Full 2010 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 gets a higher tow rating, an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer-tow mirrors and a revised tire-pressure monitor that also keeps tabs on the spare.
Coming off a redesign last year, the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 represents full-size pickups at their best. A heavy-duty coil-spring rear suspension (instead of the traditional leaf springs) gives the Ram a more carlike highway ride, while still ably tackling the dirty work of a pickup. This setup also saves weight, allows for the fitment of a stabilizer bar and improves off-road performance. The ride itself is still far from luxurious, but in most cases, other trucks will feel positively primitive in comparison.
The Ram 1500's interior is also praise-worthy, outshining other trucks with its attractive design, excellent ergonomics and quality materials. A choice of three engines allows for a bit of flexibility to fit some budgets, but we really only recommend going for the largest 5.7-liter V8. Not just because we're horsepower mongers, but because it provides sufficient power and gets the same EPA fuel economy ratings as the weak V6 engine.
The 2010 Ram 1500 sees only a few changes to the model range this year. The tow rating for the 5.7-liter V8 jumps about a thousand pounds -- not because of improved mechanicals, but rather because Dodge (or is that Ram?) says that last year's figures were overly conservative. In terms of new features, the Ram gains an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer-tow mirrors and a tire-pressure monitor that also keeps tabs on the spare.
Given all of the praise we heap on the 2010 Ram 1500, it's no wonder why this pickup beat the competition in a recent comparison test. When pitted against the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra -- which are all excellent trucks in their own right -- the Ram took home the prize for its well-rounded strengths. Simply put, the Ram 1500 is a truck that gets it right in performance, comfort, design and build quality.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 is a full-size pickup available in multiple body styles and bed lengths. The regular cab seats a maximum of three people on its standard bench seat, and it can be had with either a 6-foot-4-inch bed or an 8-foot version. The extended cab ("Quad Cab") can seat up to six in two bench rows and comes only with the 6-foot-4 bed. The Ram's crew cab model expands rear-seat legroom even further, but is only available with a 5-foot-7-inch bed.
There are three trim levels. The base ST model (available in regular and extended cabs) comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, vinyl floor covering, air-conditioning, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, vinyl upholstery, a folding rear bench seat (extended cab only), a tilting steering column and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Options include chrome-clad steel wheels, larger outside mirrors for towing, cruise control, cloth seats, a bedliner and satellite radio.
The SLT is available in all cab styles and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, heated outside mirrors, carpet floor covering, cloth upholstery, cruise control, full power accessories, a power-sliding rear window, keyless entry, a trip computer and satellite radio. Exterior options on the SLT include 20-inch alloy wheels, trailer-tow mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps, an integrated trailer brake controller, a sunroof, "RamBox" storage bins mounted on the sides of the bed, foglamps, rear park assist and a rear parking camera. Inside, the SLT can be fitted with dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, power front seats, front bucket seats with a center console, a 60/40-split rear seat, rear under-seat storage (for crew cabs), leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rear-seat entertainment system, a navigation system with real-time traffic and Bluetooth, and an upgraded stereo with a six-CD changer and iPod integration.
The Sport package (available on all cab styles) adds some of this equipment, plus the larger V8, a body-colored grille, unique bucket seats and rear under-seat storage (for crew cabs). The TRX package, available on 4x4 Quad and crew cabs, adds skid plates, two-tone paint, heavy-duty rear shocks, tow hooks and fender flares. There are also regional option groups known as the Big Horn and Lone Star Packages, which bundle together a bunch of the SLT's optional equipment along with special badging and trim.
The top-of-the-line Laramie trim level (extended and crew cabs only) comes standard with 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-folding exterior mirrors, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory functions, a heated steering wheel, the 60/40-split rear seat, rear under-seat storage (for crew cabs), remote engine start, a universal garage opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, additional exterior chrome trim, wood-grain interior trim, Bluetooth and a surround-sound audio system with hard-drive-based digital music storage. The Laramie can be equipped with most of the options available on the SLT, if they are not already included.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard engine on the two-wheel-drive Ram 1500 regular and Quad cabs is a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 215 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy is a meager 14 mpg city/20 highway and 16 mpg combined.
The standard engine on the four-wheel-drive Ram ST and all SLT models is a 4.7-liter V8 coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission. Output is a healthy 310 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, while fuel economy with 2WD is 14/19/15 mpg (4WD drops it by 1 mpg).
Standard on the Laramie trim and optional on the SLT is a 5.7-liter V8 with a five-speed auto. Output is 390 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy with 2WD is 14/20/16 mpg (4WD is 1 mpg less). In performance testing, a 4WD Hemi-powered crew cab model went from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 10,250 pounds.
Standard safety equipment on the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, hill-start assist, trailer-sway control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In government crash tests, the Ram was awarded the highest score of five out of five stars for frontal and side-impact protection for all passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave the Ram its highest score of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection, but side-impact protection netted the second-worst rating of "Marginal" because of the likelihood of injuries to the driver's torso.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Ram 1500's interior is as good as it gets in the pickup segment. The range-topping Laramie, with its wood-grain trim and leather upholstery, makes for a very posh pickup, but even the lower trim levels have an attractive design, intuitively placed controls and well-textured materials. The front seats, while rather soft, strike an adequate balance between support and comfort. The crew cab's rear seat is very comfortable, offering loads of legroom and an agreeable seatback rake.
The Ram provides plenty of standard and optional storage spaces. The center console bin is quite large, while the crew cab features watertight storage compartments under the rear floor as well as shallow bins under the flip-up backseat. Unique to this pickup is the optional new RamBox feature, which places a pair of lockable compartments over the rear fenders inside the truck bed. It's a neat feature, though we've found the durability of the compartments isn't as good as one might expect.
With its body-on-frame construction, the 2010 Ram 1500 exhibits the expected body jiggle over bumps. However, its rear coil-spring suspension virtually eliminates the harsh ride previously endemic to full-size trucks. The result is a much smoother, more sophisticated ride that sets the Ram apart from all other traditional pickups.
We would steer potential owners away from the Ram's base V6, which is not only underpowered for the pickup's heft, but also offers no fuel economy advantage. The 4.7-liter V8 is adequate, but given that it gets worse gas mileage than the 5.7-liter V8, it seems like a no-brainer to step up to the big engine. We wish the five-speed automatic came with another gear, though, in order to optimize both fuel economy and towing ability, like the six-speed-equipped GM and Toyota pickups. One of the several optional axle ratios may be in order if you need to tow something, but keep in mind that this will come at the cost of fuel economy. Disappointingly, the Ram's steering is eerily light and lacks any sort of feel.