Incase you were still keeping up with the count; the tenth Ram is hiding right behind the rear view mirror.
So if you were paying attention earlier you would know that there is one Ram left to find, but you won’t find this one on the exterior of the vehicle, you have to go under the hood and let the 5.7 Liter HEMI see the light of day. Only then will you find the last Ram, sitting atop the air box; greeting every molecule of oxygen that will be ingested and combusted to the tune of 390 HP and 407 lb-ft of torque on just 89 octane. The modern day V8 won’t burn too much of the midgrade gasoline thanks to variable valve timing and its multi displacement system, the Ram R/T gets as much as 19 MPG on the highway. The new engine is 13% more efficient and 4% more powerful than the HEMI it replaces.
According to Mopar know it all Allpar, it is rumored that the Ram R/T has an upgraded 5.7 HEMI, beefed-up suspension and steering, and a 4.10:1 axle.
The R/T had power to spare, and could easily spin the tires in the lower gears leaving the driver grinning and had enough on reserve for highway passing. The R/T rode unlike most full sized pick up trucks, it exhibited a certain amount of body roll, but left the driver feeling inspired to tackle on ramps at speeds you wouldn’t think of for a work truck. The ride is smooth, with the new rear suspension soaking up most of the imperfections in the road.
The biggest change to the new Ram, aside from the exterior, is the redesigned rear suspension. Gone are the old leaf springs in favor of a pair of coil springs and trailing arms to locate the live axle. The Dodge engineers did their homework; coming up with about a dozen different coil springs tuned to work with every drive train and wheel/tire combination available in order to get the most out of any iteration of Dodge Ram.
On the American front Dodge will have to compete with America’s favorite pick up the Ford F-150. With the blue oval releasing a new model next year we will find out of the Ram’s restyling will soon become outdated. Will the monochromatic unique exterior of the high-performance R/T model be enough to compete with the hard-core factory tuned machines like the upcoming Ford Raptor, probably not?
As far as the Japanese are concerned, the next best thing, the Toyota Tundra, is comparable, except the Ram bests the Asian pick up by over ten feet when stopping from 60 MPH.
Why to buy
If you want a Ram pick up with a bit more attitude than the base model, the R/T treatment comes standard on all Sport models. The Ram R/T is perfect for an automotive consumer who is looking for an attractive truck, the like the in your face attitude of the chrome 20’s and most importantly they like turning heads. The Ram R/T will also have you looking good when towing a 9100 pound trailer or lugging around almost a ton of stuff on a daily basis.
If you prefer driving a compact, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Ram. When driving on the highway I had a Mazda Miata on my right next to me for quite some time, the only time I saw the vehicle was when it sped off in front of me. This truck is big. Although the R/T boasts a redesigned sport tuned suspension, it is still not quite 370Z handling. Although it has the looks and power to be a high-performance machine; it is no replacement for a real sports car, but it is a damn fine sports truck.
What’s it cost?
So when you go to the dealership what you want to do is check off the preferred package 26L which will add all of the R/T goodness for an extra $3,920, a 5.7 Liter Hemi for an additional $1,310 add navigation and satellite radio for an additional $1,745 plus the destination fee of $900 and don’t forget the Inferno Red Crystal Pearl paint that is worth every cent of the $225 premium to bring the M.S.R.P. of a base Ram from $25,465 up to an affordable $33,565. Not bad for a hot rod pick-up with enough attitude to scare a school bus full of nuns.
Top Speed final verdict
I love it! Everything from the Inferno Red pant to the bold body kit, the Ram R/T is awesome. It is not the same Dakota R/T that my brother once had. Dodge has delivered a truck that needs no help from the aftermarket to look good, spin the tires or save gas. The Dodge Ram R/T is a truck that from the factory is versatile enough to work all day, handle any payload, and then after a quick scrub take home a trophy at the show. Dodge has finally delivered a well rounded no compromise R/T.