Ram 1500

2016 Ram 1500

Ram 1500 pickups have roomy cabs with excellent ergonomics, cubby storage galore, and giant touchscreens that are easy to operate. Ram Box bed storage, an adjustable suspension that kneels for easier ingress, and active grille shutters add to its appeal.

The Ram 1500 competes with the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan. All but the Ram have been recently redesigned.

The Ram compares very well to the competition and is the most distinctive among a group of distinctive trucks. Ride quality is dependent on suspension, tires and other packaging choices, but the Ram 1500 models generally tend toward the smoother end of the class, vying with Chevrolet and GMC.

The 2016 Ram is a fourth-generation product, introduced as a 2009 model. 2014 brought a diesel engine and some styling updates.

For 2016, a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel engine is available that achieves an EPA rating of 20/29 mpg City/Highway while delivering 420 pound-feet of trailer-pulling torque. Also new for 2016: the rugged Ram Rebel and the luxurious Ram Laramie Limited. Otherwise, the Ram 1500 lineup continues unchanged.

A range of engines is available for the Ram to suit the wide variety of needs and missions that characterize light-duty pickups. Among them: the new 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel, the 3.6-liter V6 that comes standard on all models, and the 5.7-liter V8 Hemi. All come standard with an 8-speed automatic.

Regular Cab, Quad Cab, and Crew Cab versions are available, the latter most popular for their roomy back seats. Bed lengths range from 6-feet, 4-inches or 5-feet, 7-inches on Crew Cab and Quad Cab models to the full 8 feet with Regular Cabs.

Interiors range widely by trim level, with upper levels outfitted in handsome fabrics and leathers with impressive attention to detail, making them very nice vehicles in which to spend time.


2015 Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 pickup serves the half-ton pickup truck market, among the most contested in all motor vehicles. Permutations are numerous with three engines, two fuels, three cabs, two types of suspension, three bed sizes and almost all of them available in 2WD or 4WD.

The 2015 Ram 1500 is changed little over 2014 when Ram got a diesel engine and some styling details.

Rams 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel is shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and in the Ram 1500 garners EPA ratings of 20/28 mpg City/Highway, higher than any other half-ton or mid-size pickup.

Gasoline engines include a 305-hp 3.6-liter V6 and a 395-hp 5.7-liter V8 Hemi. Ram V6 (gas and diesel) use an 8-speed automatic transmission, the V8 uses a 6-speed or an 8-speed automatic. Unlike the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, Ram offers its biggest engine in Regular Cab models.

The Ram 1500, considered a half-ton, can carry loads of stuff and can tow trailers similar to what the competition will, though GM and Ford have notably higher maximum trailer-weight models. Maximum load and tow ratings among the major manufacturers change faster than mobile-device operating systems. However, if you plan to tow near those maximums, our recommendation is to turn your attention to the Ram Heavy Duty and its competitors.

The Ram 1500 offers a full air suspension, with automatic leveling, entry/exit mode for easier cab access, and variable ride heights for on- and off-highway travel.

On the outside, Ram continues with its imposing stature. Like many Dodge cars, the Rams front end has a forward tilt, but it remains aerodynamic. Detailing for the 2013 model year lowered the coefficient of drag (one aspect of total aerodynamic resistance) from 0.386 to 0.360, and both the diesel and HFE use grille shutters.

Ram competes primarily with Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra and, to a lesser extent, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra.

The Ram 1500 is a conventional full-size pickup truck, but it differs in rear suspension and powertrains from its competitors. Underneath, where for decades pickup trucks have had a live axle in back with leaf springs, Rams rear axle is suspended by coil springs and located by four trailing links and a lateral Panhard bar. Basic front suspension design, steering and brake systems parallel other half-ton pickups.

Inside, the Ram offers seating for three to six people, in-floor storage on Crew Cabs, and environments that span working-grade vinyl and rubber to creamy leather with ventilated and heated seats.

Brand loyalty in pickup trucks makes sports rivalries look like civilized debate, and many will recommend only one. The fact is, there are no bad full-size pickups. Shopping is made more difficult by so-called competitive comparisons weve seen online that imply drum brakes are better than disc brakes (we disagree) or 300 horsepower is superior to 400 pound-feet of torque (ditto). To choose the best truck for you, we recommend avoiding any buying decision made purely on brand or maximum cargo or tow rating. On the other hand, if you are loyal to a brand then focus on choosing the configuration knowing youll end up with a great truck.

