It's been a while since I posted anything online about IronHide. Yes.. I named my truck after an AutoBot and its not a GM vehicle. I could go on how the original IronHide wasn't a GM vehicle and was based on a Dodge Wagon / SUV, but that is not what this is about..
It's been 4 years since I have had my vehicle and its currently done just over 75,000 kms. The notion of owning a pickup truck seems rather agricultural or signs that you are a someone who uses his vehicle to haul stuff. You would rarely think of a pickup truck being a family oriented vehicle. But nevertheless, looking at what the modern pickup truck has become you would do well to give them a second glance.
Noticing the number of large SUVs on the roads of Dubai, you get the notion that having a big vehicle is pretty much a status symbol as well as a necessity if you have a large family. But to be honest, most people in Dubai do not need anything more than a 5 seater.
Initially when I was in the market for a new car, I was hesitant in choosing a large American pickup truck. But now that I have had it for 4 years, I'm very glad that I did.
Those interested in seeing how I made my choice of a pickup vs a sedan, please click links below:
This is Dodge
Good Bye Alfa - Ford or Dodge
The biggest caveat of purchasing a brand new vehicle in Dubai is trying to keep the paintwork as prestine as for as long as possible. Truth is you cannot stop the actions of the "inconsiderate idiot". You know this type.. he/she is the one that parks so close to your vehicle in a parking lot and "rams" their door into your's whilst trying to get in or out. I even had infuriating encounter where the person peeped into my car, looked at my face and then proceed to vandalize my vehicle. I can only explain it as he was making sure that I wasn't an Emirati or a European / Western expat. Forget confronting such people.. They would easily dismiss you with, "So?... This is Dubai... It is normal."
However watch such people make a huge fuss when the same is done in return to their vehicle. Mind you, I still treat another's vehicle with respect; regardless of who they are. But I guess it is pointless to expect the same in return. After a couple more dents were made to the paintwork, and I had my first accident with the truck, I gave up trying or caring. Now I just try to maintain it the best I can and find the grace to ignore what I can control.
Getting into the technical aspects of the truck:
Ram 1500 SLT, 2014 4x4
5.7 ltr V8 HEMI with MDS (Multi-Displacement System), 8 Speed Gearbox
CrewCab configuration with a shortbed
5 link multicoil suspension
At the time of purchasing the truck, the SLT package comes with the cloth seats as well as the 8.4" display in the center. Rosella from Trading enterprises was exceptionally helpful in the whole buying experience and I can't thank her enough. It is amazing to think that I entered the showroom with the intent of buying a Charger or a Durango and came out with something better.. IMO.
While I can praise the sales team of Trading Enterprises, I can't exactly say much of the same for the staff in the service center. With the exception of a two individuals who have been exceptional brilliant in handling my agency services, I can't say much about the rest. There are certainly things that I would like to see improve with the service centers here; for all the agencies, not just Trading Enterprises. However I will say one thing, dealing with Trading Enterprises is far better than with Toyota's service center.
Getting back to the truck, in the 4 years, nothing has gone wrong yet nor has skipped a beat. Everything works well. The rotary style shifter takes some getting used to initially, but it quickly becomes second nature after a while. After two months with the truck, I drove my brother's Camry and kept putting air conditioning up while trying to reverse into a parking space. The gearbox in the Ram is excellent and has really smooth shifts. I have been informed that it is the same 8 speed that is in the Rolls Royce Phantom. Having said that, I do notice a slight jerk as the vehicle comes to a halt; as the autobox changes down from 3rd - 2nd - 1st. Looking through the online forums you do notice that this is a common minor annoyance with the 1st generation 8 speed boxes and is nothing major to complain about. There are fixes and I will be looking into it.
Another common flaw in the design of the Ram comes from the seals around the 3rd brake light on the back of the cab. Those in wetter climates will notice their headliners will start to stain as it retains water. The seals are exceptionally tiny for what it should be and do a pretty bad job keeping out the water. Ram isn't the only truck with this flaw. This has been noticed among Fords and the GM trucks as well.
The sad thing is that though this is known as a common fault, it has not been attended to by FCA at all, even amongst the new 2018 models. So my suggestion to anyone buying a Ram truck anywhere, please do follow the instructions in the link below as soon as you take delivery. It won't void your warranty and actually will save you a lot of grief.
