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The Dodge Ram represents an excellent choice among full-size light-duty pickups. That's saying something considering the renaissance of all-new pickups from Ford and Nissan for 2004, along with strong entries from Chevrolet and GMC, and a new Toyota Double Cab. It would not be an overstatement to call 2004 the best model year for full-size pickups in the history of the automobile. The competition is better than ever, but so is the Ram, which stands tall among its competitors.
Completely redesigned and re-engineered for the 2002 model year, this latest-generation Dodge Ram boasts high levels of refinement and comfort. It's smoother and more comfortable than the previous-generation models. Its interior is more convenient than before and the bold exterior styling looks terrific. Changes for 2004 only improve the Ram's impressive towing and hauling capabilities.
A new Hemi V8 engine brings more power and efficiency to the Dodge Ram line of pickups. Added late during the 2003 model year, the 5.7-liter Hemi replaces the old 5.9-liter V8, increasing power by 100 horsepower and 40 pounds-feet of torque while improving fuel economy by 10 percent. Dodge claims the Hemi makes the Ram 1500 lineup the most powerful mass-production light-duty pickup on the market. More important than claims, it is an exceptionally good engine, smooth and very responsive. Adding to the responsiveness of this engine is a new five-speed automatic transmission. A Tow/Haul transmission mode has been added for 2004.
A new full-time four-wheel-drive (all-wheel-drive) system is available for 2004 that improves traction in slippery conditions. The Laramie trim package has been upgraded for 2004, and new options have been added, including a Bluetooth-enabled cellular telephone.
The Dodge Ram presents a bold, distinctive appearance with its big horse-collar grille and Freightliner fenders. The basic look goes back 10 years, but received a major redesign for 2002. Modern and contemporary, the current design improved on the best of the previous, ground-breaking design. We think it looks terrific. The Dodge Ram is arguably the best-looking pickup in an increasingly spiffy field. Deep Molten Red has been added to the pallet of exterior colors for 2004.
Few grilles are as instantly recognizable as the massive horse collar grille of the Ram. The color of the grille provides some trim-level identification: The outside rim is all chrome on the SLT model, with a gray honeycomb center. 2004 Laramie models boast a new chrome grille and are further distinguished by chrome bodyside moldings. Sport trim includes a body-color surround and cross hairs with unique chrome billets in the center.
Moving rearward, the Ram presents robust appearance. The broad, sloping hood has a pronounced crown that falls over the sides to the prominent front fenders. A fast, raked-back windshield enhances aerodynamics and water management, and gives the Ram a modern appearance. The leading edge of the front door overlaps the A-pillar, creating a smooth transition from the front of the cab to the side. Everything is smooth and integrated. The big side mirrors, great for visibility, are mounted on platforms to reduce wind noise, and a channel has been specially designed to keep water off of the mirrors. An integrated air dam aids engine cooling and air conditioner performance.
The standard bed length is 6 feet, 3 inches, but an 8-foot bed is available for both Quad Cab and Regular Cab models. The longest model is the Quad Cab with 8-foor bed, which rides on a 160.5-inch wheelbase; that's 20 inches longer than short-bed Quad Cab or long-bed regular cab models, which increases the turning diameter by 6 feet; but it's just 3 inches longer than Ford and Chevy long-bed extended-cab models. Regardless, Ram beds are fitted with boat cleats designed to handle 1,000 pounds each.
Rams sit relatively high off the ground, particularly the four-wheel-drive models. Tailgate load height is 35 inches on four-wheel-drive models, 33.6 inches on two-wheel-drive Rams. That's seems high when trying to heave heavy gear aboard.
The most noticeable exterior feature of the new 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 is a unique hood that features a wide power bulge and scoop sitting atop the signature cross-hair grille.
The Dodge Ram is among the roomiest of the full-size pickups and its cab is a pleasant place to be. Dodge added 3 inches to the cab's total length when the Ram was redesigned for 2002, stealing that space from the bed. So you sacrifice a little bed space for a lot more wiggle room. Regular Cab and Quad Cab versions offer identical roominess in the front seats.
The Ram comes with a front bench seat split 40/20/40. The narrow center section features a large fold-down armrest with a compartment big enough to hold a laptop. We've found both the cloth and the leather seats comfortable, though they could use more support on the side bolsters. Laramie models get an updated interior for 2004, with silver trim adorning the door panels and instrument bezels. Laramie comes with distinctive leather trim, with new, higher contrast color seat inserts.
We've found the interior materials in Rams to be good quality overall, though all is not perfect in Truckville. The faux wood trim on the center stack reminds us of plastic. On leather-trimmed models, cloth is used on the inboard seat-bottom trim where leather would have offered a cleaner appearance. The cup holders can be fussy. However, the Ram interior is quite nice and shows attention to details that add utility and convenience. The big fold-down center armrest/console comes with adjustable dividers and a power outlet. A hook on the passenger-side floor well is provided for securing a grocery bag or anything else with suitable handles. A new steering wheel with a four-spoke design has been added for 2004. White-faced instruments with turquoise numbers look sporty and trendy, but don't offer the legibility of traditional white-on-black designs, particularly at dusk. At night, the instruments are nicely illuminated in green.
Three-point shoulder belts are used at all locations, including the rear center seat. The power adjustable pedals let shorter drivers adjust their seating position better so they aren't sitting so close to the airbag; this improves comfort, safety, and drivability and is a smart option for two-driver families. Big mirrors on the Ram make it easier to see what's behind.
Side-curtain airbags are a $390 option on Regular Cabs, $490 on Quad Cabs. Curtain-style airbags are designed to provide head protection in a side impact along with protection in the event of a rollover. We highly recommend them. The Ram was recently awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest possible rating in its off-set frontal crash test.
The design of the audio system could be improved for ease of use. Sometimes you have to search for the right button to press. Setting a button for a station, for example, requires pressing a separate Set button, rather than just holding the station button down. Small, sliding bass and treble controls are harder to adjust than knobs when bouncing around in a pickup truck. Optional steering wheel audio controls ($75) improve this situation with brilliantly designed buttons behind the steering wheel that are easy to use. Likewise, cruise controls ($390, including tilt steering) on the steering wheel are easy to operate.
Overall, the center dash is a paradigm of convenience. Large heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) buttons can be operated while wearing gloves. A textured fabric is used for trim around the audio and HVAC controls that gives the center dash a nice look and feel. Just below the HVAC controls is a slot lined with a rubber mat that's perfect for a wallet. A big panel below that folds down with adjustable cup holders. Overhead is a console with an effective pair of map lights, a trip computer, a compartment for sunglasses, and a compass, which every self-respecting truck should have.
Regular Cab models come fitted with a tray behind the seats big enough to hold a large bucket. Dodge even supplies the bucket, a tray designed to carry tools and such. Big hooks behind the seats
The new 5.7-liter Hemi V8 gives the Dodge Ram responsive performance. Fire up the Hemi, let it idle, and it burbles like a good old American V8, sounding like an engine in a cabin cruiser or ''''60s muscle car. In spite of the hot-rod term "Hemi," there's nothing old or outdated about this engine. It does, indeed, have hemispherical combustion chambers, but this is a thoroughly modern engine. Apparently, Dodge was researching ways to gain power and fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, objectives that often run counter to one another. While studying some of the older powertrain designs, Dodge engineers rediscovered that swirling the fuel-air mixture around a hemispherical combustion chamber achieves a clean, efficient burn. Though it's an overhead-valve design, the Hemi features twin spark plugs, direct ignition, and electronic throttle control. It achieves the holy grail of engine improvement, increasing power while improving fuel economy at the same time. Power is up by 100 horsepower over the 5.9-liter, torque is up by 40 foot-pounds, and fuel efficiency is improved by 10 percent. The Hemi generates 345 hp at 5400 rpm and 375 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4200 rpm. It comes with a new five-speed automatic that adds to its responsiveness and flexibility. Punch it and you know you've got a Hemi under the hood.
The popular 4.7-liter V8 delivers responsive performance as well, though it doesn't offer the trailer-towing torque of the 5.7-liter. With the 4.7, the Ram feels eager around town and on winding roads. It accelerates quickly onto freeways and has no trouble powering up grades. It's a smooth, sophisticated engine that always feels ready to go. The 4.7-liter V8 and 3.7-liter V6 are overhead-cam designs, smaller and more efficient than the overhead-valve engines they replace. The 4.7-liter V8 achieves good fuel efficiency (13/17 mpg City/Highway for a 4WD automatic). It revs higher than an overhead valve engine and generates 240 hp and 295 lbs.-ft. of torque. The 4.7-liter V8 feels smooth and refined, emitting a pleasant American burble while underway. We really liked it. An optional five-speed automatic improves the responsiveness of the 4.7-liter engine.
