2008 Detroit Auto Show: 2009 Dodge Ram

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  • Competes with: Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra
  • Looks like: Last year’s Ram after bumping into the back of a semi-trailer
  • Drivetrain: 210-hp, 3.7-liter V-6, 310-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 or 380-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 with six-speed manual or four-speed automatic (V-6) or five-speed automatic (V-8); rear- or four-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Fall 2008

The Ram full-size pickup truck is the best-selling model in Dodge’s lineup, and the truck has been redesigned for 2009. It has new styling inside and out, more standard safety features, a new crew cab body style and newly available features, like a RamBox storage system for the crew cab truck that consists of lockable bins built into the sides of the cargo box.

The biggest styling difference between the 2009 Ram and the previous model is up front, where the new truck has a forward-swept crosshair grille that replaces its predecessor’s upright design. New headlights flank the grille, and the truck’s hood is made of aluminum. Dodge says the Ram logo on the tailgate is 250% larger than before, and it is indeed one big badge. Three cargo box sizes are offered, and 17- or 20-inch wheels are available.

In a change from the previous Ram, the truck’s rear suspension now features coil springs instead of leaf springs. Dodge says the design improves the truck’s road manners and weighs less than a traditional setup. The truck’s maximum towing capacity remains the same as last year at 9,100 pounds when properly equipped, which is less than a Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra can pull, all of which have maximum towing capacities of more than 10,000 pounds.

The new crew cab body style joins the regular cab and Quad Cab trucks (the Quad Cab’s cabin is kind of like a three-fourths-scale crew cab’s). The new cabin is an improvement, and the interior can get pretty luxurious if you step up to a higher trim level, like the Laramie, which has a two-tone dashboard with stitching and chrome trim. The Ram comes standard with antilock brakes, side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system. Sirius Backseat TV and a DVD-based entertainment system are available. More photos below.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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