By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/30/2011
Although in the past Dodge did not own a substantial portion of the full-size truck market, its Ram pickups retained a fiercely loyal fan base and offered some of the most outlandish full-size models on the market (think Ram SRT10). The Ram brand is now its own division, although the trucks are still sold and serviced through Dodge dealers. With clever marketing tools, distinctive styling and innovative features, Ram hopes its 1500 line will continue chipping away at rivals Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra.You'll Like This Car If...
If you like the rugged image of a tough-as-nails working truck, but not the harsh ride or crude interior that accompanies it, check out the 2011 Ram 1500. Its "big-rig" inspired styling is mighty impressive, as is its available Hemi V8 engine.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're the type that likes a pickup that can be beaten, dented and scratched, the 2011 Ram 1500's highly stylized exterior may be too pretty for you to risk ruining at the job site.What's Significant About This Car?
For 2011, Ram introduces a new 1500 Tradesman series. Aimed at small-business owners, the Tradesman is packed with commonly-requested features but at a price that easily fits today's tight budgets. Also new are the Laramie Longhorn and Outdoorsman editions. New features for the Ram 1500 include power folding mirrors, a factory spray-in bedliner and a new Garmin navigation radio.Driving It Driving Impressions
In the area of overall driving comfort the 2011 Ram 1500 has a distinct advantage over its competitors, thanks in part to its coil-spring rear suspension. Because most pickup trucks employ a leaf-spring rear setup, they tend to ride more harshly and can develop bounding motions over bumps. This is not the case for the Ram 1500, which can quickly control bouncing motions and help smooth out the ride over harsh or uneven surfaces. Beyond its smoother ride, however, the Ram 1500 still behaves very much like a full-size body-on-frame vehicle, so don't expect this big truck to drive, stop or steer like a standard sedan. Although the Ram 1500's steering is reasonably direct and the brakes are easy to modulate and control, the body still suffers from noticeable lean when rounding sharp curves.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. The 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.
Having been bitten in the past by reports of poor-grade plastics and dull interior colors, Ram has stepped up to meet its critics. The 1500's dash is still mostly made up of hard plastics, but areas frequently touched (such as the armrest and door edges) are now covered in soft-touch material and extra padding. Ram has given the 2011 Ram 1500 extensive sound deadening material, creating a cabin that is surprisingly quiet at highway speeds. All cabs offer good front-seat leg and head room, although a telescoping steering wheel would definitely improve the driver's comfort. Rear-seat accommodations vary, with tight quarters in the Quad Cab but plenty of space in the roomy Crew Cab. High-end options such as heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel and rear-seat DVD entertainment make the rough and ready Ram 1500 feel almost limousine-like.Exterior
The 2011 Ram 1500 is one of the most refined and car-like trucks on the road. The Ram 1500's styling, on the other hand, remains polarizing. With its cantilever front end, large cross-hair chrome grille and massive chrome wheel options, no one will ever mistake a Ram for a Chevy. Like its rivals, the Ram 1500 features a variety of cab and bed configurations. 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 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 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, spray-in bedliner, 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 Garmin 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. Available trims include ST, SLT, Sport, Outdoorsman, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn, as well as the Big Horn and Lone Star packages.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 also delivers fuel economy comparable to that of the 4.7-liter V8, and it can tow a heavier load. Ram claims the Ram 1500 Sport Regular Cab with the Hemi is the fastest pickup in the class, with a zero-to-60-mph acceleration time under six seconds.
215 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
407 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/19 (4WD)
The two-wheel drive 2011 Ram ST Regular Cab starts at just around $22,000 and ranges up to about $30,000 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. The Sport model costs between $32,000 and $40,000, depending upon body style. A fully-loaded Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab can easily surpass $50,000. To see what buyers are really paying for the Ram, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book 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.