Ram Shows Off Two New Trucks at 2017 State Fair of Texas
2018 Ram Heavy Duty Lone Star Silver and Laramie Longhorn Southfork edition trucks debut at the state fair’s Texas Auto Show.
Every champion has a rebuilding year in which they change strategy so that they can eventually ascend to the heights of victory that they reached the year before. In October of 2016, the Ram Laramie Longhorn won the title of “Luxury Pickup of Texas” at the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Texas Truck Rodeo, an event in which automotive journalists from across the country evaluated dozens of trucks and SUVs on a sprawling ranch. It seems clear that Ram has no intention of making the 365 days after this year’s event to be a rebuilding year. They want 2017 to be a repeat of 2016.
The FCA/Ram team’s competitive nature was enough to let me know that. What Ram recently unveiled at the 2017 State Fair of Texas media day of the Texas Auto Show in Dallas was physical proof of the automaker’s plans.
The 2018 Ram Heavy Duty Lone Star Silver edition commemorates the brand’s history of making a truck trim level specifically for the Texas market, which started back in 2002. According to FCA, “The Ram Lone Star edition is by far the brand’s best-selling model in Texas, accounting for over 50 percent of the half-ton mix there. Since the Lone Star’s debut, Ram has sold more than 230,000 of the Texas-only models.” The Heavy Duty Lone Star Silver edition features a new grille with a chrome frame, Wave Mesh inserts, and a Lone Star badge.
Down low are a couple of tow hooks. There’s even more chrome on the side mirror caps, door handles, and full-length side steps that run between the polished 20-inch wheels. The interior can be ordered with cloth and vinyl buckets in either Canyon Brown and Light Frost Beige or Black and Diesel Gray.
Ram will offer the Texas-only Heavy Duty Lone Star Silver edition package on 2500 and 3500 4×2 and 4×4 Crew Cab models. The 5.7- and 6.4-liter Hemi V8s will be available in addition to the 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel I6, which now packs a Super Duty-trumping 930 lb-ft of torque. Prices start at $46,130, which includes a $1,395 destination charge.
That was a handsome truck, but I was looking forward to seeing the Laramie Longhorn Southfork edition that Ram had given me an emailed-picture preview of. I’ve always enjoyed the wood trim and tooled leather of Ram’s most opulent Southwest-themed trucks. Their interiors look worth every cent of the serious money that Ram charges. The Southfork edition package, available on Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 4×2 and 4×4 models with the Crew Cab or Mega Cab and a long or short bed, takes that opulence even further.
Inside, there’s new Canyon Brown and Light Frost Beige Natura Plus full-grain leather seats. There’s more leather wrapped around the A- and B-pillar grab handles. The steering wheel is trimmed with genuine walnut. Real ash wood accents add more natural warmth while trim pieces with a galvanized appearance brighten up the cabin. Up top, there’s a Light Greystone synthetic suede headliner.
The sun visors are covered in the same material. I wasn’t humoring Nick Cappa of the Ram communications team when I told him it was the most convincing faux suede I’d ever felt in a vehicle. Those high-end materials are complemented by an Uconnect 4C 8.4-inch touchscreen that runs the navigation system, 4G WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Google Android Auto.
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To show the outside world that the Southfork is different from a regular Laramie Longhorn, designers gave it a bright chrome “Longhorn” badge that stretches across the tailgate. The package will be available with all Laramie Longhorn colors, including a two-tone option that features the RV Match Walnut Brown that Ram brought out a few months ago. Prices for the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Southfork edition start at $51,220 (plus a $1,395 destination charge). Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Laramie Longhorn Southfork models are priced from $55,620 (plus the $1,395 destination fee).
The Southfork’s available power, convenient and useful technology, and undeniable interior elegance will make it a strong contender for the title of “Luxury Pickup of Texas.” Ford won’t be sitting on the sidelines at the Texas Truck Rodeo, though. Its F-150 Limited has new looks, updated tech, and more power for 2018. Only time will tell if those changes will be enough to turn Ram’s post-rodeo year into one of rebuilding or repeating.