Cars

FCA Gauging Public Reaction for Ram 1500 Big Horn Low Down Concept

Lifting a vehicle has become second nature for the Mopar team at FCA. But one of the automaker’s newest rolling test beds takes things in a different direction. The 2018 Ram 1500 Big Horn Low Down concept actually lowers the full-size pickup by two inches.

Mopar created the concept for the 2018 SEMA show, and FCA has been gauging reaction for about a year. A decision will be made later this year or into next year on whether to add the prototype lowering kit to the Mopar catalogue.

So far, reaction has been positive. Cheryl Woodworth, brand accessories manager, said one woman, cruising Woodward Avenue in a 1500, spotted the Low Down and excitedly called her husband to say she saw it and wants one.

Woodworth does not know where the lowering kit might fall on FCA’s priority list, but for now, the concept will keep rolling and gathering reaction. With more than a million people taking in car sights and sounds as part of the Woodward Dream Cruise, there should be a lot of data.

The Low Down has a hard tonneau cover and five-inch exhaust tips. Under the performance hood is a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine. The performance dome hood might also go into production.

On a short test drive in the Low Down, the ride was quite bouncy. But that is understandable. The concept was developed for aesthetics. Designers used the air suspension system as a quick and dirty way to lower the truck which rides on 22-inch oversized wheels.

If it were to go into production, it would be engineered properly so the ride quality is not degraded in any way. And it would have to be tested to meet all safety regulations. That likely means changes such as repositioning the sensor that triggers airbags so they don’t sit too low.

As proof that ride quality does not suffer when engineered properly, we also hopped into a Mopar-modified 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab with a kit that raised the 1500 by two inches. The best part of this drive was the exhaust note. It has a performance cat-back exhaust system, and in back there are five-inch dual exhaust tips. This customized vehicle has off-road running boards, 18-inch off-road beadlock-capable wheels, a cool black hood graphic, a RamBar to mount lights and store gear, and a rear bed step to reach it all.

Both trucks have the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine.

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