Toting a yard-and-a-half of bark mulch to a jobsite in the bed is a typical task for a landscaper’s pickup and just the type of job to test the payload capacity and handling of Ram’s 2014 EcoDiesel 1500 Crew Cab 4×4.
When Lane Forrest Products’ loader operator dropped the first bucket full, the suspension sagged a few inches as 800 pounds of Hemlock mulch spilled into the bed.
The Ram’s rear suspension dropped a little more as another 400 pounds of mulch topped off what would be covering for a flowerbed remodeling project.
The Big Horn Crew Cab I was testing didn’t have the optional four-corner air-suspension system. Still, it handled the 1,200-pound load as expected (its max load carrying capacity with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 and 3.55 axles), the rear squatting to put the truck at a level attitude.
Driving with the max load shows how well Ram engineers did tuning the coil rear suspension; the truck feels similar to what you’d expect in a loaded pickup with leaf-springs.
Acceleration wasn’t an issue either as the EcoDiesel V-6′s 420 ft-lbs of torque and the 8-speed automatic pulled the weight like a V-8. Braking was equally strong as the four-wheel discs do a great job handling the stopping tasks.
And when I got to the house to unload, it was nice having the optional ($595) ParkView rear camera and ParkSense sensors as safety aids as I backed up.
The most demanding aspect of this road test was shoveling out a yard-and-a-half of moist mulch.