Ram 1500 Warlock on test: the V8 wizard of utes
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Ram 1500 Crew Cab Warlock
- Very bold look
- Clever RamBox setup
- Mighty towing ability
- Thirsty no matter how you use it
- No front parking assistance
- Awkward right-side parking brake
It’s not difficult to stereotype American cars and trucks. Three things that come to mind are size (big), thirst (heavy) and quality (dubious).
The Ram 1500 proudly boasts those three and unashamedly more, and in a market dominated by conventional double-cab utes, there’s certainly room for those who need a little more – a little more cabin than a Hilux, a little more engine than a five-cylinder Ranger, a little more speed than an Amarok and a little more than the 3500kg towing capacity of the Triton et al.
Of course this ability to eat utes for breakfast (in Ram’s words) comes at a cost, and rather than the $50-$80k of a typical double-cab ute, the 4x4 Ram 1500 Warlock, the newest addition to the range that now runs to five, and carries a $15k premium over the regular 1500 Express Crew Cab, that we fittingly featured back on the fourth of July.
Based on the Crew Cab, the Warlock adds a few neat extras, that might typically be wanted/needed as options, headlined by the smart RamBox Cargo Management system – normally a $5000 option alone - that offers central-lockable, lit pods in each side of the tray, that is sealed, lined but drainable, for use an an ice-chiller for drinks, wet towels or gear or even tools.
Other Warlock features include the Rebel-look front grille, bulging bonnet with vents and matte stickers, black bumpers, and flares, 20-inch semi-gloss black alloys and black smoked headlights, black tubular side steps, and some accent badging, complete with “5.7 LITER” badge. Yep, proudly American.
Of course that relates to the Hemi V8 under the hood, with 291kW and 556Nm of gas… er, petrol-burning power. Think its kerb weight of near-3500kg would be stifling? Hardly, as we timed a 0-100km/h sprint in just 6.7 seconds – that’s a second faster than the “Beast in Class” VW Amarok V6.
Naturally it’s the towing that’s more important than the drags, and with a 4.5 tonne limit plus 820kg of payload, that’s a tonne and more over the regular utes, combined with standard trailer brake control, and switchable 4WD.
The spray-in bed liner is similarly smart, with a spray-in bed liner for the 1.7m long and 1295mm wide tub large enough to take a full-size pallet, plus lights and locking.
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Leather marks the extras in the cabin, and with electric front seats, 60/40 rear seats and a sliding rear window, the big feature is the wiiide interior, plenty of room in the front, and easily room for three boofy Texans across the rear seat, and storage under them, with a folding flat-load floor. CarPlay/Android with an 8.4in touchscreen look after the tech, too.
A reversing camera certainly comes in handy, though the lack of front camera or sensors can be a concern, particularly given the 5850mm length. For comparison, a Ranger is 5351mm – that’s half a metre difference!
It’s also a little higher, and the climb into the cabin is made even higher with a one-inch suspension lift, which proves very American in its feel: soft and cushy comfy, and designed for the concrete freeways of Los Angeles, which also work well over the sometimes scarred and rutted roads of Aotearoa.
Now let’s talk quietly for a moment, about fuel consumption. The official claim is 12.2l/100km, and despite the eight-speed auto and cylinder deactivation, we saw around 16l/100km around town, and 12s on the motorway. Good thing there’s a 98-litre tank, but we admit that if a 3.5-tonne V8 ute sounds like a good part of your needs, then fuel use would likely matter less.
Another hassle is the parking brake, a right-side pedal, released with a handle near the right knee. On paper that sounds fine, but in practice, as you stop, engage Park, you’re right foot is inevitably on the brake pedal, and the same foot needs to release the brake, and activate the park brake – for this driver, that meant transferring left foot to brake, making the process more complex than it should be.
There also isn’t the push-button starting of the Laramie model, but the key works perfectly fine. As does the Warlock as a whole. In a way it’s adding the typical options you’d likely add to a regular 1500 anyway, and with black alloys and the RamBox bins, the Warlock wins the choice of which Ram 1500 we’d choose. Note we didn’t say “witch” one, that would be hackneyed…
RAM 1500 CREW CAB WARLOCK
ENGINE: 5.7-litre petrol V8
GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic, part-time 4WD