By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Full-size pickup trucks are now being asked to deliver ever-better fuel economy, and the 2014 Ram 1500 will be right around the top of the list. Among its fuel-saving features are an engine stop-start function, an available TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, and active aerodynamics, with grille shutters and an air suspension that, among other things, can lower the vehicle to reduce aerodynamic drag. There are all the expected configurations of bodies and cargo beds, 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive, and three engine choices: the 3.6-liter 305-horsepower gasoline V6, the well-known 5.7-liter 395-horsepower Hemi gasoline V8, and the new 3.0-liter 240-horsepower turbocharged EcoDiesel V6, which will be the fuel-economy leader. The 2014 Ram 1500 offers something for just about any full-size truck buyer.
If you want the only full-size pickup (so far) with the fuel economy of a smaller-displacement diesel engine yet all the pulling and working power you'd expect, the 2014 Ram 1500 is for you.
The truth is that every full-size pickup available can be configured to deal with any expected load, trailer towing or work duty, and they do have differences in features and engines. Pick the one you like and see the dealer.
KBB Expert Ratings
By far, the most important news for the Ram 1500 for 2014 is the addition of the 3.0-liter turbocharged EcoDiesel V6 engine. With 240 horsepower, it makes 420 lb-ft of torque (more than the 5.7-liter Hemi) and at only 2,000 rpm, so this combination will not shirk from hard work. And, it is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy while doing it.
Driving Impressions No full-size pickup drives more like a car than the 2014 Ram 1500. 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. For most general applications the 3.6-liter V6 will be perfectly acceptable. However, for pulling larger trailers, there's the choice of the robust Hemi V8 or the new EcoDiesel, which makes even more torque than the Hemi. The levels of wind and road noise, while very good for a pickup, are more than what would be expected from a mid-line sedan.
ECODIESEL V6 ENGINE
As fuel economy becomes increasingly important to truck buyers, Ram steps to the front with the 3.0-liter turbocharged EcoDiesel V6 engine, with 240 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque at only 2,000 rpm, and what will be extraordinary fuel efficiency. This engine is the forerunner of a new breed of pickup powerplant.
A versatile full-size pickup needs a versatile suspension system, which is why the 2014 Ram 1500 offers electronically-controlled air suspension. With the push of a button, ride height can be lowered for ease- of-access to the cabin and cargo bed or raised for up to 10.7 inches of ground clearance.
The 2014 Ram pickup is a nice place to climb in, sit down and take a ride. Materials show a high level of quality and panel gaps are notably tight. In the Quad Cab version rear-seat legroom is generous, but the Crew Cab models offer even more legroom for stretching out. The center cluster on the instrument panel includes a Multiview screen, which can display well over 300 readouts of pertinent vehicle information. We found the standard front seats to lack proper support for those longer rides – our suggestion is to upgrade to the available 10-way power driver's seat.Exterior
Several years ago, the Ram (then Dodge) was the first pickup to take on the so-called "big-rig" look and it's a style that, on the 2014 1500, still stands out in a crowd. You can't mistake the obviously big and decidedly bold chrome grille that looks for all the world like it came from an 18-wheeler. The 2014 Ram also offers some features still not found on the competition, such as the Rambox storage system that utilizes the tops of the rear fenders. Other exterior details include LED turn signals and taillights and an attractive assortment of available wheels.
The 2014 Ram is offered in a wide range of body styles, cargo-bed lengths, powertrains and trim levels, all the way from a basic work truck to a fully-loaded 4-door that rivals luxury sedans in its interior treatment. With so many variations and trim levels, the standard equipment list begins with a removable and locking tailgate, cruise control, automatic headlights, and a USB port, and goes from there to a number of interior and trim features, upholstery choices, wheel options, and powertrain and drivetrain selections. Standard equipment also includes hill-start assist, to aid when starting from rest on an incline.
With numerous options and packages from which to choose, the 2014 Ram 1500 can be fitted to suit practically any individual wants or needs. One item for consideration is the Uconnect Access infotainment system with its 8.4-inch touch screen and user-friendly interface. Additional options include a heated steering wheel, 10-way power driver's seat, rain-sensing windshield wipers, 115V household power outlet, air suspension and an engine stop-start system to help save fuel when idling. Since the steering wheel does not offer a telescoping function, taller drivers should consider adding the power-adjustable pedals. And don't forget to consider the EcoDiesel engine.
The standard 3.6-liter Pentastar gasoline V6 is rated at 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, and has an EPA highway fuel-economy rating of a commendable 25 mpg. It will probably be adequate for most general-purpose use. The well-known 5.7-liter Hemi V8 cranks out 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, but the fuel economy is, not surprisingly, only average at best. The new 3.0-liter turbocharged EcoDiesel V6 should prove highly popular, with 240 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque (more than the Hemi, and at only 2,000 rpm) and exceptional fuel economy. The EcoDiesel may very well be the main reason for many Ram purchases. The class-exclusive 8-speed automatic transmission is available with any of the engines.
305 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 6,175 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (2WD), 16/23 mpg (4WD)
3.0-liter turbodiesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
5.7-liter Hemi V8
395 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
410 lb-ft of torque @ 3,950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg (2WD, 6-speed automatic), 15/22 mpg (2WD, 8-speed automatic), 13/19 mpg (4WD, 6-speed automatic), 15/21 mpg (4WD, 8-speed automatic)
There are numerous versions of the 2014 Ram 1500 and prices vary accordingly. The 2-wheel-drive regular-cab Tradesman (the basic model) has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $24,500. Sport models begin around $35,000, with a fully-loaded Laramie Longhorn Limited Edition Crew Cab being well over $50,000. The V6 EcoDiesel engine with the 8-speed automatic transmission is priced at $2,850 above a similarly-equipped Ram 1500 with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and 8-speed automatic. The base Ram 1500 remains one of the most affordable vehicles in its class, and the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 can be expected to be priced somewhat higher. To see what buyers in your area are paying for the new Ram 1500, be sure to take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price before heading to the dealership. On the resale front, we expect the Ram to retain slightly below-average residual values.