For the record, these trucks are no longer called "Dodge." Since 2009, Ram Trucks had to deal with customers who still had no clue that not only this is a stand-alone brand focused on pickup trucks and other commercial vehicles for FCA's North American markets. Then again, they don't read the industry trade publications that have tracked Ram's successes in pickup truck sales against its Ford and General Motors rivals.
In the case of the pickup truck, there are many opportunities to customize one to ratchet up the cool factor. Any truck with four-wheel-drive can get a lift or level of its suspension, knobbier tires with custom wheels, skid plates for the frame, accessories for the exterior and inside, and then some. Some have even tweaked the engine for more performance and swapped out the transfer case and differentials to match the increased performance from underneath the hood.
Consider what other vehicles were considered for this road trip story. Actually, I have forgotten most of the choices, except for a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited. It does have the same driveline as the ES 300h – the 2.5-liter gas-electric powerplant with a continuously variable transmission – but with the addition of all-wheel-drive. However, I thought about the impact on fuel economy, as SUVs and crossovers tend to yield less than their sedan counterparts.
A couple of years ago, I had my first turn at the Ford F-150 Raptor. I likened the desert-running off-road icon to having an age reversal when one tries to drive one. The "Benjamin Button" factor immediately send us back to being a child again when you see a patch of land and want to send this 450-horsepower beast to destroy it further. I don't know – being child-like or childish. You pick which one you want to be when you drive a Raptor.
You may not want to read about a couple of mid-sized, three-row SUVs. However, these two vehicles are generating a lot of buzz that has been the talk of the industry. Of course, this segment has been on fire. New products have been introduced over the past few years that have moved the bar in terms of meeting the needs and wants of families looking for this kind of vehicle. And, believe me, there's more to come in this segment.