Dodge Ram 1500 Slt Mega Cab 4x4 - First Look
Long Term Update
Ram 1500 Slt Mega Cab 4x4It's been a year, and it's finally time to turn in the keys to one of our long-term testers. This is the final write-up for our Dodge Ram Mega Cab, and we've driven the heck out of it. It's towed project vehicles, hauled supplies for our shows, been packed full of editors, delivered a fullsize kitchen table (inside the cab with the seats folded flat), hauled more couches than one house could ever need, and it's been to Vegas-twice. Just check out how many miles we've logged in this Mega Cab and you can see that we've put it through its paces. If 38,000 miles doesn't sound like a lot of miles for a one-year-old vehicle, then we don't envy your commute. In our time with the Mega Cab, we developed a love-hate relationship with the beast.
What We LikedMega Room: Any time more than four of us headed out to lunch we always took the Mega Cab. The rear seat room just can't be beat. Every time we introduced someone to the Mega Cab, we would tell them to sit in the back seat. They would look baffled by our request until they sat down in the rear seats. After that, a look of understanding would cross their face as they were swallowed by the Mega Cab's massive interior. And when we told them to recline their seat and cue up a DVD in the entertainment center...Joy.
Tows Like a Trooper: When I used it to tow a project vehicle, the Mega Cab came through in spades. The 5.7L is no hot rod-a Cummins is a much better fit for such a big truck-but it didn't stumble, and it flattened grades with its torque, just like it did when Bob Ryder towed his Suburban to Arizona. It's long wheelbase and heavy-duty leaf springs did a great job and the brakes felt confident, especially considering the trailer didn't have any. The ride was also the best it ever was when it had a few thousand pounds on the hitch.
Good Road-Tripper: The truck's carrying capacity and oil-tanker-like ride on well-maintained, long and straight freeways makes it a good interstate road warrior. Just slip a CD into the head unit, activate the cruise control, and pray that the semitrucks haven't eroded I-40 into a washboard.
What We Didn't LikeAbout That Ride...: The part we came to hate about the Mega Cab is mostly a byproduct of its utility: It's enormous! Maneuvering through city streets and parking structures is a chore, and parallel parking is a gamble, since most spaces are just too short. A rear-mounted camera, or at least park assist, would be a welcome addition to this truck. On the highway, the unladen rear suspension caused the truck to bounce at an annoying pace on all but the smoothest highways. But, its long wheelbase did a good job of taming an unruly section of highway that undulated just enough to cause most other vehicles to bounce at a nauseating frequency.
Navigation Frustration: The navigation unit going out of commission twice due to the swiveling control knob that failed. We had the head unit replaced once for that problem, we encountered the same problem on our Jeep Commander long-termer equipped with the same type of head unit. In addition to the control knob that failed on the nav unit, the CD player jammed, requiring the head unit to be replaced a second time.
What, You Expected a La-Z-Boy? All in all this was a great truck, but we did have some quality issues. There were a couple of recalls-maybe not such a big deal. Repairs were handled under warranty quickly and competent. One thing that left us scratching our heads was the failure of the backseat recliners. The backseats only got used occassionally. Nevertheless, the recliners failed and had to be replaced.
Glitches, Maintenance, Mpg
Evaluation Period: October '05 to September '06Odometer at Beginning of Evaluation:7,622
Odometer: 9,000 approximate*Glitch: transmission would not go into gear(problem fixed itself)
Odometer: 12,286*Scheduled Service: caught up on 6,000-, 9,000-,and 12,000-mile service.*Recall: replaced transmission cooler filter
Odometer: 18,000 approximate*Scheduled Service: caught up on 15,000- and18,000-mile service.*Recall: replaced rear propeller shaft.*Routine Repair: realigned front end.
Odometer:20,860*Component Failure: Zoom toggle on navigation head unit failed (entire head unit replaced)
Odometer:23,760*Component Failure: head unit CD changer does not accept CDs (entire head unit replaced)
Odometer:23,840*Scheduled Service: 24,000-mile service.
Odometer:27,838*Scheduled Service: 27,000-mile service.
Odometer:29,496*Scheduled Service: 30,000-mile service.*Component Failure: Rear 60% seat would not recline or fold down (reclining mechanisms and cables replaced).
Odometer:38,392*Scheduled Service: caught up on 33,000-, 36,000-, and 39,000-mile service.*Routine Repair: front brake pads replaced.*Component Failure: Zoom toggle on navigation head unit failed (declined to repair).*Minor looseness in steering wheel detected (no problems found by service tech).
Final Odometer Reading: 38,393MPG for Entire Evaluation Period: 12.5