Mopar Ram Runner is a combination of Mopar aftermarket performance engineered parts and kits and the reliability and durability of the Ram 1500 series pickup truck that has created a true enthusiast’s off-road racer.
Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service and parts brand, recently introduced their Ram Runner off-road kit for modifying a Ram 1500 pickup truck into a serious off-road racer enabling the Ram owner to be competitive in both dedicated off-road racing events and recreational off-roading.
In support of that introduction, Ram Truck and Mopar teamed up as joint sponsors of The Off Road Championship (TORC) series in 2011 and shared sponsorship of the Traxxus Racing team and the Menzies Motorsports Team to showcase the performance and competitive capability of the durable Ram 1500 as an off-road racer. Ram was the official vehicle of the TORC Series and the Mopar Ram Runner off-road racer served as the official pace truck.
Immediately, most observers and enthusiasts looked to compare the Mopar Ram Runner (aftermarket configured) to the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor (factory built). A significant amount of the reviews done on Ram Runner have made those comparisons and often speak to the point that a new Ford SVT Raptor is priced lower delivered ($49,685) than a new Ram 1500 similarly equipped ($46,000) that is aftermarket configured with the Mopar Ram Runner kit ($18,700 plus installation).
This comparison is not entirely appropriate says Jim Sassorossi, Director of Mopar Parts Sales. Jim went on to say that the Ram Runner Kit has been developed by Mopar to enable the off-road enthusiast to be able to configure any Ram 1500 from the 2009 model year to current year as a Ram Runner off road racer. This gives the enthusiast a range of cost options to get into off road racing.
The kit has been designed to be modular allowing the Ram owner to also convert the Ram 1500 to a Ram Runner over a period of time of their choosing. And, the kit modules can be installed by the owner, through a dealer or through a specialized off-road shop. In developing the Mopar Ram Runner kit this way, the cost of a very competitive Mopar Ram Runner off-road racer goes down measurably.
The enthusiast interested in converting his Ram 1500 to a Ram Runner, possibly already owns the Ram, purchasing it in the current year or a prior year which reduces the base truck cost element significantly. If not already owned, there are very competitively priced 2009 and 2010 Ram 1500 pickups ($20,000 to $25,000) available in the market to begin the Ram Runner conversion with.
With the Ram Runner kit being modular, the enthusiast can choose to install all or just some of the elements also keeping costs down. Lastly, the parts removed from the Ram 1500 during the conversion can be sold to recover some of the kit and conversion costs.
Sassorossi concluded that it is entirely possible that a Ram owning off-road enthusiast can build and own a Mopar Ram Runner for significantly less than a factory built Raptor.
As for performance comparisons, Jim Sassorossi is not hesitant to tell you that he feels the Mopar Ram Runner is a better off-road racer than Raptor.
At the recent Texas Auto Writers Truck Rodeo, Ram entered a 2012 Ram 1500 Sport Quad Cab 4X4 they had configured with the Mopar Ram Runner kit. The 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor was also entered in the event.
This writer took the opportunity to drive first and then ride in the back set of both over the four wheel drive off-road course. Raptor is a very capable off-road truck delivering a good ride and performance over the straight aways, hill climbs and descents, sand and rock road beds and water hazards. When I drove the Ram Runner over the same course, I would summarize the performance to be every bit of what I would expect from a capable, solid performing and driver friendly off-road racer. The Ram Runner leapt smoothly over humps and easily up inclines, seeking traction and maintaining good motion and control at every turn. The Ram Runner was not bashful in any situation over the course. Simply, I felt, the Mopar Ram Runner was a smoother ride over the course and lastly, it rode better in back than the Raptor.
The Mopar Ram Runner is a very credible and capable off road racer for the enthusiast at any level enabling them to get into off-roading affordably with flexibility.
Jim Nelson is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association
SoCal Says: We aren’t so sure we love the name “Ram Runner” but it’s great to see some Dodge and Ford thinking outside of the box and building something new and creative for the off road enthusiast. We can’t wait to see what Chevy’s off road truck will look like.