1998 Dodge Ram 1500

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1998 Dodge Ram 1500
Available in 26 styles:  Ram 1500 Regular Cab WS shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

13–15 city / 17–21 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 5
1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4.5 15
$ 871-9,215
April 17, 1998

With the new Dodge Ram Quad Cab, the promise of the premise exceeds the reality of the room.

Remember when pickups only had two doors? Those days are gone. Most manufacturers offer at least a third door on extended-cab models, and Dodge now offers four doors.

Either option certainly makes getting people and/or stuff into the back of a pickup cab much less of a chore than it used to be.

And, all things being equal, four doors are better than three.

That's certainly true of minivans. A fourth door adds so much function to a minivan that I couldn't think of buying one with just three doors.

That certainly rules out the Ford Windstar, to name one prominent three-doors-only vehicle, from my shopping list.

Things aren't equal, however, when it comes to full-size pickups.

First off, families use the back of a minivan all the time. When it comes to full-size pickups, use of the back of the cab is much more occasional.

Second, even with a third or fourth door, the space in the back of a full-size pickup cab is only adequate, rather than outstanding, for people.

(As an aside, the Ram Quad Cab uses smaller second doors whereas a crew cab is a true four-door pickup with big doors and big back seat. It's most popular on farms.)

In the Dodge Ram Quad Cab, the rear doors open rearward, or what used to be called suicide doors. They can only be open when the front doors are opened, too, which gives you a huge opening for loading or unloading. But the space you're entering into isn't huge.

My mother was visiting when the Quad Cab was in my driveway. We took several short trips with three adults and two kids in car seats and we never found a comfortable arrangement.

The two kids and one of the adults sat in the back. When I adjusted the front seat to get a comfortable driving position for my large frame, the person in back had precious little room. And, once I scooted up to provide enough leg room in back, I was too close to the steering wheel and its air bag. The compromise, middle position left no one really happy or comfortable.

Even worse was that traveling with five humans left not enough room for cargo. We stuffed a diaper bag under the rear seat, but getting to it was a real bother. The same was true with packages after we went shopping.

There's a huge console between the front seats, which can accommodate a laptop computer and lots of other business gear. Flip this console up, however, and you have room for a third person up front, which is how Dodge can call this a six-passenger machine. I flipped it up once, however, with my mom sitting right behind it and almost broke her kneecap.

Traveling this way became a constant logistic struggle. There's a slide-out cup holder under the rear seat of the Quad Cab, but getting to it was chore with our seat positions.

In the end, I think a mid-size family sedan would have been a better choice for our traveling crew.

And that's too bad, because the Dodge Ram is one of my favorite vehicles. I love its bold, aggressive, big-rig-based styling. Even after four years on the road, the Ram remains a eye-catching, head-turning design statement.

I like the easy-use gauges and easy-read instrument panel and its powerful engines, too. Our flame red test vehicle came with the 230-horsepower 5.2-liter V-8. More than adequate to move this heavy truck, but buyers can opt for even more power: a 245-horsepower 5.9-liter V-8, a 300-horsepower 8.0-liter V-10 or a 215-horsepower 5.9-liter six-cylinder diesel engine that generates 440 pound-feet of torque.

I like the new stuff for 1998, which includes a passenger-side air bag with an on/off switch and front seat belts that are now incorporated into the seats so they don't strangle you on the way into the back of the cab.

It's quite a large truck, even for a full-size pickup, that's why I was so surprised at the cramped quarters during real-world use.

I've had a chance to drive the e ended-cab version of the 1999 GMC Sierra pickup that's due out this fall. While it only had three doors, I found it to be a much more comfortable choice than the Ram Quad Cab. I sat in front and in back and, with four adults, the Sierra seemed much roomier.

I guess the bottom line is that when your choice is four doors to get into a smaller space or three doors to get into a larger one, there really is no choice at all.

Quad Cab prices range from $20,000 to $30,000. Our test truck had a lot of options, including leather seats and a CD player, and cost slightly more than $28,000.

What we drove: 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab Sport, a four-door, full-size, two-wheel-drive pickup with a 5.2-liter V-8 and a four-speed automatic transmission.

Base price: $19,770

Price as tested (includes options and delivery charge): $28,310

Gross vehicle weight rating: 6,400 pounds

Curb weight: 4,758 pounds

Towing capacity: 7,700 pounds

Length: 214.8 inches

Turning circle (curb to curb): 46.9 feet

Standard features: Dual air bag with on/off passenger side switch; rear anti-lock brakes; 26-gallon gas tank; center business console; rear, flip-type bench seat; dual rear doors; AM/FM/cassette.

Options on test vehicle: Package with SLT decor, air conditioning, power windows, mirrors and locks, cruise control, tilt steering, light group, floor mats and carpeting, tachometer and 16-inch wheels and tires; heavy-duty service group; sport appearance group; trailer tow group; leather interior group; four-wheel anti-lock brakes; automatic transmission; sliding-rear window; remote keyless entry; security alarm; Infinity AM/FM cassette/CD stereo.

EPA figures: 13 mpg (city); 18 mpg (highway)

    Expert Reviews 2 of 5

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