How would you like to have Southern California freeways and streets almost all to yourself, for miles and miles on a postcard-perfect, gorgeous San Diego day? You could have had that on the first morning of this year’s San Diego International Auto Show. That’s because – for the first time that I can ever remember, the show began in the morning of New Year’s Day. What a great way to get in the right mood for an auto show.
The San Diego International Auto Show provided an excellent opportunity to compare over 400 makes and models, without any sales pressure, inside the spacious exhibit halls and outside the San Diego Convention Center. This is a great time to be in the market for a new car, truck or SUV. No matter what your needs and preferences are, there are many well engineered, good looking, technologically advanced and well built vehicles to choose from.
Included among the vehicles available to test drive were all-electric cars: Chevy Spark, Nissan Leaf and the soon-to-be-released BMW i3. Each of these demonstrated that cars can be little on the outside, thus making parking and maneuvering a breeze, while being roomy on the inside, where it counts.
Moving somewhat towards the other end of the size spectrum, I also took the opportunity to test-drive the luxurious Lincoln MkT. It drives like a car and, while not as large as the Lincoln Navigator, it can comfortably seat up to seven.
Being lean and agile in the fiercely competitive truck market has distinct advantages. Ram trucks have responded to customers’ needs and wants with a wide variety of innovative and desirable features, including an optional load-leveling air suspension system that provides heavy load carrying and trailer-towing capabilities when needed, and maintains a comfortable ride and good handling when the trucks are unloaded. One air suspension setting conveniently lowers the truck for easy entry and exit. Two off-road settings raise the vehicle for improved ground clearance. Yet another setting lowers the ride height at 55 mph to minimize wind resistance and save fuel.
A five-link coil rear suspension system provides better articulation than leaf springs over rough roads.
Engine options include a 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel I-6, which produces as much as 850 lb.-ft. of torque and can tow up to 30,000 pounds; a new 3.0-liter Turbo Diesel V-6; a 5.7-liter HEMI
V-8 and all-new 6.4-liter HEMI
Fuel economy is as high as 25 mpg highway in the Ram 1500, which also offers an efficient Torqueflite
Cargo Management System can safely store valuables in what is often wasted space in a pickup. Offering lockable, lit, drainable storage, it can be configured to hold a gun rack, fishing rod holders and even a water-filled bladder that can supply an on-board shower for surfers.
Not surprising considering the high value of what they may be carrying or towing, truck buyers are increasingly looking for luxury. Ram trucks can be every bit as well equipped as luxury cars and SUVs.