Available in half-, three-quarter- and one-ton capacities, Dodge's full-size pickup trucks continue to flaunt the look of ruggedness. For 2008, there's a more powerful engine for the Ram 1500, and a new SXT version of the 2500 and 3500 offers more features. A Power Wagon version of the 2500 handles demanding offroad tasks, and a Mega Cab model is also available. Heavy-duty Rams can have a more-powerful 6.7-liter diesel engine, and an electronic stability system is optional for 1500 models. The Ram competes with the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado.
The Ram 1500 pickup received few changes for 2008. A new 4.7-liter V-8 engine produces 310 horsepower, an increase from the previous 235-hp, 4.7-liter V-8. Dodge also says it improved the steering linkage in four-wheel-drive models. Those models have a standard electronic transfer case, and Hemi-equipped Rams have fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology.
Dodge's Ram is available in 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions, which translates to half-, three-quarter- and one-ton ratings, respectively. Ram pickups come in regular cab and four-door Quad Cab body styles. Light-duty Rams can have V-6 or V-8 power, while heavy-duty models can have V-8 or diesel power. A sunroof is available on Quad Cab models, and Sirius Satellite Radio is offered. A Power Wagon version of the 2500 pickup is available. Dodge also offers a Mega Cab model.
(Skip to details on the: 2500 | 3500 | Mega Cab)
Regular-cab Rams can be equipped with a 6.3-foot cargo bed, ride a 120.5-inch wheelbase and stretch to 207.7 inches long overall. With an 8-foot cargo bed, the Ram has a 140.5-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 229.7 inches.
Quad Cab pickups, with four conventional front-hinged doors, can also be equipped with the two bed sizes and are 20 inches longer in both wheelbase and overall length. The rear doors open 85 degrees to ease access. Hoods have a pronounced crown that falls toward the front fenders.
Sunburst Orange and Detonator Yellow are new exterior colors for 2008.
A front bench seat holds up to three occupants in a 40/20/40 configuration. A center business console can hold a laptop computer, and the center portion offers under-cushion storage.
Quad Cab models have a folding rear seat. Leather upholstery and adjustable pedals are standard in the Laramie model. Dark Maple Burl wood grain for the instrument panel and door accents is now available on Laramie models.
Ram 1500 models with cloth seats come with YES Essentials stain-, odor- and static-resistant seat fabric.
Under the Hood
The standard 3.7-liter V-6 produces 215 hp. Rams can be equipped with a new 310-hp, 4.7-liter Magnum V-8 that can run on regular unleaded fuel, E85 or a combination of the two. A 345-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is also available. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional. With the 4.7- or 5.7-liter engine, the automatic is a five-speed unit. Rear- and four-wheel-drive models are available.
All-disc brakes with a rear-wheel antilock feature are standard. Four-wheel ABS is standard in the Laramie. Side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system are optional. For 2008, Trailer Sway Control was added to the electronic stability system.
The Ram 1500 is a light-duty truck, but it seems big in every way — including its reaction to bumps and holes in the road. Although the suspension regains control fairly quickly, quite a bit of jolting occurs in city driving. The ride improves on the highway.
The Ram 1500 is easy to drive and steer, and it responds predictably. A four-wheel-drive version maneuvers capably and takes curves passably well at modest speeds. Three adults fit adequately in a regular cab when the immense center armrest/storage box is raised.
The 2500 Power Wagon edition holds a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that cranks out 345 hp and 375 pounds-feet of torque. Either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic can be installed. Special features include locking front and rear differentials, an electronically disconnecting front sway bar and a custom-built 12,000-pound winch. Polished, forged-aluminum 17-inch wheels hold 33-inch BFGoodrich tires.
For 2008, Dodge introduced a new version of the Ram 2500: The SXT provides additional features such as chrome bumpers; power windows, locks and mirrors; speed control; and keyless entry.
Regular 2500 pickups are available with a diesel engine or the Hemi V-8. An optional Cummins 6.7-liter turbo-diesel inline-six develops 350 hp and 610 pounds-feet of torque (650 with the six-speed automatic transmission).
Ram 2500 pickups with the regular cab have an 8-foot cargo bed, ride a 140.5-inch wheelbase and measure 227.7 inches long overall. Quad Cab models come with either a 6.3- or 8-foot cargo bed and ride a 140.5- or 160.5-inch wheelbase. All heavy-duty Ram models have a Sweptline (slab-sided) cargo bed. A 7-by-10-inch trailer tow mirror is now standard.
A Ram 2500 with the Hemi V-8 sounds and feels like a muscle car when pushed, though it settles down quietly for ordinary use. Performance is this Ram's strong point, but it's accompanied by a seriously lumpy ride over uneven pavement. Steering is confident for a full-size pickup, but the back wheels spin easily on wet pavement when the bed is empty.
Long seat bottoms in the Ram 2500 offer an easy-chair experience. Interior space is plentiful, especially in the Quad Cab. Overall, the Ram 2500 doesn't feel much like a typical heavy-duty pickup. Back to top
Ram 3500 powertrains are similar to the 2500 series, which means buyers have a choice of a 330-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 or an optional Cummins 6.7-liter turbo-diesel inline-six. Regular-cab Ram 3500 models have dual rear wheels, but Quad Cab pickups can have single or dual rear wheels. The SXT model is new for 2008 and includes chrome bumpers, speed control, keyless entry and power locks, windows and mirrors. Back to top
Dodge calls the Ram Mega Cab model the longest-cab pickup truck ever. Measuring 111.1 inches long, the cab offers 71 cubic feet of cargo volume (7.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat). Dodge also claims the Ram Mega Cab has, at 44.2 inches, the most second-row legroom in its class. Built on a 160.5-inch wheelbase, the Mega Cab model stretches to 247.7 inches long overall. Either the 345-hp Hemi V-8 or the turbo-diesel engine can be installed. Cloth seats are covered with YES Essentials stain-, odor- and static-resistant seat fabric, and a remote starter is optional. Back to top