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2022 Ram 1500 Test Drive Review

For design, comfort, utility, technology, and driving character, the 2022 Ram 1500 remains one of the better trucks in its segment.

7.7 /10
Overall Score

In 2021, the Ram pickup line overtook the Chevrolet Silverado as the second-best-selling truck in America. That’s the headline. The nuance is that sales figures include the previous-generation version, now sold as the Ram 1500 Classic, which remains in production four years after its should have died. Also, General Motors suffered significant production disruptions due to the ongoing chip shortage. Nevertheless, and especially in light of the redesigned Toyota Tundra arriving in the market, we thought it would be good to revisit the most popular of the Ram trucks, the 2022 Ram 1500.

Look and Feel

10/ 10

The 2022 Ram 1500 is available in Quad Cab (extended cab) and Crew Cab styles with a standard 6-foot, 4-inch cargo box. A 5-foot, 7-inch box is available with Crew Cabs. In addition, seven trim levels are available, from the basic Tradesman to the high-performance TRX, which debuted to great fanfare just last year. Ram also offers numerous appearance packages, option packages, and special editions to customize the pickup’s styling and equipment further.

What's new for 2022? All Ram 1500s get a standard Clean Air System that filters a claimed 95 percent of all particulates from the truck’s interior air. In addition, starting with Big Horn trim, Ram adds the next-generation Uconnect 5 infotainment system, combined with an 8.4-inch or 12-inch touchscreen display. As part of the Trailer Tow Group, the new Trailer Hitch Light feature adds four LED lights directly above the trailer hitch to improve visibility after dark. Several new special editions of the truck also debuted this year.

Our Ram 1500 Crew Cab test truck arrived in Limited trim, equipped with a turbodiesel engine, four-wheel drive (4WD), and an electronic locking rear axle with a 3.92 axle ratio. The truck also had a Limited Level 1 Group, a Technology Group, a Trailer Tow Group, power-folding trailer mirrors, and a tri-fold tonneau cover for the bed.

Additionally, a Limited 10th Anniversary Edition package installed Indigo and Sea Salt quilted and stitched leather upholstery, a suede headliner, ventilated rear seats, a 19-speaker premium sound system, Ram’s unique multi-function tailgate, and lots of 10th Anniversary details. The total came to $77,260, including the $1,795 destination charge.

Among full-size trucks, the Ram 1500 looks great. Vestiges of the “big rig” styling that saved the Dodge Ram from that big scrapyard in the sky in the 1990s remain, but overall the truck’s design is clean and contemporary—even understated—in a segment where obnoxious, “hey lookit me” styling is increasingly the norm. Even the Limited model’s chrome is a natural fit with the design rather than resembling tacked-on, nouveau riche-style glam.

Inside, the Ram 1500 Limited is clearly a luxury truck. The design is busy, with exposed stitching, mixed materials, and various patterns and surfaces. However, what impresses us most is that it’s not easy to see the Ram Tradesman-grade plastic that forms the interior’s foundation. That cannot be said for other high-end half-ton pickups, including the new 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone.

A natural byproduct of this observation is that the Ram’s cabin exudes quality. The test truck’s Indigo and Sea Salt two-tone color scheme; the materials covering the seats, door panels, and dashboard; and the construction quality were all outstanding.


9/ 10

Ram offers several engines for the 1500 pickup. A 3.6-liter V6 is standard, featuring a mild-hybrid system called eTorque to improve performance and fuel economy. For more capability and a traditional engine note and exhaust rumble, a 5.7-liter V8 engine with or without eTorque is an option. The Ram TRX off-road performance truck employs an exclusive supercharged 6.2-liter V8 based on the Hellcat engine used in Dodge muscle cars.

Our test truck had Ram’s EcoDiesel engine option, which varies in price depending on the truck and the trim level. In our Limited, it ran $3,200 extra. The EcoDiesel V6 is a substantially more expensive diesel engine than the Duramax inline-six that General Motors bolts into the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, which is a bargain at $1,045. Ford and Nissan have discontinued diesel engine options in the F-150 and Titan XD, and the redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra doesn’t offer one.

