2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab: A luxury CAR?

Ram’s 1500 has more reasons to party than a lottery winner on a paid vacation, and yet our 2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab showed up wearing black. Someone needs to encourage this guy to read his own press releases. That’d cheer him up.

Not only did Ram’s 1500 set its all-time sales record in calendar year 2019, but near the close of that same year this truck was named by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety one of its handful of “Top Safety Pick - Plus” vehicles – the first full-size pickup ever so honored.

And now – and I hope you’re sitting down for this – the website Cars.com has named Ram’s 1500 half-ton pickup its 2020 Luxury CAR of the Year. (Emphasis mine.)

You can’t make this stuff up.

We should note that that tony award specifically cites Rams wearing Longhorn and Limited trims, which may account for our truck’s choice of accent colors. But, geez, it wasn’t like our Laramie had a steel dashboard and vinyl seats…

The 2020 Ram 1500 is available in Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited trims, along with rear- or four-wheel drive traction formats; Quad Cab and Crew Cab body configurations; and engine choices of a mild-hybrid V-6, a V-8, a mild-hybrid V-8 and a diesel V-6. Regardless, every 2020 Ram 1500 is managed by an eight-speed automatic.

We drove a 2020 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 powered by Ram’s 5.7-liter eTorque, mild-hybrid Hemi V-8 and wearing Ram’s new-for-2020 Night Edition raiment, which includes – all done in black – a dark grille, grille surround, badging and exhaust tips, all riding on towering 22- inch black wheels. Other perks of the pack include a muscular “performance” hood and, on the inside, a wireless charging pad and an upgraded center floor console.

Although a mild-hybrid-assist eTorque V-6 is Ram’s base engine, Laramie gets the brand’s trusty 395-hp V-8 as standard issue. We, however, optioned up to that same 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with its available eTorque assist – assist that, in brief bursts, can provide up to 130 lbs.-ft. of additional torque to this engine’s already-robust official rating of 410 lbs.-ft.

Managed by the standard eight-speed automatic and ready to tow more than 5 tons, this mild-hybrid returned to us 16 mpg in 185 miles of mixed city/hwy driving. The extra off-line enthusiasm those torque-blasts provided also serve to get the ol’ Winnebago up and running for those who are towing.

On the highway, Laramie’s cabin is spacious and the ride is civil on Ram’s full-coil suspension. Sure, the truck feels big, with its hood filling the lane ahead, but handling is confident and the experience serene. We particularly appreciated the shift-on-the-fly electronic transfer case in our 4x4. When our truck’s rear end sluiced around in rain, we engaged the T-case’s 4WD AUTO setting – really all-wheel drive – and our empty-bed pickup was the soul of composure. (Other T-case settings are 2WD, 4WD HIGH and 4WD LOW.)

Achieving an astounding bottom line of $68,615, our Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 slathered on the sybaritic options, adding – wait for it – $20,180 (!) in upgrades! That’s a lot of dough, to be sure, but there was a lot of payoff. In addition to the $3,495 Night Edition package, we added the pricey $4,895 Level 2 Equipment Group, with its 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio and heated rear seats, among other stuff, and the boffo $1,395 Uconnect 12-inch vertical infotainment touch screen, which makes managing all the modern infotainment stuff remarkably easy.

Regarding styling, Ram is a beautiful truck. Having become its own brand in 2009, it’s now officially bequeathed the crosshair grille to Dodge. In its stead, our Laramie showed a streamlined horizontal grille flanked by techy headlights. Add our Night Edition’s muscular “performance” hood, and this guy strikes a dashing pose.

In a segment whose buyers are more loyal than the family dog, Ram, with all its charms and all its accolades, makes a strong case for shopping beyond Chevy or Ford.

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