Chicago LIVE: Ram 1500 Tradesman [Photos + Video]

A new commerical-oriented package helps make Ram's 1500 pickup more appealing to medium duty business users.

Chrysler's Ram division took to the stage at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show with a commercial-oriented pickup truck, the Ram Tradesman.

Ram - formerly a Dodge division - promises that the Tradesman offers more grunt and more capability at a lower price point than rivals, like the Ford F-150.

Building on the base Ram package, the Tradesman features a number of items aimed at commercial users who have left the brand in favor of rivals with more specifically-tailored commercial trim levels.

A standard 5.7-liter Hemi V8 offers way more power than rivals' V6s while still netting a reasonable 20 mpg on the highway for a 4x2 model. The V8 is rated at 390 horsepower and 407 lb-ft. of torque.

When it was first introduced for the 2009 model year, the latest Ram 1500 pickup was the first modern truck with a coil spring rear suspension. That suspension remains, but it now mates with a Class IV trailer hitch with a lighted, above-bumper four and seven pin trailer wire connector.

Tradesman is available with a regular cab in either short or long bed options and 4x2 or 4x4 powertrains.

Inside, cloth or vinyl seats are available with either carpeted or vinyl flooring. Furthering its commercial credentials are a 160 amp alternator, heavy duty steel wheels, upsized fuel tanks, heavy duty shock absorbers, air conditioning, a CD player and six airbags.

Ram says that a wide range of options will be available, including 3.21 and 3.92 rear axle ratios, a limited-slip rear differential, chrome exterior touches and a number of interior upgrades including Bluetooth and cruise control.

Ram Tradesman goes on sale during the second quarter of this year starting at $22,780 including destination.

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