The 2017 Ram 1500 has the smoothest ride and one of the nicest cabins in the class. Its available turbodiesel engine delivers impressive fuel economy, but it can’t tow and haul as much as some competitors.
Is the Ram 1500 a Good Truck?
Like almost all full-size pickups, the Ram 1500 has a lot going for it, but two things make it stand out: its ride and low starting price. Competitors like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 use leaf-spring rear suspensions, which – no kidding – are the same types of suspensions that were used in the covered wagons that settlers took west. The Ram, on the other hand, uses a coil-over rear suspension, which is closer to the kind of suspension used in a car or SUV. The result is that the Ram has a smooth, comfortable ride. The tradeoff for that ride is that the Ram can’t tow or haul as much as competitors. There’s a reason most trucks have stuck with the old technology.
Even with the more modern suspension, the Ram 1500 has one of the lowest starting prices in the class. The base price is just a shade over $26,000, whereas several rivals have starting prices near or above $28,000. When fully loaded, the Ram 1500 has a price tag in the low-$60,000s, which is comparable to other fully loaded classmates.
In short, the Ram is a solid all-around vehicle with a few standout features, which holds true for pretty much every other truck in the class.
Should I Buy the Ram 1500?
The fact that the Ram is a good truck in a sea of good trucks is great news for you. It’s nearly impossible to buy a bad full-size truck, and the truck you buy simply comes down to your preferences. If you want a near-luxury-car experience in a truck that’s comfortable enough for commutes and long road trips, even with an empty bed, or if you’re looking for an inexpensive basic work truck, the Ram should be your top choice. However, if you want top-notch towing and payload capacity, others in the class out-pull and out-haul the Ram.
Compare the Ram 1500, Ford F-150, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 »
We Did the Research for You: 78 Pieces of Data Analyzed
Car shoppers will look at an average of 18 different websites when they’re deciding which car to buy. We’ve done all that for you, taking safety and reliability ratings and reviews from professional car reviewers and analyzing them with one goal: helping you decide if the Ram 1500 is the best vehicle for your needs.
Why You Can Trust Us
Just because we take a research-based approach to reviewing cars doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re talking about. U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for nearly a decade, and our autos team has a combined 75 years of experience in the automotive industry. All of the advertising on our site is handled by an outside company, and our editors don’t take drive trips that are paid for by car companies, so we remain unbiased and focused on helping you.
How Much Does the RAM 1500 Cost?
The Ram 1500 comes in 12 trims, ranging from the base Tradesman, which starts around $26,000, up to the Limited, priced around $53,000. The Ram is available in Regular, Quad, and Crew cabs, with Quad cabs offering a small back seat and Crew cabs offering a full back seat. You can also get the Ram with a short, mid, or long bed. While the base Ram is priced below average for the class, its features list is below average as well, offering basics like a USB port and not much else. Given that it’s meant to be a work truck and likely destined mainly for fleet sales, that low price and those limited features make sense. The Ram 1500 Express, which starts at $27,795, is more in-line with the features and prices offered by other base trucks. As you move up from there, the Ram’s pricing is in line with the rest of the class, though you might be able to save some cash by checking out the latest Ram deals.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ram dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ram deals page.
Ram 1500 Versus the Competition
Most automakers have gotten full-size trucks down to a science, so there’s not a lot that makes the Ram stand out. It has very good fuel economy for a truck, as well as a more advanced suspension, which results in a smoother, more comfortable ride for you, but it also can’t tow or haul as much as the competition.
Which Is Better: Ram 1500 or Chevrolet Silverado 1500?
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is one full-size truck with a cabin nice enough to rival the Ram 1500. The Silverado’s interior features plenty of high-end materials and the user-friendly MyLink infotainment system, which includes cutting-edge connectivity options. The seats are spacious and comfortable, and they feel luxurious in higher trim levels. As for performance, the Silverado shines by offering a lineup of powerful engines, ranging from its base V6 up to a 6.2-liter V8 that’s responsible for the Silverado’s excellent towing capacity, which tops out at 12,000 pounds.
Which Is Better: Ram 1500 or Ford F-150?
Despite having one of the lowest starting prices in the class, the Ford F-150 is the class leader when it comes to towing and hauling, with a max towing capacity of 12,200 pounds and a max payload of 3,270 pounds. Like the Ram 1500, the F-150 has a base V6 engine but offers more powerful choices, including a twin-turbocharged V6 and a V8. The F-150’s seats are comfortable, and it’s easy to find a suitable driving position. The available SYNC 3 infotainment system is easy to use, and the F-150 offers some active safety features not available in the Ram 1500.