With so many versions there is no shortage of Rams to choose from. Compared to the competition, the Rams suspensions are unique and the styling is less conservative. GM has three gas engines and Ford half-tons offer four but none has a diesel and only the GM 6.2 V8 has an 8-speed automatic. The Nissan Titan is the only half-ton that offers a full eight-foot long-bed with a Crew Cab, and Titan is being redesigned for 2016. (Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 pickups are covered in a separate review.)


2014 Ram 1500

For 2014, Ram 1500 is available with a diesel engine, making it the first half-ton pickup to offer a modern, clean diesel engine option (though there was a light-duty diesel option offered by Dodge decades ago). Also new for 2014 are new colors and chrome bits. Otherwise, Ram 1500 carries over unchanged. The current-generation Ram was launched as a 2009 model.

The new 3.0-liter V6 diesel is rated at 240 horsepower, 420 pound-feet of torque, with an EPA-estimated 20/28 mpg City/Highway. It pairs with the 8-speed automatic transmission.

Both the 3.6-liter V6 and 5.7-liter V8 gasoline engines carry over to 2014 unchanged from the 2013 model year, and they are paired with either a 6- or 8-speed automatic. Although GM and Ford offer a bigger, more powerful V8 than the Ram Hemi, only Ram puts the big engine in a regular cab model.

The Ram 1500, considered a half-ton, can carry loads of stuff and can tow trailers similar to what the competition will. Maximum load and tow ratings among the major manufacturers change faster than mobile device operating systems and the only certainty is you want to consider a bigger pickup if you will frequently operate near those maximums.

The 2014 Ram 1500 offers three cabs, three bed lengths (two with RamBox), three engines, two transmissions, two suspension arrangements, and interiors from hose-out ethic to limo substitute. Counted by cab, bed, drive and trim level, there are more than 70 Ram 1500 configurations, retailing from about $23,000 to more than $57,000.

The Ram 1500 offers an optional full air suspension, with automatic leveling, entry/exit mode for easier cab access, and variable ride heights for on- and off-highway travel. The air suspension is available on any model except the new Ram HFE fuel economy special, which includes automatic start/stop engine operation and a bed cover.

On the outside, Ram continues with imposing stature. Like many Dodge cars, the Rams front end has a forward tilt, but it remains very aerodynamic. Detailing for the 2013 model year lowered the coefficient of drag (one aspect of total aerodynamic resistance) from 0.386 to 0.360, and both the diesel and HFE use grille shutters.

The Ram 1500 is a conventional full-size pickup truck, but it differs in rear suspension and powertrains from all its competitors: primarily Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra twins and, to a lesser extent, the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra. Because the Honda Ridgeline does not have a separate frame, cab and bed, nor a choice of two or four-wheel drive, we do not consider it a conventional half-ton pickup, although those using a crew cab pickup primarily as a second car would be wise to consider the Ridgeline.

Underneath, where for decades pickup trucks have had a live axle in back with leaf springs, the Rams rear axle is suspended by coil springs and it is located by four trailing links and a lateral Panhard bar. Basic front suspension design, steering and brake systems parallel other half-ton pickups.

Inside, the Ram offers seating for three to six people, in-floor storage on Crew Cabs, and environments that span working-grade vinyl and rubber to creamy leather with ventilated and heated seats.

Brand loyalty in pickup trucks makes sports rivalries look like civilized debate, and many will recommend only one. The fact is, there are no bad full-size pickups. Shopping is made more difficult by so-called competitive comparisons weve seen online that imply drum brakes are better than disc brakes (we disagree) or 300 horsepower is superior to 400 pound-feet of torque (ditto). Add to that payload and tow ratings that change frequently and only Toyota uses the industry-wide standard. To choose the best truck for you, we recommend avoiding any buying decision made purely on brand or maximum cargo or tow rating.

With so many versions there is no shortage of Rams to choose from. Compared to the competition, the Rams suspensions are unique and the styling is less conservative. GM has three new engines and Ford half-tons offer more engine choices but none has an 8-speed automatic or diesel. The Nissan Titan is the only half-ton that offers a full eight-foot long-bed with a Crew Cab. (Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 pickups are covered in a separate review.)


