A quick search on a computer's thesaurus for the word "big" comes up with quite a list: large, sizable, substantial, great, huge, immense, enormous, extensive, colossal, massive, mammoth, vast, tremendous, gigantic, giant, monumental, mighty, gargantuan, elephantine, titanic, mountainous, Brobdingnagian; towering, tall, high, lofty; outsize, oversized; goodly; capacious, voluminous, spacious; king-size(d), man-size, family-size(d), economy-size(d); jumbo, whopping, mega, humongous, monster, astronomical, ginormous, commodious.
And I shall endeavour to use all of these words in this review, because the enormous Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie crew cab deserves them all; why, it even has a large name. Many of these words will come to mind when you see this towering truck for the first time, especially standing beside it. It doesn't just sit there parked; it looms over all. "Presence" just doesn't begin to describe its sheer enormity.
The large, man-sized grab handles inside every doorway aren't just for looks, they're absolutely necessary to help pull yourself up and into the cab. But the reward is falling back into giant, cushy seats, either fore or aft, that would not be out of place in the living room of a TV mega-fan. And sitting up there, before you turn the key to start the engine, take a moment to look around at your surroundings; you'll get a feel of what the great Sir Edmund Hillary must have felt the first time he climbed Mount Everest.
You'll see the roofs of cars and even other SUVs; actually, you might even see the roof of a villa or two. Oh, and that's not fog - it's a huge cumulus cloud. Don't worry, it'll pass quickly. The interior is good for five adults; and I mean five king-sized adults. And they could have a quick cricket match inside, if they wanted to. With spectators. Or, if they just wanted to enjoy a drive, it would be a very comfortable journey in the capacious cabin. The immense seats are not only thick, wide and comfortable, but both front and rear seats are heated, while the front ones are cooled - a monumental feature here in the UAE. The only drawback to them is that the seat bottoms are a little short under the legs, surprising considering the vast shoulder and leg room. Head room in the front is lofty and commodious and suits very tall people, but it's a little less spacious in the rear.
Inside, passengers will find a high level of luxury from what you'd consider a Dodge to be: dash materials are soft-touch plastics and leather, while five cows must have given their lives for just the seats alone. It's all put together in a bit of an old-fashioned way, complete with fake wood trim and aluminum-painted plastic, but it looks good nonetheless. Sitting between the two front passengers is a voluminous storage compartment, the largest of many little nooks and crannies found all around the cab. There are also two goodly sized storage bins found under the floor in the back, suitable for economy-sized packs of beverages.
And the Ram is packed with features, too. The MyGig infotainment system packs a whopping 30 gigabytes worth of space for music. There's an AC plug for electrical devices along with two other normal power ports. And the dual climate control is more of a necessity than it is a luxury, considering there could be a completely different climate pattern, including rain and thunder, from passenger seat to the driver's.
Passengers will also find a comfortable ride, both in town and on the open road, though at motorway speeds the truck has a slightly discernible vibration to it, one that was enough to make the empty front seat beside me rattle on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi route. Handling is tremendous, surprisingly, given its mammoth size. Yeah, it's a gargantuan truck, so you're not taking a corner at colossal speeds, but it's nimble enough that it actually feels smaller than its size.
The only engine available for the Ram in the UAE is the sizable 5.7L V8 Hemi, suitably mighty for such a monster truck. It puts out 380hp and an elephantine 548Nm of torque, which makes this truck actually feel peppy in traffic - truly, a substantial feat. The only fly in the ointment is the five-speed automatic, which is slow to kick down to a lower gear when you really need instant acceleration. It just feels a little old-tech, though the truck does feature lockable four-wheel drive and a low gearset, activated by a simple knob in the cabin.
Said engine makes cruising on the motorway effortless, even at the astronomical speads expected on UAE roads. For passing, wait for the gearbox to drop a cog and only then you'll hear the engine roar as you shoot ahead with Brobdingnagian acceleration (I had to look that one up, too). Looking down that outsize hood, it's easy to think you're driving a jumbo motorway lorry; the only thing missing is the air horn cord dangling from the ceiling.
Of course, you don't get that kind of power for free. Moving around a 2,700kg mountainous pile of steel and glass, especially in a spritely fashion, isn't going to get you good fuel economy. Officially, the Ram is listed at 16L/100km, but I rarely got it below a humongous 20L per 100 klicks on its own computer. Let's be honest; despite its massive power and ginormous utility, this isn't a truck you'll see on the worksite very often. But it is for people who have toys, especially of the gigantic variety, and in that role, it's exemplary. Towing is rated at 3,810kg, and the Ram comes with a Trailer Sway Control feature to limit those monster trailer oscillations. The bed is just 5.7 feet (1.74m), but cargo capacity is rated at 744kg.
OK, I did it - check for yourself. After a titanic effort, I managed to include that extensive list of adjectives. But the mighty, family-sized Dodge Ram Laramie just demands them all. Along with respect.