by Amy Lillard
What drives car buyers in today's society? Smart sizes, efficient fuel use, practical capability, and of course, the hidden perks and guilty pleasures. In our continuing series, we examine the most popular cars in America.
Billing itself as the longest lasting, most durable family of full-size pickups, the Dodge Ram has quietly danced with more efficient midsize cars to remain in the top 5 bestsellers.
Dodge trucks have been produced since 1917, but only in 1981 did the Ram head hood ornament give name to its trucks. Then President and CEO Lee Iacocca brought back the long-used symbol to characterize its trucks as rugged vehicles ready for long, trusted use.
Today the Dodge Ram is in its third generation of trucks, first introduced in 2002 (and 2003 for the heavy duty models). As with other bestsellers, the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado, the Ram comes in a lighter, more pedestrian model (the 1500) and more heavy-duty models (the 2500 and 3500). The 1500, which appeals to both families and those with heavy hauling needs, comes in two cab styles (regular and Quad) and multiple trim levels (ST, SLT, Sport and TRX4 off road).
The engines are where many truck enthusiasts drool over Dodge Ram. New motors introduced in 2002 were a 3.7-liter V6 with 215 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque and a 4.7-liter V8 that produces 235 horses and 295 lb-ft. Returning was the 5.9-liter V8 with 245 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque, an engine which was named of one of Ward's 10 Best Engines for 2007. The Hemi features Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System, which shuts down four of the eight cylinders when they are not needed. Today, the 1500 ranges in price from $22,000 to $35,000 fully loaded.
With the updates in 2003, the 2500 and 3500 got more powerful engines (including a Hemi 5.7-liter V8 with 345 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque) and greater towing capacities (up to 13,650 pounds). They come in regular cab, quad cab, mega cab (introduced in 2006 and holding six passengers) and chassis cab (introduced in 2007 and engineered for commercial upfit). Today, the RAM 2500 and 3500 range from $26,800 to $42,600. (ERATE strives to find you the best mortgage rates - 30 year fixed & 15 year fixed)
Some reviewers peg the Dodge Ram as the most attractive truck on the market, with a very distinctive front as well as one that promotes comfort and a smooth ride.
In 2007 fuel efficiency was addressed for the Dodge Ram, with enhanced performance by reduce-drag brake calipers and low-rolling-resistance tires. In addition, the standard 4.7 liter V8 comes with FFV capability (flexible-fuel vehicle), allowing the option of running on standard gasoline or E-85 ethanol.
For a complete one-stop look at current Ram features and specifications, visit http://www.automotive.com/2007/09/dodge/ram-1500/index.html. For all the news on new models and features, visit www.dodge.com.
A frequent contributor to ERATE® since 2006, Amy Lillard is a freelance writer specializing in turning complex information into useful tips and tricks for readers. For questions or topic suggestions, contact Amy at [email protected].