Used 2015 Ram 1500 Diesel
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2015 Ram 1500 is a top contender in the full-size pickup segment, thanks to a winning combination of strong powertrains, a smooth ride and a well-trimmed cabin.
Almost all of the light-duty full-size pickup trucks have received redesigns or updates in the past two years. These are exceptionally capable and versatile trucks, and it's fair to say that you're just not going to go wrong here when picking out a full-size pickup. But there might be subtle shades of "going right," and at that point you'll want to look at the 2015 Ram 1500.
With the only diesel engine offered in a light-duty full-size truck, this Ram can lay claim to the best EPA-estimated fuel economy in its class. But the "EcoDiesel" V6 is just one part of the Ram 1500's compelling story. Of course, some folks prefer a more traditional rumble under the hood, so Ram continues to offer its broad-shouldered 5.7-liter V8 as well. Even the base gasoline V6 is no slouch, delivering competitive acceleration and towing capacity for value-oriented shoppers.
Besides engine choices, the Ram 1500 has the nicest interior of any full-size pickup, with quality materials and an available 8.4-inch touchscreen interface that's impressively easy to use. We're also fond of the Ram's class-exclusive coil-spring rear suspension, which yields a composed, smooth ride both on- and off-road. Noise levels are remarkably low at speed, joining forces with the supple suspension to provide a luxury-grade experience on the highway. Whether you're looking for a basic work truck, a loaded-up family vehicle or a little of both, the 2015 Ram 1500 is a satisfying solution.
If you're shopping for a pickup, you'll no doubt come across the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and its more upscale twin, the GMC Sierra. They offer strong gas V6 and V8 engine options, as well as comparable cabin amenities. The 2015 Toyota Tundra boasts a strong V8 engine of its own, although it's now lagging behind in fuel economy and overall refinement. And no search for a full-size truck would be complete without the 2015 Ford F-150, which is completely redesigned for 2015 with a new lightweight aluminum body and two strong turbocharged gas engines. But even against such stiff competition, the 2015 Ram 1500 remains a top recommended pick for a light-duty full-size pickup.
2015 Ram 1500 configurations
The 2015 Ram 1500 is a full-size pickup available in multiple body styles. The regular cab generally seats three and is available with either a 6-foot, 4-inch or 8-foot cargo bed. The extended cab ("Quad Cab") can seat up to six and comes only with the 6-foot-4 bed. The crew cab increases rear-seat legroom and is available with either a 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4 bed. There are six main trim levels: Tradesman, Express, HFE, SLT, Sport and Laramie.
The workhorse Tradesman comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, black bumpers/grille/door handles, a seven-pin wiring harness, a Class IV receiver hitch, automatic headlights, a locking tailgate, a sprayed-in bedliner, vinyl floor covering, air-conditioning, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, vinyl upholstery, a tilt-only steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with auxiliary and USB inputs. Extended and crew cabs also have power windows and locks.
The Express is similar to the Tradesman but deletes the receiver hitch and bedliner, and it comes standard with 20-inch aluminum wheels, body-color bumpers/grille, foglamps, carpeted floors and floor mats.
The HFE (high fuel economy) trim level comes only in the regular-cab body style with the 6-foot-4 cargo bed, rear-wheel drive and the gasoline or diesel V6 engine. It includes black bumpers/grille, automatic engine stop-start (not available on any other trim level), 17-inch aluminum wheels, a tonneau cover, keyless entry and cloth upholstery.
The SLT adds chrome exterior trim, heated mirrors, power accessories, an overhead console, dual gloveboxes, a 5-inch touchscreen interface, satellite radio and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. Extended and crew cabs add a power-sliding rear window.
The Sport adds the V8 engine, dual exhaust, body-color exterior trim, 20-inch wheels, auto-dimming power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps and integrated turn signals, projector headlights with LED accents and smoked lenses, LED taillights, LED interior lighting, heated front bucket seats with driver power adjustments, upgraded cloth upholstery, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7-inch driver information display, a full center console, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone automatic climate control (except regular cab), "Uconnect Access" smartphone integration and online/emergency services (includes WiFi hotspot capability), an SD-card slot, a rearview camera and an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface.
Note that the regular-cab Sport is packaged as a special R/T model with the 6-foot-4 bed, 22-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, a unique hood, a black grille with R/T badging and a seven-speaker audio system.
The Laramie (extended and crew cabs only) reverts to the gasoline V6 by default, chrome exterior trim (with unique chrome grille inserts), clear headlight lenses and the front bench seat, but it otherwise includes most of the Sport's upgrades, adding chrome-accented 20-inch wheels, two-tone paint, leather upholstery, ventilated leather-trimmed front seats (vinyl rear seats), driver memory functions, a power passenger seat and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.
The Laramie is also offered in two higher sub-trims that take it into serious luxe-truck territory. The Laramie Longhorn (crew cab only) adds the V8, unique exterior styling cues, the spray-in bedliner, tow hooks, side-step bars, remote ignition, front and rear parking sensors, wood interior trim, upgraded leather upholstery, heated leather-trimmed rear seats, HD radio and a navigation system. The Laramie Limited adds monotone paint, automatic windshield wipers, automatic high beams, a self-leveling air suspension, keyless entry and ignition and even fancier leather upholstery.
It's best to think of these trim levels as starting points, as many of their standard items are optional on lesser trims. Also offered are two SLT-based sub-trims with extra accoutrements: the stylish Big Horn (Lone Star for Texan buyers) and the off-road-oriented Outdoorsman (includes the full center console and 7-inch driver information display plus a larger fuel tank, fender flares, underbody skid plates, tow hooks, all-terrain tires and a limited-slip rear differential). The Outdoorsman's upgraded hardware is available separately on other Ram 1500s. The "RamBox" weatherproof bedside bins are a stand-alone option on models with the 5-foot-7 and 6-foot-4 beds (except the HFE).
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Ram 1500's base engine is a 3.6-liter gasoline V6 generating 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic. Rather than a traditional shift lever, the eight-speed is controlled by a rotary knob on the instrument panel.
A rear-wheel-drive (2WD) layout is standard, but there are two available 4WD systems. Both have a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing; however, one is a traditional part-time system with manual mode selection, while the other additionally offers an Auto 4WD mode that automatically switches between rear- and four-wheel drive as conditions dictate.
Naturally, EPA-estimated fuel economy of the Ram 1500 line varies widely among the various powertrains. With the standard V6, the 2015 Ram 1500 4x2 boasts EPA-estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg combined (17 city/25 highway), bumping up to 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) in HFE trim. The 4WD falls to 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway).
In Edmunds testing, a Ram 1500 SLT extended cab 2WD with the V6 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, while a slightly heavier SLT crew cab V6 2WD did it in 8.0 seconds.
Standard on Sport, Laramie Longhorn and Laramie Limited (and optional on all other Rams except the HFE) is a 5.7-liter V8 with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. When specified on the Tradesman or Express, the V8 is hooked to a six-speed automatic transmission, with an eight-speed automatic offered as an option. The eight-speed is standard on all other V8-equipped Ram 1500s.
The V8's fuel economy with the six-speed checks in at 16 mpg combined (14 city/20 highway) for the 4x2 and 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway) for 4WD. With the eight-speed, the V8's ratings improve to 17 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) for 2WD and 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway) for 4WD.
Optional on all trims except Express and Sport is the "EcoDiesel," a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 rated at 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic is mandatory. Fuel economy is stellar at 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway) for 2WD and 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway) for 4WD. The HFE EcoDiesel goes a couple a miles further at 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) which earns it the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup title.
In Edmunds testing, a Ram 1500 Laramie crew cab 4WD with this diesel engine accelerated from zero to 60 in a mediocre 8.7 seconds, though the engine's ample torque makes a diesel-powered Ram 1500 feel quicker around town than its acceleration time would indicate.
A properly equipped Ram 1500 with the gas V6 can tow up to 7,600 pounds, while the diesel V6 maxes out at 9,200 pounds. The V8 can tow up to 10,650 pounds -- less than its competitors, but not by much.
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 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. A fully integrated trailer-brake controller is available, as are a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors.
Models with Uconnect Access have an emergency telematics system that connects you with 911 operators at the touch of a button and provides stolen vehicle tracking.
