2008 Dodge Ram Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 22, 2008

The 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 is a solid truck due for its 2009 model makeover, but it's good enough that it may be all the truck you need or want.

The truck experts at TheCarConnection.com researched a wide range of Web reviews to write this definitive review of the new 2008 Dodge Ram 1500. TheCarConnection.com's editors also drove the Dodge Ram 1500 and added driving details and information where helpful. This review, in addition, compares the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 with other vehicles in its class to give you the best advice even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.

Dodge had some real troubles with its line of trucks back in the early 1990s. What they were selling was stale--really stale. Then 1994 rolled around and the all-new Ram rolled out with styling that blew everybody away. In one model year, Dodge went from almost abandoning the truck business to being a serious contender. The Ram last got a major rework in 2002, and the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 is of this same generation. By comparison, Ford and Chevrolet have both introduced all-new pickup trucks during this near geologic time span. Importantly, Dodge recently introduced its almost-all-new 2009 Ram 1500, which goes on sale in late 2008.

However, the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 still stands out on its own, thanks to its bold styling. Frankly, it still looks good after all these years. Incremental improvements such as the available electronic stability control, E85-compatible engine, and 20-inch wheels continually add to and modernize the truck.

While there is not room enough here to cover the entire range of the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, the basics are this: three cab designs, with the Mega Cab offering impressive amounts of interior room; two bed lengths (6.25 and 8 feet); three engines, including one V-6, a significantly improved 310-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8, and the iconic 5.7-liter HEMI with variable displacement technology and 345 horsepower; three drivelines, including two-wheel drive, part-time four-wheel drive, and permanent four-wheel drive; and more trim levels than you can keep straight without a showroom catalog.

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Based on research TheCarConnection.com's experts completed on the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, the three most attractive qualities about the Ram 1500 are its style, its value, and the HEMI. Our on-road experience tells us that the HEMI delivers a serious punch, with a maximum towing rating of more than 9,000 pounds.

Some special suggestions: If you're going for value, don't overlook the 3.7-liter V-6 with the manual gearbox in a short-box regular cab. This may be the ultimate utility truck, and the transmission shifts with wonderful mechanical precision. If you're going for style and want the 20-inch wheels, know that you'll take a hit in ride quality and that you may need a stepladder to get up into the cab--the ride height with those wheels is pretty tall. Also note that four-wheel anti-lock brakes are optional on some models, and that's a good feature to have.

While the Toyota Tundra is capable, it hasn't proven as popular as the Dodge. Even though the Tundra is mighty Toyota's newest and best effort, after a year, it's selling only two-thirds as many units as the vehicle Dodge redesigned for the 2003 model year. Dodge must be doing something right. The sales success of the Nissan Titan doesn't come close to matching Toyota's, even though we consider the Titan to be the sportiest-handling full-size truck out there.

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