2017 Ram 1500 Review


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2017 Ram 1500 Overview

If you want to make yourself stand out in the full-size truck market, it would be wise to employ some out-of-the-box ideas. Take, for example, the Ram 1500. This current-generation model has been with us since 2009, but you wouldn’t know that thanks to the constant improvements and refreshes Ram has been giving it ever since. The Ram 1500 is the only truck in its class to offer a diesel engine with impressive towing and fuel-economy numbers, feature a rear coil suspension setup to give it one of the smoothest rides, and offer the largest array of trims to fit your needs.

However, 2017 doesn’t bring any blockbuster changes to the Ram 1500 family. The only real changes of note are various trims getting more standard equipment and the introduction of a new visual package for the Sport. We’ll begin with the equipment changes. The Ram 1500 Rebel is the big winner for 2017 in terms of standard equipment, as it adds remote start, a backup camera, rear parking sensors, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Uconnect infotainment, automatic dual-zone climate control, and a security alarm. The cowboy-inspired Laramie Longhorn now gets LED bed lighting, rain-sensing wipers, and push-button start. The mid-level Bighorn comes standard with automatic climate control. And finally, the Sport is available with the Night Package. This exterior package adds a number of trim pieces and a set of 20-inch aluminum wheels, all finished in black.

The Ram 1500 is the most distinctive-looking truck on sale today. A lot of this comes from the 11 sub-models on offer. Each trim brings its own distinctive touches in terms of body panels, trim, and wheels. For example, the base Tradesman is positioned as the Ram 1500’s workhorse, with no brightwork, steel wheels, and a flat black front grille. On the other end is the Rebel, which stands as Ram’s off-road special. Aside from an increase in ground clearance, the Rebel boasts an intimidating grille with ‘RAM’ in large letters, a more aggressive front bumper, black fender flares, and 17-inch wheels wrapped in meaty off-road tires. In terms of body styles, Ram offers the 1500 in a Regular Cab, Quad Cab (Ram-speak for extended), and Crew Cab. Bed sizes range from 5.7 to 8 feet. A distinctive feature for the Ram 1500 is the RamBox system, a lockable container fitted into the rear fenders to provide additional storage.

Many consider the Ram 1500 to offer one of the best interiors in the full-size truck class. No matter which trim you decide to go with, the cabin offers an attractive design and intuitive control layout. Materials range from durable hard plastics on the base Tradesman to soft-touch materials and wood trim on higher-end trims. The Ram 1500 offers Uconnect on either a 5- or 8.4-inch display. The system is simple to use and offers a lot of features, such as navigation, controls for the climate system, and the ability to turn the Ram into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Seating arrangement depends on the cab and trim configuration. Regular Cabs can seat 2 to 3 people, while Quad and Crew Cabs provide seating for 5 or 6 people. The Ram 1500 boasts a lot of storage spaces. Regular Cabs feature a shelf behind the seats to store various equipment. Quad Cabs come with a fold-out flat floor when you flip up the rear seats and Crew Cabs get shallow bins under the rear seats.

Ram may have one of the smaller engine lineups in the class, but it's an impressive lineup nonetheless. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Next is a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. Lastly is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The two V6s are exclusively paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V8 is paired with either 6- or 8-speed automatic, depending on the trim level. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) comes standard on all trims except the Rebel--4-wheel drive (AWD) comes standard on the Rebel and optional on the rest of the 1500 lineup.

In terms of towing, the 3.6-liter V6 has a max rating of 7,610 pounds, while the 3.0 turbodiesel V6 comes in at 9,210 pounds. The 5.7-liter V8 is rated 10,640 pounds. When comes to payload, the diesel V6 is the lowest, with a rating of 1,600 pounds. This is followed by the V8, at 1,800 pounds, and the gas V6, at 1,890 pounds.

Fuel-economy figures for the Ram 1500 come in at 17 mpg city/25 highway/20 combined for the 3.6-liter V6 with RWD and 16/23/19 with 4WD. Opt for the V8, and figures drop to 15/22/17 for RWD and 15/21/17 for 4WD. At the time of this writing, fuel-economy figures for the turbodiesel haven’t been announced.

Safety equipment for the 2017 Ram 1500 includes side airbags in the front seats, full-length side-curtain airbags, stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, and trailer-sway control. Optional safety equipment includes a backup camera, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and an integrated trailer brake controller. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the Ram 1500 got an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars. As for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Ram 1500 earned the group’s highest rating of Good on the moderate-overlap front, side, and rear crash tests. But the Ram 1500 also earned the group’s second-lowest rating of Marginal in the new small-overlap front and roof-strength tests.

Ram hasn’t announced pricing for the 2017 Ram 1500 lineup at the time of this writing. Our guess is it will be similar to the 2016 pricing structure. That means a base price of $26,145 for the Tradesman Regular Cab with RWD and climbing to $55,900 for the Limited Crew Cab with 4WD.


Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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