2007 Ram 1500 New Car Test Drive
For full-size pickup buyers, these are the good old days. Never before have trucks been more capable for hauling and towing nor more competent at coddling passengers. Moreover, today's trucks make bold styling statements. There is no mistaking a Ford F-150 for a Nissan Titan or a Toyota Tundra, or even a Chevrolet Silverado for a GMC Sierra. And every one of them would be a good choice from a consumer's point of view.
But it was the Ram that started the high-style-truck trend back in 1994 when Dodge took a risk with a bold, retro big-rig design. That truck transformed Ram from a bit player with staid styling to a big-stage event, and it's run with the big boys ever since, sometimes leading, sometimes trailing, but always solidly on the bill. Whether the '07 Ram is merely as good as the trucks listed above, or somewhat better, is more a matter of personal preference than anything else.
The light-duty Ram 1500 models are smooth and refined. Their cabs are comfortable and convenient, among the roomiest in their respective classes. The Quad Cab is handy for hauling friends and family but even the Regular Cab is roomy. Arguably, the Ram is the best-looking truck on the market. Its styling is bold and handsome, even more so in its latest incarnation.
Ram was extensively re-engineered for 2006, with a new hydroformed frame that's boxed its full length; plus new suspension and body mounts that improved ride, handling, and quietness. At the same time, Ram was modestly restyled, with a new bumper fascia, grille, headlamps, fenders and wheels. Inside, the instrument panel, center console and seats were revised for more car-like comfort, while new radios and entertainment features were added.
The 2007 model year brings refinements that stress safety and efficiency. An Electronic Stability Program and remote start are now optional. Fuel efficiency is enhanced on all Ram 1500s by reduce-drag brake calipers and low-rolling-resistance tires. On four-wheel-drive models, the standard transfer case is electronically controlled, and a front-axle disconnect system reduces friction in 2WD mode.
Ram's optional Hemi engine delivers power and efficiency. It is an exceptionally good engine, smooth and very responsive. The Hemi features Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System, which shuts down four of the eight cylinders when they are not needed. The switchover is seamless, and fuel economy is improved by as much as 20 percent, says Dodge. Step on the gas, however, and the cylinders reawaken, ready to deliver the 345 peak ponies that make the Hemi-powered Ram one of the most exciting light-duty pickups on the market. Adding to the Hemi's responsiveness is a five-speed automatic.
Ram's standard 4.7-liter V8, while not as powerful as the Hemi, delivers responsive performance and is smooth and sophisticated, benefiting from a modern overhead-cam design. For 2007, it's available with FFV capability (flexible-fuel vehicle), allowing the option of running on standard gasoline or E-85 ethanol. Full-time four-wheel drive (all-wheel drive) is available with the 4.7-liter V8 for improved stability in slippery conditions.
Dodge Ram is available as a Regular Cab or four-door Quad Cab. (Dodge also offers the Mega Cab, which is built on a heavy-duty chassis. The Mega Cab is reviewed separately by New Car Test Drive. There is no extended-cab Ram.)
Two bed lengths are available: a 6-foot, 3-inch short-bed and an 8-foot long-bed. Several engines are offered: A 3.7-liter overhead-cam V6, 4.7-liter V8, and the 5.7-liter Hemi V8. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard with the 3.7-liter V6 and 4.7-liter V8. A four-speed automatic is optional with the V6. A five-speed automatic is optional with the 4.7-liter V8 and standard with the 5.7-liter. Several trim levels are available:
ST is the base model with vinyl upholstery and wind-up windows. ST comes standard with air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo, rear-wheel ABS, 17-inch steel wheels and a full-size spare tire. Options include a bed liner, trailer tow mirrors, speed control, four-wheel ABS, power adjustable pedals, 17-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, and a power sliding rear window for the Quad Cab.
SLT comes standard with the 4.7-liter V8, six-disc CD changer, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, overhead console with mini-trip computer and compass, speed control, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Options include a navigation system, Sirius Satellite Radio, UConnect Bluetooth hands-free wireless communication, bucket seats with leather upholstery, six-way power driver seat and 20-inch aluminum wheels. A power sunroof and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system are available for SLT Quad Cabs.
Laramie is the luxury trim level. It comes standard with dual-zone climate control, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, four-wheel ABS, security alarm, and Sentry Key engine immobilizer. Leather seats are standard, with a split 40/20/40 bench up front and power adjustment for the driver. Laramie is available only with the Quad Cab and comes with the automatic transmission.
The Ram Sport comes with the Hemi engine and five-speed automatic transmission, unique cloth-faced bucket seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, body-color grille and bumper fascia, fog lamps, and 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels. Options are the same as for the SLT.
The TRX4 Off-Road model comes with unique 17-inch aluminum wheels, P265 all-terrain tires, limited-slip differential, skid plates for the transfer case and front suspension, special red-painted shock absorbers, body-color grille surround, tow hooks, and fog lamps. Otherwise, TRX4 is trimmed like an SLT. TRX4 comes with 4WD only, but there's also a TRX package for 2WD models. Options exclusive to TRX4 include LT275 light-truck tires.
A Trailer Tow Group includes a Class IV hitch receiver, seven-circuit wiring harness, 750-amp battery, heavy-duty engine cooling and auxiliary transmission oil cooler when equipped with automatic transmission. There's also a Work Special package designed for affordability with gray bumpers, grille, and 17x7 steel wheels.
Safety features include optional side-curtain airbags designed to provide head protection in a side impact or rollover. We recommend getting them; head injuries are the leading cause of death in side impacts. The Ram was awarded the highest possible rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's offset frontal crash test. Three-point shoulder belts are provided at all locations, including the rear center seat. An electronic stability program (ESP) is optional.