The 3.7-liter V6 is smooth and works well with the manual five-speed gearbox. If you don't live in the mountains where long grades and high altitudes conspire against you, then it may offer enough power as a light-duty truck. It's not the best choice for pulling trailers or heavy loads, however.
The Ram has a pleasant ride quality, important on long days. It's much smoother than the previous-generation Ram. A rigid new chassis reduced vibration dramatically. Dodge uses hydroforming to fashion the frame. Instead of having to weld a bunch of straight pieces together, hydroforming uses ultra-high water pressure to force the metal into any shape needed. This highly rigid frame is a key component to the ride and handling of the Ram. It allowed Dodge engineers to redesign the Ram suspension and to tune it precisely, without having to work around a lot of chassis flex. A new rack-and-pinion steering gear sharpens handling, though we've noticed some on-center vagueness. Big 17-inch wheels are standard. The result overall is that the Ram offers responsive handling, a comfortable ride, and a general feeling of tightness.
The Ram is a big truck and on narrow roads it feels like one. It feels big and tall, and its fenders seem to fill small country roads. The ride height of the Ram adds to this sensation. It's sometimes difficult to be sure exactly where your fenders are, so it's not the best vehicle for the timid. In this regard, the Ram is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Toyota Tundra, which feels smaller and nimbler by comparison. The Ram handles reasonably well and powers through or over just about anything, even when the tires aren't always precisely where you intended to place them.
The Dodge Ram offers big power and big capabilities. It's responsive and comfortable as an every day driver and it's ready to do some serious work when called upon. Ram's distinctive styling makes it stand out in a rapidly improving field.
Ram Quad Cab models offer a brilliant combination of comfort and utility. Regular Cab versions are far roomier than they used to be, and are thoughtfully set up to accommodate gear behind the seat. The responsive 4.7-liter V8 delivers good acceleration and gets the job done; it's paired well with a new five-speed automatic that's smooth and responsive. The new 5.7-liter Hemi delivers strong acceleration performance and is an excellent choice for towing.
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2011 Dodge Ram 2500$32,999 | 26,145 mi
2011 Dodge Ram 2500$34,995 | 36,266 mi
2010 Dodge Ram 2500$47,900 | 20,742 mi
2009 Dodge Ram 2500$27,998 | 31,929 mi
2008 Dodge Ram 2500$28,999 | 79,507 mi
2007 Dodge Ram 2500$15,995 | 112,804 mi
2007 Dodge Ram 2500$28,955 | 69,000 mi
2006 Dodge Ram 2500$13,987 | 141,863 mi
2006 Dodge Ram 2500$18,888 | 81,728 mi
2006 Dodge Ram 2500$19,988 | 53,861 mi
2006 Dodge Ram 2500$25,988 | 91,068 mi
2006 Dodge Ram 2500$28,900 | 91,543 mi
2005 Dodge Ram 2500$11,995 | no mileage
2004 Dodge Ram 2500$8,999 | 200,362 mi
2004 Dodge Ram 2500$25,888 | 28,664 mi
2003 Dodge Ram 2500$11,995 | 156,905 mi
2003 Dodge Ram 2500$15,980 | 91,116 mi
2002 Dodge Ram 2500$16,988 | no mileage
2002 Dodge Ram 2500$19,991 | 55,805 mi
2002 Dodge Ram 2500$27,995 | 65,387 mi
2001 Dodge Ram 2500$7,995 | 133,117 mi
2001 Dodge Ram 2500$10,880 | 107,541 mi
2001 DODGE RAM 2500$16,986 | 166,921 mi
2001 Dodge Ram 2500$17,855 | 49,771 mi
2001 Dodge Ram 2500$22,985 | 107,882 mi
1999 Dodge Ram 2500$12,500 | 88,338 mi
1999 Dodge Ram 2500$25,985 | 92,894 mi
1998 Dodge Ram 2500$10,999 | 119,491 mi