$18,275 - $35,777

2016 Ram 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Ram 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.8

The 2016 Ram 1500 delivers an exceptionally smooth ride and has a quiet cabin, automotive writers report. They say the base engine delivers adequate power, and the available V8 and turbodiesel have strong acceleration and good towing abilities. The turbodiesel also gets great fuel economy for the class.

  • "The Ram 1500 is really tough to beat for regular street driving. It rides better than most any other pickup, has a high level of refinement and features, and the base V6-which is plenty of engine for most uses-offers laudable fuel economy. And, the available diesel engine offers the best fuel economy in the class." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Why no one thought of this sooner is beyond us. The Ram 1500's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 is a master of all trades, providing 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque at just 2,000 rpm, yet still delivering a class-leading 28 mpg on the highway. Expect others to follow suit." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Whether you need a truck for towing, hauling or fuel efficiency, you'll find what you're looking for in the RAM lineup." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The Ram 1500 comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that produces 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque is available, as is a 5.7-liter V8 that puts out 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard (V8-powered variants of the base Tradesman trim have a six-speed automatic). The Ram 1500 gets an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg city/highway with its base engine, which is slightly above the class average. With the optional diesel engine, the Ram 1500 gets an EPA-estimated 20/28 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class.

Test drivers say the base engine provides decent power, but they prefer the available V8 for its superior towing and hauling abilities and its forceful acceleration. They add that the available turbodiesel also delivers excellent towing power. Critics praise the transmission for its smooth and timely shifts.

  • "For light duty applications, we think the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is perfectly acceptable. However, those needing serious pulling power should look to either the mighty Hemi V8 or the 3.0-liter diesel, which not only crushes the Hemi in EPA ratings, it actually offers more torque." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "One of the best things about driving the new diesel-powered 2014 Ram 1500 is that you'll barely notice any difference compared with the gasoline-powered versions in normal driving. The cabin remains peaceful, and typical of diesels, there's plenty of thrust for merging and passing, and it's accessible from low rpm." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "The 5.7 V8 is stronger yet, with impressive muscle for launches and abundant passing reserves." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "You might think with that many gears the 8-speed would be tripping all over itself, constantly swapping gears to find the optimal ratio. But the reality is this gearbox does a great job of quickly zeroing in on the right ratio. … The 8-speed's shifts are milliseconds quick and seamless to boot." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard on the Ram 1500 and four-wheel drive is available. Test drivers find the ride smooth, noting that it has one of the supplest rides in the class. They appreciate the available air suspension, which allows you to adjust the Ram's ground clearance for towing or driving off-road. Critics note that the steering feels accurate but a little too light at times, and they add that the brakes provide good stopping power, even when towing.

  • "Thanks to an ingenious multi-link and coil spring rear suspension setup, the Ram 1500 pickup truck for 2015 delivers one of the most comfortable - dare we say car-like - rides of any full-size truck." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "It doesn't ever feel like you're going to need to push through the carpet to bring this train to a stop, even with plenty of pounds stuck on the hitch." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "The Ram's tiller is precise and we're largely willing to write the Ram a free pass on steering feel and weight, being a truck and all. Yet we'd be lying if we didn't say that it all feels a bit overboosted." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "Not only was the ride smooth (even on bumpy surfaces), but the interior was quiet. The air suspension handled bumps well, and allowed for changing ride height to increase clearance for offroad driving and/or towing." -- Jalopnik (2013)

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the Ram 1500 has a maximum payload of 1,890 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 10,700 pounds, which is lower than the maximum ratings of some rivals. Critics report that the V8 and diesel engines enable the Ram to tow heavy loads without straining, and they like that the available air suspension levels the truck when towing or hauling.

  • "And while the Ram's available air-spring suspension may not deliver a notably stark contrast in ride comfort, it offers other advantages: Load leveling is always appreciated when the bed is full. …" -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Of course, only lunatics like us will drive the 1500 EcoDiesel like a sports car. Playing the more suitable role of tow vehicle, it feels as relaxed as a slugger working with a 3-0 count. We had the opportunity to hook up 3,000 lbs. worth of boat and trailer, and can report that, while acceleration was predictably blunted, the truck otherwise seemed barely fazed, moving with a sense of steely inevitability." -- Left Lane News (2014)
  • "Properly set up - in other words, with the V8 and air suspension - the Ram really shines as a tow rig. Most of the gadgets that make it so great pulling a boat or camper across tarmac would make me nervous thrashing the truck offroad, but aside from the fact that the acceleration is damped, you can't even tell the load is there. The Pentastar-powered truck boasts solid towing capability, too." -- Jalopnik (2013)

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