Compare the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Ford F-150 »
Ram 1500 Interior
How Many People Does the Ram 1500 Seat?
Whether you opt for the Regular Cab, which seats up to three, or the Quad or Crew Cab, which seat up to six, you’ll find that the Ram 1500’s front seats are comfortable and supportive, so you won’t feel achy after a long day of driving. The rear seats – when available – have plenty of legroom, giving adults the space to stretch out as needed. All models are available with front bucket seats that reduce seating capacity by one.
Ram 1500 and Car Seats
Ram models with back seats have two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing up to three kids’ car seats in the rear seats. The lower anchors are easy to locate, but as with most trucks, the upper tethers are a bit harder to find – you have to thread the car seat’s upper strap down near the bottom of the rear seat. The owner’s manual covers how to do it in good detail.
Ram 1500 Interior Quality
The 2017 Ram 1500 stands out for its quality interior, which is arguably the nicest in the class. Every Ram 1500 trim features plenty of high-quality materials throughout the interior, giving it a posh feel compared to many other full-size trucks.
Ram 1500 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
The Uconnect infotainment system is an available feature that makes it easy to control a variety of in-vehicle functions. Available with a 5- or 8.4-inch screen, Uconnect features menus that are easy to navigate with large on-screen buttons. There are physical buttons on the dash as well, so you don’t have to always use the touch screen if you don’t want to. There’s also a voice recognition system built into Uconnect that works better than some rivals’ systems.
To help keep you and your passengers connected while you’re on the go, a Wi-Fi hot spot is available. Uconnect can also use your phone’s internet connection to give you access to informative apps, including Yelp. An optional 10-speaker premium audio system with satellite radio may appeal to your inner audiophile. You can also use the optional Bluetooth connectivity to stream music from your phone through the audio system.
Uconnect is one of the best-reviewed infotainment systems on the market, and it works well in the Ram. However, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which provide a more seamless integration of smartphone capability if you have an Apple or Android phone. Compared to the SYNC infotainment system in the Ford F-150, however, Uconnect wins, hands down. It’s easier to use, with more intuitive menus and faster responses.
For more information, read What Is Apply CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars with Apple CarPlay and Best Cars with Android Auto.
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Ram 1500 Performance
Ram 1500 Engine: 3 Good Engine Choices
The Ram 1500 comes standard with a 305-horsepower V6 that delivers ample power for most driving situations, other than heavy towing. It also gets about average fuel economy for a V6-powered full-size truck, earning an estimated 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
It you want better towing ability or just dynamic acceleration, then you should opt for the available V8 engine, which puts out nearly 400 horsepower. Be warned that choosing the V8 means you’ll take a hit on fuel efficiency. With the V8, the Ram 1500 gets 15 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway, though that is comparable to V8-powered rivals.
For the best gas mileage, choose the Ram 1500’s available turbodiesel. Ram claims it earns 29 mpg on the highway, making it one of the most efficient engines in the class, and it still provides plenty of power for towing.
Ram 1500 Ride and Handling: Smooth and Supple
The Ram 1500 has accurate steering and feels stable on curvy roads, but its true calling card is ride quality. Even over rough roads, the Ram 1500 delivers an incredibly smooth ride, and the available air suspension makes the ride even more comfortable. The air suspension is useful when hauling, too, as it can automatically level the truck for you if the payload is unbalanced. You can even lower the Ram 1500 while it’s parked so getting in and out of the cabin or bed is easier.
Ram 1500 Towing and Hauling: A Lighter Load Than Rivals
The Ram 1500 doesn’t have the towing or hauling capacity of class rivals like the Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado 1500. The V6 engine can tow up to 7,600 pounds and haul up to 1,930 pounds, depending on the trim and configuration. For context, that’s similar to what the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Sierra, which are compact trucks, tow and haul. The turbodiesel engine can tow up to 9,300 pounds and haul up to 1,600 pounds when properly configured – numbers that are also low for the class. Still, the Ram 1500 has respectable maximum capacities – nearly 11,000 pounds for towing and nearly 2,000 pounds for bed payload – when you opt for the V8 engine.
Depending on which cab style you choose, you can have one of three available bed lengths in the Ram 1500. Regular Cab models are available with an 8-foot bed or a 6-foot-4-inch bed, Quad Cab models come with a 6-foot-4-inch bed, and Crew Cab models are offered with either a 6-foot-4-inch bed or a 5-foot-7-inch bed. You can increase storage room on models with shorter bed lengths by opting for RamBox, which is a system of storage compartments built into the bed rails. The compartments are waterproof, giving you a great place to store tools, work gear, or even your bags after a trip to the store.
