Performance » 9
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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
Pulls strongly from a stop and has more than adequate passing punch
No longer rides and handles like the usual sort of truck
Payload capacity is retained, but ride quality is vastly improved
Car and Driver
The redesigned Dodge Ram 1500 boasts a very smooth ride and competent towing abilities, and for 2009, it even offers respectable fuel economy. Chrysler engineers have clearly taken a lot of care to make the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 one of the best performers in the pickup market.
The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 can be equipped with one of three engine options. Cars.com states that "the base engine is a 3.7-liter V-6 that makes 210 horsepower and 235 pounds-feet of torque," while "the midlevel engine is a 4.7-liter V-8 that produces 310 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque," and "the big dog engine is Dodge's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that now produces 380 hp and 404 pound-feet of torque." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the V-8s are very impressive, while the V-6 can struggle in some situations. The Detroit News claims that "when towing various size trailers on a short loop, the Hemi-powered Ram acted as if nothing was attached to the rear." Jalopnik agrees, finding that "even up a massive 7.2% grade...the Dodge pulls like a freight train." Edmunds reports the 5.7-liter engine can "generate a claimed time to 60 mph of less than 6.0 seconds" and "tow 9,100 pounds in a short-bed SLT 4x2." While the V-6 engine is significantly less powerful, The Detroit News says "the truck does provide a significant savings in overall prices, so the difference would be evident quickly in the pocketbook."
The Dodge Ram 1500 lineup is offered with three different transmissions, and Automobile Magazine reports that "all Rams will use automatic transmissions; V-6 models get four-speed gearboxes, while the 4.7- and 5.7-liter V-8 models are equipped with a five-speed." The Dodge Ram 1500 is available in either two- or four-wheel-drive versions as well. Edmunds reviewers add that optional towing gears are available "because the new Ram still uses a five-speed automatic," whereas "a truck with a six-speed can offer high towing capacity without forcing the customer to buy and live with a less economical rear end." The transmissions all come ready to work, according to Jalopnik, mentioning that they feature a "'Tow/Haul' mode, which changes the shift points higher up in the rev range."
Fuel economy is usually a sore point in pickup trucks, and while it's not spectacular on the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, it’s not significantly less than any of its rivals. Thanks to Dodge's cylinder deactivation technology, Edmunds reports, "a small fuel consumption benefit has been realized." The EPA estimates that both the V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8 will get 14 mpg city and 20 mpg on the highway on 2WD models, while the 2WD 4.7-liter engine gets 14/19 mpg. Moving up to 4WD, the EPA estimates that both V-8s will get 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.
ConsumerGuide says that although "Ram is far too large and prone to cornering lean to be called nimble," they feel that "car-like is not a stretch" when it comes to handling. The one common complaint in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com is captured by reviewers at The Detroit News, who remark that the "steering needs more feedback." Otherwise, Jalopnik is pleased to report that "braking was delivered confidently and the ABS feedback was smooth" during their tests.
Powerful and capable—there's little not to like about the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500.