What's New for 2000
The Ram 1500 Pickup Club Cab models with the 8-foot bed have been discontinued; also eliminated for 2000 are the 2500 Club Cabs. All Ram Pickups receive a new front suspension and steering system to improve ride quality and steering precision, and 2500s and 3500s have a revised rear suspension for a better ride when loaded. An off-road package is now available for the short-wheelbase four-wheel-drive 1500.
The Dodge boys must have known they had a winner on their hands the second they unveiled their bold Ram Pickup in 1994. The risky love-it-or-hate-it styling turned nearly every head then, and it still does today.
The Ram comes in Regular, Club, and Quad Cab half-, three-quarter- and one-ton configurations, and all are equipped with Magnum power, be it modest or mammoth. There's a practical-and-it-feels-that-way 3.9-liter V6 that makes 175 horsepower, and at the other extreme, heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 pickups can growl with an 8.0-liter V10, good for 310 horsepower (305 for California). Tucked in between for good measure is a 245-horse, 5.9-liter V8 and a 5.2-liter V8 worth 230 horsepower. A macho 5.9-liter, 24-valve inline-six turbodiesel is available if you like loads of torque (450 pound-feet), low-maintenance, and the overly loud purr of a diesel, plus have about an extra five grand to spend.
The Regular Cab has bench seating for three, while the Club Cab can cram three both front and rear, although access to the rear for storage and seating is difficult. With the Quad Cab, rear-access doors on either side of the cab make that easier, yet they're not separate full-size doors like on the new Dakota Quad Cab. Inside, the Ram Pickup is fully modernized, with ergonomics that match the utility of the rest of the truck. The controls are properly placed and completely functional.
Automatic transmission shifts are firm, but not harsh, and the column-mounted shifter operates easily. The manual transmissions are simple to shift and the gates are perfectly spaced. The half-ton's manual tranny is a five-speed with overdrive, while the three-quarter and one-ton reap the rewards of a much beefier transmission that has a granny-low first gear for getting going while hauling a heavy load. Although it's a bulky vehicle, the Ram Pickup is surprisingly agile and reasonably surefooted, but think twice before making any quick maneuvers. Ride and handling are so competent you almost forget you're in a full-size pickup, except if you're in an unloaded 3/4- or one-ton, in which case you'll be reminded over every bump in the road.
Yes, it's a full-size truck, but it does extremely well on trails and other off-road excursions. Dodge is well aware of the Ram capabilities and this year introduces the Ram Off-Road 4x4. Regular and Quad Cab short-bed 1500 four-wheel drives can take advantage of this off-road package that includes heavier-duty equipment, such as a limited slip, a recalibrated suspension for extra ground clearance, all-terrain tires and steering gear designed for low speeds.
An all-new platform and redesign is likely for 2002, and Dodge is again hoping to build another talk of both the town and the competition.