New Level of Luxury

By Derek Price

Just like the boarding process at most airline gates, the Ram Truck lineup has a new level of status for people willing to buy it.

The Elite Edition is an optional upgrade to the already status-conscious Limited trim level on the 2023 Ram 1500. It adds a fancier level of sheen, plus a few functional touches, for about $2,000 more than the ordinary Limited grade.

Is it worth it? I struggle to see the value, but I’m also not the type of person who’d ever buy a new pickup, much less a luxury pickup. And only in an alternate universe would I pay an extra two grand to drive a super-extra-fancy luxury pickup.

There are people who pay for first-class airline tickets, though, and I imagine they’d find a lot to like in this upscale truck.

It has materials with a higher level of polish than any pickup I’ve driven, including real wood, metal and leather at all the important touch points.

A suede headliner, jeweled rotary shifter knob, premium leather on the seats and shiny pedals make it a showcase in over-the-top extravagance.

Ram has added the Elite Edition to crown its lineup of luxury half-ton trucks for 2023. It’s the priciest Ram 1500 you can buy other than the Hellcat-powered TRX.

The Limited Elite Edition is not just about extra shimmer, though. It also comes with some add-ons that help it do real truck stuff, including a multifunction tailgate, bed step, cargo divider and moveable tie-down hooks.

If the Ram 1500 wasn’t so heavenly to drive, all these palatial extras — suede headliner, I’m looking at you — might seem silly. But in reality, the half-ton Ram pickup is so sumptuous over the road that it makes a legitimate replacement for a pricey full-size luxury sedan from, say, Mercedes or Lexus. An LS, S-Class or Ram 1500

Limited are all silent, silky ways to float down the highway.

My tester, like all Limited Elites, is powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine with the eTorque mild hybrid assist system. It makes 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, but more importantly in a truck like this, it does so with requisite smoothness. It feels placid and unruffled sending power through the Ram’s eight-speed automatic transmission, almost as if Rolls-Royce did the shift tuning.

The Ram 1500 Limited has a cabin built from real wood, leather and metal. The Elite Edition adds a suede headliner and jeweled rotary shifter knob, among other upgrades.

It also comes with all the downsides of today’s arguably oversized trucks. You have to give it a wide berth in parking lots. It’s so heavy that it feels more like maneuvering a boat than a car in city driving. And even with the help from a hybrid battery, my tester’s gas mileage is still only rated at 17 mpg in city driving and 22 on the highway.

On the flip side, you get a lot of capability from a machine like this. The Ram 1500 is rated to tow up to 12,750 pounds and carry 2,300 pounds in the bed, something smaller and lighter trucks can’t match.

Pricing for the Limited Elite Edition starts at $65,305, which places it near the top of Ram’s wide lineup of 1500 models. You can buy a basic Tradesman starting at $38,555 or spend nearly $86,000 for a Hellcat-V8-powered TRX.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2023 Ram 1500 Limited Elite Crew Cab 4×4 ($68,145). Options: Premium paint ($245), Elite package ($2,145), trailer tow group ($1,195), Limited Level 1 equipment group ($4,995), chrome power-fold trailer-tow mirrors ($440). Price as tested (including $1,995 destination charge): $79,165
Wheelbase: 144.6 in.
Length: 232.9 in.
Width: 82.1 in.
Height: 77.6 in.
Engine: 5.7-liter V8 (395 hp, 410 ft. lbs.)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 17 city, 22 highway

Style: 8
Performance: 9
Price: 6
Handling: 7
Ride: 10
Comfort: 10
Quality: 8
Overall: 8

Why buy it?
The new Elite Edition has high-end materials that match its silky driving feel. It’s a real alternative to comfy, silent, soft-riding luxury sedans with the added bonus of serious truck capability.

Posted in Ram