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2017 Ram 1500

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There’s a Ram 1500 for everyone—or so it seems, what with 11 different models and several class exclusives. It’s the only full-size pickup to offer an optional diesel engine for optimal fuel economy (for now) and an air suspension for carlike cruising. While the ride is faultless, the diesel comes at a premium and forgoes any semblance of performance. Nevertheless, the Ram 1500 has capable alternatives in an aging but reliable V-6 and a throaty V-8, and every model gets an effortless eight-speed automatic.

The Ram lineup remains mostly the same as 2016, other than certain features that are now standard on various models. The Rebel adds the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, automatic dual-zone climate control, remote start, the premium gauge cluster, backup camera and rear-park assist, a security alarm, and a limited-slip differential. The Laramie Longhorn gets LED bed lighting, keyless entry, auto high-beams, and rain-sensing wipers.

• Coil-spring rear suspension
• Eight-speed automatic transmission
• Engine oil cooler

Our Ram of choice is the crew-cab Big Horn with the 5.7-foot bed, which starts around $41,700. The bigger cab dramatically improves rear-seat comfort, and we prefer the 5.7-liter V-8 versus the diesel because it can tow more and costs over $3000 less. Additionally, we’d add all-wheel drive ($3600) for capability. This setup rings in at $46,865 and features standard equipment such as a 7.0-inch driver-information display, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED bed lighting, and remote start. Our only must-have is the four-corner air suspension at $1715. We’d also ditch the front bench seat in favor of cloth buckets and a full-length center console for $295. Other standard features on the Ram 1500 Big Horn include:

• 8.4-inch touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system
• Automatic dual-zone climate control
• Front and rear parking sensors
• Class IV trailer hitch

Altogether, our nicely equipped Ram totals $48,875.

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The Ram 1500 offers what no other full-size pickup currently does: a diesel engine. With that said, it’s an expensive upgrade, and even though the gas-powered alternatives are capable, they’re also outdated.

The three available engines in the Ram 1500 are the base 3.6-liter V-6 that produces 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the 5.7-liter V-8 making 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, and the top-tier turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6, which is good for 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. All the powerplants pair with a seamless-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear- or all-wheel drive is available with each engine, but they’re not compatible in every cab and bed size.

EcoDiesel refers to the most “environmentally friendly” Ram. Since it’s at the top of the lineup, we compare each competitor’s equivalent. The diesel-powered Ram 1500 woefully underperformed at our test track. The Hemi V-8, on the other hand, fared much better in our acceleration tests and offers more horsepower than its direct rivals. At the end of the day, choosing between the EcoDiesel and the Hemi will involve driving style, workload, and budget.

Acceleration, C/D Test Results: Ram 1500 5.7L V-8

Acceleration, C/D Test Results: Ram 1500 3.0L Turbo-Diesel V-6

The Hemi V-8 provides the most towing capability, with a maximum of 10,700 when properly equipped. The EcoDiesel has a rating that ranges between 7500 to as much as 9210 pounds, and the smallest V-6 can manage up to 7610 pounds, depending on the configuration.

Tow Ratings Compared

Payload ratings for the Ram 1500 lineup range between 1050 and 1930 pounds, ranking the pickup dead last in its class. The 3.6-liter V-6 in the regular cab with the long box can hold the most and is a great candidate for a daily work truck. The EcoDiesel crew cab with the 6.4-foot bed has one of the lowest payloads.

Payload Ratings Compared

In Depth: 2017 Ram 1500

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C/D Fuel Economy Rating:

Naturally, the only lineup that has a diesel also has best-in-class fuel economy—but the diesel costs a lot more. The other two gas-powered engines are adequate, with average fuel economy.

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel gets an EPA-rated 21 mpg city and an impressive 26 mpg highway with all-wheel drive; rear-wheel-drive models get an estimated 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Those who want the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup would do well to consider the Ram. The 5.7-liter V-8 features cylinder deactivation that boosts gas mileage under light loads, but its all-wheel-drive EPA rating is average at 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. The 3.6-liter V-6 is among the best, with an EPA-rated 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway in rear-wheel drive.

Fuel Economy Ratings Compared: Ram 1500 5.7L V-8

Fuel Economy Ratings Compared: Ram 1500 Turbo-Diesel 3.0L V-6

In an attempt to replicate how most people drive on the highway, we’ve devised our own fuel economy test. Our procedure entails a 200-mile out-and-back loop on Michigan’s I-94 highway. We maintain a GPS-verified 75 mph and use the cruise control as much as possible, mimicking the way many drivers behave during long trips.

During this fuel economy test, the EcoDiesel Ram with all-wheel drive returned 25 mpg—1 mpg less than its EPA highway rating and 5 mpg better than any full-size pickup we’ve tested. The diesel makes a case for buyers who want a powerful and fuel-efficient option, even if it’s anything but fast.

