2010 Dodge Ram Review

Consumer Reviews
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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
November 10, 2009

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 vies with the latest Ford F-150 as the most desirable full-size pickup truck you can buy.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven different versions of the latest Dodge Ram and have written this road test summary from firsthand driving impressions. Editors have compared the Ram with other big trucks to help you narrow your shopping decision. The companion Full Review condenses opinions from other trusted Web reviews. Together, these pages give you a comprehensive look at the Ram, from the perspective of daily drivers looking for a light-duty pickup truck.

In just two years, full-size pickups have gone from must-haves to pariahs. GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota now sell roughly half as many trucks as they did in 2007-but that's through no fault of capable, well-built trucks like the 2010 Dodge Ram. It's largely carried over for this model year (there's a new heavy-duty truck, though TheCarConnection.com doesn't review commercial vehicles), but the Ram continues to be one of the toughest, most composed pickup trucks on the market. Base prices start at around $21,000 for stripped-down work trucks and sail past $43,000 for well-outfitted Laramie 4WD Crew Cabs. The Ram's competition includes tough machines like the Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado, and Toyota Tundra.

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 is related to the previous generation of Ram, but the forward-tilted grille and the beefy tractor-trailer fenders of the last generation have been toned down. The new look is derivative and frankly could use more of the last Ram's aggressiveness, but the 2010 model's still the best-looking full-size truck. The distinctive grille is big, tall, and chromed; the side view has enough detail in the headlamps and taillights to identify it as a Dodge; and the proportions of glass to sheetmetal and, on some trucks, two-tone paint is still better than the Ford F-150's robotic angles and the softer looks of the Chevy Silverado. (Never mind the bizarre appearance of the latest Toyota Tundra.) The details seem plain-the Ram's tailgate isn't as cleverly stamped as that on the F-150-but there are dual exhaust pipes tucked into the rear end. Inside, the Ram's taken a lesson from the F-150 and the GMC Sierra by adopting their high-quality, upscale styling elements. Base versions are workhorses, to be clear-but the Ram and the others can be dolled up with wood trim, leather, DVD screens, and navigation systems, and in the Ram, the execution's probably the best. On Laramie versions, the wood grain trim rises into the center stack, framed by big vents, and the dash is "stitched" in a luxury-car fashion.

Review continues below

The 2010 Ram 1500 also excels in performance. Three engines are offered, and the base 3.7-liter V-6 is to be avoided. It's a coarse, wheezy engine, and with 215 horsepower, it's hardly powerful enough to move the Ram with any authority. Add on fuel economy of 14/20 mpg, and there's almost nothing except its low price to justify it over the 310-hp, 4.7-liter V-8, which gets the same fuel economy. Truly, the Ram begs for its 390-hp, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. It flares off 390 hp but burns fossil fuel at just a 13/19 mpg clip, not much worse than the other engines. (Automatic-equipped, 2WD versions are compared here; for more detail, see TheCarConnection.com's specs pages.) If price is no object, the HEMI is the way to go. The Ram suffers a bit in the transmission checklist; both Ford and Chevrolet/GMC offer six-speed automatics on their full-size trucks, while the Ram's best bet is the five-speed automatic in the HEMI V-8. All versions of the Ram have automatic cylinder deactivation, which shuts off fuel to part of the engine at highway speeds to save gas.

When it comes to driving and hauling, the 2010 Ram proves to be a marked improvement over the last version, and at least the equal of the Ford and GM trucks. A new stiff chassis and a new rear coil suspension have loosened up the Ram's ride, which now feels better controlled than any of the competitors. This is easily the best-riding truck Dodge has ever produced. The steering is quick but rather numb and not as full of feedback as the chassis really deserves. In the full-size pickup numbers game, Dodge claims its 10,450-pound towing rating is the best in its class, but it hasn't really disclosed what's been changed to achieve the new ratings. Dodge also announced that the gross vehicle weight rating on some HEMI-powered, long-bed trucks has increased from 14,000 to 15,500 pounds. With the two new ratings, the carmaker claims the Ram is the most capable light-duty truck on the planet, though the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra are within a reasonable margin of error on either rating.

Room doesn't always equal comfort, but in the 2010 Ram a wide cabin gives real three-across seating on the standard bench seat. With two seats in front, a massive center console divides wide, flat chairs with decent adjustability. The rear seat on Crew Cab models is nicely canted back, and leg- and headroom abound. Wisely, Dodge transfers the clever use of previously untapped storage space pioneered on its minivans to the new Ram's interior. The under-floor (second-row Crew Cab) storage bins are handy, as are the optional Ram Box in-fender weatherproof and lockable storage areas. The quality level and design of the interior are among the best in any pickup truck sold today-better than the Tundra and Nissan Titan, as well-made as any of the GM trucks, and with a bit more truck panache than the F-150, which blurs the luxury line a bit much for hardcore truck folks.

