You see this sentiment more often these days: trucks are the perfect accompaniment for the worksite. This certainly isn’t untrue, as pickups provide sufficient power to overcome any type of terrain, and the cargo space and hauling abilities mean you can carry whatever equipment is necessary.
However, pickup trucks are also a perfectly reasonable choice for those seeking a daily commuter, especially the Ram 1500. They’re generally fun to drive, they provide enough power to hang with the big boys, and they’re able to trek through any adverse weather.
Of course, we understand that it could be tough to justify a pickup as a daily commuter, especially when you consider the expensive price tags. Plus, the generally underwhelming fuel efficiency means you may be struggling to keep up with the cost of ownership. This certainly won’t be an issue if you pursue a used model, as you shouldn’t have any issues fitting a pickup into your budget.
This was the logic Ryan Connolly, a Nashua, New Hampshire native, was operating with when he was pursuing a ride several years ago. Connolly was sick of losing control of his sedan during the winter, and he found himself desiring a bigger, more muscular vehicle. He wanted a ride that could slog through the snow and ice, and he didn’t want to require a tow truck to help him out of a jam.
Unfortunately, most applicable vehicles were out of his price range. He wasn’t a particular fan of SUVs, and he certainly couldn’t afford a Jeep. He wanted a vehicle that could slog through the snow and ice, and other than pickup trucks, there weren’t really any other logical options. With Connolly recognizing that he was destined to buy another incapable new sedan, he saw an ad for a used 2009 Ram 1500 quad cab. The customer immediately knew that the vehicle was going to be his.
“I don’t think I had driven a pickup truck before that,” he explained. “I wanted something that could help me during the winter, and I saw the classified ad showing the 1500. I knew I could afford it, so it seemed like the perfect option.”
Connolly headed down to the dealership as soon as he could, and he was quickly behind the wheel of his “new” 2009 Ram. He laughed when he recalled the salesperson’s reaction to him wanting to use the truck as a standard ride.
“Honestly, I just wanted a truck, and I think they were more used to workers,” he said. “I didn’t need it for any truck-specific reasons, and that caught them off guard. Luckily, they still sold me the truck.”
Of course, having just moved home after college, Connolly found that his parents were also questioning his decision making.
“They saw it as more of a toy,” he recalled. “Just something big with a lot of power. It was pretty fast, so I don’t blame them. It had the biggest engine you could get, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. They assumed I was going to abuse the hell out of that thing.”
Their concern was probably warranted. That HEMI V8 delivered a very solid 345 horsepower and 375 pounds-feet of torque, making the vehicle a risky choice for a driver in his early twenties. So, did he end up testing that engine to its full potential?
“A bit,” he laughed. “Actually, I found I drove a little slower on the highway. I had never really driven in the middle or slow lane before, I’m not that type of driver. It was just bigger and took some adjusting. I was eventually speeding like everyone else.”
With a limited budget, Connolly’s parents were also worried about his ability to fill the gas tank. The fuel economy certainly wasn’t anything to write home about (13 city/17 highway mile per gallons on his four-wheel-drive pickup), but technologies like the Multiple-Displacement System helped limit those trips to the pump.
“I mean, it’d be unreasonable to expect great fuel economy from a pickup,” Connolly said. “My Ram ended up being pretty good, though. I don’t think I had to fill up more than twice a week.”
There were several aspects of the pickup that took Connolly by surprise. The interior was more comfortable than he had anticipated, and the technological features helped him stay connected. He also found others admiring the sleek, sturdy body design.
“It looked nice, the whole aggressive body style,” he said. “The inside was pretty comfortable. All gray, cloth-seats; not the most luxurious interior, but it was all I needed. There was also Bluetooth connectivity to talk on your phone, which was nice.”
Of course, the main reason Connolly pursued the pickup was for it’s ability to trek through those winter storms. Thanks to the four-wheel-drive capabilities, Connolly never found himself losing control… except one time.
“I just didn’t see a whole sheet of ice and I slid right into a snowbank,” he said. “Unlike the car before that, I just had to spin the wheels a couple of times and I was free.”
Predictably, with all the positives come the negatives. Of course, these detriments had nothing to do with the truck’s construction or capabilities. Instead, it had to do with the complete opposite. Connolly found friends and family were relying on him to help haul any heavy cargo. That should probably be expected considering the Ram’s roomy truck bed and incredible towing abilities.
“Of course, I moved people a bunch of times,” he explained. “As soon as I got the truck, a week later my sister called and asked me to help her move. That was probably the one thing I didn’t like. I had to help her every time she switched apartments.”
Connolly’s pickup ended up lasting him two years, and he ultimately traded the vehicle in for a 2015 version of the nameplate. Having purchased the vehicle when it was four-years old, he found that the vehicle showed little signs of aging, which led him to pursue another Ram. Nobody wants to deal with constant repairs, which could boost the cost of ownership.
Of course, the real lesson of Connolly’s story is that pickups shouldn’t be limited to those with labor-intensive jobs. These vehicles are still perfectly capable daily commuters.