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Keep on Truckin’ – Ram 1500/Honda Ridgeline

Pickup trucks were once unsophisticated beasts long on capability but short on creature comforts. These two new models prove that’s no longer the case.

The Ram 1500 is a big, burly workhorse. (Photo: © FCA US LLC.)

Large and in charge. That’s how you’ll feel behind the wheel of the all-new Ram 1500 pickup.

There’s just no other way to say it: This full-size truck is big, both physically and in terms of its capability. On that last point, it can tote more than a ton of cargo (2,300 pounds, to be exact) or tow trailers up to a whopping 12,750 pounds when properly equipped.

Even so, my Big Horn model test truck felt like a smaller vehicle. There’s no mistaking it for a compact coupe, of course, but neither does it seem like you’re piloting a 5,300-pound land barge. A revised suspension gives this new Ram confident handling and a surprisingly car-like ride. Add a few neat sound-deadening tricks like active noise-canceling and it’s honestly nicer to drive than some cars. Pretty impressive really.

The reclining rear seats of the crew cab model I spent time in offered an astonishing 45 inches of legroom. Oh yes, then there’s the cabin’s cutting-edge technology, including a huge reconfigurable touch screen (a feature made more convenient by redundant physical knobs and buttons). Neat.

Put it all together and the Ram 1500 practically screams “Go big or go home.”

Base Price: $31,795

MPG: 15 city, 22 highway

Crash Test: 4 stars

The Honda Ridgeline boasts a car-like ride. (Photo: © Honda)

Here’s a mind-bending stat for you: A pickup – the Ford F-Series, to be precise – has been the best-selling vehicle in America for the last 30-plus years running. Which, in an odd way, makes the second-generation Honda Ridgeline that much more appealing.

If you’re lukewarm about those big trucks, chances are you’re going to love Honda’s midsize pickup. Approach the Ridgeline with an open mind and you’ll have to agree it makes most Detroit pickups look like buckboards.

Built on the same underpinnings as Honda’s minivan, the four-door Ridgeline combines a car-like ride and handling with what is unquestionably the most innovative bed in the business. In addition to its tough-but-lightweight composite construction, the Ridgeline’s 5-foot bed offers an under-floor “trunk” big enough to fit a body (yes, I tried) with a tailgate that
folds down or swings out to the side to make the bed’s cargo easier to access.

Add better-than-average (by pickup standards) fuel economy and top crash test scores and you’ll understand why the Honda Ridgeline is a best-seller in the making.

Base Price: $22,990

MPG: 19 city, 26 highway

Crash Test: 5 stars

Looking for a new car ride? Find more car reviews online. AAA.com/TestDrive

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