1997 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Distinctive sheetmetal, user-friendly cab.
  • No third door option, ABS is not standard, no passenger airbag
List Price Estimate
$824 - $1,735

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Vehicle overview

The Dodge boys had to know they had a winner when their bold Ram Pickup debuted for 1994. Few trucks have turned as many heads, or prompted so much comment. Whether decked out in Sport trim or wearing conventional chrome on its chest-thumping grille, this is macho mentality sculpted in steel.

Under the hood, the goods range from modest to mammoth. For the practical-minded, there's a mild-mannered 3.9-liter V6; or, a Cummins diesel whose throbbing note and power make a guy want to grab his Stetson and haul on out.

Those who'd like a little more muscle have a pair of V8s to choose from. Whoa! You're still not satisfied? Like TV's Tim the Tool Man, you want "more power?" Say no more. Just check the option list and you can barrel homeward with an 8.0-liter V10, blasting out 295 horses, and a locomotivelike 450 pounds-feet of torque. The Magnum V10 is available only in heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 series pickups.

This year finds four new exterior colors and two new interior colors available, as well as a Sport Plus upgrade for the Sport Appearance Group which includes 17-inch wheels and tires, sport-tuned exhaust, refined suspension, and a 5.9-liter V8. One first-season criticism centered on space. Only the regular cab was available, seating three on a bench. Dodge claimed its cab was the most spacious in the industry, but that was little consolation to potential buyers who needed to carry extra people. Last year, Dodge introduced a Club Cab that seats six adults, even if access to the rear isn't so easy. For 1997, Club Cab models receive standard rear-quarter window glass, and 2500 models can be equipped with a Snow Plow Prep Package.

Inside, the Ram Pickup is totally truck, as you face a flat, upright dashboard (but a steering wheel that contains an airbag). With any engine, tromping the gas produces a reassuring roar -- a reverberation of vitality. Otherwise, it's fairly quiet. Ride and handling are so competent that you almost forget you're in a full-size pickup, though occupants will notice plenty of bumps. Visibility is great, and controls are excellent. Automatic transmission shifts are firm, but not harsh, and the column-mounted gearshift operates easily. For such a large and bulky vehicle, the Ram is surprisingly agile and reasonably surefooted, but think twice before making any quick maneuvers.

Ram Pickup livability is improved this year. Order SLT trim, and you ca opt for leather seats and woodgrain interior trim. Remote keyless entry is newly optional, and includes illuminated entry lighting. A new combination CD and cassette playing stereo ensures that audiophiles can maximize utilization of their music collection.

More than 800,000 Ram Pickups went to customers during the first three years of production. Demand is still strong, and Chrysler recently opened a new plant to keep the supply lines full. Curiosity has tapered off, but when pickup owners think about a new truck, they can hardly help wondering whether a Ram lies in their future.

1997 Highlights

No major changes to this popular truck for 1997. Refinements include available leather seating and woodgrain trim on SLT models, optional remote keyless entry, and standard deep-tinted quarter glass on Club Cab models. Also available is a combination CD/cassette stereo. Items from the 1996 Indy 500 Special Edition are available in a new Sport Package upgrade. Fresh interior and exterior colors sum up the changes this year.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

1997 Dodge Ram 1500 Club Cab 4x4 Sport.
Adam,12/14/2006
This is the best truck I have ever owned. It is extremely realible. It is the heavy duty version, so I have not had any transmission problems. The only thing that is bad is the gas. I have did a little work on it to get batter gas mileage so it's not as bad.
Nice, fast, simple truck!
Thommy B.,06/15/2010
Just got this black and silver 1997 dodge ram ss/t. I always have been a fan of dodge, but this has to be one of the nicest trucks out there especially with as many years it has. The throttle is still very responsive, and it's tight like a new truck. A big 5.9 liter engine is plenty of power to haul this baby around. May be somewhat tiny but don't be so certain you can run over it in your huge trucks on lifts. The napoleon affect.
Never get stranded again
Jake Ramey,01/02/2016
LT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB
I love my Ram. I've always heard people complain of death wobble or trans problems and I've honestly not had any of those. Truck has 327k miles on it. She just keeps on trucking. The seats are the most comfortable ones I've ever had the pleasure of sitting on. Gas mileage isn't the greatest but it's a truck.
Dependable Plow Truck
Pete,06/08/2008
Bought my truck from a friend with 30,00 miles on it. Had a 8' western snow plow on it. I put my 7 1/2' western on it. Been an incredible truck. Plowed snow with it every year since I bought it. Every one always says Dodge Transmissions were junk, but mine went strong. Rebuilt it in Feb. of '06 with 128,000 miles on it (not bad considering what snow plowing can do to a truck). Still has original alternator in it. My snow plow's hydraulics are powered by the battery (electric). My dodge now has 150,00 miles on it and is still a great truck. Wish it were a crew cab. Single cab w/ 6' box. Short Wheel base makes plowing very nice though. But now have 2 kids and no room for the whole family.

Features & Specs

MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
12 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
220 hp @ 4400 rpm
See all Used 1997 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500

Used 1997 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Overview

The Used 1997 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 is offered in the following submodels: Ram Pickup 1500 Regular Cab, Ram Pickup 1500 Extended Cab. Available styles include WS 2dr Regular Cab LB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), WS 2dr Regular Cab SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), ST 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Extended Cab 4WD LB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), LT 2dr Regular Cab LB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), ST 2dr Extended Cab 4WD LB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), LT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Regular Cab SB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), ST 2dr Extended Cab LB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), ST 2dr Extended Cab SB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), LT 2dr Regular Cab SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), LT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Extended Cab LB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Extended Cab SB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), Laramie SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (5.2L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), and SS/T 2dr Regular Cab SB (5.9L 8cyl naturally aspired 4A).

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Dodge lease specials
Check out Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 lease specials