Like its mates from Chevrolet, GMC and Ford, Dodges full-size, rear-drive van has been around for a long time
three decades, in fact, though they were upgraded and redesigned for the 1998 model year. The Ram Van is the cargo model, and the Ram Wagon is the passenger-carrying version; the Vans outsell the Wagons by a 5-2 ratio. The truck-based Ram comes in three sizes and three capacity ratings: 1500, 2500 and 3500, and the Ram name also is used for Dodges burly-looking full-size pickup trucks.
Unlike the full-size competition, Ram Vans and Wagons have unibody construction, which DaimlerChrysler says yields more cargo space and payload capacity than a separate body-on-frame design. Changes for 2001 include a new optional trailer-towing package, new front seat belt pretensioners and a vacuum-fluorescent gear indicator in the instrument panel.
Regular-length Rams ride a 109.6-inch wheelbase and measure 187.2 inches overall. Rams with the 127.6-inch wheelbase come in either a 205.2-inch overall length or in Maxi form, at 231.2 inches. The bodies of Maxi models extend an extra 26 inches beyond the back wheels, and Vans in the 1500 series are available with either wheelbase; however, 2500/3500 models have a 127.6-inch wheelbase. All models are just under 80 inches tall.
A single rear door and twin doors on the right side of the vehicle are standard, but dual rear doors and a single sliding side door are optional.
Eight-passenger seating is standard on 1500 and basic 2500 models. The 2500 and 3500 versions can be equipped to seat 12, and the 3500 Maxi Wagon can have an extra seat in the fifth row to hold as many as 15 passengers. Cargo capacity in the Wagon is 206.6 cubic feet for the short-wheelbase model, 246.7 cubic feet for the regular 127.6-inch wheelbase and 304.5 cubic feet for the Maxi. Cargo Vans have just two vinyl front seats, and the passenger seat can be removed.
A new passenger assist handle is mounted on the windshield pillar, and tilt steering is a new option this year. Dealers can install such convenience features as a video player system and rear air conditioning.
Under the Hood
Either a 175-horsepower, 3.9-liter V-6 engine or a 235-hp, 5.2-liter V-8 can be installed in the 1500 series. Extended-wheelbase 1500 Vans also can have a 5.9-liter V-8 that generates 245 hp. Only V-8 engines are available for the heavier-duty models. A three-speed-automatic transmission is used with the V-6 engine, and V-8 models team with a four-speed automatic. Dodge also offers V-8 engines that run on compressed natural gas (CNG).
Ram Vans can tow between 4,150 and 8,600 pounds, while the Wagons are rated from 4,050 to 7,700 pounds, depending on the series and engine.
Standard antilock brakes operate only on the rear wheels; four-wheel ABS is an option. Next-generation front airbags and front seat belt pretensioners have been installed this year, but side-impact airbags are not available.
From the cars.com 2001 Buying Guide
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