Used 2002 Dodge Ram Pickup 3500 Regular Cab Review

Even though this is the last year for this generation, the attractive Ram 3500 pickups are still worth a look from those seeking a real workhorse.




what's new

Three new colors: Atlantic Blue and Light Almond Pearls and Graphite metallic are available for 2002. Although the Ram 1500 was completely revamped this year, the heavy-duty 3500 Ram pickups must wait one more year for their update.

vehicle overview

Even though its little brother, the Ram 1500, was redesigned this year, the brawny 2500 is not exactly lagging behind. With a variety of handsome body styles and power options to choose from, the 3500 can still handle any job assignment, be it ranch duty or snowplowing.

The Ram 3500 comes in Regular, Club and Quad Cab one-ton configurations, and all are equipped with Magnum power. A 5.9-liter V8 with 245 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque is the standard powerplant. Optional is an 8.0-liter V10, good for 310 horsepower (305 for California) and 450 pound-feet of torque (440 for California). And the macho 5.9-liter 24-valve inline-six turbodiesel that makes huge power (245 horses and 505 lb-ft) is available if you envision some serious hauling duties and have an extra 5 grand to spend.

Speaking of hauling, a properly equipped Ram 3500 can handle up to 5,067 pounds of payload and pull a trailer weighing up to 13,900 pounds.

The Regular Cab has bench seating for three, while the Club Cab can cram up to six inside, although access to the rear for seating (and storage) is difficult. With the Quad Cab, rear-access doors on both sides make that easier, yet they're not separate full-size doors like on the new 1500 Quad Cab. Inside, the Ram features sound ergonomics with controls that are properly placed and completely functional.

Underway, automatic transmission shifts are firm, but not harsh, and the column-mounted shifter operates easily. The manual transmissions are simple to shift, with well-spaced gates. The five-speed manual tranny has a granny-low first gear for getting going while hauling a heavy load. And mated to the Cummings turbodiesel is a six-speed manual transmission. Of course, a four-speed automatic is available across the board.

Although it's a bulky vehicle, the Ram 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 it's unloaded, in which case, you'll be reminded over every bump in the road. Beefy disc brakes with standard antilock technology are standard. And just as it's capable on pavement, the Ram does extremely well on trails and other off-road excursions, able to clamber through technical sections with the best of 'em. Just keep in mind the Ram's size when negotiating the off-pavement stuff.

Even as it awaits next year's rebirth, the Ram 3500 pickup is ready to serve those who actually need a serious rig to pull heavy trailers or travel off the beaten path.

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.