We were prepared for the shaking and chassis booming often associated with oversized rolling stock and its barely manageable unsprung mass. But the suspension tuners at PVO have worked some magic. The ride, although not luxo-car smooth, is firm and not at all uncomfortable on good road surfaces. The only serious suspension-related edge is some rubbery chassis shudder on bumpy roads, where the laws of physics regarding minimal wheel travel and big-tire inertia won't be denied. Key to the truck's surprisingly obedient behavior: Bilstein shocks, shorter and stiffer springs, a rear anti-roll bar, a new front knuckle design, a one-inch ride-height drop in front, a 2.5-inch rear drop, and an effective traction-bar system. The result is a big, fast hunk that does what it's told.
The SRT-10 spent some valuable aero time in the company's wind tunnel and learned a few lessons from Dodge's NASCAR Craftsman Truck program, too. Up front, a deep fascia with a splitter reduces lift. Out back, a rear wing reduces drag and adds up to 165 pounds of downforce at track speeds. When you need the bed, you can easily remove the wing and stow it on top of the bedrails. The bulging hood, nonfunctional scoop, and rear fascia with dual exhaust cutouts are unique to this sporting variant. Colors are simple: black, red, or silver.
Inside, you'll find softly stuffed but sharply contoured black leather buckets with "SRT-10" logos stitched across the backrests. The seat cushions and a deeply padded center-console lid are flat enough to accommodate a third, belted passenger. Looking sports-car sharp is a carbon-fiber leather-trimmed steering wheel. Behind the wheel is a full complement of large and easy-to-read, silver-faced gauges including a 160-mph speedo and a 7000-rpm tach. Dodge claims the truck will do 150, so that speedo's none too optimistic. Given that the V-10 delivers 90 percent of its 525 pound-feet at just 1500 rpm, a large portion of the tach face is likely to go unused.
For now, the Ram SRT-10 stands confidently alone as king of the muscletruck hill. The 380-horse Ford SVT Lightning remains a player, but Dodge has it covered by 120 horses, and the current-generation F-Series platform is on its way out. The new, give-or-take-500-horse next-gen Lightning is as much as two years away. The nice but pricey Chevy Silverado SS, with a 7.0-second 0-to-60 and a 15.2/89.4-mph quarter runs a distant third. The Big Bad Dodge is a monster hauler that packs suspension, brakes, manners, visual attitude, and one heck of a kick to match.