I wish I could take credit for manifesting the 2022 Ram 1500 GT into existence.
It’s the kind of sport truck that’s been missing from the market for years now – even if it’s not the same sort of full-fledged hot rod the brand used to build. Alas, planning for this pickup would’ve started long before I mused about the good ol’ days while driving the rival Chevrolet Silverado RST Rally Edition.
Where that truck stops short of meaningful upgrades, opting for the new-for-2022 G/T kit adds at least a couple performance enhancers to this half-ton, as well as a smattering of styling upgrades that mean it looks the part and sounds like it, too. The 2022 Ram 1500 GT Sport tested here may lack the mechanical aggression of the Ram SRT-10 of old, but it has a presence all its own. Just be prepared for the sticker shock that comes with it.
Trucks are expensive – it’s that simple. Take this tester: a 2022 Ram 1500 Sport. It starts at $64,495, plus a non-negotiable freight charge of $2,095. That means it’s $66,590 before tax for what’s the third of seven of this truck’s trims; eight, if you count the TRX, too.
It’s the cheapest of three trims that can be had with the G/T package (there’s the Rebel and Laramie, too), and it adds $3,495 to the sticker price of this Sport. But it doesn’t stop there, because it can’t be had without also getting a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, as well as an upgrade package that together add another $2,990. That means this is a $73,075 truck before any of the extras you see here have been accounted for, too. Add it all up, and the truck before you rings in at a shade more than $90,000 before tax.
Now, you might be wondering why none of the juicy incentives you heard about when you stopped by your local dealer have been factored in here. It’s a fair question, and it has a simple answer. Since incentives fluctuate so wildly from month to month and region to region, it’s just not possible to factor them in with a review like this.
Regardless of trim, the G/T package can only be had with a 5.7L V8 that has a mild-hybrid system piggybacked onto it. Engine output’s the same with or without the 48-volt add-on – it makes 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque – but it provides an electrical kick in the pants in the form of 130 lb-ft of additional torque at launch. That means nearly imperceptible pulses of electrons fire the truck up again when the ignition stop-start system is working, while also getting the truck rolling.
There’s also the matter of the cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust that come with the G/T package. While the brand doesn’t explicitly claim the truck generates any extra output as a result of those bolt-on parts, it’s hard to imagine an engine that breathes better wouldn’t have a net benefit that shows up on the spec sheet. Either way, it sounds simply phenomenal, with even gentle throttle application rewarded with a confident bellow befitting of a proper sport truck.
Driving Feel: 9/10
Any vehicle that generates more than 400 lb-ft of torque is bound to feel swift, and that’s certainly the case here. The combination of the cat-back exhaust and the progressive power from the motor makes piloting this pickup an immersive experience. The eight-speed automatic transmission switches gears smoothly, while the G/T pack’s paddle shifters provide an extra level of engine control, whether when hauling a heavy load or simply running it up to redline.
There’s a duality to this truck, too. It’s not amped up all the time like its V10-powered predecessor – although the rumble of the exhaust is a bit of a devil on the shoulder. No, it’s a perfectly capable pickup in the traditional sense, not to mention the modern one that more and more has them serving as family haulers.
In that way, the Ram 1500 is probably the best in the business for its SUV-like drivability. The extras here help, too, like the optional air suspension ($1,895); but the essentials make it incredibly easy to pilot. Steering feel is what I’d describe as muted, with adequate responsiveness but not much crispness. However, it’s suitable to the size of this half-ton – something others in the segment don’t get quite as right.
Coupled with coil springs at all four corners, that air suspension makes this truck as comfortable as it is controllable. My belly still jiggled comically on the stretch of precast concrete slabs that make up part of my weekly evaluation drive, serving as a subtle reminder that this is, indeed, a pickup (and that I’ve put on a few pandemic pounds); but it makes an awful lot of sense why these underpinnings have been borrowed for Jeep’s long-awaited luxury barge, the Grand Wagoneer.
The cabin provides a somewhat surprising upscale atmosphere given this trim’s place in the lineup, although much of it is a result of the extensive options that were added to this tester. For instance, the heated front seats and steering wheel are standard in the Sport trim, but the combination leather and vinyl upholstery, as well as the eight-way power adjustability and ventilation for both front seats, and the driver’s seat memory settings and power-adjustable pedals, are part of the G/T package.
