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2014 RAM 1500

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$25,060

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

Pickup Truck

Body style

16

Combined MPG

3

Seating capacity

209” x 74.6”

Dimensions

Rear-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

The good:

  • Interior design, comfort and quality
  • Storage options
  • Diesel-engine availability
  • Cheapest V-8 pickup you can buy
  • Excellent ride quality

The bad:

  • No direct injection in gas V-6 engine
  • Crank windows, manual locks &amp
  • amp
  • mirrors on base model

11 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2014 RAM 1500 trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Pickup Trucks for 2024

Notable features

  • Newly available turbo-diesel V-6 engine
  • V-6 and V-8 gas engines also offered
  • Available eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Available four-corner air suspension

2014 RAM 1500 review: Our expert's take

By Aaron Bragman

In the age of expensive pickup trucks, you can still get a great deal for under $30,000 — but in the case of the 2014 Ram 1500 Express, the content you’ll have to sacrifice to get there may be too much.

Pickup trucks are expensive, far more now than they used to be, with the sticker prices of more well-optioned rigs easily topping $70,000. Even average, midlevel versions can go for nearly $50,000 when you start adding options.

The folks at Ram, however, think a good pickup doesn’t have to be so expensive — and to prove it, they built the 2014 Ram 1500 Tradesman/Express. Take a Tradesman body type work truck, add a few appearance items, give it a Hemi V-8 engine and — voila: an attractive, two-door, sporty pickup that just happens to be the least-expensive V-8-powered truck in America. What do you get for the money you do spend? Not much, it turns out — not even some of the basics that people have come to expect in modern vehicles, though that hasn’t stopped the Express trim from being massively popular with Ram customers. Compare the 2013 and 2014 Ram 1500s here.

Styling
The Dodge Ram light-duty truck got an update for the 2013 model year, making it one of the most attractive pickups on the market. The Express is the base version of the truck, so there isn’t much flash. Instead, Ram has made a few cost-careful cosmetic choices to emphasize sportiness. The Express is limited to a few body styles: only regular or quad cab with the 6-foot-4-inch bed, or crew cab with the shorter 5-foot-7-inch bed. The least expensive version is the one I drove: a standard cab with the regular bed, in 4×2 configuration. Despite its being cheap, it looks complete — body-colored bumpers front and back, blacked-out trim, fog lamps and big 20-inch painted wheels don’t make it look like a stripped-down model. There’s very little chrome for a pickup, but it has a custom sport-truck look to it that’s fantastic. Unfortunately, the Express is also built to a price, so things like a spray-in bedliner and a trailer hitch receiver for towing are extra-cost options.

How It Drives
The best part about the Express is what comes under the hood — a 395-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It also pumps out 410 lb-ft of torque, good enough to lay down some massive stripes if smoky burnouts are your thing. Around town, it means instant acceleration and maximum bass through the truck’s exhaust. A recent back-to-back drive with the much more expensive Ford F-150 Tremor and its twin-turbo V-6 engine gave the crown of best-sounding truck to the Ram, hands-down, thanks to that traditional V-8 rumble.

The six-speed automatic shifts with authority but feels clunky and outdated — the optional eight-speed would’ve been smoother, more fuel efficient and would have made the 1500 Express quicker off the line, as well. My test truck came with a 3.92:1 rear axle and a limited-slip differential. The former made acceleration a bit quicker than it might have been, the latter helped put the Hemi’s power down in slippery conditions. Not that the 1500 feels slow by any means; all that power in the smallest, lightest pickup in the Ram stable means the truck flies when you ask it to. It also helps the brakes haul the truck to a stop with considerable force.

Handling is typical for a truck, meaning it’s not going to win any autocross events, but the thick steering wheel is grippy and confidence-inspiring. What stands out much more is how well the 1500 rides — choppier than your average family sedan, of course, but much more relaxed and controlled than most pickups over broken pavement. There’s no bouncing around in here and no unusual chassis movements, just a steady, comfortable ride for three people. It’s quiet, too, keeping the Ram’s occupants very well insulated against wind and road noise. 

Being a pickup, the 1500 Express tows and hauls easily, especially with the big, torquey V-8. The truck is rated to tow 9,250 pounds thanks to the 3.92 gear, which is more than enough to haul a boat, a pair of Jet Skis, a camper trailer, even an automobile. Fuel economy is fair for a two-wheel-drive, V-8 pickup, rated 14/20/16 mpg city/highway/combined. My week with the truck averaged a spot-on 16 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving.

Interior
Haul yourself up into the cab (there are no side steps) and you’ll plant yourself on a big bench seat — three across, with the center position featuring a fold-down seatback that becomes an armrest, cupholder and storage bin. The driver and passenger seats are plenty comfortable, but I wouldn’t want to test that center seat: Along with a lack of legroom, one has to contend with a thick backrest that just doesn’t look like it would be comfortable for anything more than the quickest jaunt down the street.

At an as-tested price of $28,380 including destination, this is an inexpensive truck — and it’s easy to see where the cost came out. There’s almost nothing in the interior besides the aforementioned bench seat, which can be optionally clad in cloth rather than vinyl.

Stepping inside this truck is like stepping back in time to how trucks used to be: crank windows, manual door locks, manual seats, fixed rear window glass, manual climate control, a column shifter, manual side mirrors and very little in the way of creature comforts. My truck did feature satellite radio as part of a popular equipment group, but the only things “automatic” on the truck are the headlights and the transmission. It will take only a few times having to stretch all the way across the cabin to unlock the passenger door for a friend, or wishing you could reach that door while driving to roll down the window on a hot day, to make you realize that for just $735 more, the Power and Remote Entry Group with power mirrors, locks, windows and a remote key fob would make living with the Express massively easier.

