It’s not at all uncommon to see a Ram truck blast past you on the highway, confidently towing all manner of campers, trailers, and toys in a smooth and efficient manner. With a choice of several well-equipped trim levels, all featuring powerful engines and fuel-efficient transmissions, this comes as no surprise. But what happens when you leave the easy drive of an even concrete grade? What happens when you find yourself off the beaten path—on a job-site or a campsite—traversing uneven terrain? Well, the Ram 1500 powers through these conditions with ease too, thanks to Ram’s impressive and advanced 4X4 system. Read on, and learn how the Ram 1500 is more than just horsepower, torque, and towing capability—even though it offers those in spades—presenting incredible off-road capability thanks to its 4X4 abilities!
First Off: What’s 4X4 Anyway?
A 4X4 system on a vehicle is a powertrain where the default setting is four-wheel drive; this means you’re treated to both safe and impressive traction on any surface. The powertrain works by either engaging a clutch, or a (usually) centre differential, allowing your vehicle to grip the road with all four wheels whether you’re on snow, ice, or dry pavement. Sometimes, as is the case with the Ram 1500, a vehicle can switch from a full-time four-wheel drive system to a part-time one—essentially changing the vehicle to two-wheel drive. While two-wheel drive won’t win any races in inclement weather, it will provide better fuel economy on dry, flat surfaces. In contrast, while also powering all four of the vehicle’s wheels, all-wheel drive vehicles lack the ability to divide their power between the front and rear wheels, and lacks the capability of a 4X4 off-road.
What Kind of 4X4 System Is Offered In The Ram 1500?
The Ram 1500 features a part-time 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case, providing impressive versatility unmatched by the competition. Whether your Ram 1500 is equipped with a shift-on-the-fly Part-Time 4X4, or the On-Demand 4X4, you’ll be able to tackle muddy job-sites and campsites with the same Ram power you can access on dry pavement—you’ll just need to decide what level of control you’d like!
The Part-Time 4X4 system in the Ram 1500 allows for greater control over its operating ranges, thanks to its quiet and smooth shift-on-the-fly capabilities. Choose between three operating ranges, or neutral, depending on the terrain.
Essentially two-wheel drive, the 2HI setting works on any surface, in any condition, and provides the best fuel economy of all the settings. However, it won’t provide as much traction as the other settings.
Also known as four-wheel drive, the 4HI setting is best when you’re driving off-road, on gravel, or on wet or slippery roads.
Similar to four-wheel drive, 4LO features a lower range ratio (2.72:1). This creates more traction and pulling power, for whether you’re trying to pull a friend out of a ditch on a muddy side-road, or climbing steep inclines on wet work sites.
Allows for your vehicle to be towed behind another vehicle.
The On-Demand 4X4 system in the Ram 1500 offers all of the same systems as the Part-Time 4X4 system, alongside an 4WD Auto setting—essentially allowing you to set your Ram 1500’s drivetrain to 4X4, then forget about it! The advanced terrain monitoring system in your truck will then determine which setting is best, based on the road conditions, leaving the guess-work out of it. If you’re looking for a powerful truck that can handle any terrain, but you’re not overly-familiar with operating a 4X4, the On-Demand 4X4 system is right for you.
Other Benefits of the Ram 1500’s 4X4 System
Of course, as Ram is a part of the FCA vehicle family, including stalwart off-road makes like Jeep, there’s plenty of other impressive technology found inside the Ram 1500 and its 4X4 system—such as the segment-exclusive multilink coil spring rear suspension found in the Jeep Wrangler—providing unparalleled articulation and handling off the beaten path. While you might not anticipate taking your truck off-road any time soon, the benefits of the 4X4 system found in the Ram 1500 go well beyond driving through streams and muddy valleys. In addition to better harnessing the power of your 1500’s engine for greater fuel efficiency, it also provides better handling on slick, snowy, and icy pavement, too. That’s part of the reason the Ram 1500 was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, thanks to its ability to maintain control on the road—no matter what kind of weather gets thrown your way.
Great West Chrysler is your home for all the best new and used vehicles, featuring industry-leading 4X4 and safety technology—whether you’re looking at a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, or Ram vehicle. Of course, our website offers all the information you could need to learn which of these vehicles is right for you, thanks to our model research pages; though if you still have questions, a member of our sales team would be more than happy to help, as would anyone from our service or finance departments. Just contact us, and we will help with the rest.