About the time we were posting what must be our most rigorous heavy-duty truck comparison test to date online, by happy accident Team Detroit happened to take simultaneous possession of the latest heavy-duty pickup offerings from Ford and Ram as well (our scheduled BMW took ill and the Ram was its replacement). Ford sent us a King Ranch diesel that's functionally equivalent to the West Coast test vehicle, while our Ram is a less testosteroned rear-drive Hemi. We didn't tax their ultimate capabilities at all, but we put a bunch of miles on both of them and discovered a few surprises and delights.
Dash Graphics & Features.
Maybe a few engineers got transferred from the hybrid department to the Super Duty team, because this truck's dash displays instantaneous, average, and historic average fuel economy in a graphic way that can help the driver eke more miles out of a gallon. The average is shown as a nice big number with a line that points to a vertical graphic of instantaneous economy. Keep the instantaneous bar graph bouncing above the line and your long-term average will increase. Change screens and you see bars showing past averages in varying increments covering five minutes to the last five resets. This color display is among the most engaging in truckdom.
The Ram makes do a smaller with black-and-white display showing a horizontal bar chart of instant fuel economy and a simple numeric average. Both trucks will display engine-on hours like proper big-rigs do, and Ford breaks out the idling hours. Ford's off-roading screen graphic shows the grade the truck is climbing, the side-to-side slope it's traversing, the angle the front wheels are steering at, and indicates when 4WD is engaged. Ram fits an intelligent door-ajar indicator where most put an idiot light. This small red icon indicates WHICH door is open--handy when three kids have climbed out and tried with varying success to shut three different big hefty doors. A button on the Ram's console instructs the tire-pressure monitoring system to monitor pressures for light loads (45 psi front and rear) or maximum loads (55 psi front, 70 psi rear).