1994 Dodge BR1500

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1994 Dodge BR1500
Available in 6 styles:  BR1500 Regular Cab 2wd shown
Asking Price Range
$762–$8,414
Estimated MPG

13–17 city / 17–21 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 4

By 

chicagotribune.com
Is a mini-van a bit snug in the hips?

When the family travels en masse, do you need three vehicles to accommodate the crew-and still have to leave the dog at home for lack of room?

Has Planned Parenthood taken your name off its mailing list?

Relax, Dodge makes a vehicle that ensures the family can stay together at all times.

The Dodge Ram Wagon fits up to 15 people in spaciousness and comfort. If you're a Snow Bird who leaves the Midwest for Florida or Arizona each winter, your trek would be far more pleasant in the Ram Wagon than in a sedan or even a mini-van that, at most, seats seven. With room for as many as 15, you can take the entire clan in one vehicle.

The Ram Wagon is built on a 127.6-inch wheelbase and is 205.2 inches long overall. Though called a wagon, it is a van-a really big van with a sliding side door and a swing-out rear door.

The long wheelbase keeps you far removed from the point of impact over the axles. The long wheelbase and the front stabilizer bar and gas-charged front and rear shocks contribute to a carlike ride and handling for a vehicle that looks like the Queen Mary when parked in your driveway. (That's Queen Mary, the ship, of course. No use riling the royal family any more than it is.)

The Ram Wagon stands 79.9 inches tall and is 79.8 inches wide, and that means good road balance. Though nearly 80 inches high, step in/out height is manageable. But, when it comes time to draw straws to see who washes it, the loser will need a ladder.

You have room to stretch up front, room to roam in back. You can take a quick nap or pull off the road and take a long snooze because the second and third seats fold flat into a bed. After catching a few winks, you can have a snack on the tabletop that slips out of the side wall.

The 5.9-liter, 230-horsepower, V-8 has no problem moving this land yacht; the four-wheel anti-lock brakes no trouble stopping it. Where the 5.9-liter V-8 falls short is in fuel economy, with a rating of 12 miles per gallon city/16 m.p.g. highway. Ouch!

Rear wheel anti-lock brakes are standard, but we'd pop for the extra $500 and get four-wheel ABS for a vehicle this big that can hold so many people. There are no air bags.

When it comes to problems or annoyances, there were a few. The side sliding door is big because the Ram Wagon is big, and it typically took more than one try to close the thing. And that's with adults trying. If you were to park on a hill, gravity would make closing the door even more of a chore. It would be nice if Chrysler offered a power opening/closing side door as GM does on its mini-vans.

The other gripe has to do with parking. The Ram Wagon is so long and wide you just don't pull into or out of a parking space with the grace of a ballerina or the agility of a wide receiver. Rather, it's the old bull-in-the-china-shop routine. You take aim and s wing in and out-but with extra care. Just because the nose of the wagon is in the space, remember there's still several feet of rear end hanging out in the aisle.

And be careful of those aisles. If narrow, you may never get out of that parking space because you need so much back-up space to free the front end from between the solid lines. You must make an allowance for the rear end when getting into a parking space and for the front end when leaving it. So, your best bet is to park out in the boonies at the mall, where the kids park their Firebirds and Mustangs so door bangers don't nick the merchandise.

Finally, the Dodge Ram Wagon is as old as dirt. The last time the vehicle was redesigned, Lee Iacocca was in diapers, and he's now retired. For 1994 the snout was changed to sport a larger, bolder grille. But except for the smiling chrome, the Ram Wagon is the same tall, wide, long box on wheels it has been for decades. It sure would be nice to see the w agon built off the new Ram truck platform with a bit more aerodynamic body, less interior noise and far better fuel economy.

Despite the years, Dodge hasn't avoided technological changes. ABS, for example, is available even if air bags aren't. But the aged Ram Wagon does seem to be saddled with a few rattles and things that go bang in the night (as well as the day)-sounds that have been designed and engineered out of Chrysler's more modern mini-vans.

We tested the Ram Wagon LE in two-wheel-drive version. Base price was $18,260, a mighty reasonable sum considering all the people and gear the vehicle can hold.

Standard equipment includes a 22-gallon gas tank, rear-wheel ABS, power steering, stainless steel exhaust, dual outside mirrors (very big for fabulous visibility), tinted glass and AM/FM stereo with digital clock.

Options included the LE package consisting of chlorofluorocarbon-free air conditioning, bodyside moldings, cloth seats and carpeting, cruise control, tilt wheel, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, intermittent wipers, sunscreen glass that filters out ultraviolet rays, 35-gallon fuel tank (you will need this), and styled steel 15-inch wheels for $5,839.

A trailer towing package added $221, four-wheel ABS $500, removable/bed conversion rear seats for $913, automatic transmission at $250, radio upgrade with cassette and additional speakers at $153, and the optional 5.9-liter, Magnum, V-8 engine for $857. With a $2,486 discount on the options but a $595 freight charge the sticker topped the $25,000 mark.

The Ram Wagon is a workhorse, but with a 12/16 mileage rating it's not your commuter vehicle, especially when it comes to slipping into or out of the parking space at work.

However, if you want some respect on the roadway, the Ram Wagon brings out the courtesy in most of your fellow motorists. Typically cars traveling the merger lane simply will pull directly in the path of the nearest vehicle to make room for the invading vehicle or vehicles.

In the huge Ram Wagon not one driver tried to slip ahead without giving a warning signal. Perhaps they thought the monster van was a battering Ram. Even a cab backed down, and we hadn't seen that in 25 years.

>> 1994 Dodge Ram Wagon.
Wheelbase: 127.6 inches . Length: 205.2 inches . Engine: 5.9-liter, 230-h.p., V-8 . Transmission: 4-speed automatic . Fuel economy: 12 m.p.g. city/16 m.p.g. highway . Base price: $18,260 . Strong point: Only Soldier Field offers more interior room. You can cart the family in one vehicle. . Week point: No air bags. Fuel economy a bit dismal.

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    Expert Reviews 2 of 4

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