• Ike Gauntlet Extreme Towing Test: 2016 RAM 1500 5.7L HEMI [Video]

    2016 RAM 1500 Ike Gauntlet

    The latest contender in this year’s round of Ike Gauntlet towing tests is the 2016 Ram 1500 with the 5.7L HEMI. The truck arrived at our offices in Laramie Longhorn guise with leather seats that Nathan and Kent (aka Mr. Truck) apparently liked very much. Bad news for RAM – having one of the nicest interiors in the market didn’t help the truck tow the 9,000-pound horse trailer up the Ike’s 7% grade. Good news for RAM – the 5.7L HEMI V8 did. The engine puts out 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, has cylinder deactivation, and is paired to an 8-speed transmission.

    Most of the trucks we test on the Ike are 4×4, but this particular vehicle was 2-wheel-drive only, so we had to penalize it with three sandbags – each weighing 60 pounds – to help make up for it being lighter than its 4×4 equivalent. Luckily, road conditions were good the day of the test.

    2016 RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4×2

    • Engine: 5.7L HEMI V8
    • Power: 395 @ 5,600 rpm
    • Torque: 410 @ 3,950 rpm
    • Transmission: Torqueflite 8-speed automatic
    • Rear Axle Ratio: 3.92
    • Max Towing: 10,300
    • Max Payload: 1,690
    • EPA-estimated Fuel Economy: 15/22/17 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
    • As-tested Price: $50,805

    So, how did the 5.7L RAM 1500 perform during TFL’s signature Ike Gauntlet test? You’ll have to watch the video to get the full results but we’ll give you a hint: It crushed it in the uphill time category but uphill mpg is where it lost the most points… that’s not to say it didn’t fare well against the other trucks this year. We just have very high standards. Stay tuned for more Ike Gauntlet videos… including the much anticipated GMC Canyon Duramax. If you haven’t yet cast your guess on the Canyon’s uphill mpg, head over to the Forum here for your chance to receive a free TFLtruck hat.

    Brian Waring
    Brian Waring
    Brian is an engineer by trade but his true passion is anything automotive. He wakes up every morning to search the web for the latest industry news. He enjoys taking his Tacoma 4×4 off-road in the mountains of Colorado where he spends his free time hiking, biking, and snowboarding with his wife and dogs near their Rocky Mountain home.

    Similar Articles

    51 thoughts on “Ike Gauntlet Extreme Towing Test: 2016 RAM 1500 5.7L HEMI [Video]

      1. Agreed. The 8 speed shines when towing. I towed my 25′ tt from east to west and back, over 10,000km. Yes it squats more than the competitors but you get a smoother ride, it a simple trade off. There is a cheap solution called an air assist spring that gets inserted into the coils to give you an extra 1000lbs of lift. For those lesser educated people yeah the gym 6.2 is a monster but I’m sorry the 5.3 is a weaker motor than the 5.7. The 5.0 was designed for a mustang just like the 6.2 for the vette. Difference being the power under the curve, NOT just peak power. The 5.0 constantly disappoints in power and mpg. I suspect the ram would have gotten better mpg if they backed off the gas and didn’t speed up the hill, their highway mpg test would be a better measure. On my trip overall I avg 12.6mpg including a bunch of mountains going 60-75mph. Ford 3.5tt puts out the power but ever since seeing 2 f550 6.0 powerstrokes go through a combined 14 turbos I decided to pass.

        Choosing ones vehicle is a very opinionated and personal choice but please don’t jump on here and just say rubbish without backing it up.



      Hey TFL, if you guys are counting how many brake applications you make going downhill would it make sense to count how many times the transmission shifts going uphill?
      I’m going to post for tire sponsorship on the articles and maybe it will help a little and get other people posting as well to try and attract attention, just let me know if it gets a little ridiculous and I’ll stop.

    2. Duratrac’s are …ok tires. I’ve had them on many of my work trucks and working in the oilfield they probably see more abuse than anyone else will want to put their tires or truck through. sidewalls aren’t as strong as they are used to and to many tires in our fleet of trucks have had the duratrac bubble come out from the inner sidewall.. goodyear still hasent found a solution to this problem and is a major safety concern. As far as traction goes, its great… tire wear… may get 50,000km out of a set on a 3/4 ton diesel.

