The Dodge Ram – One of the Great American Icons
Originally introduced in 1981, the Dodge Ram continues to be a flagship American truck, undergoing constant refinement with each generation in order to stay neck-and-neck with offerings by Ford and Chevrolet. More recent contestants in the full-sized pickup world by foreign manufacturers, such as Toyota and Nissan, continue to motivate Dodge to pull out all stops to stay on top of the truck game.
Multiple lines of Ram models allow it to compete in both the light and heavy duty pickup arenas. The standard 1500 starts out with a 175 horsepower V6, and appeals heavily to contractors and farmers who have basic pickup requirements without wanting to spend more than necessary. More pricey models step all the way up to Dodge’s legendary Cummins turbo diesel, producing up to 505 foot pounds of torque for greatly enhanced towing and hauling capacity.
If the stock offerings aren’t enough, a huge aftermarket is available for the diesels. A simple computer flash is available to adjust engine management settings and turbo performance, and these simple tweaks can increase torque output to 800 or even 900 foot pounds of torque.
In addition to the multiple engine offerings, there’s plenty to choose from in the way of seating capacity. A standard cab is common in fleet models, while crew cabs offer an additional set of doors and comfortable seating for five to six passengers. In earlier years, a “mega cab” option was available with even more seating – but Dodge has discontinued this option in recent offerings. Short and long bed options have been offered throughout the years to help meet your personal hauling requirements.
Like other domestic pickup trucks, Dodge has largely moved away from offering manual transmissions as an option in modern trucks due to superior advancements in automatic transmission technology. However, you can still get a manual transmission in some limited models, mainly in fleet vehicles.
Towing capacity will depend largely on which sub-model you choose. The 1500 Ram with a Hemi V8 is rated at 10,450 pounds. If that doesn’t suit your needs, you’ll have to step up to the Ram 2500 or 3500, which gradually increase this rating based on engine size. Additionally, you can further step up to a “dually” arrangement with two rear tires, increasing hauling capacity and the maximum tow hitch weight rating.
In order to provide affordable options, base model Rams are traditionally rear wheel drive only. For an added cost (which varies depending on the sub-model), a 4×4 option is available for nearly all models. The demand for this option greatly varies regionally, with more 4×4 sales in areas with snow or with an increased demand for off road capabilities.
As of 2014, a few additional options are available for the Dodge Ram models. 2500 and 3500 lines now have available air suspension, and Dodge has attempted to move away from the standard leaf spring suspension setup in favor of more advanced coil springs. In an attempt to compete with Ford’s EcoBoost engines, they have also introduced the EcoDiesel as an effort to merge the same concept with the Cummins diesel technology for which they have become quite famous.
After receiving federal funding, a limited production run of plug-in electric hybrid pickups is available as of 2011. To improve efficiency, this option was limited to the lightest Ram 1500. However, Dodge has had to temporarily place this endeavor on hold due to issues with the integrated battery packs. The limited production managed to create some impressive results, with up to 37 miles per gallon. The massive amount of stored onboard power provided additional benefits, considering the common construction application of pickup trucks. The onboard power could replace the use of traditional generators used at a job site by simply plugging equipment directly into the truck.