On this side of, oh, $100,000, I’d tell you the most beautiful sedan interior is probably in a Mercedes, that the most beautiful sports-car interior is probably in a Lexus, and that the most beautiful crossover interior is probably an Audi or Cadillac.
In a pickup truck? The latest-generation Ram 1500 — and by a considerable margin.
My tester hit the market in the recent past with plenty familiar, plenty new, an electrically-boosted HEMI V8, and an interior that is, well, sweet.
Front and centre? A tall, vertical touch-screen, occupying plenty of the forward scenery. It looks daunting at first, but quickly proves a breeze to use; it’s the same layout you’re familiar with from your Smartphone, and the graphics and interfaces are clear, logical and highly responsive.
Even the least-savvy of us will have it licked in a day.
Cool-looking central screen aside, the interior of my heavily-optioned, high-end Longhorn tester was a knockout.
This configuration is pricey mind you.
In fact, with a sticker approaching 90 grand, a unit like this is targeting a shopper who wants to spoil themselves and their families. If that’s your gig, there’s no better pickup interior for the job.
Everything, down to the thin and hardly-significant edges of the trim panels and the metal accent rings around the instrument dials is patterned, textured, or otherwise gussied up to reward inspection.
Door handles are bronze and heavy. Layers of leather in varying varieties stack upon one another, lined with precise stitching. Ornamentation is prominent, including a Longhorn decal hand-burned into the wood on the dashboard. Even the metal accents around the distinctive instrument rings look like something from a high-end watch.
Result? It’s oozing with examples of the designers efforts to give you your money’s worth.
Also of note from the latest Ram 1500 is something you can’t see — the eTorque system. It consists of a Motor-generator unit (MGU) which replaces the conventional alternator, and a suitcase-sized battery residing in the rear cabin firewall.
Like an alternator, the MGU is attached to the engine’s crankshaft by a belt. This setup turns the HEMI into its own hydro station.
Driven by the engine, the MGU’s 48-volt hybrid system rapidly charges the suitcase battery while you just drive around. But press the throttle, and the charge is deployed from the battery back to the MGU, which sends it (via that belt I mentioned) back to the HEMI’s crankshaft.
The benefit? An extra 130 lb.-ft. of torque, available instantly, and regardless of the engine’s current RPM.
From the driver’s seat? Nadda. Nothing to see, nothing to do, it’s fully automatic and invisible.
The gist: By cleverly using its own self-generated electricity, the HEMI boasts more pleasing and punchy throttle response, more of the time, without burning a drop of extra fuel.
Complaints included rougher-than-expected ride quality on some surfaces, with the 22-inch wheels getting much of the blame. It is a quiet and creamy cruiser on smooth highways.
Also, sportier drivers will wish for a responsive throttle: The truck hustles just fine, but requires a good smash on the throttle to make it happen. This setup won’t satisfy anyone who prefers a hair-trigger throttle, but it does help save fuel.
Here’s the pickup world’s best-yet interior, and a clever bit of tech adding new efficiency and punch to a time-tested V8 that owners like to stick with.
The Ram 1500 Longhorn might just become your favourite place to be, and also one of your favourite new gadgets.