Review by Chris Chase
In 2011, Canadians bought about 250,000 full-size pickup trucks. No doubt, that’s a lot of trucks, and the Dodge Ram 1500 (or, Ram 1500, following a rebranding in 2010) makes up a significant portion of that sales total.
2009 DODGE RAM. Click image to enlarge
A 2009 redesign signalled the arrival of the fourth generation Ram, whose styling was an evolution of the popular “big rig” look first seen in 1994. Engine choices in 2009 were a 3.7L V6 (215 hp/235 lb-ft), a 4.7L V8 (310 hp/330 lb-ft) and the best known of them all, a 5.7L Hemi V8 (350 hp/407 lb-ft). Transmissions were all automatics, starting with a four-speed to go with the V6, and a five-speed for both V8 motors.
Key features included a Crew Cab model that replaced 2008’s Mega Cab, and the fourth generation Ram was the first with Dodge’s nifty “RamBox” cargo management system, with storage bins in the box sides. Basic ST trim kit included air conditioning, side and head curtain airbags, stability control, automatic headlights and a four-pin trailer wiring harness. You had to move up to an SLT to get cloth seats (instead of vinyl), keyless entry, cruise control and a carpeted floor. As with most trucks, if you were willing to spend the money, you could outfit a Ram, essentially, as a luxury car with a pickup bed.
2010 DODGE RAM. Click image to enlarge
For 2010, Dodge introduced an SXT trim that added a few convenience features to the base ST’s list. A pair of off-road packages – TRX and TRX4 – added all-terrain tires and loads of other mudding goodies.
2011 brought Outdoorsman and Big Horn trim lines. The former added some rugged functionality, with tougher shocks, a lower rear axle ratio and skid plates; the Big Horn was all about showy chrome.
The 2012 model year brought the only major mechanical update to this point, a six-speed automatic transmission to replace the five-speed in V8-powered models. Otherwise, there was a new steering wheel and optional power-folding trailer tow mirrors.
2011 DODGE RAM. Click image to enlarge
Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption figures range from 14.8/10.0 L/100 km (all figures city/highway) for the 3.7L engine, with rear-wheel drive, to 15.6/10.8 for a RWD, 4.7L model. The 5.7L engine is actually the more efficient V8, rated 15.4/10.2 with RWD, and 16.2/10.8 with 4WD.
To this point (December 2012), the fourth-gen Ram has proven itself a durable truck, with few common mechanical problems to report. Consumer Reports notes some minor engine and transmission complaints, but a search of Ram-centric discussion forums and TrueDelta.com’s reliability data reveals few troubling common problems.