For anyone with the itch for snowmobiling like the entire Elmer family has, the winter of 2016 has been a total let down; at least in Southern Ontario.
As I write this on February the 8th, the lawn is exposed in all of its green glory, taunting me every day as I walk outside hoping that tons of white snow will come and cover the smug grass. During winters like these, anyone with a taste for winter sports has to take every opportunity possible to scratch that itch, and thanks to the Ram EcoDiesel, we finally hit the trails this winter.
Typically we drive about 25 kilometers to reach the nearest OFSC trails, but this non-winter had us driving about 65 kms to find the white stuff. And in the EcoDiesel, those were 65 comfortable kilometers.
As the top-of-the-heap trim package, the Limited spares no expenses when it comes to interior finish and materials. But more than just being nice to look at, the interior is functionally well designed, with a massive storage bin between the driver and passenger along with an large tub located in the armest, which splits open to reveal another spot to store your gear. The trailer keys went into the top armrest, while extra water bottles for the trails were packed into the center console. It’s small usable touches that make a truck great, like the rubberized storage spot just above the touchscreen in the center console which made a great spot for extra cotter pins and a spare shear pin.
This comfort comes at a price. In this case, about $62,000 once the options are factored in. While that price is certainly hard to swallow at first, it is in line with other high-dollar luxury trucks currently available on the market. And increases in average truck transaction price in recent years keeps telling us that people are willing to pay.
With all four sleds loaded into our trailer, it weighs roughly 5,000 pounds, which is actually getting close to approaching this truck’s 7,610-pound tow rating. Our tester was a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Crew Cab 4×4 with the 3.55 rear end and short box, not the ideal setup for towing. But even in this form, the truck handles weight with authority, feeling planted and solid.
Quick aside: every diesel truck with a hitch and trailer brake controller should have standard tow mirrors. Our tester didn’t and it was a pain with that big trailer out back.
Our snowmobile trailer in particular tends to plant a lot of tongue weight onto tow vehicle’s due to it’s axle being located so far to the back. While balancing the trailer is of course the best way to overcome too much tongue weight, the Ram’s self-leveling airbags in the rear help to keep the truck sitting nice and flat.
The 420 lb-ft of torque on tap from the truck’s 3.0-liter diesel got this trailer up and moving with little effort. Once up to speed, we did encounter a few long hills on the drive where the engine was maxed out. Cruising at around 90 km/h, we hit one long, roughly 6 percent grade, where even with the accelerator to the floor, the EcoDiesel was tapped out of acceleration. It didn’t lose any speed, but it wasn’t gaining either.
But those concerns totally disappear when you see the fuel economy this truck returns. Unloaded, it’s not abnormal to see a 9L/100km average, with our official testing putting the truck at 8.85 L/100km. Thanks to the cold and all the extra weight we packed in, our truck average 13.5L/100km over our time with it, a damn respectable number compared to what other big gas V8’s on the market would have sucked down.
Once we arrived at our destination, just north of Shelburne, Ontario, it was time to bail out of the truck and ride. Hard winds were pounding the trails, blowing the snow off of the farmer’s fields used in this area. But there was an upside. Massive drifts gathered at the edges of the fields, inviting us to crash through them and over them. So it wasn’t a perfect day, but any day sledding is a great day in our books.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the two-time Canadian Truck King Challenge Winner for good reason. The truck provides confidence, great fuel economy and an interior that has style and practicality baked in.