Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
5.7 HEMI...best choice for...hauling or towing.
nimble and easy to drive
Light steering provides precise action with decent feel
The V6 labors under heavy load, when passing, or climbing hills
Kelley Blue Book
Reviewers agree that the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 offers excellent performance on- and off-road with any of its optional eight-cylinder engines.
The 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 sports a variety of engine options that, accordingly, offers a wide range of performance characteristics. Cars.com notes that for the Dodge Ram 1500, 2008 brings four engine options, the first of which is "the standard 3.7-liter V-6" that "produces 215 hp." Moving up in displacement brings a "4.7-liter V-8 with 310 horsepower, and the top engine is the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with 345 horsepower and fuel-saving cylinder deactivation," according to Car and Driver. Kelley Blue Book writes that the last engine choice on the Dodge Ram 1500 is "the Cummins Turbo Diesel," which features "610 pound-feet of max torque at just 1600 rpm" along with "325 peak horsepower at 2900 rpm." Overall, most reviewers feel the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 loses face with the standard, base 3.7-liter V-6 but more than makes it up with both the 4.7-liter V-8 and the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8.
TheCarConnection.com finds that driving impressions of the Dodge Ram 1500 2008 vary considerably depending on the engine that reviewers were outfitted with. ConsumerGuide notes of the base model that "the V6 labors under heavy load, when passing, or climbing hills" but praises that the "2008 Dodge Ram 1500 gets a more powerful V8 engine." Because the Dodge Ram is far less capable with the V-6, Edmunds used to refer to the "5.7-liter V8" as a "near necessity," but Dodge has addressed that concern for 2008 by adding "the new 4.7-liter" V8 engine. ConsumerGuide finds that "the 5.7 HEMI is the best choice for heavy hauling or towing," though performance on the Mega Cabs, which are "more than 1100 lb heavier than comparable Quad Cabs," suffers because of the additional heft.
Transferring the engine power to the road on most Dodge Ram 1500 2008s is either a "6-speed manual transmission" or a "5-speed automatic transmission," according to ConsumerGuide. Reviewers at Kelley Blue Book write that "the five-speed automatic provides smooth power at any reasonable speed." For consumers who opt for the Cummins Turbo Diesel on the Dodge Ram 1500, Motor Trend finds that it features a "new six-speed automatic transmission smart enough to know how to adjust to empty versus loaded torque loads."
When purchasing a pickup such as the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, nobody expects that it will boast stunning, or even decent, fuel economy numbers. In this way the Dodge Ram 1500 is par for the course, as its various engines return an EPA-estimated 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway with the six-cylinder and 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway with the bigger V-8s, according to fueleconomy.gov.
Edmunds praises the "well-controlled ride" and the "better-than-average handling reflexes" on the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500. Kelley Blue Book agrees, writing that "despite their bulk," Dodge Ram 1500s can "steer, ride, handle and brake at least as well as competitive long-wheelbase heavy-duty pickups." Automobile further adds to the praise by saying that "the Ram has relatively good road manners" with "light steering" and an ability to take corners "reasonably well." However, those same reviewers lament the "suspension refinement overall" as a "critical weakness of the Ram."
The 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 is an excellent truck that performs well--as long as you select one of the V-8 models.