During Edmunds testing, a Quad Cab 2WD with the gas V6 came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is average for a similarly configured full-size pickup. A slightly heavier crew cab 2WD needed 133 feet. A crew cab 4WD with the diesel V6 stopped in 135 feet -- a reasonable performance given this configuration's extra weight.
In government crash testing, regardless of cab length, the Ram 1500 earned four of a possible five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal crash protection, five stars for side crash protection and four stars for rollover potential (2WD) but just three stars with 4WD.
While the 5.7-liter V8 has the highest rated towing capacity, the diesel V6 is a close second, and it offers much better fuel economy to boot. Although the diesel's acceleration numbers are on the slow side, we've found that it's just as capable as the other engines for normal commuting. For these reasons and more, a diesel-powered Ram 1500 Laramie crew cab 4WD earned an Edmunds "A" rating. That said, if you're not planning to do any towing, sticking with the base gasoline V6 engine will save you a bundle -- and the workaday Ram 1500 extended cab SLT 2WD also earned an "A" rating from our staff.
Gearchanges from the eight-speed automatic are almost imperceptible, so the transmission never feels busy, as you might expect with so many gears. It's also a benefit when towing, as there are more ratios available to achieve an ideal engine rpm, and it could even reduce your need to get a different axle ratio.
From the driver seat, the Ram feels more refined than its competitors, as its ride quality is smoother and steering more precise than you'd expect in a full-size truck. Running at speed on the freeway, the Ram 1500 is impressively quiet and composed. It gets even better when fitted with the available air suspension, a unique feature for this class. It delivers an even more supple ride, and a switch on the dash allows the truck to drop 2 inches to ease liftover and step-in heights when parked. Two off-road settings also allow increases of 1.2 and 2 inches above the standard height for extra clearance.
The Ram 1500's cabin is as good as it gets in the pickup segment. Even the lower trim levels boast an attractive design, with quality materials and intuitive controls that are reasonably easy to reach, while the available wood trim and premium leather upholstery are predictably posh. Seasoned truck owners might be thrown off at first by the rotary shift knob on the dashboard, but it quickly becomes second nature, and it frees up useful storage space compared to trucks with console-mounted shifters. The front seats themselves are soft, yet 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.
Two touchscreen interfaces are available (one measuring 5 inches, the other 8.4 inches) that do a great job of controlling simple and complicated tasks. The upgraded screen is particularly handy and appealing; it's one of our favorites in any vehicle. The virtual buttons are large and easy to see at a glance, while physical knobs and buttons provide much appreciated redundant control. Other modern convenience features include keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable pedals, Bluetooth, voice controls, smartphone integration and even WiFi hotspot capability.
The Ram provides plenty of standard and optional storage spaces. The extended cab has a clever fold-out flat floor space when you flip up the 60/40-split rear seats, while the crew cab features watertight storage compartments under the rear floor as well as shallow bins under the flip-up backseat. A unique Ram feature is the optional RamBox system, which places a pair of lockable compartments over the rear fenders inside the truck bed. With the right equipment levels, these compartments can even be locked and unlocked via remote.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
More About This Model
The 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel is a functional and complete off-road package that delivers practical levels of off-highway clearance, traction and style without sacrificing payload or towing capability.
What Is It?
Prepare to be disappointed if you were clamoring for a Ford Raptor killer. The Ram 1500 Rebel was not conceived with the same sort of Baja-inspired desert racing mindset that birthed Ford's single-minded off-roader.
But for most of us that's a very good thing. The Rebel is a less expensive, down-to-earth collection of off-road components that offers meaningful performance and clearance gains without harming the payload and towing capabilities of the underlying 1500 crew cab on which it's based.
The formula is similar to the Toyota Tundra's TRD off-road package, but the Rebel ups the ante with a 1-inch lift, 33-inch tires, air suspension and hiked-up front bodywork that improves the Rebel's approach angle beyond what the lift would accomplish on its own.
What's Different About the Ram Rebel?
Unlike Toyota's TRD off-road package, the Rebel is not an option. It's a brand-new trim level that brings along the off-road goodies as standard equipment.