Likewise, the dual-zone automatic climate control system is part of the Level 2 package ($1,795) that’s automatically added alongside the G/T kit, while the heated rear seats here come with the Comfort and Convenience pack ($1,095). It’s also worth noting that this Ram 1500 GT is pricier than the posh Ford F-150 Platinum I tested last year – and that truck had sublime massaging front seats that can’t be added here.
Space inside the Ram 1500 is generous, with similar interior dimensions to other half-ton trucks on the market. I still find the driver’s seat sits a little too tall for my 6-foot-3 frame, with the top of the optional head-up display obscured from view, but without a sunroof here it didn’t feel at all cramped or claustrophobic. And since the Sport is offered exclusively as a full crew cab, there’s plenty of room for two or three adult passengers to stretch out in the rear seats. There’s all kinds of clever storage inside, too, with cubbies on the console and dash, and compartments under the back bench courtesy of the options list.
With its crew cab configuration and 5-foot-7 box bolted to the back (the G/T goodies can’t be had with the 6-foot-4 long box), this is the definition of half-ton utility. The optional bedside cargo boxes ($1,295) give up outright volume in the name of lockable storage for tools and other equipment – a worthy sacrifice, in my books. They also include drain plugs, which all but guarantees you’ll be the most popular person at the next tailgate party when you roll up with both sides packed with ice and your favourite beverage.
Another of this tester’s useful features that comes via add-ons is the multifunction tailgate ($1,095) that opens both conventionally and in a 60/40 swing-out split. There’s also a step that pops out from beneath the bumper that makes accessing the bed easier, although it isn’t as simple as the corner steps the Silverado and GMC Sierra twins employ.
Conspicuously, official payload and towing numbers are tough to find. According to a Stellantis spokesperson, this tester is able to carry 821 kg (1,810 lb) and tow 5,085 kg (11,210 lb) – more than the Ram Limited Longhorn I tested last year was capable of. That’s a lot of weight to be moving, so remember: they aren’t mutually exclusive. Any mass being moved inside the truck (people and stuff) cuts into how much can be hooked up to the hitch, while the trailer’s tongue weight is part of your payload calculation.
This being the Sport trim, four-wheel drive is standard. Meanwhile, ground clearance can be adjusted from 170 mm (6.7 in) for entry and exit all the way to 273 mm (10.8 in) for off-road excursions thanks to the air suspension. (Those numbers drop slightly on models equipped with optional skid plates underneath.)
Fuel Economy: 5/10
With a nasty snowstorm arriving just in time for my weekly evaluation drive, the four-wheel drive system’s automatic setting was put to the test – and it passed with flying colours. As the name implies, it directs torque to all four wheels on-demand as opposed to permanently (high- and low-range) or not at all (rear-wheel drive). Of course, it came at the cost of efficiency, with this burly half-ton burning 13.0 L/100 km across some 200 km of highway, rural, and city driving.
Over the course of a full week of testing, I managed a fairly atrocious 17.2 L/100 km while covering a total of about 430 km. Officially, it’s rated to return a combined 12.4 L/100 km, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) – far better than I managed, but still not especially efficient. Such are the pitfalls of V8-powered pickup ownership.
In terms of styling, the G/T package comes in a couple different flavours, depending on which trim it’s added to. No matter which way you go, it’s mostly understated, with simple bedside decals and a unique hood setting it apart. In the case of this tester, 22-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels that look a bit like a callback to the SRT-10’s wheels were also added as part of the Night Edition package ($1,495). All the black finishes set against the Flame Red paint – one of only two no-charge colour choices – round out the sport truck aesthetic.
Black leather upholstery with grey G/T embroidery, bucket seats that look like they were borrowed from a Hellcat-powered Dodge model, a flat-bottom steering wheel complete with paddle shifters, and a console-mounted gear selector round out the interior enhancements that are even more subtle than what’s outside. It might not be as overtly upscale as other trucks in this price range, but the Ram 1500 GT Sport looks and feels special in its own way.
User Friendliness: 6/10
It’s hard to ignore the massive 12-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen that adorns the dash. It runs the latest version of the Uconnect software from the Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Jeep quartet that are now part of Stellantis, with built-in Amazon Alexa assistance, as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The Uconnect interface has long been praised for its ease of use by automotive media types, myself included, and that mostly continues here.
