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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 RAM 1500
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Expert's Rating

4.75Excellent | Details

MPG

16 City / 23 Highway
Contributing Editor -

No longer the outsider among big American pickups, the RAM 1500 has grown a lot more competitive in recent years. Nicely refined interiors have helped boost its appeal. So has a particularly strong engine roster. A dazzling array of trims and special packages has improved its desirability, too.

What's New for 2016

Two new Crew Cab models joined the RAM 1500 lineup late in the 2015 model year: a top-of-the-line Laramie Limited, and a 1500 Rebel with an air suspension, 33-inch tires, tow hooks, and other off-roading features.

Frame and body modifications have been made, to improve scores in the IIHS small front overlap crash test. Both the Rebel and Laramie Limited have a new grille design.

All models get a new center console, and the Laramie Longhorn adds a sliding tambour wood console door. Entry-level models gain Bluetooth connectivity.

Four new limited-edition “buzz” models based on the 1500 Sport have been added.

Choosing Your RAM 1500

Like its Ford and GM competitors, the RAM 1500 comes in a dizzying selection of configurations and powertrains.

  • The Regular Cab seats three and is available with either a 6-foot-4-inch or 8-foot cargo bed.
  • The Quad Cab has narrow, front-hinged rear doors and a full backseat, and comes only with a 6-foot-4-inch bed.
  • The Crew Cab has full-size rear doors and more rear legroom, with a choice of 5-foot-7-inch or 6-foot-4-inch bed.
Regular CabQuad CabCrew Cab
5-foot-7-inch bedX
6-foot-4-inch bedXXX
8-foot bedX

  • The standard 3.6-liter V6 makes 305 horsepower, driving an eight-speed automatic transmission.
  • Next up is a 395-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with a six- or eight-speed automatic, depending on trim level.
  • RAM also offers a 3-liter turbocharged EcoDiesel V6 rated at 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, matched to an eight-speed automatic.

Four-wheel-drive buyers can choose a part-time system or one with an automatic four-wheel-drive mode. Both feature low-range gearing. With the eight-speed automatic, gear selections are made using a dash-mounted rotary knob instead of a shift lever.

A V6 RAM 1500 can tow up to 7,450 pounds; turbodiesel models, as much as 9,450. The V8 offers the greatest peak pulling capability, at 10,850 pounds.

Eight trim levels are available:

Tradesman

This traditional workhorse comes sparsely equipped with vinyl seats, rubber floor covering, air conditioning, cruise control, 17-inch steel wheels, and a basic six-speaker sound system. Quad and Crew models also get power windows. A cloth interior and full carpeting are available. The optional V8 comes with a six-speed automatic; other trim levels get the eight-speed.

HFE

The High Fuel Economy version of the 1500 comes only as a rear-drive Regular Cab with special fuel-saving features such as automatic engine stop-start and a bed cover. Cloth upholstery and power windows and locks are standard.

SLT

The SLT is a step-up model that adds alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, and dual gloveboxes. An optional Luxury Group includes power-folding mirrors, upgraded lighting, an overhead console, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

Sport

The Sport swaps the V6 engine for a V8, along with heated front seats (driver’s powered), a heated steering wheel, rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED interior lighting, and Uconnect infotainment/communications. The exterior gets 20-inch wheels, body-color bumpers and grille, auto-dimming mirrors, and foglamps.

Rebel

This sporty Crew Cab model is capable of harsher terrain and has an air suspension for increased ride height, 33-inch tires, skid plates, front tow hooks, choice of V6 or V8 engine, and other off-road-ready features. The Rebel comes in new interior colors and materials. A blacked-out grille shuns the familiar crosshair design.

Laramie

Available in Quad and Crew forms, the Laramie adds such luxuries as leather-upholstered power front seats, driver memory, two-tone paint, heated mirrors, woodgrain/chrome trim, and upgraded sound system.

Longhorn

Comes only as a Crew Cab with enhancements such as tow hooks, a larger fuel tank, remote start, parking sensors, HD radio, and a navigation system with real-time traffic data. The Limited package adds more upgrades, including ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, an air suspension, monochromatic paint, automatic wipers and high beams, and wood-rimmed steering wheel.

Laramie Limited

Top-end Crew Cab model features Argento wood and premium black leather, black headliner, chrome interior accents, and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. The non-crosshair grille flaunts bold “RAM” lettering. Either a Hemi V8 or the turbo EcoDiesel may be installed.

CarsDirect Tip

With so many possible choices and temptations, it’s a wonder that anybody can make a final decision. For most buyers, an SLT strikes the best balance of comfort and affordability. It's a sharp-looking truck that doesn't overdo bling or warrant costly upgrades.

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