Ram's four-corner air suspension is one of those standard items, and for good reason. It allows the Rebel's 1-inch lift to boil down to a software tweak that transforms the former "Off-Road 1" setting into the Rebel's normal ride height. Likewise, the old "Off-Road 2" setting becomes simply "Off-Road" in the Rebel and offers a further 1-inch boost when extra clearance is needed.
Other suspension changes include the addition of Bilstein monotube shock absorbers specifically tuned to tame body motions on paved and unpaved surfaces alike. The cornering balance of the new combination was trimmed with a softer rear stabilizer bar, a tweak that also helps its off-road suspension articulation. Revised wheel alignment specs keep the tires in line despite the hike in baseline ride height.
The tires are aggressive 33-inch 285/70R17 Toyo Open Country all-terrain units that span nearly an inch wider and stand a full inch taller than Ram's usual 17-inch 4x4 offering. They're more ideally suited to crawling over rocky surfaces and maximizing traction on sand and mud, and they offer additional impact protection for the Rebel's distinctive new 17-inch aluminum wheels, which have enough extra offset to broaden the truck's track width by about a half inch.
That extra width is why the Rebel wears the black fender flares from the Ram Power Wagon. Its blacked-out front bumper, on the other hand, is all-new and has a wraparound steel brush guard/skid plate built in. The bumper's raised bottom edge gives the Rebel a 23.8-degree approach angle when set to normal height, an increase of more than 4 degrees. Clearance is even more dramatically improved out toward the ends, where the bumper's "wings" are cut higher to expose more of the tire tread to rocky obstacles that lie ahead.
What Is the Interior Like?
The Rebel's interior is based on the Ram Big Horn, which means it's comfortable and well-appointed without being so pretty you'd hate to track mud inside. Black and red are the dominant colors, so the instrument panel hood and leather steering wheel wrap are decorated with red stitching.
Likewise, the Rebel's instrument faces are black with red anodized aluminum bezels instead of the usual chrome. Additional red anodized aluminum trim encircles the air-conditioning vents, dresses up the door panels and frames the cupholders and new smartphone holder that occupy the bin just ahead of the console armrest.
But the grained-vinyl and fabric seats make the biggest impression because the tread pattern of the Toyo Open Country tires has been pressed into the seating surfaces. We can't actually feel anything different when we climb behind the wheel, which is a relief because Ram 1500 seats are some of the most agreeable in the segment.
If you ever look up you'll discover the Rebel's headliner has been switched to black. Let your gaze drift down and you'll see heavily ribbed all-weather rubber floor mats that are meant to keep mud and slush from soaking into the black carpet.
How Many Body Styles and Engines Are Available?
Because it's the combination chosen by about 70 percent of Ram pickup buyers, the Rebel will only come as a crew cab with the 5-foot-6-inch short bed.
But that doesn't mean there are no choices. You can get your Rebel with the 305-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or a 395-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine. In either case you'll get the sturdy and economical eight-speed automatic transmission, which remains a class exclusive in the pickup world.
And you can get a Hemi-powered Rebel in a rear-wheel-drive configuration and save yourself $3,580 if the clearance, suspension and stance are all you want.
How Does It Drive?
Our test truck is a 5.7-liter 4x4 fitted with 3.92 axles. It moves out smartly and offers plenty of the familiar Hemi punch, even at our test location's 7,000-foot elevation. There's a little hum from the Toyo tires, but it never rises to the level of objectionable, even when the 5.7-liter V8 is mumbling along quietly on cruise control.
As with other Ram trucks, the air suspension drops an inch at freeway speeds to reduce air resistance. But the Rebel starts out an inch higher than other 1500 4x4s, so this merely brings it down to the regular truck's standard height. The result is a freeway ride that feels more compliant and pothole-resistant because the suspension isn't squatting as close to the bump stops.
The Bilstein monotube shocks deserve credit for this, too, but they cope well with the insistent hammering of washboard dirt roads. And there's no wheel hop when climbing the steep volcanic cinder cones on our test loop. The ingredients are all around us, but the Rebel doesn't take the bait.
Our test area doesn't include the sort of rock-strewn roads and crumbly ledges we see back home, so the jury is still out on that point. But the suspension, clearance, gearing and tires our Rebel enjoys don't leave much to the imagination. There's no reason it shouldn't excel, but we can't be certain until we get a production model on home soil.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
EPA regulations make allowances for special models like the Rebel, so its window sticker fuel economy matches that of the volume-selling versions of the Ram 1500 pickups that share its drivetrains.
