The 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab is essentially the embodiment of automotive excess, a rolling argument for what a prudent individual should avoid in a motor vehicle purchase.
What's not wise in the SRT-10?
Well, there are those horrendous fuel-economy figures of 9 miles per gallon in the city and 12 mpg on the highway. And keep in mind that Dodge recommends the top-quality, high-octane juice for the truck's 26-gallon gas tank. Estimated annual fuel cost: Even the casual driver should think $3,000-plus. Good luck parking this truck in the garage. It's the approximate size of a cement mixer - 19 feet long, standing nearly 6 feet 3 inches high and is more than 6 1/2 feet wide.
And, of course, nothing snares the attention of your local highway patrol officer like a 500-horsepower pickup decked out in the tester's "Flame Red" coat of paint.
Yes, that's right, 500 horsepower. If high performance makes you smile, the SRT-10 is a guffaw a minute. Power comes from a fire-breathing, 8.3-liter V-10. The max torque number is 525 foot-pounds at 4,200 revolutions per minute.
Power is dished out with sledgehammer force. The truck is so powerful that you never quite feel like you have total control. It's more a sensation of managing the monster.
Nailing the accelerator prompts a rude shove into your shoulder blades. Highway bumps register loud and clear in the seat of the pants and throughout the cabin.
Making about 5,500 pounds of hardware move so quickly is a great sensation. And it's always interesting to see the disbelieving faces of fellow motorists who watch your massive, accelerating pickup waltz away.
Dodge has touted the SRT-10 as the world's fastest production pickup, with a speed of nearly 155 mph over a measured kilometer. Zero-to-60 mph times of five seconds have been reported. I have no doubt that those numbers were reached with this pickup.
The Quad Cab model is new for 2005 - more interior room for the driver who wants to share his truck racing fantasies with family and friends. The passenger cabin has a robust 121 cubic feet of space.
Want to carry some stuff along for the whole gang? The cargo bed comes in at nearly 58 cubic feet, and the truck can tow up to 7,500 pounds.
If you're pondering what to load into the cargo bed, there's what I would an SRT-10 "curiosity" - a spoiler spanning the back edge of the truck, right above the tailgate.
To load some tall cargo into the back of the truck, you're going to have to unbolt that spoiler. Otherwise, you have to be really strong to hoist sizable cargo over the side of the truck and into the bed.
You might think that most of the hefty $50,000 starting price of the tested truck is tied up in that big V-10 engine and all the performance components - four-wheel, vented disc brakes and 22-inch performance tires, for example - but that's not quite right. The Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab is dressed up with numerous, standard comfort/convenience goodies, including dual-zone climate control, power front seats, power-adjustable pedals, power-folding/heated exterior mirrors, an Infinity sound system with eight speakers and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
Some cool touches inside the SRT-10 play to the performance addict who has decided to buy a pickup instead of a sports car. They include a left side-mounted oil temperature gauge - nobody cares about oil temperature; it's just a nifty place to put a race car-like gauge - and "SRT-10" stitching at the top of the front bucket seats.
For me, the SRT-10 was a fantasy trip. What a blast, zipping around in this big brute and lapping up its performance features like an overheated dog at a water bowl.
Would I buy one? Not a chance. Too rich for my blood. And even if I had the cash, the SRT-10 is great to visit, but too out there for my world of comparatively practical motoring. I'll enjoy NASCAR Nextel Cup's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma on Sunday, but I have no desire to take one of the race cars home.
I know there are those out there who would love a testosterone-laden, big-boy toy like the SRT-10. To you, I say enjoy. Just save your extra pennies for gas.
2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab at a glance Make/model: 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab. Vehicle type: Six-passenger, rear-drive, four-door, full-size pickup truck.
Base price: $50,000 (as tested, $50,095).
Engine: 8.3-liter V-10 with 500 horsepower at 5,600 revolutions per minute and 525 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm.
EPA fuel economy: 9 miles per gallon city; 12 mpg highway.
Transmission: Four-speed automatic with overdrive.
Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion.
Brakes: Power four-wheel, vented discs with anti-lock.
Suspension: Upper/lower A-arm performance strut-type on front; live-axle, performance-tuned strut on rear.
Interior volume: 121 cubic feet.
Cargo box: 57.7 cubic feet.
Fuel tank: 26 gallons.
Curb weight: 5,450 pounds (estimated).
Track: 68 inches on front; 67.4 inches on rear.
Height: 74.7 inches.
Length: 227.7 inches.
Wheelbase: 140.5 inches.
Width: 79.9 inches.
Tires: P305/40R22 all-season performance tires.
Towing capacity: 7,500 pounds.
Final assembly point: Saltillo, Mexico.
About the writer: The Bee's Mark Glover can be reached at (916) 321-1184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.