Used 2000 Dodge Ram Pickup 3500 Extended Cab Review
The versatile Ram can handle everything from off-road bashing to towing an Airstream with ease, and still look good doing it.
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, and it takes two hands to count the number of look-alikes that have since debuted from other manufacturers.
The Ram Pickup 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. We've heard that 2002 will bring an aluminum-block 3.7-liter V6 based on the popular Grand Cherokee 4.7-liter V8, and there's also talk of 5.7-liter and 6.1-liter V8s.
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's 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.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.