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Ram Black Express scores one for sporty pickups

The new Ram 1500 Black Express makes its debut with Ford’s F-150 Tremor in its sights.

By James_Tate Jul 15, 2013 2:06PM

The novelty of "sporty" pickup trucks has always held a certain allure for Americans. The simplicity of classic pickups made them a natural platform for hot-rodders and DIYers of all types, and manufacturers have found that souped-up pickups gain great attention for their brands in a highly competitive market segment.

It’s hard not to smile at the sight of an overdone pickup truck, such as the GMC TyphoonFord SVT Lightning and F-150 Raptor. With a couple of new sports trucks hitting the market, however, a fight may be brewing.

The new Ram 1500 Black Express aims to carry the mantel of the L’il Red Express, one of the most beloved special-run pickups of all time. Where the L’il Red Express was a stocky, short-bed, wood-trimmed, smokestacked throwback to the trucks of the 1950s, the Black Express is focused on performance and power.

The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine in the Black Express produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, and it rides on darkened 20-inch wheels. The visual aspect of the Ram 1500 Black Express can be summed up in the words of the immortal Spinal Tap: “None more black.” There is the all-black paint of course, but also black chrome on the grille and black bumpers. The badges that would normally appear on the Ram’s sides have been removed so as not to interfere with the sheer blackness of the Black Express.

With a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $29,345, the Black Express offers buyers a powered-up 4-wheel drive truck that admittedly looks very cool at a pretty reasonable price — but it won’t be alone in doing so. Coming on the heels of the Black Express is Ford’s new F-150 Tremor, another pickup that's more exciting than the standard utilitarian pickup. Using Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, the Tremor produces 365 horsepower to the Black Express’ 395, but it has 420 lb-ft of torque, 10 better than the Ram. The EcoBoost V6 also returns 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway, and the Tremor’s 4.10 rear axle should give it the edge off the line versus the Black Express. Fans of the F-150 Raptor and Lightning will find a lot to love with the F-150 Tremor.

Head-to-head, it’s tough to predict how both trucks will fare. The Ram 1500 Black Express may have a slight edge in looks, and the pure raw power of its V8 will appeal to many, but the Tremor’s suspension and smaller size may make it the better vehicle to drive. The Tremor is a shorter-wheelbase truck available only with a standard cab, where the Ram Black Express will be offered with standard, extended and 4-door cabs. Either way, it’s nice to see two fun new pickups hitting the market and keeping an American tradition alive.

[Sources: Ram; Ford;; Motley Fool]

Aug 10, 2013 11:26AM
I dont get where people make these claims that Chrysler products (or whatever brand we're bashing today)are not well-built.Well-built as compared to what? I see people every day where I live driving Dodge trucks and cars with 250k + miles on them with original drivetrains etc..exactly how long do you expect a vehicle to last before  its considered reliable,anyway? I see idiots pulling 10klb equipment trailers with their 1/2 ton RAM 1500's with 100k before tranny blows,but last time I checked a 1/2 ton tranny isn't designed to pull a 10klb trailer,but yet the poor truck did what it was asked for 100k miles! I think people on these forums just like pissing and moaning and jumping on the b&3ch-train ,either that or they live in some town in a bubble where things outside the norm happen everyday.
Jul 17, 2013 7:48PM
Dear Dodge     PLEASE !!!!!!!   Build me a RAM SRT8 with a 6.4 HEMI, 6 speed trans, 4.10 posi rear axle standard cab short bed. Paint it RED ,SILVER,YELLOW,BLACK. Simply call it the RAM EXPRESS
Aug 10, 2013 10:48AM

"Dear Dodge     PLEASE !!!!!!!   Build me a RAM SRT8 with a 6.4 HEMI, 6 speed trans, 4.10 posi rear axle standard cab short bed. Paint it RED,SILVER,YELLOW,BLACK. Simply call it the RAM EXPRESS"



EXACTLY! Get it right Chrysler, you've got all the parts on your shelf to build a world beater, quit holding back and show GM and Ford how it's done, just as Mopar did in the 60's.

Aug 10, 2013 11:01AM
I bought a 2001 Dodge Dakota new and currently have 343,000 miles on it and counting. Still looks good too.
Jul 16, 2013 4:37PM
Aug 10, 2013 12:47PM
I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota with over 200,000 miles on it and still going strong, yea baby!! Dodge Rules!!
Aug 10, 2013 10:46AM
I would love to have a big Hemi but driving a 100 miles a day filling up the tank would KILL me.
Aug 10, 2013 10:45AM
music fan 17,  I own 2000 dakota sport, mileage is 250,033 . best truck ive ever had !!
Aug 10, 2013 11:47AM

Now That's a Truck!!!
Aug 10, 2013 1:03PM
My 2013 Ecoboost  F150 Limited has 16000 miles and gets 18...only 18 mpg. Ford is stroking buyers.
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