The 2010 Dodge Ram benefits from a full list of safety gear, including dual front and side curtain airbags, and four-wheel anti-lock brakes with traction and stability control. The truck gets five stars for front impacts from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and a four-star rollover for 2WD trucks' rollover protection (three stars for 4WD models). No side-impact tests have been performed by the agency. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) called the nearly identical 2009 model "good" for front impacts and "marginal" for side impacts. Like most trucks, the Ram doesn't offer advanced safety options, though the rearview camera is a welcome option, given its size. Passive head restraints are newly standard for 2010. Visibility can be poor, since the Ram sits so high, but big folding trailer mirrors are now offered, as is a trailer-brake controller.

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 comes stripped in its most basic form, but in upmarket Laramie trim, it can be ordered with about every imaginable road-going feature in the Chrysler parts bin. You'll get wind-up windows and an AM radio on the work versions, but spend a lot more and the Ram can be a real luxury pickup. There's available Bluetooth connectivity; steering-wheel radio controls; a hard-drive music system with USB and auxiliary-jack connections; a DVD player for front and backseats; a voice-activated navigation system; and Sirius Satellite Radio. Laramie versions also have handsomely detailed interiors, with a wide choice of paint combinations, and an R/T package swaps in 22-inch tires and an aerodynamic air dam.

8

2010 Dodge Ram

Styling

With a recent makeover success, the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 continues to set the styling pace among full-size trucks.

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 is related to the previous generation of Ram, but the forward-tilted grille and the beefy tractor-trailer fenders of the last generation are toned down. The new look is derivative and frankly could use more of the last Ram's aggressiveness, but the 2010 model's still the best-looking full-size truck.

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 is a "large pickup truck" that "is offered as a two-door regular cab and two four-door cabs with conventional doors-the Quad Cab and the Crew Cab," according to ConsumerGuide. In either body, the Ram's distinctive grille is big, tall, and chromed; the side view has enough detail in the headlamps and taillights to identify it as a Dodge; and the proportions of glass to sheetmetal and, on some trucks, two-tone paint is still better than the Ford F-150's robotic angles and the softer looks of the Chevy Silverado. (Never mind the bizarre looks of the latest Toyota Tundra.) Edmunds reports this newer exterior design "intensifies the Ram's big-rig look via more angular and aggressive lines," while Car and Driver says it "steps up the macho with bossy new sheetmetal." Cars.com asserts that the "new styling is an improvement over the previous truck's," and Autoblog remarks the "Ram's new hood is more shapely than the model it replaces." Some details seem plain-the Ram's tailgate isn't as cleverly stamped as that on the F-150-but dual exhaust pipes are tucked into the rear end, and that big, "forward-swept crosshair grille that replaces its predecessor's upright design" is flanked by "new headlights," Cars.com adds. Reviewers at the Detroit News love the "big, bold and distinctive" exterior that "incorporates function with art."

Inside, the Ram's taken a lesson from the F-150 and the GMC Sierra by adopting their high-quality, upscale styling elements. Base versions are workhorses, to be clear-but the Ram and the others can be dolled up with wood trim, leather, DVD screens, and navigation systems, and in the Ram the execution's probably the best. Car and Driver notes the complete interior overhaul brings "sophisticated gauges, soft-touch materials, and plenty of brightwork to the cabin." Automobile calls it "the nicest interior of any Chrysler product." ConsumerGuide admires the "huge gauges" that are "boldly marked and easy to read at a glance" and appreciates that the "major controls are mostly convenient to access." On Laramie versions, wood grain trim rises into the center stack, framed by big vents and the dash is "stitched" in a luxury-car fashion. The Detroit News sums it up perfectly by proclaiming that "the interior offers everything a trucker needs, and everything a passenger wants."

Review continues below
8

2010 Dodge Ram

Performance

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 is probably the best-performing full-size truck you can buy, and there's every reason to choose the big HEMI V-8.

The 2010 Ram 1500 excels in style-and in performance.

Three engines are offered, and the base 3.7-liter V-6 is to be avoided. It's a coarse, wheezy engine, and with 215 horsepower, it's hardly powerful enough to move the Ram with any authority. Add on fuel economy of 14/20 mpg, and there's almost nothing except its low price to justify it over the 310-hp, 4.7-liter V-8, which gets about the same fuel economy of 14/19 mpg. Cars.com reports the base engine makes "235 pounds-feet of torque," while the mid-grade V-8 produces "330 pound-feet of torque," which reveals how unflattering the comparison can be. Even so, 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 Ram is at its best with the top engine, the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. It flares off 390 hp but burns fossil fuel at just a 14/20 mpg clip, better even than the smaller V-8. (Automatic-equipped, 2WD versions are compared here; for more detail see TheCarConnection.com's specs pages.) If price is no object, the HEMI is the way to go. Cars.com calls it "the big dog engine," and Edmunds says it can "generate a claimed time to 60 mph of less than 6.0 seconds." Car and Driver confirms "it ┬Čaccelerates forcefully and pulls race or boat trailers easily," and Autoblog raves "we were thrilled with the Ram's straight-line acceleration, and the roar of the legendary HEMI caused us to test its limits often."

