Take one part simple Ram 1500 pickup, add one all-black appearance package with blacked-out everything, value-bundle a list of must-have options, and keep the price reasonable, and you’ve got the RAM 1500 Express: a truck aimed squarely at first-time buyers after a low entry price, sharp looks, and plenty of funds left for a trip to the Mopar catalogue.

This one’s all about value – and by packing the Express with the better part of 400 horsepower, generous towing and payload capacities, and extra touches like rear wheel-well liners, a bed complete with cargo light and locking tailgate, and full Bluetooth functionality, the Express forms a charming deal.

It’s got a three-person bench seat up front so the kids can ride right next to dad, and there’s room on the floor for the dog, since there’s no floor console, since there’s a column shifter. Column shifters are the smartest gearshift idea in a pickup, as column shifters are majestic, manly, and create more space for your truck-guy things on board.

Not that this Ram variant was sucking for space.

Sure – the tester got a single three-across bench seat and no second row, but storage bins mounted against the rear of the passenger compartment add more room and storage flexibility, and when it’s not a seat, the giant flip-down centre console provides even more. There’s a drawer on the dashboard, as well as two small cubbies flanking it, a big bin perfect for some water bottles on the passenger dash segment, and door panels with enough bins and cubbies and compartments to rival an Ikea closet organizer. Add in no fewer than four power and recharging outlets to feed scrumptious electricity into your gizmos, and you’ve got a sporty little truck that makes it easy to stay organized on the go.

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