Ram 1500 Performance
The 2014 Ram 1500 impresses reviewers with its range of strong engines, including a new-for-2014 and class-exclusive turbodiesel engine. They also like its comfortable ride, which some say is the most car-like in the segment.
- "No full-size pickup drives more like a car than the 2014 Ram 1500." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Whether jockeying in city traffic or merging onto a fast-running freeway, the 2014 Ram 1500 moves swiftly and smoothly with any of the three available engines." -- Edmunds
- "Wind and road noise is impressively low, even at highway speeds. The V6 and 5.7-liter engines get vocal under heavy acceleration, but both quiet down nicely at a steady-state clip." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
- "Thanks to its exquisite eight-speed automatic transmission and Chrysler's jack-of-all trades Pentastar V6, the 1500's fuel economy, features and capability far exceed other V6 full-size pickups." -- Detroit Free Press (2013)
Acceleration and Power
The Ram 1500 comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. New for 2014 is an optional turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Also optional is a 5.7-liter V8 that puts out 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on the base V6 and turbodiesel models. A six-speed automatic is standard and the eight-speed transmission is optional on V8-powered models. The Ram 1500 earns up to an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class.
Reviewers say the base Ram 1500 has plenty of power, though some note that diesel and V8 models are quicker on the highway. Test drivers are impressed with the turbodiesel's ample torque, and say that the diesel-powered Ram 1500 has plenty of power for merging onto and passing on the highway. Most test drivers say that the eight-speed automatic is better than the six-speed transmission, since it shifts quickly and easily delivers more power when needed.
- "One of the best things about driving the new diesel-powered 2014 Ram 1500 is that you'll barely notice any difference compared with the gasoline-powered versions in normal driving. The cabin remains peaceful, and typical of diesels, there's plenty of thrust for merging and passing, and it's accessible from low rpm." -- Edmunds
- "The V6's horsepower compares reasonably well to most other automakers' smaller V8s. It can't match their torque, however. That leads to somewhat challenged acceleration on the highway and at midrange speeds. It's one of the truck's few shortcomings." -- Detroit Free Press (2013)
- "You might think with that many gears the 8-speed would be tripping all over itself, constantly swapping gears to find the optimal ratio. But the reality is this gearbox does a great job of quickly zeroing in on the right ratio with its five closely spaced middle gears for any given throttle position, road speed, or load -- much better than the old gearbox handled just six cogs. The wider selection of ratios helps keep the engine running at its most efficient rpm. The 8-speed's shifts are milliseconds quick and seamless to boot." -- Motor Trend (2013)
- "The 5.7 V8 is stronger yet, with impressive muscle for launches and abundant passing reserves." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Handling and Braking
The Ram 1500 comes standard with rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive is optional. Unlike most trucks, the Ram 1500's standard rear suspension setup uses coils, which reviewers say provide a more comfortable and composed ride. An adjustable air suspension that can raise and lower the Ram 1500 is optional. Test drivers say that in addition to offering a smooth ride, this option aids fuel economy by lowering the Ram 1500 at highway speeds and improving off-road ability when raised. Test drivers say the Ram 1500's steering is direct and responsive, requiring light effort at slow parking lot speeds, and that its brakes stop the truck smoothly. As is the case with many large vehicles, one reviewer cautions that the Ram 1500 is not especially nimble through turns and can be tricky to maneuver in tight spaces.
- "Instead of leaf springs for the rear suspension, the Ram 1500 has a multi-link layout with coil springs, with benefits in ride comfort and handling. Optionally available is an air-spring suspension and, while the ride quality difference between the two might be difficult to detect, the air suspension gives other advantages: Its load-leveling and variable ride-height enhances fuel economy, reduces load-in height, allows easier entry and exit, and provides increased ground clearance for severe off-road conditions." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "From the driver seat, the Ram feels more refined than its competitors, as its ride quality is smoother and steering more precise than you'd expect in a full-size truck. Running at speed on the freeway, the Ram 1500 is impressively quiet and composed thanks to its coil-spring rear suspension, making it well suited for long-distance drives." -- Edmunds
- "Likewise, the brakes are solid and confident. While they lack the initial bite of stoppers found on the Ford F-150, the Ram 1500 delivers a more linear pedal with positive feedback." -- Autoblog (2013)
- "A full-size pickup is a big boy; the word ‘agile’ does not come to mind, something essentially true of any truck in this class. Turning circles range up to 45 feet-not what you'd call parking-ramp handy-and a long wheelbase can be a handicap in really lumpy off-roading." -- Car and Driver (2013)
Towing and Hauling
When properly equipped, the Ram 1500 can tow up to 10,450 pounds and haul up to 1,930 pounds, which aren’t quite as good as the ratings of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500 and Ford F-150. Reviewers say that all three engines give the Ram 1500 plenty of power for towing trailers without major strain. Test drivers say the eight-speed automatic transmission keeps the engine in its power band without revving too high while the Ram 1500 is towing, and that the optional air suspension keeps the truck stable.
- "Of course, only lunatics like us will drive the 1500 EcoDiesel like a sports car. Playing the more suitable role of tow vehicle, it feels as relaxed as a slugger working with a 3-0 count. We had the opportunity to hook up 3,000 lbs. worth of boat and trailer, and can report that, while acceleration was predictably blunted, the truck otherwise seemed barely fazed, moving with a sense of steely inevitability." -- Left Lane News
- "Gearchanges from the eight-speed automatic are imperceptible, so the transmission never feels busy, as you might expect with so many gears. It's also a benefit when towing, as there are more ratios available to achieve an ideal engine rpm, and it could even limit your need to get a different axle ratio." -- Edmunds
- "Properly set up - in other words, with the V8 and air suspension - the Ram really shines as a tow rig. Most of the gadgets that make it so great pulling a boat or camper across tarmac would make me nervous thrashing the truck offroad, but aside from the fact that the acceleration is damped, you can't even tell the load is there. The Pentastar-powered truck boasts solid towing capability, too." -- Jalopnik (2013)
- "Towing was part of the experience in Tennessee, with V-6 Rams hitched up to various hefty trailer loads-a boat, a Bobcat, a large enclosed trailer-and the new truck handled them all smoothly, with no hint of strain." -- Car and Driver (2013)