Like its full-size light-duty competitors, the 2017 Ram 1500 pickup offers lots of choices including Regular, extended Quad Cab, and Crew Cab variants with V-6 and V-8 gasoline engines and a high-efficiency turbodiesel V-6, available with rear- or four-wheel drive. Plus, depending on cab choice there are different pickup bed lengths. Nearly a dozen trim packages are available with varying levels of comfort or utility. From an efficiency standpoint, the fuel conserving HFE model features aerodynamically designed side steps, grille shutters that close when the engine doesn’t need cooling air, and a rear lip on the tail gate, all to reduce wind resistance. At highway speeds, the HFE suspension goes into its lowest setting to further improve aerodynamics.
The Ram 1500’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 HFE is the line’s efficiency champ, featuring 240 horsepower and 420-lb-ft torque while delivering 21 city and 29 highway mpg, better than any full-size pickup. This engine is B20 biodiesel capable. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft torque that’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This combination earns an EPA rating of 17 city and 25 highway mpg and is E-85 ethanol capable. Ram 1500’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, rated at 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft torque, is standard on the Sport, Limited, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn Limited versions and optional on other models. This engine is rated at 15 city and 22 highway mpg and connects to a 6- or 8-speed automatic. A part-time four-wheel-drive system is standard but an all-wheel-drive on-demand system is available with the V-8.
Three cab configurations are available with three bed sizes. Regular cab trucks can be fitted with long (8 foot) or short (6.3 foot) boxes. Crew Cabs can be fitted with short or even shorter 5.6 foot boxes, while Quad Cabs come only with a short box. A standard bench seat can accommodate three adults while front bucket seats with a center console are optional. RamBox integrated storage compartments are available on the two shortest beds.
An optional air suspension provides five ride heights to allow high ground clearance for driving off road, along with generous departure and break-over angles. It also enables a lower step-in height. The air suspension smooths rough terrain and levels the truck when hauling or towing.
All Ram 1500 models come with airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, hill-start assist, and trailer-sway control. Front and rear parking assist is available but no blind-spot monitors are offered. There is a cargo camera and in-cab Wi-Fi hotspot. Mobile apps let drivers remotely lock or unlock their pickup or even remotely start it via their phone. Top-of-the-line Laramie Longhorn Limited trucks feature an 8.4-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, chrome accents, power adjustable heated seats, 20-inch wheels, 7.0-inch configurable gauge display, rearview camera, Bluetooth, and navigation as standard equipment.
The Ram 1500 is an extremely popular and versatile truck that delivers workhorse capabilities and civilized passenger-car features, making it a long-time favorite among full-size pickup buyers. Its price of entry is a nominal $26,295, but that can climb quickly depending on trim level, cab/bed configurations, and powertrain.