2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4 Long-Term Update 4
Surf World Problems
I've been spending a lot of time in the long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel because I recently received an amazing birthday present from my sister: a 10-foot Steve Walden longboard.
Since picking up surfing a couple years ago, I've been stuffing surfboards into many long-term vehicles. It's amazing what you can fit into a little hatchback or two-row SUV if you remove the headrests and run the boards all the way to the base of the windshield. Our 2015 Honda Fit and 2015 Nissan Versa Note can easily swallow up a 8-foot foam board, but 10 feet of longboard is more than a foot beyond the limit of the interior volume of all of our current fleet (except the Chevrolet Tahoe), so I've had to improvise with hatches bungeed shut. Not ideal.
Cue the Ram 1500. With seating for five -- including heated front seats and steering wheel -- it's perfect for 6 a.m. dawn patrols. I typically scoop up my neighbors Craig and/or Jonathan but could easily fit two more early-risers since all the gear goes in the bed, not in the cab.
The 5-foot-7-inch Ram Box'd bed is not perfect for longboards (it could be longer), but it's nearly ideal for surfing. With the truck's tailgate down and the bed extender out, I only need to drape a towel across the top edge of the extender to carry the longest boards of any in the crew. Even with the narrower bed, due to the Ram Boxes, there is more than enough width for another board next to it and several boards stacked and lashed on top one another.
I separate the Ram Box compartments into dry and wet storage, as they're ideal for jugs of hot water (for post-surf rinses), towels, clothes, wax, sunblock, booties, leashes, and wetsuits. The composite liners and drainage holes mean porting wet stuff to and from our local break, or even down and back to San Onofre, isn't a problem, though I do worry what the saltwater might do over time to the frame below.
On long hauls, the EcoDiesel still returns head-shaking fuel economy; I've seen 28 mpg on mostly short hauls around Los Angeles. Sure, my enthusiasm is dampened a bit by the differential between the cost of diesel and gas, but fueling stops are infrequent enough to ease the pain.
There is very little I don't like about our Ram 1500. I didn't spend any time in it during the A/C malfunction issue, but that appears to be fixed now. I suppose the box for leather should have been checked given the frequency of beach trips, but the brown speckled cloth has held up well and doesn't seem to retain much more moisture or show dirt. Every now and then, I sense a bit of roughness in the transmission at rollout and while upshifting from first to second gear. I wish the USB ports were as numerous and easily accessible as they are in GM's full-size trucks. But these are minor quibbles for a truck that has served us well so far.
For entirely selfish reasons, I am going to miss the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel when it leaves the Motor Trend fleet. Lashing surfboards onto roof racks is a drag; all the walking around strapping/unstrapping and worries about what's going on up top during highway jaunts put it a distant third behind loading into a truck bed or through the hatch of a wagon, SUV, or hatchback. But as our 2015 Truck of the Year Chevrolet Colorado will be stationed in our Detroit office and MT HQ will be truckless, I guess I'm going to have to get used to roof racking my 10-foot obsession for the foreseeable future.
More on our long-term Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4 here: