2012 Ram 1500 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Best-in-class ride quality
  • well-made interior
  • clever storage spaces
  • powerful V8
  • lots of interior space.
  • Weak base-model engine with poor fuel economy.
List Price Range
$7,797 - $11,788

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 Ram 1500 is a top pick in the full-size pickup truck segment thanks to its winning combination of strong performance, smooth ride and a classy cabin.

Vehicle overview

There are certainly basic requirements that you'd expect a pickup truck to meet. A truck has to be tough, both in practice and preferably in appearance as well. It has to tow and haul things that nothing else can. It has to have a robust V8 engine available along with four-wheel drive. The 2012 Ram 1500 satisfies all that, but then so do its competitors. Sure, one may be able to tow a little more or have a slightly tougher frame, but for the vast majority of jobs, any full-size pickup will get it done.

In order to stand out, trucks are built these days with unique conveniences and little luxuries, and in this respect the Ram definitely succeeds. The Ram features a unique rear suspension design for its tough solid axle that features coil springs, delivering a more carlike ride without compromising hauling or towing. The Ram also stands out with useful features like watertight storage compartments in the floor of the cabin and the lockable compartments that straddle the cargo bed.

The 2012 Ram 1500 stands out because it makes an owner's life easier, and this means that the higher trim levels of this truck that incorporate such features are probably more appealing relative to the Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra. This is especially true when you consider that the standard V6 and midgrade V8 do no better in fuel economy than the top-dog 390-horsepower V8. Really, it's hard to go wrong with any full-size truck these days, but if you want a really nice one, we think the Ram 1500 is a little nicer than the rest.

2012 Ram 1500 models

The 2012 Ram 1500 is a full-size pickup available in multiple cab styles and bed lengths. The regular cab seats a maximum of three people on its standard 40/20/40 bench seat, and it can be had with either a 6-foot-4 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 crew cab model expands rear-seat legroom even farther, but is only available with a 5-foot-7 bed. There are four trim levels.

The base ST model (available in regular and extended cabs) comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, a locking tailgate, vinyl floor covering, air-conditioning, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, vinyl upholstery, a folding rear bench seat (extended-cab only), a tilt-only steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player with an auxiliary audio jack. The Power and Remote Entry Group adds keyless entry and power locks, mirrors and windows. The ST Popular Equipment Group adds cruise control, carpeted flooring, cloth upholstery and satellite radio.

Both of these equipment groups are standard on the SLT (available in all cab styles), which also adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a standard V8, chrome exterior trim, a power-sliding rear window and a trip computer. The Power Equipment Group adds 20-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a rear stabilizer bar and an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar adjustment. The Media Center 430 package adds a touchscreen interface, digital music storage, an iPod/USB audio interface, Bluetooth and an auto-dimming mirror. Also optional are a leather-wrapped steering wheel and power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors.

The Sport (available in all cab styles) adds the above optional equipment along with a body-colored grille, 22-inch chrome wheels, unique bucket seats and console, and a floor-mounted shifter lever.

The top-of-the-line Laramie trim level (available in extended and crew cabs only) comes standard with virtually all of the Sport's features, with a few differences (such as 20-inch wheels, a front split bench seat and two-tone paint) and added luxuries in the form of rear parking sensors, additional exterior chrome trim, remote ignition, fender flares, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, a six-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, wood-grain/chrome interior trim and an upgraded sound system with a subwoofer.

Many of the above features can be had on the SLT and Sport. Other notable options (depending on trim level) include an integrated trailer brake controller, a spray-in bedliner, a sunroof, "RamBox" storage bins mounted on the sides of the bed, a rear parking camera and a navigation system with real-time traffic. A rear-seat entertainment system is also available on Crew Cab models.

There are also a variety of packages available as well. The Outdoorsman (only available on four-wheel-drive trucks) includes highlights such as the 5.7-liter V8 (already standard on the Sport), all-terrain tires, underbody skid plates, limited-slip rear differential, bucket seats with console, two-tone paint and fender flares. The Lone Star (available in Texas only) and Big Horn (available everywhere but Texas) are similar in that they bundle together a bunch of the SLT's optional equipment along with special badging and trim.

2012 Highlights

For 2012, the Ram gets a new six-speed automatic transmission and as a result, a fuel economy increase.

Performance & mpg

The standard engine for the rear-wheel-drive Ram 1500 ST regular and quad cabs is a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 215 hp and 235 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy is underwhelming for a V6, 14 mpg city/20 highway and 16 mpg combined.

The standard engine on the four-wheel-drive Ram ST and all SLT and Laramie models is a 4.7-liter V8 good for 310 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Fuel economy with RWD is 14/20/16 mpg and 4WD drops the highway estimate to 19 mpg.

Standard on the Sport and optional on the SLT and Laramie trims is a 5.7-liter V8 good for 390 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed auto is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a Crew Cab Sport went from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. Fuel economy with 2WD is also 14/20/16 mpg, but 4WD is 13/19/15.

Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 10,450 pounds -- this is less than its competitors, but not by much.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2012 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 testing, the Ram 1500 received an overall rating of three stars (out of five), with two stars for overall frontal crash protection. The Crew and Quad cabs received an overall side crash rating of five stars. Oddly, the results were different in crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Here the Ram received the top score of "Good" in the institute's frontal-offset test, but the second-worst score of "Marginal" in the side-impact and roof strength tests.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Ram 1500 Laramie compared favorably with competing trucks, requiring 130 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph. However, a lesser-equipped Sport did it in a short 122 feet.

Driving

With its body-on-frame construction, the 2012 Ram 1500 exhibits the sort of ride quality you expect from a truck designed to carry a payload of a half ton, but the coil springs in the rear suspension do much to maintain a comfortable ride on the highway when the cargo bed is empty.

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 advantage in fuel economy. The 4.7-liter V8 is adequately powerful, but given that it also gets the same gas mileage as the 5.7-liter V8, it seems like a no-brainer to step up to the biggest engine available -- if you have the extra money, that is.

The new six-speed automatic found in the V8 models helps optimize both fuel economy and towing ability, allowing the Ram to better compete with the Ford, GM and Toyota pickups. Still, one of the several optional axle ratios might be in order if you need to tow something, but keep in mind that this will come at the cost of fuel economy. The Ram's light-effort steering also lacks any sort of feel, which can be unnerving on a narrow country road.

Interior

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, well-textured materials and intuitively placed controls. 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 angle. If there is an interior quibble, it's that the available touchscreen audio interface isn't as user-friendly as the higher-tech electronics systems found in the Ford F-150.

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 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 sturdy as one might expect.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Ram 1500.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

The Ram Express is a winner!
ramilia2012,03/19/2012
I purchased a 2012 Dodge Ram Express in October of 2012. I fell in love at first sight, or maybe at that point it was lust. Nonetheless, within the first mile of the test drive I was in love. This truck is exceptionally smooth and POWERFULL! It is not a truck, this thing is a Race Truck! If you like having plenty of power readily accessible you will be well pleased. I have installed an aftermarket intake on my Ram and imagine it has well over 400 horsepower. The ride and overall smoothness of the truck are incredible. People comment on how smooth it is. I would highly recommend the Ram to anyone. I have gotten 19mpg on a trip to and from the mountains in NC.
Best truck I've ever owned.
Epillon21,10/19/2015
Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
Bought my Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi used, 45k miles but she looked and ran absolutely mint. 20k miles later she still runs absolutely perfect, the 8 cylinder, 5.7L Hemi is very strong and towing is a breeze. Gas mileage not quite as high as advertised but with Eco mode I can get 20+ mpg highway. Rides smoother than any truck I've owned, quick responsive steering with instruments easy to access and control. Uconnect is a nice feature also for hands free driving. Love my Ram! UPDATE 4/19/16: Have had some issues lately with my RAM. Two factory recalls related to malfunctioning airbags and steering issue. Shortly after the recall the truck was making a loud rattling noise on acceleration. Turns out all the bolts on the exhaust manifold sheered off, another manufacturer defect but no recall issued as told to me by a Dealership mechanic. Truck still looks new and runs strong but had I known there were so many factory issues I'd have bought a newer year.
2012 ram 1500 4x4 laramie
badbilly62,02/18/2012
i traded in a 2009 ram 2500 ctd,before that a ford f-150 xlt and this ram 1500 stands head and shoulders above them in ride quality.
RAM Costly to Keep
Joe Bourgeois,10/02/2017
Laramie 4dr Quad Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
Folks this my second RAM and I went all out when I bought this truck, did a spec and got everything I could wish for except navigation in the radio. It's a RAM Bighorn, quad cab, 4x4, 5.7 hemi, cargo boxes, and loaded. I felt I had the best truck on the market better than Ford, Chevy, GMC, Toyota, and Nissan and had researched them all. First issue was identified phones to work with truck Bluetooth radio didn't work well and most calls were dropped. After much research learned best radio installed with an out of date android operating system with no way to update. Also learned talking to RAM customer service a huge waste of time. I paid the truck off this month and was planning to do scheduled maintenance at 120,000 and became an owner. Same week check engine light came on put in trusted shop and had plugs (16 ), oil in front, rear, and transfer case changed, and belt. Advised check engine light from shorted coil and had changed. Planned to have radiator flushed and fluid changed. A/C for two years has not cooled well and mechanics have been trying to find a leak, I live in hot South Louisiana, prior to flushing radiator had them find leak advised in evaporator coil requiring weeks and dash board to be pulled. Also advised truck has a cracked exhaust manifold. Driving home and discussing scheduling of new needed repairs with wife whose vehicle I borrowed for the days vehicle was in shop, check engine light back on. Next week back in shop, no issue found advised if light comes back on bring to dealer, problem with computer. Driving home check engine light back on and brought to another shop where at presently. Advised cam shaft failure, no compression # 3 cylinder, may need new engine. Later advised could fix, and having cam shaft, lifters, timing belt, changed. Also having exhaust manifold, and evaporator core fixed and changed. Hopefully I'll get the vehicle back sometime this month after approximately $6,000.00 of maintenance and repairs. Note also two years into vehicle clothe seat bottom on drivers side failed $380.00 to replace, and three years into vehicle wheel tracking sensors failed. Note mechanic has advised me he has three RAM's in his shop with same problems, and when in at dealer trying to get parts had two mechanics ahead of him trying to get same parts. This truck was not cheap and I struggled to pay if off and now I will be struggling to just keep it rolling. This truck has been very well maintained, all service done, and not driven hard. RAM is aware of the short comings, issues with evaporator cores, cam shafts, lifters, tracking sensors, poor quality seat covers, and exhaust manifold and for their benefits issues occur at 5 year, 100,000 miles at end of warranty. Please note they report in their surveys of 95% of vehicles to 95,000 miles. Costly to keep, costly to maintain, avoid RAM. Follow Up note in resubmittal. Since posting this review I'm getting nuisance warranty review calls from different numbers from all over the country. On average three per day. I don't plan to buy another RAM product and gave them a chance first to deal with product short comings. I strongly advise from my experience AVOID RAM.

