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Thursday, May 30, 2013

30 Days Of The 2013 Ram 1500: Off-Roading At Superlift ORV Park

2013 Ram 1500 Off Road: 30 Days Of Ram

One of the truest tests of any 4x4 pickup truck is its ability to safely navigate rough terrain. What better place to test a truck's abilities than at one of America's top off-road parks, Superlift ORV Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

After making its way from Atlanta to Little Rock, the hardest thing our 30-day test has thrown at the 2013 Ram 1500 had been rush-hour traffic. Until Memorial Day weekend, that is.

Now the Ram has proven its trail-climbing abilities with surprisingly high marks. From the capable four-wheel-drive system to the height-adjustable air suspension, the Ram has the goods to grab onto and clear washed-out, rocky dirt trails with ease. Four-wheel-drive "low" and "lock" modes are easily achieved via the dashboard push-buttons.

Of course, the wheelbase of our crew-cab model limited its ability to tackle some of the tougher sections. Likewise, the limited approach and departure angles, even in the highest "Off-Road 2" suspension setting, which raises the truck about two inches for 10.7 inches of ground clearance, prevented access to certain trails. The truck's width, while making for great passenger and cargo space, also proved a challenge on the narrower, tree-lined trails.

Even with those limitations in mind, however, we felt the Ram performed admirably for being a showroom-stock truck. We did notice something a bit odd--the boots around the rear dampers appeared to have slipped down, and to have been held on with zip ties. It didn't trigger any warnings or error messages, however, and the suspension performed flawlessly all day.

Superlift ORV Park offers trails to challenge, even defeat, the most specialized of custom off-road vehicles, including wicked rock-jumping, big-block-powered buggies on 43" tires. The fact that the Ram was able to get three people to the park, averaging highway mpg in the low 20s, then traverse some of the park's less challenging--but still rugged--courses proves it strikes a good balance between daily utility and weekend fun.

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