      1. Their last test of the Hemi was a bit slower than with their older test. Fuel economy is consistently worse with the Hemi, though.
        Power/ acceleration it is very close between the Hemi, Ford 5.0, and 5.3L with the Hemi lagging behind in MPG.

    3. To say the hemi is as good as gm 6.2,is a joke look at pickup .com latest test the 5.3 beats up on hemi . Let a lone the 6.2 crushed all you dodge guys dreams and fellow echoboost fans .

      1. Pickuptrucks.com is a joke of web site. There’s no video to prove their tests and test results, unlike TFL’s website. I really like the ford and GM trucks. I like the Fords exterior looks over GM and Ram, the GM has the 6.2, that’s the only good thing about a GM……….. On the other hand, Rams interior is far more luxurious and and user friendly over ford and GM. The 5.7 V8 power is almost as competitive to the 6.2, I’ve heard only bad things about the ecoboosts after 120k with the turbos. I’d purchase a Ram over the other two, more bang for my buck🤔

        1. I guess mr truck is a joke same guy doing both tests. He did the test for pickups.com also.The ram is at its max load so it is at a lot higher rpm .The chevy has 11700 tow rating so the rpm is a lot lower then when u accelerate it will raise then u will speed ,u let off.

        2. The guy in charge of towing for tfl does the same for joke of a website u claim.also ram doesn’t have resale of chevy or ford so it all comes out in the wash.I own 6 trucks and don’t judge any of them for how luxurious the interiors are,As long as comfortable and well equipped. Look nice I’m in,If I wanted a cadilacs I buy one.

        3. Also GM 5.3 is made by the labor union in the big USA it’s been around a long time based off 327 block a lot of tradition!! Guess we’re the hemi is made………….oh yeah Mexico !!! No wonder more bang for buck.

          1. The same labor unions that bankrupted GM. Ram/Fiat was smart enough to outsource and consolidate in order to prevent leaving the US taxpayer with billions in unpaid debt.

            1. The only one smart enough to consolidate was Ford. And that consolidate only happened because of a 2006 CEO change, Ford was headed in same direction.
              Wouldn’t place blame solely on UAW, corporate was a bunch of whimps and got taken advantage of.
              As far as GM, there debt was payed when the Treasury sold remaining shares. So that is on the US government. The wierd thing is that tarp fund profit is $65.3 billion and it still has investments out making money.

            1. Yep, most crew cab short beds are made in mexico. Some are made in the US. All double cab and regular cab trucks are made in Indiana and Michigan. The engines mostly come from the Tonawanda plant in NY State. The transmissions mostly come from Toledo Transmission in Ohio.

          2. Pickuptrucks.com ran the same trucks, they claim the 5.3 out performs the hemi when TFL tests clearly show that the hemi beats up on the small 5.3

        4. Pickuptrucks.com is pure factual based. The 5.7 does not compete with the 6.2, end of story. To say otherwise makes me loose all respect in your opinion. 6.2 has more hp, more torque and less weight.

          Ram boys just can’t acknowledge that the 5.7 competes with the 5.3 and 5.0

      2. Can we compare the Ram 1500 Drivetrain to the GM 1500 Drivetrain? Simply comparing engines is useless here. The Ram definitely pulled the trailer up faster than the 5.3L. You can argue that it is due to the gear ratios, but it is the package you get. 3rd gear in the ZF and 8L90 are the same size, but Ram was smart enough to give max HP at 60-65 MPH with it’s ratios. Same goes for Ford in 2nd gear. The GM 5.3L was dogging down to 53 mph towards the end where the Ram was still pulling strong.

        1. The Ram is the only truck so far they’ve exceeded the speed limit. The times going up the hill are completely pointless if they’re willing to speed in one truck, but not the other. It only has value when a truck can’t maintain speed.

          1. I totally agree. Why is it after all the times they have gone up the Ike they still cant keep a consistent target speed? I went back and took a look at the chev 5.3 and 6.2 video’s and they both were pedaling the gas to keep the trucks at 60 mph, The 6.2 and 5.3 went up the hill in 8:07 and 8:08 respectively where 8 minutes is a 60 mph average speed. By looking at the video and seeing the time it is obvious they exceeded 60 and even 65mph for most of the journey up the hill?

            Whats the deal TFL? Pick a speed and stick to it, I don’t care if its 60, 65, or 40! just make an attempt at keeping it consistent!!