Ram’s turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 generates 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, and pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Depending on the truck’s configuration, the EcoDiesel's towing capacity measures as high as 12,560 pounds. Our Crew Cab Limited 4WD could manage a 9,600-pound trailer and carry 1,780 pounds of payload.

Official EPA fuel economy estimates for our truck suggest it will travel 24 miles on every gallon of gas in combined driving. We effortlessly averaged 24.8 mpg on our testing loop, running the truck in automatic 4WD with the air suspension in its middle setting. However, it is important to note that the test truck had a tonneau cover, which undoubtedly contributed to a higher observed fuel economy number.

Price is a problem with the EcoDiesel engine, but otherwise, it is the one to get. The subtle clatter and the swell of torque endear themselves to a driver, and the trip computer’s average mpg display puts a smile on your face every single time. But it will take several years to save at the pump what you spent up-front for the engine. The path to savings is much shorter with a Silverado or Sierra Duramax.

Those GM trucks don’t offer a magic carpet ride, though. Ram uses a coil-spring rather than a leaf-spring rear suspension, and when you pair that design with the optional, class-exclusive four-corner air suspension with active leveling, you’ve got the best-riding truck around. The Chrysler New Yorker of pickups, if you will, but without all of the bob and float.

Beyond the truck’s ability to quell and isolate road zits, our Ram 1500 Limited’s interior was also unexpectedly quiet. Wind, road, and engine noise are hushed to remarkably low levels. We spent hours battling Los Angeles traffic from a lofty perch behind the Ram’s steering wheel. Between the quiet cabin, the outstanding 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, and the heated and ventilated front seats, it wasn’t unpleasant.

However, on stretches of L.A. freeway undergoing construction, the hulking Ram felt like a tight squeeze in the narrowed lanes. We had that same sensation on the mountain roads near Malibu, where recent rainstorms had deposited debris on the shoulders, leaving precious little margin for error on already narrow ribbons of blacktop.

Still, the same suspension that delivers such an impressive ride quality in urban and suburban driving lent the Ram 1500 Limited an athletic feel on some of the higher-speed highways in the Santa Monica Mountains, the truck’s butt staying planted on mid-corner bumps, cracks, and dips.

Overall, our test truck was terrific to drive. So equipped, a Ram 1500 rides and handles more like an SUV than a pickup truck, and that’s a good thing. We have only one complaint: a brake pedal that can prove challenging to modulate due to delayed braking action. It is most noticeable in heavy traffic or when you need just a little bit of braking to drop speed a bit.

Form and Function

9/ 10

Our test truck arrived with its power deploying running boards turned off. To turn them back on, we had to root around in the seemingly endless menus of the Uconnect 5 infotainment system, finally finding the virtual toggle for them in the Vehicle main menu under the Settings category and the Safety & Driving Assistance sub-menu. Yes, that is a strange place to put it.

Alternatively, you can choose Vehicle and then the Controls category to manually deploy or deactivate the running boards for single-use instances.

Now, why might you want to turn the power running boards on and off? If you’re off-roading, and you’ve parked where there isn’t much breakover clearance, you don’t want them extending out and down into rocks or mud or what-have-you. But you need to remember to turn them off in such situations.

In any case, if you run the Ram with the air suspension at its middle height setting, you’ll need the running boards to climb aboard the truck with ease. And, if you’ve selected the Limited trim, once you and your passengers are settled in, you’re going to be supremely comfortable. The Ram 1500 Limited has standard heated and ventilated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, tons of space, and a back seat that reclines a bit for added comfort. All that’s missing is a front-seat massage function.

Practical storage space is available throughout the Ram’s cabin. For example, the center console has trays, bins, and cubbies with covers to create a clean look, and the rear center armrest contains a covered tray and cupholders. Additionally, the front and back door panels include shelves and bins, and under the rear floor, Ram Bins offer concealed storage. You can also flip the rear-seat cushions up to create lots of in-cab cargo space.