The Ram suffers a bit in the transmission checklist; both Ford and Chevrolet/GMC offer six-speed automatics on their full-size trucks, while the Ram's best bet is the five-speed automatic in the HEMI V-8. Automobile says the V-6 models get "four-speed gearboxes," another strike against them. 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." On the street, "the Ram's five-speed automatic falls one cog short of the competition, but we really didn't want for an extra gear," Autoblog comments. "The automatic provided smooth, predictable shifts, and when pushed hard cut through gears plenty fast enough for any sporty pickup."

When it comes to driving and hauling, the 2010 Ram proves to be a marked improvement over the last version, and at least the equal of the Ford and GM trucks. ConsumerGuide asserts that although "Ram is far too large and prone to cornering lean to be called nimble," they suggest that "car-like is not a stretch" when it comes to handling. A new stiff chassis and a new rear coil suspension loosen up the Ram's ride, which now feels better controlled than any of the competitors. It's "vastly improved," Car and Driver remarks. This is easily the best-riding truck Dodge has ever produced; Autoblog concurs, saying, "The Ram drives like a well-heeled wagon, soaking up bumps in the road and delivering a glassy-smooth ride reminiscent of a Lincoln Town Car." The steering is quick but rather numb and not as full of feedback as the chassis really deserves. The Detroit News gripes that the "steering needs more feedback." Jalopnik reports "braking was delivered confidently and the ABS feedback was smooth" during their tests, but Edmunds comments on its test truck's "mediocre braking performance."

In the full-size pickup numbers game, Dodge claims its 10,450-pound towing rating is the best in its class, but it hasn't really disclosed the changes necessary to achieve the new ratings. Dodge also announced that the gross vehicle weight rating on some HEMI-powered, long-bed trucks has improved from 14,000 to 15,500 pounds. The Detroit News claims "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." With the two new ratings, the carmaker claims the Ram is the most capable light-duty truck on the planet, though the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra are within a reasonable margin of error on either rating.

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8

2010 Dodge Ram

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 wraps passengers in ample room, with enough flexibility for just about any truck owner.

Room doesn't always equal comfort, but in the 2010 Ram, a wide cabin gives real three-across seating on the standard bench seat. ConsumerGuide says "regular cabs seat up to three passengers" on the Dodge Ram 1500, while "the others seat up to six."

With two seats in front, a massive center console divides wide, flat chairs with decent adjustability. The Detroit News says the old seats "should have been banned by the Geneva Conventions," but the new ones are praised by reviewers. "Even the base Ram is no torture chamber," Car and Driver observes, and the same Detroit News finds "the seats have nice bolsters to hold you in place when driving off-road and are cushy on the highway." Autoblog calls them "seats fit for a king," while Edmunds states "all seats benefit from improved sculpting and attention to detail." In terms of legroom, headroom, and overall comfort up front, ConsumerGuide points out "a high step in is about the only complaint one can muster."

The rear seat on Crew Cab models is nicely canted back, and leg- and headroom abound. ConsumerGuide says the rear seats are just as spacious as in front, "though flatter seats seem less supportive." And Edmunds explains that while the "Mega Cab" from the previous generation is gone, "the current Crew Cab still provides almost 40 inches of rear legroom."

Wisely, Dodge transfers the clever use of previously untapped storage space pioneered on its minivans to the new Ram's interior. The under-floor (second-row Crew Cab) storage bins are handy, as are the optional Ram Box in-fender weatherproof and lockable storage areas. The Detroit News finds "lots of nooks and crannies (more than 40) to hold cell phones, gloves, tools, folders and just about anything else." ConsumerGuide reports "all models have a two-tiered glove box, with the top compartment chilled for beverage cooling," while Autoblog describes the RamBox feature as a "lockable, weather-proof and large enough to fit a set of golf clubs"-though "it won't be as popular as we originally thought," because of its nearly $2,000 price and the room it steals from the truck bed. On Crew Cab models, Edmunds notes "the rear seat bottoms flip up to reveal storage compartments and there are two lined wells beneath the rear floor mats sized to hold a six-pack and ice," while out back, "twelve vertical slots are stamped into the inner bed walls, into which a bed divider can be clamped to keep items fenced in."