Highway Fuel Economy, C/D Test Results: Ram 1500 Turbo-Diesel 3.0L V-6

Based on our testing, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel with a standard 26.0-gallon fuel tank has a range of up to 650 miles—100 extra miles over its closest rival.

Highway Range, C/D Results: Ram 1500 Turbo-Diesel 3.0L V-6

In Depth: 2017 Ram 1500

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C/D Performance and Driving Impressions Rating:

The Ram 1500 compensates for its poor test-track performance with a fantastic ride quality that is even better when paired with its class-exclusive air suspension.

Acceleration

There’s no way around it: The Ram is straight-line slow no matter its powertrain. Luckily, most people don’t buy trucks to take them to the drag strip; they buy them to get to work and haul their families. The Ram revels in this fact, and it’s fast enough for everyday duties such as passing.

Acceleration, C/D Test Results: Ram 1500 5.7L V-8

Acceleration, C/D Test Results: Ram 1500 Turbo-Diesel 3.0L V-6

Ride, Handling, and Steering

When it comes to the suspension, the Ram has a more advanced setup than its rivals. By using multiple links and coil springs, the ride quality is more akin to that of a car than a pickup. Opt for the air suspension, which automatically lowers the Ram at highway speeds for better gas mileage, and you’ll practically float across the pavement. The Ram also handles better than its cornering tests might suggest. While not as steady as the Ford F-150 or the Chevrolet Silverado, its body motion is minimal, and overall control isn’t an issue in daily driving. We noted that the steering feels light with minor travel; some editors have called it “numb” and added that it takes more effort than other trucks.

Maximum Cornering Capability, C/D Test Results

Braking

The Ram isn’t as fast as the competition, and it can’t stop as well, either. Initially, the brake pedal in our Laramie Longhorn crew cab felt soft until we completed a couple of stops. This sensation was uncommon during our time with the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra. Test results confirmed that the Ram was worse than expected, with the V-8 needing a concerning 213 feet to stop.

Maximum Braking Capability, C/D Test Results

In Depth: 2017 Ram 1500

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C/D Interior Rating:

By the numbers, the Ram 1500 has the least spacious front and rear seats. While we admit that even the tiniest crew-cab pickup can feel cavernous, when it comes to interior design, the Ram is getting long in the tooth and is less spectacular than some of the finer alternatives.

Interior Space Comparisons

The Ram’s interior space is smaller than the competition’s. The most spacious crew cabs of its rivals have two to three more inches of legroom in their rear seats, but the Ram’s still doesn’t feel cramped. In reality, it’s pretty amazing how much room for activities there is in all of the fully extended pickups, particularly the Ford F-150 and the Toyota Tundra.

Front Seats

Back Seats

Interior Features

The Ram’s interior is practical and boasts premium materials in its higher trim levels. Our Laramie Longhorn featured attractive leather trimmings and genuine ash wood. Unfortunately, some of the styling looked tacky—for example, its belt-buckle seat pockets and dash design details that look like they’d be tattooed around a bicep. Still, the first-row bucket seats are comfortable, providing lots of support. A rotary shifter located on the center stack saves valuable storage space, and its metal casing feels upscale. The rear seats in the crew cab are pleasant but could use more lateral support.

FeatureStandard/OptionalTilting steering columnStandardTelescoping steering columnNot AvailablePower-adjustable steering columnNot AvailableHeated steering wheelOptionalPower-adjustable pedalsOptionalMemory driver’s seatOptionalMassaging driver’s seatNot AvailableMassaging front-passenger seatNot AvailablePower driver’s seatOptionalPower front-passenger seatOptionalHeated front seatsOptionalHeated rear seatsOptionalCooled front seatsOptionalCooled rear seatsNot AvailableHead-up displayNot AvailableRear-seat entertainment systemNot Available

Seat Adjustments

2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Crew CabFore/
Aft
ReclineShoulder articulationLumbar supportHeightThigh supportSide bolsterHeadrest tiltDriver’s seatXXXXXFront-passen-
ger seatXXX

Cupholder Location

.ymmpcupholders { overflow: auto; padding-bottom: 32px; } .ymmpcupholders img{ width: 100% !important; opacity:1.0; filter:alpha(opacity=100); /* For IE8 and earlier */ -moz-opacity: 1.0; /* Netscape */ -khtml-opacity: 1.0; /* Safari 1.x */ -ms-filter: “progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=100)”; border: 2px solid #FFF; } .ymmpcupholders div{ font-size: 13px; padding:0; line-height: 0; } .ymmpcupholders a{ display: inline-block; position: relative; line-height: 0; width: 100%; } .ymmpcupholders a div{ position: absolute; left: 0; bottom: 0; backgraccordcar2016ound: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.8); padding: 8px; vertical-align: top; color: #222; } .ymmpcupholders span{ vertical-align: top; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1rem; } Vehicle Tested: 2017 Ram 1500 AWD Crew Cab

Climate Control

Manual climate controlAutomatic climate controlSecond-row climate controlSecond-row HVAC vent2017 Ram 1500NoTwo-zoneNoYes

Seating Height

Getting in and out of the Ram is made easier with the air suspension, as it can be lowered two inches. The step-in height is still high, but thankfully all the doors open about 90 degrees to ease entry and exit. The Ram has the highest seating height of every full-size pickup we’ve tested, but it’s barely above the Ford F-150. To accurately measure seating height—the distance from the road to the driver’s hip—we use an H-Point Machine (HPM), a precisely engineered device marketed by the Society of Automotive Engineers. This versatile tool, along with some lasers and simple trigonometry, also reveals the width and location of roof-pillar visibility obstructions. Our H-Point Machine and laser measurement tools determine the length of road ahead obscured by the hood as well as rearview-mirror blind spots.

