My wife and I wanted the looks of a Dodge Ram. I wanted the economy and pulling power of a diesel. I get about 22 miles/gallon on interstate empty and get 13 mpg pulling an 8500 lbs 5th wheel camper at posted speeds.
I loved my 02 Dodge Ram but traded it in January 2007 for a new one. The new models indeed have more power but it was not needed. I towed and hauled to the MFG limits of the trucks and never had an issue. The 02 Ram had a better stance and a firmer suspension for heavy duty use off road and on, thus allowing me to go over the payload limits all the time and never notice a difference. Many days my truck ran with 3,000lbs in the bed and a 900lb snow plos on the front. GREAT TRUCK! VERY TOUGH! If you get a Dodge and can choose always go for the stick shift. ;-)
Bought my truck new with the Cummins diesel. It pulls my 32 ft fifth wheel easily. I get 17 around town and 22 0n the hwy. Pulling the trailer I get 9 to 12 MPG. Does wonder and good power. Transmission worked on once for rebuild at 60,000 and sensors at 135,000. Love driving it cross country.
In two years of ownership, it has spent four months in the shop. 2 transmissions, 5 rear axles, electrical problems in the dashboard, tow mirror replacement, and now the steering column fell out. It has been towed to the dealership twice. The quad doors rattle and pop because they don't shut properly. Dodge paint sucks. The hood, roof and rocker panels are completely chipped. Fuel mileage is poor. 9 mpg towing and 16 mpg empty. When a Dodge owner tells you they are getting 22 mpg, they're telling you a lie. Steering is poor. On the freeway, the truck wanders terribly.