There were, however, some trouble spots during testing that couldn’t be ignored. For starters, it seemed desperately in need of a software update, continually jumping back to the main infotainment hub and flickering back and forth between blank black-and-white screens. Tapping the Apple CarPlay icon, for instance, would usually relaunch the phone-mirroring system in short order, but then the shortcut dock spanning the bottom of the screen would be obscured by a black bar. Twice during testing, the system rebooted while driving, rendering access to functions like the heated seats and back-up camera inoperable.
That brings us to the issue of what controls have and haven’t been integrated within the touch interface. For instance, there are no physical buttons for the heated seats and steering wheel; those features must be accessed through the display. There are, however, a whole host of climate control buttons flanking the screen – but such a layout isn’t exactly intuitive. And then there’s the redundancy and limited functionality of the voice control, which can be used to adjust cabin temperature and fan speed but not seat or steering wheel heating elements.
On the subject of simplicity, I’ve long praised the approach the former Chrysler Corp. brands have taken to adaptive cruise control integration. Well, kind of. I’m still a firm believer that advanced safety and driver-assist items like lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise should be standard equipment – especially in a vehicle this expensive – instead of gate-kept behind pricey packages. However, once it’s added, the corresponding controls on the steering wheel are clearly labelled alongside a separate set for conventional cruise.
This being a truck, standard safety stuff like traction and stability control is augmented by trailer sway control, while forward collision warning is also included. The optional suite of advanced safety items ($2,150) adds pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic, as well as a self-parking system that can get the truck in and out of both perpendicular and parallel spots. An optional tech pack ($1,595) added to this tester brought with it a head-up display and a camera-based digital rearview mirror.
There isn’t much missing from this truck in terms of amenities, although most of them were added through the extensive options list (in case that wasn’t obvious already). As far as the Ram 1500 Sport on which this one is based, it’s the first trim in the lineup to feature standard four-wheel drive as well as a full crew cab configuration. Inside, it comes with the big 12-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as heated front seats and a steering wheel.
Adding the G/T package brings with it the sultry-sounding cat-back exhaust and cold-air intake, as well as some performance tools in the infotainment and instrument cluster screens borrowed from the since-disbanded SRT team that can measure zero-to-100 km/h sprint times, among others. There’s also a console gear selector instead of the usual rotary dial, a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters, and unique seats. And the list goes on.
Is the 2022 Ram 1500 GT a true sport truck? Not really, but it’s close – and it might be better considering it’s not so one-dimensional. It’s loud, looks good, and packs a decent performance punch. But it also has the same kind of agreeability that’s made the Ram 1500 the best-driving half-ton on the market.
The big issue – and it’s not exclusive to this GT version, but rather this segment as a whole – is how expensive it is. Forget the $90,000 before tax this tester is stickered at and focus on the $73,000 the cheapest Ram 1500 GT Sport rings in at before incentives and taxes (as it happens, that’s also the cheapest way to get the G/T package in general). By most accounts, that’s more than the average Canadian makes in a year.
The Ram 1500 GT is a well-executed half-ton that has just enough extras to feel special without being a novelty act. But it’s hard to ignore how expensive it is. And who knows – maybe by the time you’re reading this, thousands of dollars will be slashed from the price through incentive programs. But then you might end up with little more than an air freshener and some floor mats thrown in.
|Peak Horsepower||395 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|Peak Torque||410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||13.8 / 10.2 / 12.4 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||1,500 L|
|Model Tested||2022 Ram 1500 Sport 4WD|
|Price as Tested||$90,370|
$23,680 – G/T Package, $3,495; Advanced Safety Group, $2,150; Air Suspension, $1,895; Level 2 Equipment Group, $1,795; Technology Group, $1,595; Night Edition, $1,495; Trailer Tow Package, $1,495; RamBox Bedside Cargo Boxes, $1,295; eTorque Mild Hybrid System, $1,195; Power Running Boards, $1,195; Comfort & Convenience Group, $1,095; Multifunction Tailgate, $1,095; Spray-in Bedliner, $650; Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover, $650; Limited-Slip Rear Differential, $595; Blind-Spot Monitoring w/Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, $500; Bed Utility Group, $500; Class IV Receiver Hitch, $495; 125-L Fuel Tank, $495