Lone Star Luxury
During the annual State Fair of Texas in Dallas and right in the heart of Truck Country, Ram took the wraps of their latest posh truck . Compared to the already option laden Longhorn, this Longhorn Southfork Edition offers more features and more comfort, while further glorifying that Wild West theme. At the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Texas Truck Rodeo in Austin, I had a chance to try it for myself, both on and off-road.
Premium pickup trucks are more popular than ever, and Ram is poised to grab a big slice of that market. The Laramie Longhorn edition was launched in 2010 and back then it was the most luxurious truck Ram had ever built. The competition caught up though, so Ram is constantly evolving to come up with even more luxurious variations.
On the outside the Southfork has a Texas sized “Longhorn” badge in bright chrome stretched across the tailgate. All current Longhorn body colors are available, and the test truck was decked out in white with the Walnut Brown two-tone option. My favorite combination!
The exterior of the Southfork perfectly matched the Natura Plus 100 percent full-grain leather – as Ram calls it – in Canyon Brown and Light Frost Beige. The headliner is covered in light grey suede, the grab handles on both the A- and B-pillars in brown leather and the steering wheel is trimmed in real walnut, making this Southfork as much Kanye West as it is Wild West. To round it all off, stitching throughout the cabin is done in ruby red and the floormats come with ‘Longhorn’ logos. All in all, not a place for muddy boots and dirty work clothes…
The basic platform of the Ram 1500 is not the youngest anymore but equipped with the optional all-round air suspension offering five different heights (off-road 1, off-road 2, normal, aero and entry/exit) the ride is surprisingly supple both on the road as well as off. Compared to its rivals though, the Ram 1500 4×4 is not necessarily the best performer in heavy terrain, but for those who need better off-road capabilities there is the Ram Rebel or even the Heady Duty Power Wagon that will murder the competition with one hand on its back.
The Ram Southfork is as much Kanye West as it is Wild West
No changes were made to the drivetrain, since the Southfork is a luxury package, so the 395 horsepower 5.7-liter V8 and the 8-speed automatic transmission combined with all-wheel drive performed as expected. Not much to complain there, since this has always been my favorite Ram 1500 configuration.
What might be a reason to complain – for some – is the price. This test truck was listed at a hefty $62,580 including options like the Ram Box system, air suspension and a sun roof. Prices start at $54,420 for the 1500 Crew Cab 4×4 Hemi, so you can fulfill your Western dream for about double the price of a basic 1500 Tradesman. The Heavy Duty models are available from $57,015 and up, reaching well into the eighties with a few well aimed checks on the options list.
- Comfortable interior
- Ride quality
- Powerful engine
- Off-road capabilities
- Gas mileage