Subtlety is the great weakness of heavy-duty trucks. It's hard to go unnoticed in a vehicle that simultaneously crowds both edges of its lane and has a hood as high as the roofs of other cars. For all their outward conspicuity, though, HD haulers are a lot like any other truck inside. But Ram's Laramie Longhorn package, new for 2011 and available on the full range of 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks, succeeds handily in changing that.
There are few exterior cues to its specialness (we're not counting the belt-buckle-sized fender badges, as most trucks today wear some similar exterior decoration), but inside the Longhorn, it looks and smells like Kentucky's finest tack room exploded. The seats of our truck are swaddled in pebbled brown leather embellished with filigrees on the thigh and side bolsters. The white gauge faces bear additional flourishes, with similar markings on their trim rings. Contrasting tan stitching adorns the leather on the steering wheel and shifter, and the doors and center stack are trimmed in burled walnut. A barbed-wire pattern is molded into the floor mats, which feature genius snap-out carpet swatches-easy to clean, but even easier to avoid soiling with a muddy boot by simply removing them. The barbed-wire theme is a bit much; the Longhorn's masterstroke is on the front seatbacks, where thick flaps of leather hang down to cover the map pockets. While everyday magnetic clasps hold them closed, heavy faux belt buckles appear to be doing the work.
Longhorn trucks also include just about every option offered on lesser Rams, including navigation, a rearview camera, a flip-down screen for rear-seat entertainment, and heated seats at all four corners with cooling for the front occupants. Ford previously stood alone in the super-luxury pickup arena with its sumptuousKing Ranch trim, but Ram looks to have surpassed it. We now eagerly await GM's response. GMC's Denali trucks don't count, since a proper challenger has to look and smell like a new saddle.
We're Not Going Soft
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