Our test vehicle came with Ram’s multi-function tailgate. Power it down as a single piece using the release button on the key fob or the overhead console in the cab, and it can support 2,000 pounds of weight. Or, swing the individual sides open to stand closer to the bed while loading and unloading items. A center bed step deploys from under the bumper to help with getting yourself into the bed when necessary.

You can also equip the Ram 1500 with RamBox storage bins. These locking compartments are built into the sides of the cargo bed, but the test vehicle did not have them.

Tech Level

7/ 10

Though Ram makes few changes to the 2022 Ram 1500, one is significant. As mentioned above, Big Horn and above trim levels get the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system as standard equipment. It's a much more robust system that loads faster, provides quicker response to inputs, and supplies an improved range of features and services.

An 8.4-inch touchscreen display is standard in lower trim levels, with a 12-inch display available in higher trims. Our test vehicle had the 12-inch display, mounted vertically with dual-zone automatic climate controls to either side of the screen.

Highlights include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Alexa Built-in digital assistant tech, satellite radio, and connected services, including WiFi access. A navigation system is available, along with a 19-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system and a Ramcharger wireless charging dock. Note that unless you place your phone in precisely the right spot, the Ramcharger’s performance is sketchy at best.

The test truck had everything Uconnect 5 offers, and for the most part, it worked well. However, the voice recognition system either requires more specific language or returns unexpected results in some cases. Also, the system’s overall complexity can pose user experience challenges. Furthermore, we shut Uconnect 5 off as it was booting up at one point, and it wouldn’t turn back on until we shut the truck off, left it off for a few minutes, and then re-started the engine. Despite these experiences, Uconnect 5 represents an improvement over the Ram’s previous infotainment system.

In addition, depending on the trim level, tech options include a head-up display, digital rearview camera mirror, and a surround-view camera system, including for a trailer. Technology specific to trailering includes Trailer Tire Pressure Monitoring, Trailer Light Check, and Trailer Reverse Steering Control. The latter allows the truck to do most of the work when reversing a trailer. The driver sets the angle using a dashboard knob, and the truck then automatically steers.


6/ 10

Available driver-assist features on the lower-level Tradesman and Big Horn trims include lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring (including trailer coverage), and rear cross-traffic alert.

Higher trim levels are available with the Advanced Safety Group and Rebel Safety Group packages. The latter adds driver assistance features such as automatic high-beam headlights, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. The Advanced Safety Group includes those features, plus the head-up display and surround-view camera mentioned previously, rain-sensing wipers and a parking-assistance system.

Our test truck also had rear parking sensors and a rear automatic braking system. Unfortunately, despite the Ram’s significant ride height, the rear automatic braking system proved incompatible with some driveways, slamming on the brakes even when slowly creeping the truck backward. So we shut it off for the duration of the test.

We also turned the LaneSense lane-keep assist system off for the majority of the time because it can be too insistent about correcting lane wander, making it a source of irritation. However, it was nice to have the added safety net when driving on crowded freeways after dark. Also, the adaptive cruise control reacts smoothly to changing traffic conditions, which is always helpful.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Ram 1500 a Top Safety Pick rating when equipped with all of its driver aids. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the truck a five-star overall rating, but dual four-star frontal-impact ratings for the driver and front passenger suggest there is room for improvement.


5/ 10

Compared to other full-size pickup trucks, the Ram 1500 is competitively priced and equipped. But was much as we like it, the EcoDiesel engine does not represent substantial value.

The Duramax turbodiesel in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 is much more affordable than the EcoDiesel and gets between 24 mpg and 26 mpg, according to the EPA. A diesel engine option is no longer available for the Ford F-150, but a hybrid powertrain is, and it's good for 23 mpg to 25 mpg. The redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra offers a hybrid powertrain as well. And though Toyota’s new i-Force Max hybrid falls short of the EcoDiesel in efficiency (22 mpg in combined driving), it is a far more powerful drivetrain. Toyota also offers free scheduled maintenance.

Diesels and hybrids aside, the 2022 Ram 1500 remains one of the better full-size pickup trucks in its segment. In terms of its design, interior, utility, technology, and driving character, it is an excellent all-arounder.

Updated by Christian Wardlaw

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