2001 Ram 1500 New Car Test Drive
Though it's now the oldest design among current full-size pickups, the Dodge Ram may still be the best-looking truck on the market. Clearly, it's the most stylish.
It drives and rides well with quick steering and excellent brakes. Like the other domestic pickups, it offers a wide range of engine choices and an even wider range of cab and bed configurations.
Last year, the Ram received a host of significant changes aimed at improving performance, ride and steering response, including more powerful engines, a new front suspension and steering system and new brakes. For 2001, there's a new high-output diesel engine available. (An all-new Ram is coming out for 2002.).
Like all other American full-size pickup trucks, the Dodge Ram offers an enormous breadth of choice.
Ram is available in three load ratings: 1500, 2500, and 3500. Five engines are offered: 3.9-liter V6, 5.2-liter V8, 5.9-liter V8, 8.0-liter V10 and two Cummins 5.9-liter diesel inline-6 choices. Every engine comes with a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Rams come with either two- or four-wheel drive. Short and long beds are available.
The 5.2-liter V8 produces 230 horsepower, while the 5.9-liter V8 generates 245 horsepower and an impressive 335 pounds-feet of torque. Buyers can get either a V10 gasoline engine or a Cummins turbo diesel in a 2500 or a 3500 series truck. The basic Cummins diesel produces 235 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque, while the new-for-2001 high-output version cranks out 245 horsepower and a stump-pulling 505 pounds-feet of torque.
Standard, Club Cab and Quad Cab bodies are available in LT, Laramie SLT, and SST trim levels. Regular-length beds are 6 1/2 feet long, optional long beds are 8 feet long; short and long wheelbase versions are available.
A Sport Plus package comes with 17-inch wheels and tires, suspension upgrades and a 5.9-liter V8 with sport exhausts.
The Ram Off-Road 4x4 packages a recalibrated suspension and LT275/70R17 all-terrain tires mounted to 17-by-8-inch cast aluminum wheels, a unique steering gear for low-speed agility, and a limited-slip differential; the package includes an upsized battery and alternator, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, a larger radiator, front tow hooks, skid plates, fog lamps, heavy-duty service equipment and unique Off-Road decals. This package is available in regular cab and Quad Cab 1500 short-bed four-wheel-drive models.
The upscale SLT Plus package comes with a leather interior, front driver and passenger power-adjustable heated seats, a rear under-seat storage compartment, CD player with Infinity speakers and remote audio controls in the steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, keyless entry, security alarm, fog lamps and anti-lock brakes. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are now standard on all 3500 models.