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Monday, May 23, 2011

Ram’s Long-Hauler Concept Can Almost Certainly Eat Your Ride for Breakfast

Chrysler’s Ram brand describes its Long-Hauler concept truck as a “dream vehicle for hauling, range, and comfort.” Anybody in a Honda Fit or a Smart ForTwo would likely describe it as their worst nightmare. Indeed, the Long-Hauler is no mere full-size pickup or heavy-duty tow monster. The Long-Hauler instead is based on a Class 5 Ram 5500 chassis cab, upon which Ram dropped a Mega Cab passenger compartment, an 8-foot box, and an auxiliary fuel tank—with the option to add a third tank to live in the bed itself.

At 170 gallons of total fuel capacity, a topped-off Long-Hauler would be carrying more than 1000 pounds of diesel, contributing to an estimated curb weight of 9300 pounds. The truck’s 24-foot length, 197.4-inch wheelbase, and 37,500 Gross Combined Weight Rating make the Long-Hauler “just the truck for those wanting to step up from a traditional Class 3 or Class 4 truck,” according to Ram. Its wheelbase is so long, in fact, that most vehicles can fit between the front and rear wheels of the Hauler, including a Mercedes-Benz E-class and a Volkswagen Touareg.

Powering the monster is a 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel inline-six. The turbo-diesel’s 800 lb-ft of torque is fed to the pavement through an Aisin six-speed automatic and a four-wheel-drive transfer case.

The interior features 2+2 leather seating with power-adjustable foot rests for rear-seat passengers and a “high comfort” driver’s seat. A refrigerator and tray tables live between the two rear seats, complemented by front and rear 115-volt and 12-volt power outlets and Wi-Fi connectivity, making for a highly productive interior—one could even say it would be perfect for keeping busy over a long haul.

Ram is clear that the Long-Hauler is just a concept for now, and as such there is little in the way of pricing information. But nothing about this rig is likely to be cheap—it would have to be positioned above the $36,395 Ram 3500—and fill-ups alone will make your heart stop: At current diesel prices, it would cost more than $700 to fill. Ram will be touring the beast about the country in the coming months to measure consumer interest, but if fuel prices continue their upward march, Ram may have a tough sell on its hands.

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