2013 Ram 1500

You'll be forgiven for thinking the 2013 Ram 1500 looks vaguely familiar. In fact, the sheetmetal is all the same and surface changes are minor. However, most of what lies beneath and bookends that sheetmetal is new or revised for 2013.

The Ram 1500, considered a half-ton, can carry loads of stuff and can tow trailers similar to what the competition will. Maximum load and tow ratings among the major manufacturers change faster than mobile device operating systems and the only certainty is you want to consider a bigger pickup if you will frequently operate near those maximums.

The 2013 Ram 1500 offers three cabs, three bed lengths (two with RamBox), three engines, two transmissions, two suspension arrangements, and interiors from hose-out ethic to limo substitute.

The biggest news for 2013 is the smallest engine, a 3.6-liter four-cam V6 delivering 305 horsepower, which is 90 more than the 3.7-liter used on 2012 models, with 13 percent more torque and 20 percent better fuel economy. At introduction, the 2013 Ram gets bragging rights for best fuel economy. The engine is new only to Ram, already used in Chrysler Group's Jeeps, vans and cars. Ram HFE is aimed at high fuel economy: Ram HFE gets an EPA-rated 18/25 mpg City/Highway with V6 and 8-speed automatic.

Also significant news for 2013, and a first in pickups, is an 8-speed automatic transmission from German manufacturer ZF. It is standard with the V6 and will be available on the 5.7-liter V8 by calendar year 2013. Both the 310-hp 4.7-liter and 395-hp 5.7-liter V8s come with what's called a 6-speed automatic, though we maintain it compares to a 5-speed (see Driving Impressions).

The last major change is the addition of full air suspension, which offers automatic leveling, eases entry/exit, and offers variable ride height for off-highway travel. The air suspension is available on any model except the new Ram HFE fuel economy special, which includes automatic start/stop engine operation and a bed cover.

Other changes for 2013 include electric-assist steering, more sophisticated electrical systems, active grille shutters, projector and LED lights on higher-line versions, revised cabin materials and dashboards, a lighter frame and box supports, more aluminum suspension components, central locking system that includes tailgate and RamBox compartments, low rolling resistance tires (for fuel economy), keyless entry/start, power sliding defrostable rear window, power folding mirrors and rain-sensing wipers.

On the outside, Ram continues with imposing stature. Like many Dodge cars, the Ram's front end has a forward tilt, but it remains very aerodynamic. Detailing for 2013 lowered the coefficient of drag (one aspect of total aero resistance) from 0.386 to 0.360.

The Ram is a conventional full-size pickup truck, but it differs in rear suspension and powertrains from all its competitors: primarily Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra twins, and to a lesser extent the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra. Because the Honda Ridgeline does not have a separate frame, cab and bed, nor a choice of two or four-wheel drive, we do not consider it a conventional half-ton pickup, although those buying a crew cab pickup primarily as a second car would be wise to consider it.

Underneath, where for decades pickup trucks have had a live axle in back with leaf springs, the Ram's rear axle is suspended by coil springs and it is located by four trailing links and a lateral Panhard bar. An optional four-corner air suspension is unique to the Ram, as is the RamBox bed arrangement. Basic front suspension design and brake systems parallel other half-ton pickups; only the F-150 also uses electric-assist power steering.

Inside, the Ram offers seating for three to six people, in-floor storage on Crew Cabs and environments that span working-grade vinyl and rubber to French stitched leather with ventilated and heated seats. Though it varies by region there are 10 Ram 1500 nameplates.

Brand loyalty in pickup trucks makes some sports rivalries look like civilized debate, and many will recommend only one despite the fact that there are no bad pickups. Shopping is made more difficult by so-called competitive comparisons we've seen online that imply drum brakes are better than disc brakes (we disagree) or 300 horsepower is superior to 400 pound-feet of torque (ditto). Add to that payload and tow ratings that change frequently. To choose the best truck for you, we recommend avoiding any buying decision made purely on brand or maximum cargo or tow rating.

With so many versions there is no shortage of Rams to choose from. Compared to the competition, the Ram's suspensions are unique and the styling is less conservative. GM and Ford half-tons offer more engine choices but none has an 8-speed automatic. The Nissan Titan is the only half-ton that offers a full eight-foot long bed on their Crew Cab model.

(Note Ram is now a standalone brand at Chrysler, though the government mandated vehicle ID number still names Dodge as the manufacturer.)

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