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Seating-Height Comparisons

Blind Spots and Visibility

Although the degrees of visibility are very similar in all full-size pickups we’ve tested, the Ram 1500 has the greatest amount of frontal visibility and the lowest amount rearward. Small A-pillars and a hood that’s angled steeper than its rivals give the driver the shortest distance of obscured roadway ahead of the Ram.

Roof pillars protect occupants in a rollover crash, but they also create blind spots. We determine visibility by measuring the location and width of each pillar using an H-Point Machine and a laser beam (surrogates for a driver and eyeball, respectively).

In Depth: 2017 Ram 1500

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C/D Infotainment Rating:

The Ram features the Uconnect infotainment system, which is one of our favorite setups. Not only is it one of the easiest to use, it’s one of the most responsive on the market.

Infotainment Features

The available 8.4-inch touchscreen is the largest among full-size pickups and is standard on the Lone Star and up. Interacting with its functions and identifying information is a breeze. Navigation is helpful, and turn-by-turn directions also appear in a 7.0-inch color display in the gauge cluster. Touch commands work well, and many controls, such as the heated-and-cooled seats, can be activated through the touchscreen. We’d prefer more ways to interact with the screen other than a single “Back” button—the systems of other pickups have multiple button controls. In addition, the Ram’s infotainment isn’t compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Otherwise, Bluetooth connects without issue and provides clear phone-call quality. Incoming calls using the hands-free connection don’t reduce the climate control’s fan speed to quiet the cabin during the phone call. Calls do continue to use the infotainment system even after the truck is shut off and don’t transfer to the handset or get dropped.

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Apart from the standard USB, auxiliary, and 12-volt ports, there is an optional 115-volt outlet on the center stack. An SD card slot is located in the top of the center console bin.

.ymmppower { overflow: auto; padding-bottom: 32px; } .ymmppower img{ width: 100% !important; opacity:1.0; filter:alpha(opacity=100); /* For IE8 and earlier */ -moz-opacity: 1.0; /* Netscape */ -khtml-opacity: 1.0; /* Safari 1.x */ -ms-filter: “progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=100)”; border: 2px solid #FFF; } .ymmppower div{ font-size: 13px; padding:0; line-height: 0; } .ymmppower a{ display: inline-block; position: relative; line-height: 0; width: 100%; } .ymmppower a div{ position: absolute; left: 0; bottom: 0; backgraccordcar2016ound: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.8); padding: 8px; vertical-align: top; color: #222; } .ymmppower span{ vertical-align: top; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1rem; } Vehicle Tested: 2017 Ram 1500 AWD Crew Cab

Infotainment Performance

The Uconnect system is lightning fast, according to our tests and user experience, and it’s one of the few systems to earn an “Excellent” rating from us.

Infotainment Response Time, C/D Test Results

By filming the infotainment screen while switching between various menus and then analyzing the high-speed video frame by frame, we are able to accurately measure the system’s response time. We rate infotainment response, or latency, on the following scale:

In Depth: 2017 Ram 1500

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C/D Cargo Space and Storage Rating:

The Ram 1500 has the smallest available cargo beds as well as the least amount of interior storage space. While the disparity isn’t large enough to condemn the Ram, it may give some buyers pause.

In almost every crew-cab pickup that we tested, including the Ram, we were able to fit 18 carry-on suitcases in the rear seat. The Toyota Tundra stood out from the crowd for holding a total of 21 carry-on suitcases in its rear seat.

.ymmpluggage { overflow: auto; padding-bottom: 32px; } .ymmpluggage img{ width: 100% !important; opacity:1.0; filter:alpha(opacity=100); /* For IE8 and earlier */ -moz-opacity: 1.0; /* Netscape */ -khtml-opacity: 1.0; /* Safari 1.x */ -ms-filter: “progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=100)”; border: 2px solid #FFF; } .ymmpluggage div{ font-size: 13px; padding:0; line-height: 0; } .ymmpluggage a{ display: inline-block; position: relative; line-height: 0; width: 100%; } .ymmpluggage a div{ position: absolute; left: 0; bottom: 0; background: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.8); padding: 8px; vertical-align: top; color: #222; } .ymmpluggage span{ vertical-align: top; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1rem; } Vehicle Tested: 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn AWD Crew Cab



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