RAM Code Black, 2017 model year update
The factory-supported Australian vehicle conversion outfit behind the right-hand-drive Ram pick-up truck – American Special Vehicles (ASV) – is working overtime to pump up the presence of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s big ute on our roads, introducing a model year update and its first-ever limited edition in the form of a menacing 2500 ‘Code Black’.
As the name suggests, the Code Black edition adds a variety of dark-themed styling changes that provide an even more aggressive look to the hulking Ram 2500. These include a matte black grille with broad black heavy-duty wheel-arches that accommodate 20” black alloy wheels with factory-fit NITTO ‘Terra Grappler’ 275/65 R20 all-terrain tyres.
A black finish is also applied to the front and rear bumpers, the badging and the wing mirrors.
The broader model year update includes a variety of minor tweaks, among them a new tyre spec for improved refinement (Nexan Roadian AT Pro RA8 LT275/70 R18) and a second microphone that sharpens up the voice clarity for the Bluetooth hands-free system.
However, the headline feature is the new option of a fully integrated ‘RamBox’ storage system on the 2500 model that turns the often-wasted space along the side of a boxed tub into a useful storage area and/or toolbox.
Running the length of the load area, the boxes are easily accessible no matter what load is being carried in the main tray, they’re weatherproof, come with their own lighting, have drain holes, lids that open to 90º, and locks that are linked to the vehicle’s remote central locking. They can also be locked separately.
The boxes create a space that is 152cm long and offers 243L of storage space on either side of the vehicle. The system includes an adjustable and lockable bed divider which creates individual compartments in the pick-up bed to separate payload equipment such as tools or equipment, while a cargo rail system with sliding cleats brings extra versatility when tying down.
ASV says the tray will still take a standard pallet with the RamBox system in place.
The other main model change is the re-rating of the Ram 3500 that sends its GVM down below 4.5t (to 4,490kg) and therefore allows it to be driven on a regular passenger car licence. The regular 3500 has a 5,309kg GVM, which requires the driver to have a light rigid truck licence.
Payload in the tray drops from 1,713kg to 894kg with the re-rating but, importantly, the maximum brake towing capacity of 6,171kg remains. The 2500 continues to offer a 913kg payload and 6,942kg load-hauling limit.
The Code Black is priced from $149,500 plus on-road costs, which is $10,000 upstream of the standard 2500 Laramie. The RamBox option, meanwhile, adds $3,400 onto the RRP of the regular 2500, while the de-rated 3500 starts at $143,900 – $2,600 lower than the truck licence version.
All Rams use a Cummins-sourced 6.7L six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that churns out 276kW of power at 2,800rpm and a phenomenal 1,084Nm of torque at just 1,600rpm. The big oil-burner is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and BorgWarner part-time 4×4 driveline, with high and low range.