The 3.6-liter V6 Rebel is rated at 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) and the 5.7-liter Hemi 4x4 version is rated at 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway). The Rebel 4x2 Hemi matches the 4x4 except it earns 22 mpg on the highway.
Keep in mind that the Rebel's 3.92 axle gearing, broad Toyo knobby tires and the aerodynamic disadvantage of its taller stance were never part of the Ram 1500 fuel economy testing rubric. These attributes will surely take a bite out of its actual fuel consumption.
Rebel V8 buyers who want maximum fuel economy instead of maximum towing and off-road prowess should avoid the 3.92 axles and buy the standard 3.21 ratio. This strategy is unavailable to Rebel V6 buyers because 3.92 gearing is the only offering there.
The absence of Rebel-specific fuel economy testing makes it impossible to confirm, but what all of this means is the 5.7-liter Hemi 4x2 Rebel with 3.21 gears may well be the thriftiest real-world combination. It's certainly the cheapest one to buy.
How Much Extra Will It Cost?
The Rebel 4x4 with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 starts out at $45,915. If that's higher than you expected, remember that air suspension (a Ram option that usually goes for $1,695) is standard fare here.
Move up to the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and your cost of entry rises to $47,565 for the 4x4 configuration. Want the Hemi but don't need four-wheel drive? You're in luck. The cheapest Rebel by far is the V8 two-wheel-drive model, which starts at $43,985.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
The Rebel offers much more than the retuned shocks and modest tire changes associated with the 2015 Ford F-150 FX4 or 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 packages. It would be unfair to characterize these stand-alone options as sticker packages, but the Rebel's 1-inch lift, air suspension, Bilstein shocks, redesigned front bumper and taller tires represent a more meaningful nod to enhanced off-road performance than either of them.
Toyota's 2015 Toyota Tundra comes in two off-road flavors, the TRD off-road package option and the TRD Pro off-road trim level. Both come with Bilstein shocks, and the basic Tundra has a goodly amount of underbody clearance and an admirable approach angle. Functionally, the Rebel slots between the two.
It has more to offer than the relatively inexpensive TRD off-road package, but Toyota offers that on any trim level at a lower price point. The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro V8 4x4 rides on a 2-inch lift and has extended suspension travel. Its Bilsteins are sophisticated big-bore remote reservoir units with multistage damping. The TRD Pro is more like the Raptor than the Rebel, but it costs less than either one.
Why Should You Consider It?
Ram's new Rebel is a strong choice for those who want an off-road package that offers meaningful performance improvements and a distinct personality in a truck that retains all of the payload and towing capability of the regular Ram 1500 on which it's based.
It's unique in the segment because the Ram's five-link rear suspension design allows the Rebel to employ standard four-corner air suspension, which allows elevated height modes off-road, supple ride comfort on pavement and a reduced-height mode to ease passenger and cargo loading when parked.
And let's not forget the two-wheel-drive Rebel, which is perhaps the most capable and complete example of that subspecies. There's no such thing as a rear-wheel-drive Tundra TRD Pro or Ford Raptor.
Why Should You Think Twice About It?
Diesel fans will need to look elsewhere for the moment. There's no engineering reason why a diesel-powered Rebel couldn't exist, but Ram is selling all of the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engines it can get its hands on already.
Those looking for a Ram-flavored Raptor and who are willing to give up payload and towing capacity (and the ability to park it easily) won't find it here. The 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel was never intended to be that single-minded. Thing is, the 2015 Tundra TRD Pro V8 4x4 doesn't sacrifice any of its payload or towing, either, and it costs less than a Hemi-powered Rebel 4x4.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2015 Ram 1500 Diesel Overview
The Used 2015 Ram 1500 Diesel is offered in the following styles: HFE 4dr Quad Cab SB (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A).
What's a good price on a Used 2015 Ram 1500 Diesel?
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Which used 2015 Ram 1500 Diesels are available in my area?
Used 2015 Ram 1500 Diesel Listings and Inventory
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 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.