The variety of truck beds available is important to commercial buyers. ConsumerGuide sums up the options briefly: "the regular cab offers 6.4- and 8-foot cargo beds," while "the Quad Cab comes with a 6.4-foot bed" and "the Crew Cab uses a 5.7-foot bed."

The quality level and design of the interior are among the best in any pickup truck sold today-better than the Tundra and Nissan Titan, as well-made as any of the GM trucks, and with a bit more truck panache than the F-150, which blurs the luxury line a bit much for hardcore truck folks. The Detroit News finds that "every piece fits together nicely" on the Dodge Ram 1500, while "there's stitched material across the front of the dash that makes you feel like you're sitting in a top-end vehicle" on the Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie. Jalopnik proclaims that "fit and finish are quite good and all the gadgetry mechanisms feel like they'll stand up to years of abuse." Even the more conservative reviewers at ConsumerGuide remark that "front seat occupants are treated to a cabin generally finished in high-grade and soft-touch materials, with Laramie models seeming especially nice." Autoblog says what most reviewers seem to think: "Could this interior possibly come from the same company that also gave us the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Caliber?"

Noise suppression is admirable on the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500, according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Although Edmunds claims that their "pre-production Laramie Crew Cab 4x2 sample vehicle sounded a tad gusty when cruising at 60 mph," reviewers at ConsumerGuide contend that on their full production version "Dodge claims to have paid special attention to wind and road noise, and it shows." The result, according to ConsumerGuide, is that "the cabin is...impressively serene."

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8

2010 Dodge Ram

Safety

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 has good crash-test scores and useful options like a rearview camera.

The 2010 Dodge Ram benefits from a full list of safety gear, including dual front and side curtain airbags, as well as four-wheel anti-lock brakes with traction and stability control.

The truck gets five stars for front impacts from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and a four-star rollover for 2WD trucks' rollover protection (three stars for 4WD models). No side-impact tests have been performed by the agency. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) calls the nearly identical 2009 model "good" for front impacts and "marginal" for side impacts.

The Detroit News points out that this 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 offers "more standard features than before," including standard "traction control, stability control," and "side curtain airbags." ConsumerGuide reports that all 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 models come with "dual front airbags" and "antilock four-wheel disc brakes." They add the Laramie trim gets a standard "rear-obstacle-detection system," while Cars.com says other "available backup aids include rear parking sensors and a camera system that uses the navigation system's screen to show what's behind the truck when in Reverse." Passive head restraints are newly standard for 2010.

Visibility can be poor, since the Ram sits so high, but big folding trailer mirrors are now offered, as is a trailer-brake controller. ConsumerGuide reviewers claim that "visibility is very good all around," thanks to the commanding seating position and generously sized windows featured on the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500, but seeing back and down can be a significant-literally, overlooked-issue for everyday drivers.

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9

2010 Dodge Ram

Features

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 offers features-such as wireless Internet and TV-not found in many high-end luxury cars.

The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 comes stripped in its most basic form, but in upmarket Laramie trim, it can be ordered with about every imaginable road-going feature in the Chrysler parts bin.

You'll get wind-up windows and an AM radio on the work versions, but spend a lot more and the Ram can be a real luxury pickup. The standard features list on the three-trim Dodge Ram 1500 lineup is impressive. ConsumerGuide says all Rams come standard with "air conditioning," "heated power mirrors," full power accessories, and an "AM/FM/CD/MP3 player." The Ram SLT adds "cruise control" and "remote keyless entry," as well as Sirius, while the Laramie adds on "dual-zone automatic climate controls, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel w/radio controls...AM/FM radio w/in-dash six-disc CD/MP3 changer," and "115-volt power outlet," all standard.

As for options, there's available Bluetooth connectivity; steering-wheel radio controls; a hard-drive music system with USB and auxiliary-jack connections; a DVD player for front and backseats; a voice-activated navigation system; and Sirius Satellite Radio. Laramie versions also have those handsomely detailed interiors, with a wide choice of paint combinations, and an R/T package swaps in 22-inch tires and an aerodynamic air dam. Edmunds reports a "rear-seat video and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system are optional, as are Bluetooth, navigation and a rear back-up camera." The "smallish navigation screen" is "dwarfed by some of the new screens nestled in the center stacks of the competition," Autoblog observes, but the "system is intuitive to use." Automobile says Dodge's optional "uconnect" system can include "in-car TV and Internet access," and Cars.com states heated rear seats, power adjustable pedals, and a power sliding rear window are options.

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January 22, 2016
2010 Dodge Ram 2WD Quad Cab 140.5" SLT

Great truck...plan on keeping a long time.

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Excellent buy...would purchase this truck again. Haven't had any problems, all holding together great. Almost, looks as good as the day of purchase.
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