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Road test | Ram 1500: brute with a tender heart



Preparing for its electric incursion prefigured by a style study presented at the beginning of the year, the Ram 1500 continues its path with a very personal approach. The full-size pickup is offered with its latest-generation paraphernalia alongside the previous vintage marketed several thousand dollars less as the 1500 Classic. This two-pronged proposition is unprecedented in an extremely popular segment.



The rear box of the 2023 Ram 1500 offers a little less advancement than the competition.

Like the rivals, the Ram 1500 can be trimmed in many ways, according to your tastes, but especially according to the use you want to make of it. Two cabin sizes are prepared, which can be added to two body lengths, 1.74 m (5 ft 7 in) or 1.95 m (6 ft 4 in). It is thus less configurable than the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado and therefore more expensive in entry-level livery. Aesthetically, the Ram features a vertical grille that’s a little more akin to Ford’s contender, favoring an imposing presence. It obviously changes presentation, depending on the liveries. The rear body offers a little less progress than the competition, which offers more configurable rear panels (Silverado and Sierra) or the integration of electrical plugs that can power various tools (F-150). It also has a lower load capacity than the F-150.

On board


The interior of the 2023 Ram 1500

Perched high enough, the passenger compartment welcomes us with a proposal that does not revolutionize anything in the segment. The mid-range version tested (BackCountry) juggles materials that are sometimes hard, sometimes soft, correctly assembled. Refinement is less in his case than in American opponents, who seem more modern and refined in their invoice at equal price. This Ram 1500 nevertheless remains warm with the considerable expanse of its interior, which makes the seats suitable for all morphologies in addition to being quite comfortable. Its storage boxes are well arranged in parallel. We also appreciate the presence of cupholders on rails that increase storage in the front on the center console. This is possible through the use of a rotary transmission control dial.

Under the hood


The 5.7L Hemi V8 can be equipped with a mild hybrid system that slightly reduces fuel consumption in city driving.

Three engines populate the spec sheet of the pickup truck: a naturally aspirated 3.6 L V6 with electric assistance, a soon-to-be-retired 3 L V6 turbodiesel and a 5.7 L V8. Admittedly, the approaches differ in the three cases, while such as their ability to negotiate with charges. It was the V8 that was tested, which can be equipped with a summary hybrid system supporting it during standing starts with a momentary increase in torque of 130 lb-ft. Able to tow up to 5783 kg, this mechanism coats the passenger compartment with a low and discreet tone accompanied by a good boost of torque, even without the electric support. It is essentially defined by this grip, which can revolutionize up to just 5800 rpm with the smoothness and progressiveness expected. It’s also thirsty, that’s undeniable, despite the presence of displacement deactivation and a well-matched eight-speed transmission.

Behind the wheel


The behavior of the 2023 Ram 1500 is more contained on bumps when there is no load in the bed.

This is really where this Ram 1500 has stood out for several years now. To frame the behavior of its rear axle, the engineers favored in its case a multi-link configuration with two shock absorbers as opposed to the overlapping blades of the competition. This smoothes out its mannerisms enormously, making its behavior more contained over bumps when there is no load in the bed. This is particularly noticeable in winter conditions. Its towing capacity and its payload limit are on the other hand in retreat vis-a-vis the American rivals. Never mind, this Ram remains the most civilized of the bunch and can be equipped with air suspension to increase or decrease its ground clearance on command. Its steering offers a good degree of precision and the soundproofing insulates the cabin particularly well, even with large winter tires threaded on the rims.

Embedded technologies


The Ram 1500 can be trimmed with a large 12-inch screen (pictured). The 8.4-inch screen we tested, however, turned out to be quite decent.

Like the American brands of Stellantis, this Ram benefits from the addition of the latest vintage of the Uconnect multimedia system. Equipped with a very well designed and airy interface, it is available on three different touch screens of 5 in., 8.4 in. or 12 in. The median version tested remains the most relevant choice, with its emphasis on the physical keys in addition to having a good resolution. However, the structure of the options is not perfect. Despite its positioning in the middle of the hierarchy of versions, the variant tested was not entitled to automatic door unlocking or adaptive cruise control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can also be docked wirelessly. Moreover, note also the presence of a physical needle instrumentation with a small configurable central screen. For the more upscale liveries, everything is entirely digital, a novelty for 2023.

The verdict


The efforts to reduce the thirst of the Ram 1500 are too little decisive to play on equal terms with certain competitors who apply more complete hybrid forms.

The Ram 1500 continues to set a dynamic benchmark in its segment. The pickup is getting old though and is attacked from the side by a less expensive 1500 Classic. Admittedly, the latter does not have capacities as high as its brother and is more old-fashioned in its invoice, but one cannot deny its relevance in a context of inflationary prices. The biggest weakness of the 1500 lies in its immobility on the side of the engines. Admittedly, the use of a mild hybrid system makes it possible to reduce the gluttony of the V8 Hemi, but the efforts to reduce its thirst are not decisive enough to play on equal terms with certain competitors who apply more complete hybrid forms. The arrival of the Hurricane inline-six adapted for hybridization could probably correct this shortcoming along with greater customization of body configurations. Because, overall, this Ram 1500 remains an excellent pickup truck.


Electric is coming soon

Ram unveiled at the last Consumer Electronics Show the prototype of the electric livery of the Ram 1500 which will be produced from 2024. On the menu: fast charging of 350 kW, front and rear steering, opening of the cabin leading to the body to transport objects as long as 5.5 m.

Soon the end of the V8

To meet more restrictive consumption standards, Stellantis recently introduced its Hurricane turbocharged inline-six engine under the hood of the Jeep Wagonner L and Grand Wagonner L to replace the V8s. The Ram 1500 will no doubt receive this engine in the near future.

Diesel on the way

Despite its promise of low fuel consumption, the V6 EcoDiesel has not had an easy life, having been mired in an emissions scandal and plagued by questionable reliability at times. Add to that the price of diesel and it didn’t take more for Stellantis to abandon it. Its production ends this month.

Additional rear storage

With optional RamBoxes, the pickup increases its versatility by employing storage on the side panels of the rear box.

From single to double

The price range of the Ram 1500 reflects the extraordinary gap that separates the entry-level version from the most expensive. Thus, you can get a 1500 Tradesman V6 4×2 for $52,140, ​​while the exuberant 702-hp 1500 TRX raises the bill to $109,790 without options.

Technical sheet

  • Model tested: Ram 1500 Big Horn Back Country
  • Engine: 5.7L ACC V8
  • Power: 395 hp at 5600 rpm
  • Torque: 410 lb-ft at 3950 rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drive Architecture: Longitudinal front engine, four-wheel drive
  • Consumption (EnerGuide): 13.8 L/100 km
  • Price (with options, transport and preparation): $75,220 (2022 price)
  • Competitors: Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra and Toyota Tundra
  • New in 2023? : No major changes

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