By KBB.com Editors
While full-size pickup truck sales are down, they still represent a substantial part of the automotive market. With a 2009 redesign, Dodge is hoping its Ram pickup can cut into the sales of the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. To accomplish that goal, Dodge has given the Ram a crew-cab body style, a coil-spring rear suspension, a refined interior, unique storage options and more available power with an upgraded HEMI V8. The result is a smooth, quiet pickup that is a match for anything in its class.You'll Like This Car If...
If you like your trucks big and bold, the 2009 Dodge Ram is right for you. The Ram retains its familiar "big-rig" styling, but looks even better thanks to a forward-canted grille and more chrome accents.
If fuel economy is a major concern, you won't like the Dodge Ram – or any other full-size truck, for that matter. For years, Americans have been treating pickups like cars, using them for everyday transportation, but today's higher gas prices have buyers wanting more fuel economy and putting pickups back in the hauling and work-duty categories.What's New for 2009
For 2009, the Dodge Ram gets fresh styling inside and out. New entertainment features include uconnect hard-drive radio and navigation, a powerful Surround Sound stereo and SIRIUS Backseat TV. Among the new storage features are bins under the floor in the back seat and RamBox storage in the bed sides.Driving It Driving Impressions
When it comes to ride comfort, the 2009 Dodge Ram has an advantage over its competitors thanks to a new coil-spring rear suspension. Leaf-spring suspensions tend to ride more harshly and can lead to bounding motions over bumps, but the Ram's coil springs calm those motions and smooth out the ride. Otherwise, the Ram drives like the big truck that it is, the steering is reasonably direct and the brakes are easy to modulate and control, but don't expect this big truck to handle, steer or stop like a sports sedan.Favorite Features
The RamBox storage system is offered on the Crew Cab. It includes 3.7 cubic feet of lockable, drainable storage space in each bed rail, as well as a cargo-bed divider that doubles as a bed extender. RamBox also comes with a bed-rail system with sliding, adjustable cleats to tie down and secure various types of loads.
The uconnect GPS system's 30-gigabyte hard drive holds song and picture files, as well as navigation map information. Songs can be ripped from a CD or downloaded from a thumb drive via a USB port. The hard drive lets you keep your whole music collection in the vehicle without toting a lot of CDs.
While the dash is mostly hard plastic, the armrests and the tops of the doors are nicely padded. Fit and finish is generally good, though a few rough areas could be better. On the road the Ram is quiet for a truck and there is plenty of front-seat room, but a telescoping steering wheel would enhance driver comfort. Rear passengers can be pinched in the Quad Cab, but the Crew Cab has lots of rear-seat room. Laramie models are upscale, with a leather-covered dash, wood trim and plenty of amenities. Available hard-drive radio, heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel and rear DVD entertainment with SIRIUS Backseat TV can make the Ram cabin a pleasant place to be for long trips.Exterior
The 2009 Dodge Ram is a refined version of the previous-generation Ram. The Dodge cross-hair grille remains, but is tilted forward, similar to that of the Dodge Charger. Also helping to change the look are tightened panel gaps, which help reduce aerodynamic drag. A true Crew Cab replaces the Mega Cab. The Regular Cab is offered with 6-foot, 4-inch or 8-foot beds, the Quad Cab has the 6-foot, 4-inch bed and the Crew Cab has a 5-foot, 7-inch bed.Notable Standard Equipment
Standard safety features include side-curtain side airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and Trailer Sway Control. The base ST model features air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo, vinyl floors, power locks and 17-inch steel wheels. The SLT adds carpeting, cruise control, power windows, heated mirrors, remote keyless entry and aluminum wheels. The TRX gains off-road-oriented shocks and has skid plates and tow hooks when ordered with four-wheel drive. The Sport model has unique bucket seats, fog lamps and 20-inch wheels. Standard on the Laramie are dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, leather upholstery, hard-drive radio, power heated front seats and rear park assist.Notable Optional Equipment
Optional features include the RamBox storage system, full-time four-wheel drive, sunroof, 10-speaker Alpine Surround Sound, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, navigation system, rear DVD entertainment with SIRIUS Backseat TV, heated and cooled seats and a heated steering wheel. The navigation system is easy to operate and voice commands can be used to program destinations while the vehicle is in motion. SIRIUS Backseat TV has three child-friendly channels that will keep the kids' attention on long vacation drives.Under the Hood
The base 3.7-liter V6 is fine if you use your truck as basic transportation, but the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is the best choice if you plan to tow or haul a lot of cargo. The HEMI is updated for 2009, with more power and torque. The HEMI also delivers fuel economy comparable to that of the 4.7-liter V8, and it can tow a heavier load. Dodge claims the Ram 1500 Sport Regular Cab with the HEMI and the optional R/T package is the fastest pickup in the class, with a zero-to-60-mph acceleration time under 6.0 seconds.
210 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
310 horsepower @ 5650 rpm
330 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 (2WD, gasoline), 9/13 (2WD, E85), 13/18 (4WD, gasoline), 9\12 (4WD, E85)
5.7-liter HEMI V8
390 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
410 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/18 (4WD)
The two-wheel drive Ram 1500 ST Regular Cab starts at just over $22,000 and ranges up to more than $30,500 for a Quad Cab with 4WD. The SLT model starts at around $26,000 for the Regular Cab and goes up to roughly $36,000 with a Crew Cab and 4WD. TRX models, which are available only as a Quad Cab or Crew Cab (and can be listed as packages, rather than trims), range from $32,500 to $37,000, while the Sport model costs between $38,000 and $40,500, depending upon body style. The top-line 2WD Laramie Quad Cab starts at about $39,000 and tops out around $45,000 for a 4WD Crew Cab. Add options, and the Laramie can approach $50,000. To see what smart buyers are really paying for the Ram, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price before going to the dealership. Overall, the Ram starts at a higher price than its domestic competitors and ranges higher than all vehicles in its class. We expect the Ram to retain below-average residual values.