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Ram 1500 Reliability
Is the Ram 1500 Reliable?
The 2017 Ram received a reliability score of three out of five – about average – in J.D. Power’s most recent study. The 2017 F-150 received a 3.5 rating, while the 2017 Silverado beat them both with a predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five.
Ram 1500 Warranty
The Ram 1500 is backed by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty on gas engines, and a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty on diesel engines.
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Ram 1500 Safety
Ram 1500 Crash Test Results
The Ram 1500 has one of the lowest safety scores of any full-size truck. However, it still does pretty well in crash tests. It earns a four-star overall rating (out of five) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The F-150 and Silverado, however, each earn a five-star overall rating from NHTSA, which is the best possible score.
In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Ram 1500 Extended Cab earns scores of Good, the best possible, in all tests but the small front overlap and roof strength tests, where it only earns scores of Marginal, the second-lowest possible. IIHS also rates the Ram’s headlights as Marginal.
Ram 1500 Safety Features
There are no standard driver assistance features in the Ram 1500, and only a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and rear park assist are available as options. While those features certainly make it easier to back in and out of a space, hook up a trailer, and parallel park, many class rivals offer more advanced features. The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan both offer blind spot monitoring, and the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 both offer lane departure warning.
Read more about safety »
Which Ram 1500 Model Is Right for Me?
The Ram 1500 comes in 12 trims, ranging from the base Tradesman, which starts around $26,000, up to the Limited, priced around $53,000. While the Tradesman’s low price is alluring, you don’t get much for your money. That price gets you rear-wheel drive, the V6 engine, and not much else.
The trim with the best value is the Lone Star ($31,760), which gets you the top-notch Uconnect infotainment system and niceties like power windows and keyless entry. If you’re going to tow or haul, opt for the V8 engine, which adds about $1,250 to any Ram model. It not only out-tows and out-hauls the turbodiesel, but it costs less as well. The turbodiesel will add $4,270 to the Ram’s price, and given its towing and hauling numbers, it’s just not worth it.
Ram 1500 Sport
Priced around $36,000, the Sport model comes with the V8 engine, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8.4-inch touch-screen infotainment system, and a rearview camera.
Ram 1500 Limited
The top-of-the-line Limited model is only available as a Crew Cab, and it comes with the V8 engine, air suspension, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, navigation, a 10-speaker audio system, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and remote start.
Ram 1500 Options and Packages
The V8 engine is available in most models for around $1,100, while the turbodiesel V6 will set you back around $4,300. The air suspension is only available with Quad or Crew Cab models, and it’s priced at about $1,700. Four-wheel drive costs around $4,500.
There are numerous option groups and packages to add popular features to your Ram 1500, based upon trim. For example, the Popular Equipment Group adds cloth upholstery, satellite radio, and keyless entry to Tradesman and Express trims for around $600. You can get heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control in some models for around $500.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ram dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ram deals page.
See 2017 Ram 1500 specs and trims »
Who Builds Ram Trucks?
The Ram 1500, and all Ram trucks, are built by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Ram trucks used to be built by Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge brand, but it was spun off into a truck-only brand, under the Ram badge, in 2011. The Ram 1500 is built in the United States. The Ram 1500 was last redesigned in 2009 and has seen only minor changes since. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2009 through 2017 model years.
The Final Call
The Ram 1500 has three different cabs, three different bed lengths, three different engines, and 12 different trims to choose from. Now, we weren’t math majors, but that’s a lot of different combinations, making the Ram a highly customizable truck. The thing is, though, so is every other truck in this class. And while the Ram has a smooth ride and good fuel economy, it’s not until you go for the V8 engine that it’s towing abilities move from the compact pickup class to keeping up with the big boys. And once you opt for that V8, you can kiss the Ram’s good fuel economy goodbye.
So, why buy the Ram? Go for it if you like owning a truck but aren’t looking to tow the SS Minnow every weekend. It has a roomy, comfortable, and (in the upper trims) upscale cabin, as well as a smooth ride and poised handling. As far as trucks go, it’s an excellent lifestyle vehicle, letting you tow and haul when you need to, but still comfortable enough to commute in come Monday morning.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.
“The 2017 Ram 1500 is one of the oldest designs currently on sale in the segment, so you might be thinking that the Ram would be behind… — Edmunds
“The 2016 Ram 1500 is a top contender in the full-size pickup segment, thanks to a winning combination of strong powertrains, a smooth ride and a well-trimmed cabin.” — Autoweek (2016)
“From work truck to leather-lined luxury rig, the 1500’s smooth ride, comfortable seats and ample storage space make it a tool worth your consideration.” — Car and Driver (2015)