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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the RAM 1500 Tradesman/Express include Pentastar 3.6L V-6 305hp engine, 8-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st row overhead airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 17" styled steel wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, electronic stability.
Starting at: $26,295
The Ram 1500 is comfortable and enjoyable for long drives. It rides smoothly and steers well, with responsive electric steering.
The 3.0-liter diesel boasts an EPA rating of 20/29 mpg City/Highway. The turbocharged diesel is rated 240 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque. It’s a quiet diesel, with a faint clatter.
The 3.6-liter V6 engine is popular for drivers who need a pickup bed to haul but want good fuel economy. The V6 is EPA-rated at 17/25 mpg City/Highway, or 16/23 mpg with 4WD, on Regular gas. The V6 is rated at 305 hp and 269 pound-feet of torque. It will haul a load without much effort. Floor it and it sounds strained at higher rpm. The V6 is rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds. The 8-speed automatic works well.
The 5.7-liter V8 is rated 395 horsepower, 407 pound-feet of torque. Ram says it can accelerate from 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. We can report it does this with an enthusiastic growl. The V8 is the best choice for towing, offering a rating as high as 10,650 pounds.
Part-time 4WD is available, and an on-demand AWD system is offered with V8s. The former is generally better for rugged terrain, the latter is generally better for snow, ice and inconsistent road conditions.
Though dated, the 2017 Ram remains distinctive. Each trim level gets a unique grille. We prefer the mainstream designs over the black grille on the Ram Rebel or the nostrils on the Limited. Upper-level models are further distinguished by LEDs and exhaust faired into the rear bumper.
The Ram Box adds utility and lockable bed storage. The Ram Box can be unlocked with the remote key fob. Drains in the boxes allow them to be used as ice chests.
The 2017 Ram has controls that are easy to operate, with large knobs for climate and audio, even when wearing gloves. Large touchscreens are easy to see and operate, better than Ford.
The upper trim levels show great attention to detail, some of which may not be noticed immediately. The Ram Rebel, for example, features a delightful mix of materials and design, including a tread pattern on the seats that matches the tread design of the Toyo all-terrain tires. Deluxe two-color stitching and interesting graphics add charm and the rear-seat area is trimmed just as nicely as the front.
The Laramie Longhorn has handsome stitching and fine wood grain trim.
The 2017 Ram 1500 is the outgoing model. Look for bargains as dealers sell down their remaining stock to clear the way for the all-new 2018 Rams.
Mitch McCullough, editor-in-chief, New Car Test Drive, contributed to this report; with staff reports by The Car Connection.
The Ram 1500 lineup includes the SLT, which comes with cloth upholstery. Big Horn, Lone Star, Laramie, Outdoorsman, Sport and other models upgrade seats, cloth and features.
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