2002 Ram 3500 New Car Test Drive
Dodge has completely redesigned and re-engineered its Ram for the 2002 model year. This all-new pickup boasts levels of refinement and comfort that match those of the best trucks from General Motors and Ford. New designs from GM and Ford had put them ahead on this score, but that's all changed with the 2002 Dodge Ram. The new Ram offers a much smoother ride and a bigger, more comfortable, and more convenient cab.
Refinement doesn't mean the Dodge Ram has gone soft, however. This year's Ram offers improved towing and hauling capability, and more powerful, more efficient engines. This complete overhaul puts the Dodge back on solid ground with the half-ton pickups from Ford and GM.
Dodge Ram is available with two cab configurations, Regular Cab and Quad Cab. Ordering the four-door, six-passenger Quad Cab adds $4100-$5200 to the bottom line. Quad Cab models ride on a wheelbase that's 20 -inches longer than comparable regular cab models.
Two bed lengths are available, a 6-foot, 3-inch standard bed and an 8-foot long bed. Ordering the long bed only adds about $300 to the price. Long-bed models ride on a wheelbase that's 20 inches longer than comparable short-bed models. Eight-foot long beds also get a bigger fuel tank, 35 gallons in place of the standard 26-gallon tank.
Three engines are offered: Most popular will be the 4.7-liter V8, a new overhead cam design. A new 3.7-liter V6 is available that's similar in design to the 4.7-liter V8 is available. And, for towing, there's a big 5.9-liter engine using the older overhead-valve design.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the 3.7- and 4.7-liter engines; a four-speed automatic ($975) is optional. The 5.7-liter V8 comes standard with a heavy-duty automatic.
Four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive are available. Four-wheel drive adds approximately $3250-$4250.
Trim levels and trim packages include basic ST, SLT, SLT Plus, and Sport. ST comes standard with air conditioning, but is equipped with vinyl upholstery, wind-up windows, and manual door locks. SLT adds roughly $1700-$1800 and includes cloth upholstery, nicer interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a host of luxury and convenience, and wider tires. SLT Plus is the luxury package, which costs in the neighborhood of $6255-$6535 and brings leather seating surfaces, dual-zone air conditioning, a premium stereo, cast aluminum wheels, and a long, long list of luxury and convenience features. Sport trim is available for about $470; add another $1100 or so if you want the aggressive street-rodder 20-inch wheels and tires.
Dodge says prices have actually dropped slightly over last year. Base price for a Ram 4x2 Regular Cab ST 1500 is $17,670 ($715 destination charge included). Ram Quad Cab 4x4 models start at $26,065.
Heavy-duty versions of the Ram will not be introduced until next year, as 2003 models. Until then, shoppers for heavy-duty Ram models will be looking at the previous-generation of trucks.