3rd Brake light fix
In the city, parking is pretty much the Achilles heel of the Ram or any large vehicle. You would think that in a city with a large numbers of SUVs around, malls would be more accommodating, but that isn't the case. Some places you go, you struggle to find a sport large enough. Even the standard size length of the parking bays slots are not long enough at times. You need to take that into consideration wherever you go in the city. Having said that, I haven't been too inconvenienced to concede that the Ram is a poor purchase.
On the road, the truck is never wanting for power; especially given the size and weight. The engine is smooth and immediate. Anyone who has driven a Dodge with the current Magnum Block HEMIs will find the experience quite similar. The on-road manners of the Ram is certainly better than the other pickup trucks. Sure, the Ram is no sports sedan like its FCA stable mates (Charger, 300C), but the 5 link coil suspension is a certainly a testament to its on-road performance. Ram is the 1st and to my knowledge, the only one that does use coils in the rear of its trucks and also the online one to offer air-suspension as an option. Other manufacturers still use leaf-springs. Certainly leaf-springs are more hardwearing and "old-school", but the coils do a far better job in keeping the Ram stable during heavy cornering.
The air-suspension wasn't an option when I was purchasing the Ram and came into the region later with the Ram Rebel. I certainly would have liked to have it, but again comes the age old argument, "less complicated, less to go wrong later on." Certainly is true. With the current coil setup, it is easier upgrading later on for better off-road capability.
Talking about Off-road, I can't say much as my experience is limited. However the brief instances over soft sandy patches near Al Qudra proved extremely easy for the Ram. The just glided over it easily. I am sure that I would have gotten better performance if I had aired down the tires, but being my 1st off-roading experience, with no one else around, I didn't have an issue. I got stuck one, reversed out and then the truck plowed through with ease after. Ever since, I have been educating myself on the off-roading dos and don'ts.
I have nothing but good things to say about the 8" infotainment system. The Uconnect system is by far considered the best of all the factory infotainment systems out there. Adding to it is a screen which is far more responsive than anything that I've experienced with Ford's Sync, etc. Certainly leaps ahead of Toyota's standard system. Having said that, it would have been nice to get something with navigation or the current generation Uconnect that gives me Apple CarPlay. As I understand it, my current unit cannot be upgraded to the latest software release.
Now to the business end of the truck. I can't express enough of how good it is to have a dedicated cargo area. Sure unlike those Hilux trucks you see around with rails and cages attached to their beds, my carrying capacity in terms of large volume items is slightly limited, but the bed has come in handy more times than I can count. Feels good when you go to IKEA and they offer to have stuff delivered by pickup and you say, "No need... I've got a truck."
One of the amazing things about a pickup truck is how interchangeable the parts are with each in the model range. For instance, I can easily purchase bumpers of the 2017 Ram Rebel and put them on my truck. That should give the Ram a bit more clearance for off-roading. To add, all of this can be done in a parking lot or drive way; using a set of hand tools and the help of a couple of friends.
If you read my articles linked above, you will notice that I mentioned there is a huge aftermarket supply for the Ram and other pickups in general. Certainly the Chevrolet and Ford vehicles have bigger aftermarket support. I guess that probably shows that those trucks need more improving over the stock than my Ram... (just my little joke).. 😄
That aftermarket supply is one of the reasons that I went for the truck over the sedan. This bring me to my next point.
Another advantage of a pickup over most other vehicles. Pickups don't change their shape often and for the most part, they don't age. You can look at a tastefully modded '98 truck and it still looks modern and cool.
Of course, looking at the new 2019 Ram 1500s coming in later this year and next year, I am tempted to trade in for a newer model. Certainly the new 12" tesla style screen of the new Ram will be a treat to have as well as the host of other features and improvements. But seeing that Ram will still be selling the current 4th Generation 1500 as a "Classic" for 2019 onwards, shows that still there is demand and it has been one of FCA's best and sought after models. I have a feeling the 4th Generation Ram will go the way of Toyota's own 76 - 79 Land Cruisers & Nissan's Patrol Super Safaris... You still see these older models being sold as brand new production vehicles. The reason is that people still love them and want the old school off road look. So those who are serious off roaders might prefer to have a 4th Gen Power Wagon over a 5th Gen luxury truck.
I could go on and on what a great purchase this truck has been so far.
Can't have too much of a good thing? Then you haven't yet tried the 4th generation Ram 1500.