      3. Doesn’t mean that they are better. just because they have better dyno runs doesn’t mean crap. That’s like saying steak is better than chicken. many people have different opinions on many things.

    4. Took points off for squating but Ram is the only one with air suspension and load levelling capabilities. It was also a 2wd so the suspension was likely light and it had sandbags in the back instead of on the front axle. Sad. Very sad statements. And again with the engine breaking. Why complain about when there is a 25 point category for that that already takes care of downshifts. The knob selector was the only valid point should you not like it

      1. Why did they throw 2 extra bags in the back of the ram, then state there wasn’t enough payload for a 3rd party?

    5. My issue here is not with tflt and their testing using sand bags etc, but rather ram and GM sending dumba** 2wd trucks to this competition when Ford, Nissan and Toyota send 4wd’s. U ecoboost haters r just jealous when a six banger blows the doors off your v8. Again I will ask why people buy Rams??? Their payloads suck and reAr suspension can’t handle heavy towing! Airbags weren’t put in the ram to save gas or better ride quality like ram would like u to believe but rather to assist with sagging in the rear!

      1. Yeah the payload on some of these trucks is crap. They keep sending Luxury 2×4 instead of a mid grade 4×4. Ford and Gm have enough payload for both. 9K pounds seems to be too light. Whatever happened to the Ike 2.0 testing nearly 11k lbs? If a manufacture cant provide enough payload for 4×4, 1000 lb toungue and 2 passengers, then they need not apply.

      2. These are the same trucks pickuptrucks.com tested and they specified 2wd. They have a limited amount of fleet vehicles.

        Just like when car and driver crashed the z06 and motortrend tested it a few days later and it had issues due to the crash. They didn’t have an extra one just laying around, they like to sell their vehicles and limit how many the mags rag out.

    6. I own a 2014 ram 1500 5.7 392 gears 4×4. I tow heavy stuff all the time with it and it pulls with power to spare!! Only 2 problems I have with it is the sag in the rear and the engine braking, but installed air bags on the back and manually shift it down hills and it does great.

    7. Could you guys please check fuel mileage manually…..i have several different vehicles and they are always off 1-2 mpg the one that was off the most was the ford eco boost 2.7….

    8. You know you need to stop putting wait in the pickup bed on your 2wd trucks you will get more mpg without The wait in the pickup bed and most trucks wont squat as badly with no wait in the pickup bed when you’re towing oh and you need to buy clip on or temporary towing mirrors to put on the standard mirrors on vehicles now to be safe and legal

    9. Can someone explain axle ratio, how they arrive at the number and why it’s important for towing? Is it better to have more gears for an automatic when towing and would manual transmission be worse at towing than an automatic?

      1. @Steve

        The axle ratio is basically how much of a gear reduction the combination of ring and pinion gears in the differential provides. For example, if it was 1:1, the wheels would spin at exactly the same speed as the transmission was spinning. Differentials are called “final drives” because they are the last opportunity to change the drive speed of the wheels. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of axle ratios, or final drive ratios. This RAM truck had a 3.92:1 rear axle ratio. That means the driveshaft, directly connected to the transmission, must spin 3.92 times in order to make the wheels turn one revolution. Let’s take a typical Ford F-150 which might have a 3.55 rear axle ratio. In this case, the driveshaft turns 3.55 revolutions in order to turn the wheels on revolution.

        The higher numerically an axle ratio is, the better the vehicle will accelerate off the line – or in this case, the better it will smoothly pull a heavy trailer away from a stop. The reason for this is because the gearing advantage requires less power or torque to turn the wheels, and allows the engine to utilize higher RPMs at a given speed…which generally means more power or torque is available.

        The downside of a higher numeric axle ratio is a lower top speed and higher fuel consumption…both related to the higher RPM levels of the engine.

        Of course, a manufacturer also has the transmission gear ratios to play with, which work together with the final drive ratio to make a vehicle very driveable and efficient. Once again, in general, having more speeds in a transmission will allow it to be optimal in both accelerating and efficiency. Let’s take the example of this RAM truck, with an 8-speed automatic and the 3.92 rear axle ratio compared to a Ford F-150 with the 6-speed automatic and 3.55 rear axle ratio. Let’s just say that the Ford and the RAM can tow exactly the same amount, but the RAM tows the same load up a hill faster, plus it gets better fuel economy when unloaded. How can that be? Well, it has the numerically-higher axle ratio, which would help towing, but hurt economy. However, the Ford only has 6 gears to work with. The RAM can use gears 7 & 8 to effectively drop RPM on the highway to less than what the Ford is turning, and thus achieve better economy. There is a reason why Ford and GM are co-developing a 10-speed automatic slated to be released this fall on the Fords.