Features & Specs

MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 3
4-speed automatic
Gas
215 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
14 city / 19 hwy
Seats 3
6-speed shiftable automatic
Flex-fuel (ffv)
310 hp @ 5650 rpm
MPG
14 city / 19 hwy
Seats 3
6-speed shiftable automatic
Flex-fuel (ffv)
310 hp @ 5650 rpm
MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 3
4-speed automatic
Gas
215 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 2012 Ram 1500 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat3 / 5
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover19.8%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Marginal
  • Roof Strength Test
    Marginal
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Ram 1500

Used 2012 Ram 1500 Overview

The Used 2012 Ram 1500 is offered in the following submodels: 1500 Crew Cab, 1500 Regular Cab, 1500 Quad Cab. Available styles include ST 4dr Quad Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), Sport 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Quad Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), ST 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), ST 4dr Quad Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), ST 4dr Crew Cab SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), ST 2dr Regular Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Quad Cab SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), ST 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), Sport 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Sport 4dr Quad Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Quad Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), ST 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), ST 2dr Regular Cab LB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), R/T 2dr Regular Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie Longhorn Edition 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Sport 4dr Quad Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), Laramie 4dr Quad Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 2dr Regular Cab LB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), Tradesman Heavy Duty 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A), SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A), and SLT 2dr Regular Cab SB (4.7L 8cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Ram 1500?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Ram 1500 trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Ram 1500 ST is priced between $7,797 and$21,900 with odometer readings between 57775 and178624 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ram 1500 SLT is priced between $9,999 and$20,990 with odometer readings between 44139 and157707 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie is priced between $13,995 and$16,995 with odometer readings between 161307 and161307 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition is priced between $18,995 and$22,895 with odometer readings between 89201 and137565 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ram 1500 Sport is priced between $18,795 and$20,566 with odometer readings between 82115 and117805 miles.

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Which used 2012 Ram 1500s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Ram 1500 for sale near. There are currently 24 used and CPO 2012 1500s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,797 and mileage as low as 44139 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Ram 1500.

Can't find a used 2012 Ram 1500s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ram 1500 for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $25,600.

Find a used Ram for sale - 7 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $7,479.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ram 1500 for sale - 8 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $13,002.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ram for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $18,151.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Ram 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 Ram lease specials
Check out Ram 1500 lease specials