Cowboys. Dallas. Stetsons. George W Bush. Oil. Steaks bigger than your head. Texas icons, one and all; brash and unreconstructed. And the Dodge Ram's most gregarious variant, the 1500 Laramie Longhorn, sticks its in-your-face girth firmly into that lineage. Say hello, as Dodge puts it, to "Texas's favourite truck".
The market for, as we shall call them here, “mega trucks” is stronger than ever seemingly in UAE, no matter the petrol price – or the advances in electric-car technology detailed in our feature above.
But this 5.7-litre monster takes things to the next level of extreme bolshyness, modelled as it around some kind of OK Corral theme: its dash dials emit the look of old-timey pocket watches; in the rear, there are seat-back pockets inspired, it seems, by saddlebags – although a geography teacher's briefcase would be an equally apt comparison. Befitting the era that it is attempting to evoke, there is wood and leather aplenty – half a forest and a few of those longhorn cattle referenced by its name have perished so that this Ram can live.
There are more cubby holes than you will have belongings to squirrel away, including neat twin stash spots in the sides of the cargo area, with drainage holes so you can stuff it with ice to keep food/drinks cool, plus various hidden nooks under the floor and seats in the cabin. The central section of the back window can be opened, meanwhile, to aid hauling around particularly long cargo.
Hard-labour cargo isn’t the top priority for most mega-truck drivers, who are mostly in this part of the world found giving the performance credentials a more thorough going-over than their loadbearing potential.
The Ram has a steady ride, although like most trucks of this size, it still feels a little unstable at highway speeds – although it arguably has a little less roll than certain contemporaries such as the GMC Sierra.
The general driving experience, indeed, is a little like colouring in but not worrying too much about the lines; it isn’t precise, but it doesn’t matter all that much when you are twice the size of most other road rivals. And while the all-enveloping cabin can really warp your perception of how fast you’re actually travelling, if you have bought this to go round corners at pace, that is about as sensible as purchasing a hammer to do your ironing.
The gargantuan dimensions are largely not too problematic when backing up, thanks to the rear-view camera, although there are seemingly no forward parking sensors, which when faced with such a high bonnet can be a little problematic. I find myself hopping out on more than one occasion while parking bonnet-first into a slightly tight spot. The lack of blind-spot alerts isn’t overly helpful, either, and the monstrous wing-nut door mirrors aren’t quite as all-seeing as you might expect – thankfully, they can at least be folded away.
The infotainment controls on back of steering wheel are a clever addition, albeit one slightly counteracted by the fact that the Ram’s interior is so expansive that you have to turn your head almost 45 degrees almost to see the main 8.4-inch touchscreen, although it is otherwise intuitive.
So would I buy one? As a 5-foot 8-inch guy, I’m on the fringes of who might reasonably get accused of having “small-man syndrome” if I was spied in one of these trucks, particularly when throwing its weight around. So the answer is probably a sheepish “no”. And if I was really going to risk stereotypes, I would probably hang out for a Shelby Raptor.
Yet there can’t be many segments where you get this much metal for your moolah, making the Ram Longhorn pretty solid value for money. Yee-haw.