        Lastly, the question about manual vs. automatic transmissions for towing. Manual transmissions may well have had a towing advantage years back, because they had 5 or 6 speeds when automatic transmissions only had 4 gears. This allowed the driver to select the best gear for the situation, while the 4-speed automatic transmission would either be screaming along at high RPM, wasting fuel, or lugging along in too low a gear for optimal power. As you know, this has changed – manuals seem to have topped out at 6 gears in a truck, 7 in a couple of sports cars, and many more in the heavy class of over the road trucks. Meanwhile, automatics are currently 6 or 8 gears, so they match the truck manual transmissions. Manuals also used to get better economy because of the direct 1:1 ratio between the engine and transmission when the clutch was disengaged. Nowadays, automatics can lock the torque converters on basically all gears, causing manuals to no longer have the advantage there. Finally, consider pulling a 10,000lb trailer behind a manual transmission truck…how comfortable is it taking off on a steep hill with traffic behind you? How fun is working that heavy clutch pedal in bumper to bumper traffic? I’m all for saving the manuals; I like driving a sporty car like a Porsche or a Mustang with a stick shift, but it appeals much less in a pickup truck.

        Hope that helps

    10. This Hemi impresses, and once again, the 5.7L engine sounds better and feels more lively than the 6.4L.

      I still think just adding 180lbs doesn’t make up for lack of 4WD. A 4WD truck sits up higher, which means less fuel economy. Depending upon how the front drivetrain is designed, in some cases the front driveshaft will be spinning at all times, which drags down mpg.

      ZF nailed the transmission, but the knob is goofy. I know its hard to get whatever truck TFL may want, but ideally we’d love to see an F-150, a RAM 1500, a Silverado 1500, and a Tundra…each with their most powerful available engine, in crew cab form, with whatever max towing package they have, and 4WD. It seems really unfair to pit a 3.55 axle, for example, against another competitor’s 3.92 axle, if the first truck could be had with a better towing axle. That makes a big difference.

      1. Look at cars.com the best pulling 1/2 ton truck Dodge used same truck there that tfltruck used here . It is really interesting dodge only got 17 mpg with no weight . The same chevy truck was used also and got 23mpg , it out acellerated the dodge in quarter mile , better brakes, and better gas mileage with payload . Dodge was next to last in that test. They used same trucks that tfl gets

    11. what’s the deal with chevy 5.3 pulling more weight, chevy had an extra horse in back seat ,sorry Ramon. But he’s a big guy . So not apples to apples. also what is targeted speed dodge was going 65 in beginning,chevy was 60 Nathan had to let off to keep it 60. Ramon was in chevy though.

    12. I drive a 5.3 Silverado for a work truck. The engine sounds good but is a dog. Absolutely gutless. the hemi puts the 5.3 to shame.

      1. I’m sure you tested a 2016 with a 8 speed and your work truck didn’t have 3.07 gears.

        Stop spreading your nonsense. Testing proves otherwise.

    13. I like my Hemi Ram, it is very solid and well built. I do think the Hemi could use an upgrade, it just doesn’t feel as strong or fast as the 5.6 I had in my Titan especially down in the lower RPM’s. It does get a lot better mpg however.

    14. Troverman is a wealth of knowledge and should work for this website. Pay attention when he speaks. His explanation of gear ratios was complex, but made it seem very simple. A great writer as well.

    15. Nathan, care to explain why you’re only willing to speed with the lighter loaded Ram, and not the other trucks?

      Seems like a pretty biased bs test to me.

      1. Which test isn’t biased? The 14 nissan titan they ran over towing and payload capacity. I think this is the only time they’ve ever done that.

    16. Troverman you said there was 2.5 inches of sag. my 2015 ram 1500 laramie limited ed had a load leveling feature i loaded my 900 lb quad in the bach with no sag. After the bags inflated. did this ram have that feature? Y guys are great Thanks

    Comments are closed.