$8,079 - $16,767

2010 Dodge Ram 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 was new.


Performance: 9.3

Most reviewers are very impressed with the 2010 Dodge Ram's performance, particularly its road manners. That's because the Ram uses a coil spring suspension, while competitors use leaf springs -- resulting in a decidedly easy-to-live-with ride, even when the truck bed is empty. Automobile Magazine  says "Dodge now has the most comfortable half-ton on the market, and there's absolutely no trade-off in capability."

  • "A real surprise in the new Ram is the smooth carlike ride, which comes from a five-link, coil-spring suspension on the rear that replaced the traditional leaf-spring arrangement that pickups normally have." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Dodge Ram is available with three engines. The base engine is a 3.7 liter V6 that makes 210 horsepower and 235 pound feet of torque.  Most reviewers didn't drive a Ram with this engine, but advise consumers to skip it, thinking that it won't be powerful enough for most full-size truck buyers.

The middle engine is a 4.7 liter V8 that makes 310 horsepower and 330 pound feet of torque. While that's fairly powerful, this engine's lackluster combination of gas milage and power leads many reviewers to recommend the third engine, a 5.7 liter Hemi V8.  The Hemi makes 390 horsepower and 407 pound feet of torque. It also features Dodge's multiple displacement system which deactivates four of the engine's cylinders when they're not needed.  As a result, the 5.7 liter engine gets an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg city/highway with two-wheel drive -- about the same as the 4.7 liter V8, while making more power.  Those gas mileage numbers are typical for the class.

The V8 engines come with a standard five-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 comes with a four-speed automatic.  Reviewers don't have much to complain about with the engines, but a few wish the Ram had a six-speed transmission like some competitors offer. A six-speed would both improve gas milage and towing performance.

  • "We tested the crew cab 4x4 with its potent Hemi that can tow up to 9,100 pounds. It's never short on power, and you don't feel the switch from 8 to 4 cylinders. The "fuel saver" readout in the instrument panel is the only tell-tale." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "A big truck plus a big engine equals low fuel economy. Throttle responsiveness is lacking." -- CNET
  • "Underhood, improved breathing helps raise the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8's output to 390 horsepower (from 345) and 407 pound-feet of torque (from 375). Thus equipped, it accelerates forcefully and pulls race or boat trailers easily." -- Car and Driver
  • "Power from the 4.7-liter V8 is adequate (we'd avoid the V6 like Ebola), but given that it gets worse gas mileage than the 5.7-liter V8, it seems like a no-brainer to step up to the big engine. We wish the five-speed automatic came with another gear, though, in order to optimize both fuel economy and towing ability, like the six-speed-equipped GM and Toyota pickups." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Reviewers are almost unanimous is saying the 2010 Dodge Ram is the best-handling and easiest to drive truck on the road, thanks in large part to its coil-spring suspension. While most other trucks use leaf springs, many reviewers say the Ram's coil springs contribute to a smoother, more car-like ride and excellent handling capabilities for a truck -- even when the bed is empty. The brakes and steering get high marks as well.

  • "The steering on the test truck, a Ram 1500 Crew Cab SLT, was absolutely spot-on, the best I've experienced in any pickup. Ditto the progressive, predictable brakes." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "Though coils are heresy to the crustiest truckers, the coils give a smoother ride, better handling and crisper steering." --  USA TODAY

Towing and Hauling

Despite the Ram's coil-spring suspension, several reviewers say it is a competent tow and haul vehicle. For 2010, the Ram's maximum towing capacity was upped. It can now tow up to 10,450 pounds when properly equipped. Depending on configuration, the Dodge Ram has a maximum payload capacity of 1,910 pounds. These numbers are in line with the towing and hauling capacities offered by competitors.  

  • "When towing various size trailers on a short loop, the Hemi-powered Ram acted as if nothing was attached to the rear. It just chugged along, getting up to 60 mph with ease, even with a 9,000-pound Air Stream attached on a simple hitch." -- Detroit News
  • "Should you ever end up using the bed itself, you may put the new coil-spring rear suspension to the test only to find that Dodge indeed did its homework here: Payload capacity is retained, but ride quality is vastly improved." -- Car and Driver

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