$20,182 - $38,849

2017 Ram 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Ram 1500 was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.9

The 2017 Ram 1500 has a quiet interior and delivers arguably the smoothest ride in the class. Its base V6 provides ample power, but the available V8 has better acceleration and a higher towing capacity. The available turbodiesel is also great for towing, and it has some of the best fuel economy ratings of any full-size truck.

  • "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 (2016)
  • "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

For its base engine, the Ram 1500 has a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. It has ample power for most situations, but it's not the best choice if you're going to be towing or hauling heavy loads. For those tasks, you’ll want either the V8 or the V6 turbodiesel engine.

The available 5.7-liter V8 has the most horsepower in the Ram 1500's engine lineup. It puts out 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. The V8 delivers hearty acceleration and plenty of power, but it does take a hit at the fuel pump; whereas the base engine gets an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway, the V8's ratings drop to 15 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. Those fuel economy ratings are comparable to the ratings of other V6 and V8 engines in the class.

If you’re looking for the best fuel economy, you’ll want the available 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel. It still has plenty of towing power thanks to the 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque it produces, but it also gets excellent gas mileage for the class. It gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

No matter which engine you choose, it'll be mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

  • "One of the Ram's biggest strengths is its excellent engine lineup. Although the Ram misses the class-leading towing numbers by a few hundred pounds, it's still abundantly capable. Its standard engine is a strong-but-efficient V6, but there's also an optional V8 with plenty of towing power and a turbocharged diesel V6 that sets the standard for fuel economy in the class." -- Edmunds
  • "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)
  • "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

You may not expect a smooth ride from a truck, but that's what you'll get when you drive the Ram 1500. It has outstanding ride quality over almost any surface, and the available air suspension does an even better job of smoothing out road imperfections. The air suspension also lets you adjust the truck's ground clearance; you can raise it when towing or driving off road, and you can lower it when parked so you and your passengers don't struggle to climb in and out.

Rear-wheel drive is standard with the Ram 1500, and four-wheel drive is available. The Ram 1500 remains composed on winding roads, and the steering feels pretty accurate. The brakes provide plenty of stopping power even when pulling a trailer.

  • "Perhaps one of the most impressive elements of owning a Ram 1500 is the excellent ride quality. On the highway, it's smooth, quiet and relatively unfazed by even significant bumps. The adjustable air suspension makes the ride even better. It's a unique feature for this class that allows the truck to drop 2 inches to ease liftover and step-in heights when parked." -- Edmunds
  • "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)

Towing and Hauling

Even at its best, the Ram 1500 doesn't have the towing capacity of the Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado. When properly equipped, the Ram 1500 has a maximum payload of 1,880 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 10,640 pounds. Despite its lower max capacity, the Ram 1500 does pull heavy loads without feeling strained, and the available air suspension does a great job keeping the bed level when hauling cargo.

  • "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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