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Reviews

2016 Ram 1500 Driving Impressions

The Ram 1500 is an enjoyable truck to drive and comfortable for long drives. It rides smoothly and steers well, benefitting from responsive electric steering. Performance and driving character are, of course, affected by equipment choices.

The 3.0-liter diesel is the fuel efficiency champion, with an EPA rating of 20/29 mpg City/Highway. The turbocharged diesel generates 240 horsepower, but more important, it produces 420 foot-pounds of torque, that force that propels the truck up hills while pulling a trailer. A Ram with the diesel can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds, according to Ram, which reports tow ratings up to 9,200 pounds. It is quiet for a diesel, with just a faint clatter that is pleasing to the ear of diesel lovers. As always with diesels, it is a pricey option.

The 3.6-liter V6 engine is the standard engine and a popular choice for drivers who need a pickup bed to haul but want good fuel economy. Using Regular 87-octane gasoline, the V6 is EPA-rated at 17/25 mpg City/Highway, or 16/23 mpg with four-wheel drive. The V6 generates 305 horsepower and 269 foot-pounds of torque. It will haul a load without much effort, though it sounds a bit strained at higher rpm. The V6 is rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds but is not the best choice for owners who tow anything heavier than a bass boat. The 8-speed automatic works well with this engine.

The 5.7-liter V8 generates 395 hp and 407 foot-pounds of torque, growling enthusiastically at full throttle. Ram says it is capable of launching the truck from a standstill to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. The V8 is the best choice for towing, offering a rating as high as 10,650 pounds in some configurations. We recommend a Ram Heavy Duty for anyone regularly pulling heavy trailers, however. It makes sense to have a healthy margin between your truck’s towing capacity and the fully loaded weight of your trailer.

Four-wheel drive is available. Part-time 4WD is the standard setup, but an on-demand AWD system is available with V8s. The former is generally better for rugged terrain, the latter is generally better for snow, ice and inconsistent road conditions.

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