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Expert Reviews 1 of 11
By Mike Magda
October 29, 2008
Vehicle Overview The redesigned 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 emphasizes aerodynamic styling with a unique "grille-forward" design, ride comfort with a coil-spring rear suspension and storage innovation with the RamBox. Dodge also addressed the basics with more power in the Hemi engine and a radically improved interior.
Dodge replaced the too-big MegaCab 1500 with a more conventional crew cab. Returning are the regular cab and quad cab. The new platform is based on two wheelbase lengths (120 and 140 inches), so there are three cargo-bed lengths (5 feet, 7 inches; 6 feet, 4 inches and 8 feet) to match with the appropriate cab. Dodge's familiar trims also return: ST, SLT, TRX4, Sport and Laramie.
Exterior Dodge says there are more than 35 features on the 2009 Ram 1500 that are new or significantly improved over the previous generation, but the two generating the most interest are RamBox and the coil-spring rear suspension. RamBox is available only on the crew cab. It features integrated, lockable storage boxes on each side of the bed. These boxes basically take up the awkward space around the wheel wells, leaving a clean, rectangular cargo bed. The crew cab also features in-floor storage near the second-row seats.
The multilink, coil-spring suspension is based on proven designs used by Jeep and Dodge in its SUVs. The Dodge design provides an uncompromised ride, especially when the cargo bed is empty.
Dual chrome-tipped exhaust integrated into rear bumper
Adjustable cargo-rail tie-down system available
Ram's head tailgate badge is much larger
Interior The Ram 1500's interior will still appeal to traditional owners, but Dodge now offers more amenities, including premium seating with soft-touch materials and a console-mounted shifter, that will entice cosmopolitan owners, too. The seats' stylish full-width contrasting stitching comes on the Sport and Laramie trims. Overall, the interior is a noticeable and welcome improvement over the capable but uninspired passenger cabs of the past. Interior features include:
Rear seat heating available on crew cab
Available power-adjustable pedals
Available rearview camera
Available power-sliding rear window on quad cab
Under the hood
215-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6, iron block/aluminum cylinder heads, single overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder with 235 pounds-feet peak torque
310-hp, 4.7-liter V-8, iron block/aluminum cylinder heads, single overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder with 330 pounds-feet peak torque
380-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, iron block/aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder with 404 pounds-feet peak torque
Six-speed manual (standard on 3.7-liter)
Four-speed automatic (available on 3.7-liter)
Five-speed automatic (standard on 4.7-liter, 5.7-liter)
Safety The Ram 1500 has a number of advanced safety features, such as antilock brakes and Electronic Stability Program, which reduces engine power if the system's sensors detect a variance in the driver's steering and the vehicle's path. The Ram 1500 also offers trailer-sway control. Dodge also added side curtain airbags on quad and crew cabs. Other safety features include:
Hill Start Assist keeps truck from rolling backward on steep hill
Brake Assist applies maximum braking power in panic situations