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Ram SRT-10 tows as well as goes

August 26, 2005|by TIM SPELL/Motor Matters

Since Dodge is thinking big these days by expanding Ram power with a Viper V-10 engine, management thought they might as well stretch the SRT-10 pickup's cab to create a longer Quad Cab version for 2006.

This four-door addition to the SRT high-performance lineup has the credentials to please performance enthusiasts, and also has the right stuff to lure those with slightly more practical applications in mind. That same monstrous torque that sends the Ram SRT-10 screaming - ultimately to the 150 mph range - translates to big towing numbers. Adding a cab with four full-sized doors and a roomy rear compartment results in a recipe that satisfies more mainstream tastes.

The Ram SRT-10, base-priced at $50,000, is powered by an 8.3-liter aluminum V-10 engine that delivers 500 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 525 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. Its transmission mate is a "super duty" four-speed automatic that's enhanced to handle the V-10's hefty torque output. It takes away the raw performance feel created by the regular cab version's six-speed manual, but adds a bit of civility to a truck with more of a focus on hauling passengers and towing loads.

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Towing capacity is 8,150 pounds. This sporty pickup's towing capacity compares to the 9,000-pound capacity of a dedicated Ram 2500 workhorse powered by the Cummins diesel engine.

Power is sent to big Pirelli Scorpion Zero 305/40YR-22 high-performance tires. Centered in the low-profile tires are "Viper-style" forged-aluminum wheels. Polished wheels are optional. Visible red brake calipers pair with heavy-duty rotors - 15-inch, front, and 14-inch, rear - that bring the Ram to an efficient halt.

These tires couple with a performance-tuned suspension to create a firm ride. Surprisingly, for a truck capable of performing well on a racetrack, the ride isn't buckboard harsh.

Fitting for a pickup loaded with tuned-for-performance underpinnings and a potent V-10 engine is an exterior that shouts power. The hood is topped with a prominent body-colored scoop that helps cool the engine and heat up emotions. Leaving no doubt about what's churning below, "Viper Powered" is emblazoned on each side of the raised scoop.

Lots of crafting is done on the lower bumper fascia to boost aerodynamics and cooling airflow. A center "splitter" directs air around the sides of the truck to create downforce. It also sends cooling air into NASCAR-inspired ducting that funnels it to the hefty front brake rotors.

The splitter works in tandem with a detachable, aluminum, body-colored rear spoiler wing perched atop the 6-foot-3-inch-long cargo box. The wing helps keep the truck planted to the pavement, and Dodge boasts it also reduces drag. The wing integrates with a standard hard tonneau cover that can be deleted with an order.

The Ram SRT-10's sporty buckets are created with aggressive driving in mind. These racing-inspired leather seats are well bolstered and feature suede center sections that help occupants stick to their seats. The adjustable head restraints are embossed with "SRT-10" logos. "SRT-10" logos also adorn the front door trim panels and the tachometer, which is silver-faced like the 160-mph speedometer it's paired with. Satin-silver and carbon-fiber accents provide a new-for-2006 look to the central control panel.

In a modern application of the old-school trend of clamping a gauge to the steering column, designers artfully plug an oil-pressure gauge into the driver-side A-pillar.

Dodge's SRT-10 Quad Cab is equipped just right - with a five-passenger cab, automatic transmission and towing power - for those who have been longing for a Viper-powered pickup but needing practical features to justify buying one.

(Tim Spell is the automotive writer for the Houston Chronicle Cars & Trucks section)

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2005

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