2017 Ram 1500
The 2017 Ram 1500 is the last model year for the current generation, and an all-new version is expected for model year 2018.
2017 Ram 1500 pickups feature roomy cabs with comfortable, easy operation, big, intuitive screens, lots of cubby storage. The optional Ram Box bed is a compelling feature, while the optional adjustable suspension kneels for easier ingress.
The Ram 1500 competes with the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan. All but Ram and Tundra have been redesigned within the past three years.
Ram compares well to the competition. Its styling is distinctive, and some of the Ram models ride relatively smoothly.
The 2017 Ram is the fourth generation, introduced as a 2009 model. A fifth-generation truck is expected in fall 2017.
The available turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel engine delivers 420 pound-feet of trailer-pulling torque, good for a maximum tow rating topping 9000 pound. Yet it rates an EPA-estimated 20/29 mpg City/Highway.
A 3.6-liter V6 comes standard on all models. A 5.7-liter V8 Hemi is optional. All come with 8-speed automatic.
Crew Cab versions are the most popular for their roomy back seats. Bed lengths range from 6-feet, 4-inches or 5-feet, 7-inches on Crew Cab and Quad Cab models to the full 8 feet with Regular Cabs.
Interiors range widely by trim level. It’s functional and comfortable on base models. Upper levels are outfitted in handsome fabrics and leathers with impressive attention to detail, making them very nice vehicles in which to spend time.
The Ram 1500 lineup includes the SLT, which comes with cloth upholstery. Big Horn, Lone Star, Laramie, Outdoorsman, Sport and other models upgrade seats, cloth and features.
Though dated, the 2017 Ram remains distinctive. Each trim level gets a unique grille. We prefer the mainstream designs over the black grille on the Ram Rebel or the nostrils on the Limited. Upper-level models are further distinguished by LEDs and exhaust faired into the rear bumper.
The Ram Box adds utility and lockable bed storage. The Ram Box can be unlocked with the remote key fob. Drains in the boxes allow them to be used as ice chests.
The 2017 Ram has controls that are easy to operate, with large knobs for climate and audio, even when wearing gloves. Large touchscreens are easy to see and operate, better than Ford.
The upper trim levels show great attention to detail, some of which may not be noticed immediately. The Ram Rebel, for example, features a delightful mix of materials and design, including a tread pattern on the seats that matches the tread design of the Toyo all-terrain tires. Deluxe two-color stitching and interesting graphics add charm and the rear-seat area is trimmed just as nicely as the front.
The Laramie Longhorn has handsome stitching and fine wood grain trim.
The Ram 1500 is comfortable and enjoyable for long drives. It rides smoothly and steers well, with responsive electric steering.
The 3.0-liter diesel boasts an EPA rating of 20/29 mpg City/Highway. The turbocharged diesel is rated 240 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque. It’s a quiet diesel, with a faint clatter.
The 3.6-liter V6 engine is popular for drivers who need a pickup bed to haul but want good fuel economy. The V6 is EPA-rated at 17/25 mpg City/Highway, or 16/23 mpg with 4WD, on Regular gas. The V6 is rated at 305 hp and 269 pound-feet of torque. It will haul a load without much effort. Floor it and it sounds strained at higher rpm. The V6 is rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds. The 8-speed automatic works well.
The 5.7-liter V8 is rated 395 horsepower, 407 pound-feet of torque. Ram says it can accelerate from 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. We can report it does this with an enthusiastic growl. The V8 is the best choice for towing, offering a rating as high as 10,650 pounds.
Part-time 4WD is available, and an on-demand AWD system is offered with V8s. The former is generally better for rugged terrain, the latter is generally better for snow, ice and inconsistent road conditions.
The 2017 Ram 1500 is the outgoing model. Look for bargains as dealers sell down their remaining stock to clear the way for the all-new 2018 Rams.
Mitch McCullough, editor-in-chief, New Car Test Drive, contributed to this report; with staff reports by The Car Connection.