2017 Ram 1500: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
The Ram 1500 is the best-selling vehicle in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles portfolio, and has been the third-most-popular vehicle in America for a long time. With a variety of engines, cab styles, drivetrains and bed lengths, the half-ton Ram 1500 can be configured in myriad ways. The chief competitors of the 1500 are the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500, with the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra offering similar features but selling in considerably lower numbers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNight Edition
Our test vehicle was the 2017 Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X4 Night Edition. The Night package features a black grille, black exterior badging and 20-inch gloss black wheels. Optional extras on our vehicle included a 9-speaker premium Alpine audio system, a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, a Sport Performance Hood, Uconnect 8.4 Navigation, 4-Corner Air Suspension, a Ram Box Cargo System, a Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover and Spray-in Bedliner. Total MSRP comes to $55,850. In addition, this truck was equipped with two after-market items form the Mopar parts catalog: Cold Air Intake ($493) and Cat-Back Performance Exhaust ($1,175).

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat We Like
Considering all the large pickups available in the U.S., we’ve always been partial to the big-rig style of the Ram. The Night Edition package adds a level of sportiness, especially with the 20-inch wheels, big dual pipes out back and the additional Sport Performance hood. The black décor works well in contrast to the Flame Red paint.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHEMI V8
Sure, we get it — the trend in trucks is toward smaller-displacement turbocharged engines that offer better gas mileage, but a big V8 simply seems right for a full-size pickup. Our tester had the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that puts out 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is very strong strong, and nicely accompanied by a wonderfully roaring exhaust note thanks to the Mopar exhaust.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRide
We were pleasantly surprised by how well the Ram feels on the road. Trucks are often bouncy and rough unless they have a full load in the bed, but the Ram is very comfortable with a smooth, quiet ride. Handling is commendable — for a full-size truck — and the Ram handled some light snow we encountered without a problem. Four-wheel drive is easily selected via a set of buttons on the dashboard.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRambox
First and foremost a pickup, the Ram 1500’s bed functions best for most cargo-carrying needs. For smaller gear that shouldn’t be left sliding around in the open bed of a truck or needing protection from the elements, the solution is the Rambox. Built into the sidewalls of the bed, Ramboxes are lockable storage bins that protect all types of items. You can even fill them with ice like a cooler — plugs in the box bottoms can be removed for drainage.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
The rear seat of the Ram Crew Cab is as roomy as some of the largest sedans on the market. When not in use for passengers, the seat bottoms can be raised out of the way to reveal a flat floor that easily stores luggage or other large items requiring in-cab security.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStorage
We were surprised by the number of storage locations in the Ram’s front seat. The center console has two storage bins, storage on either side of the console, pockets in the doors and two glove boxes. Between the two seats resides a huge enclosed bin with an additional top compartment for documents or even a laptop.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHeated Seats / Wheel
We happened to be testing the Ram during a rare cold and snowy spell in the Seattle area. When starting up the truck on cold mornings, the heated seats and steering wheel turn on automatically — a nice touch. Another convenient feature is remote start; the pickup interior warmed up while we cleared snow off the windows. By the time we got in, the seat and wheel were toasty. The only annoyance with this feature: it turns on the heat at each startup, which seems unnecessary when after the truck is no longer cold inside.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat We Don’t Like
Although we love the look of the Night Edition’s accent trim, on closer inspection the black grille looks and feels a bit cheap, as if it would easily break. The vents in the Performance Hood look great from a distance, but it’s disappointing to discover that they’re non-functioning plastic inserts.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Economy
We know this is a big truck, and we’ve already raved about the big V8, but fuel economy is the unfortunate cost of all that power. Fuel-economy numbers on the truck’s display reported just over 11 mpg in city driving, with a slight improvement on the freeway. The EPA rates the Ram 1500 at 21 mpg on the highway, but our heavy right foot prevented us from reaching that mark.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStandout Feature
During our time with this big pickup, we were impressed with the Ram Air Suspension — a feature we would expect to see on a Range Rover, not a Ram. With the push of a button on the dash, the truck can be lowered for easy entry or raised for increased ground clearance. At freeway speeds the truck automatically lowers itself in an effort to improve fuel economy; we were unable to determine how much affect this actually has, but it definitely is cool.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
The Ram 1500 Night Edition provides a stylish ride, a comfortable interior and the proper utility expected of a truck. The red exterior and black trim certainly help it make a strong statement on the street, and with plenty of space for passengers and/or cargo as well as a smooth ride, the Ram 1500 could easily replace a family utility vehicle. But be careful with that right foot — the addictive exhaust note means the louder the exhaust, the faster the fuel-gauge needle drops.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRam 1500 Night Edition

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