There isn't much new about the 2017 Ram 1500 full-size pickup. This brawny half-tonner has been around in its current familiar form since 2009, and Ram customers don't seem to be eager to see it change. It's a solid, stolid and versatile truck, even if newer designs from both American and Japanese competitors are more stylish.
If the Ram 1500 has a secret weapon — and it's not that secret — it's the coil spring rear suspension that sits under the bed. Compared to the leaf springs used by all its direct competition, the coil springs produce a more settled, less harsh ride without compromising the truck's abilities in any noticeable way. Yes, leaf springs have their advantages when it comes to handling larger loads, but it's hard to argue with the Ram's coil springs when it comes to using the truck in everyday situations.
The Ram 1500 is available with three cab configurations and three cargo box lengths. Regular cab models can be had with either an 8-foot bed or a 6-foot-4-inch bed. The extended Quad Cab comes only with the 6-foot-4 box. And the Crew Cab four-door can be had with a 5-foot-7 bed or the 6-foot-4 one.
The Ram 1500 is also offered with three engines, starting with a strong and thrifty 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 305 horsepower. Next, the V8 option is the legendary 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 395 horsepower and fitted with a cylinder deactivation system that allows it to run as a six-cylinder under light loads. And the Ram 1500 is the only light-duty full-size truck that offers a diesel option in the form of a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that makes just 240 horsepower but a thick 420 pound-feet of torque. All three engines are backed by rugged eight-speed automatic transmissions, and of course four-wheel drive is an option.
Big trucks don't get great fuel mileage. A two-wheel-drive Ram 1500 running the gas-burning V6 is EPA-rated at 20 mpg combined (17 city/25 highway). A 1500 4x4 with the Hemi V8 burns fuel at the rate of 17 mpg combined (15 city/ 21 highway).
It's almost dizzying how many Ram 1500 models are available: 10. They range from the stout Tradesman work truck up to the Limited at the top of the range. If you want something with off-road ability and some spunk in its personality, there's the Rebel. If you like your truck named after a city in Wyoming and a breed of sheep, there's the Laramie Longhorn. Throw in all the possible options, and ordering your Ram 1500 should be done only after careful consideration.
All new full-size trucks have virtues that must be weighed against one another to find the best 2017 Ram 1500 for you. There's no better analytical tool for doing that than this website. Rely upon Edmunds.com to find the right truck at the right price.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.