Ram Nation: We Want In

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Outside of Phoenix, Arizona, the highways are dry and dusty, the light brown landscape meeting a bright blue sky. A line of Ram 1500s lined the parking area in a variety of colors and trims, and I was excited to test out the truck's capabilities.

On the off-road course, the Ram 1500 took the hills and sand with ease, plowing through the terrain without feeling like the tracks of an old wooden roller coaster. I practically yelled out YAHOO! as I made my way around route, feeling the engagement of 4WD and the axle lock differential.

Honestly, the sport trim is fun and zippy, and that is the best choice if you’re looking for power. However, my favorite is the Longhorn Laramie, which is incredibly luxurious. Tough on the outside and soft on the inside, the Laramie is adorned with hand-stitched designs on the seats and door panels, and the leather is ubiquitously supple.

I never thought I'd be a truck woman, but this truck has won me over. I would definitely drive one as my everyday vehicle, and it has so much to offer; I find myself staring wistfully at them when I see them on the road. And what Ram and their parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) are doing to help the world around them makes them look even better. 

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Ram Nation: Truck Owners for Good

Ram truck owners are a special breed. Generally, they are kind folks, with big hearts, looking to do some good in the world. From disaster relief to blood drives or even just cutting a neighbor's grass, Ram Nation brings owners around the country together. At ramtrucks.com, the company organizes volunteer opportunities for owners to make a difference. Established in 2015 as a grassroots volunteer corps of Ram owners, the idea for Ram Nation came about after the tornado in Joplin, Missouri wiped out the city and trucks from all over arrived to help.

Volunteers with Ram Nation joined the Team in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to help the communities of Rockport and Aransas Pass, TX. In Moore, Oklahama, Ram Nation members pitched in after a tornado devastated the town. After floods in Wimberley and San Marcos, Ram owners converged to join the First Response Team of America (FTOA) for recovery and relief.

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Caden's Car Show, in Memory of a Tough and Brave Little Boy

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Foundation, the charitable arm of FCA US, invests in U.S. charitable organizations and initiatives that help empower people, build strong, resilient communities and generate meaningful and measurable societal impacts.

Since 2009, the FCA Foundation has made more than $24 million in grants to a wide range of local and national nonprofits, focusing on four foundational pillars: youth development, education, support for veterans and their families, and community service.

The FCA Foundation conducts annual research on charitable initiatives that align with its objectives and foundational pillars. One of the events the foundation supports is Caden’s Car Show, which benefits C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

Caden Bowles was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means the left side of his heart failed to develop. He received a heart transplant in his tiny body at six weeks old. When he was seven, he developed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, a type of cancer that can form as a result of taking immunosuppressant drugs to keep the body from rejecting a transplanted organ.

Caden beat the cancer, but his transplanted heart began to fail, and he received an artificial heart while he waited for a new one. Unfortunately, Caden passed away in September of 2013. In his memory, Team Caden was formed to honor his memory and his passion for cars. Not only was Caden a car fanatic, he even created his own newsletter while in the hospital, a publication called “Full Throttle”.

This summer on August 18, Caden’s Car Show will take place for the 5th year in a row. It’s a private car show exclusively for children at Mott Children’s Hospital. If you want to know how to help, click here.

FACTS: We’ve got ‘em

  • The All-New 2019 Ram 1500 has been fully redesigned with a high-strength steel frame (it's 98% high-strength steel) and more than 100 standard and available safety and security features.
  • Available 360° Surround View Camera

  • Six trims: Rebel, Limited, Laramie, Laramie LongHorn, Tradesman, and LoneStar. Base model starts at $31,695. 

  • Four inches have been added to the cab this year

  • This is the 15th generation light duty pickup from Ram, which makes it a legacy!

  • 9 paint colors available, 4 of them brand new

  • Blind spot monitoring quietly integrated into the taillights

  • "We set out to create the best interior in the marketplace," says designer Ryan Nagode. "We wanted it to feel familiar but still fresh and new."

  • New dual-pane sunroof available

  • Rambox available for $995 is great for tailgating, fishing, grocery shopping, and more

  • 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Stainless steel speakers in the Limited Edition.

Disclosure: Ram paid for our airfare, room, and meals; there were no conditions set regarding what we would write about our experience. Many thanks to Ram for providing a few of the photos in this post. 

Kristin Shaw