Despite the lack of equipment, the cab is very well-done. The latest Ram pickup interiors are the best in Chrysler history, by far. Even in this stripped-down, entry-level model, material and assembly quality is noticeably good. About the only thing to complain about is the drabness of it all in diesel gray, but with the money you’ve saved getting the Express over a more expensive truck, you can easily spring for some aftermarket leather seat coverings in matching body-colored red to spice things up.

Ergonomics & Electronics
There isn’t much to talk about in the Express in terms of electronics. There’s a standard trip computer in the gauge cluster, which itself is clear and easy to read, but there isn’t even a CD player in there. There is, however, a media hub containing an aux jack, USB port and 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in the fold-down console. In my tester, satellite radio was present thanks to an option package, but there was no Chrysler Uconnect, the company’s excellent multimedia system, at this price. Again, it feels like a throwback to a simpler time, but it does offer an interesting palette for customization.

Cargo
It’s a pickup, so cargo is ostensibly the name of the game, and there’s a full-size 6-foot-4-inch bed behind the cabin that can accommodate anything you might need for towing. Payload is rated at 1,620 pounds, but without an optional spray-in bedliner, practically whatever you put in the cargo box is going to scratch up the paint. The RamBox fender storage system is optional. Storage inside the truck is limited to some space behind the seats, but with two larger cab sizes available (Quad Cab and Crew Cab), the option to have a more capacious cabin is there.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Ram 1500 good in every test except the roof-crush strength, where it was rated marginal.

There’s not much in the way of extra safety equipment in the 1500 Express, but the basics are here, like front- and side-impact airbags and stability control. The 2014 Ram 1500 has been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from which it got a mixture of four and five stars throughout the various tests. See the results of the crash tests here and a list of the 1500’s safety equipment here.

Value in Its Class
The Ram 1500 Express justifies its existence right here, in the value category. As equipped, my truck cost $28,380 including a rather hefty $1,195 destination charge (a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG luxury sedan has a destination charge of $925 and it was shipped here from Germany on a boat, not put on a train from a factory in suburban Detroit). Ram has adjusted prices over the course of this past year, however, with my example now costing $28,630 as-tested rather than the $28,380 seen on its window sticker when I had it.

That’s a pretty good price for a V-8 truck with all the basics you need to get by, but as stated earlier, checking the box for the Power and Remote Entry package still brings you in under $30,000 and makes the Express a much more pleasant truck to live with on a daily basis. Adding the eight-speed automatic would also be a good decision, but strangely it also eliminates your ability to opt for a cloth seat instead of the standard vinyl. Choose your own options on one here.

The Ford F-150 has an STX trim level that does much of what the 1500 Express does: provide an entry-level, relatively inexpensive sporty truck for younger buyers with limited means. It’s more expensive than the 1500 Express and does not include a standard V-8 engine, but it does have more standard equipment, like power windows and locks. Optioning one up to match some of the features of the 1500 Express (V-8 engine, 20-inch alloy wheels, fog lights) does push it well above $32,000, however, giving the value advantage to the Ram.

Over at Chevrolet, there really is no equivalent entry-level sport truck — it’s all about work at this low price. A regular-cab Chevrolet Silverado 4×2 with the 2WT package is roughly equivalent, but like the Ford it does not include a V-8 engine or 20-inch wheels. It does have a more advanced electronics suite, however, with Chevrolet MyLink and satellite radio standard, along with more power equipment than the Ram offers. Neither the Ford nor the Chevy can match the best-in-class Ram’s 5.7-liter V-8’s power and torque, however. Compare all three here.

So yes, you can get a cool truck for under $30,000 these days. But pay a little extra for the convenience touches, and your cool truck will become much more enjoyable.

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Photo of Aaron Bragman
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior 4.5
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value 4.4
  • Exterior 4.6
  • Reliability 4.5
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

I bought the truck new in 2015, I remember it had 7 miles

I bought the truck new in 2015, I remember it had 7 miles on it.. like others, I've owned Fords and Chevys. This has been hands down the best truck I've ever had.. A few small mantaince pieces but nothing bad.. unless this truck gets wrecked or stolen, I will have this truck till it or I Die...

4.0

2014 1500 Ram Express 2WD

Overall it's a decent truck with the 5.7 l hemi . The Goodyear wranglers that came on the truck were junk! pulled them off at 26,000 Miles. On my third battery little over 80,000 MI. Went with a Heavy Duty Duracell Battery, hope it will last better. The brakes on the truck are good and lasted more than 80,000 miles and still had a a little pad left. Had the fuel light sensor light problem. It's approximately over $1,200 to get repaired. This should have been a recalled item. Having new fuel tank straps put on at the same time as the fuel pump replacement.

3.0

Was taking to stokes Ram dealership was charged 1,

Driver side Electrical door,will not let the other side up or down, doesn't lock automaticy.I have to undo the Battery because of this problem 😔

See all 307 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2014 RAM 1500 base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
5
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
4
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
4
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
4
Overall rating
4
Overall side crash rating
5
Risk of rollover
19.8%
Rollover rating
4
Side barrier rating
5
Side barrier rating driver
5
Side pole rating driver front seat
5

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by RAM
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/100,000 miles
Powertrain
60 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
60 months/100,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 years/less than 70,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
3 months/3,000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
125-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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