2022 Ram 1500

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
November 22, 2021

Buying tip

A Laramie with four-wheel drive and the V-8 engine ticks enough boxes to please drivers who need to work and play.

features & specs

Big Horn 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box
Big Horn 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box
Big Horn 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box
MPG
20 city / 25 hwy
MPG
20 city / 25 hwy
MPG
20 city / 25 hwy
MSRP
$41,900
MSRP
$42,200
MSRP
$39,200

The 2022 Ram 1500 pickup truck has V-8 swagger and top-tier towing on its spec sheet, with a Raptor-iffic TRX edition to boot.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Ram 1500? What does it compete with?

The 1500 is Ram’s full-size pickup truck, one that can outperform the heavy-duty trucks of just a few years ago with its powerful V-8 engines, stout four-wheel-drive system, expansive four-door crew cab, and multi-talented bed. It’s a big, beefy rival to the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and GMC Sierra.

Is the 2022 Ram 1500 a good truck?

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It earns a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10. If less expensive versions came with the latest safety gear and if its V-8 were more economical, it’d rank much higher. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Ram 1500?

It gets a few new trim packages, but the big news is a new infotainment interface on Big Horn 1500s and above, with faster processing and a wi-fi hotspot. 

Ram sells the Ram in Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited trims. With the usual color and grille differences, all sport a conventional truck body that’s lost the tractor-trailer look that used to distinguish the Ram from Ford and GM pickups. It’s a loss, but one that Ram makes up for with interior style that’s the best of its kind in Limited and Laramie Longhorn editions, with their refined trim choices and balanced designs. 

The four-engine lineup squares up the Ram well against performance rivals, but it’s more a two-horse race here. The base 305-hp V-6 performs well enough to drive everyday and to tow and haul on occasion; the brappy and torque 395-hp V-8 does everything well, and comes closest to the F-150’s sky-high towing ratings. Turbodiesel Rams will take a very long time to earn back their additional cost in fuel savings; a TRX offsets that meager eco-conscious move in any case, with its 702-hp supercharged V-8. Life’s all about choices, right? We’d choose Ram’s more sophisticated suspension setup versus its rivals; the more complex air-spring setup doesn’t have perfect ride control, so it’s a take-it-or-leave-it line item. 

Ram takes a pass on the regular cab body style—it’s all extended and crew cabs here, and the latter offers scads of leg room and reclining rear seats to go with a 5-foot-7 or a 6-foot-4 bed. For an 8-foot bed, you’ll have to shop elsewhere, but Ram will sell the usual scores of utility add-ons, from bed liners to tailgate locks to cargo tie-downs.

Ram omits automatic emergency braking from base 1500s, which dings its score. Higher-spec trucks have fancy add-ons like a head-up display and a surround-view camera system, not to mention strong crash-test scores from the IIHS and the NHTSA.

How much does the 2022 Ram 1500 cost?

Tradesman trucks start at $35,770, but don’t include automatic emergency braking or a usefully sized touchscreen. We’d spec a $48,395 Ram 1500 Laramie with an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather upholstery, and heated and cooled front seats for utility and luxury. It’s possible to spend more than $100,000 on a Ram TRX; we’re not saying it’s OK to spend all that, but we’re not saying it’s not OK, either. 

Where is the 2022 Ram 1500 made?

In Michigan.

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2022 Ram 1500

Styling

The Ram’s lost that 18-wheeler feel—but it’s what inside that counts, right?

Is the Ram 1500 a good-looking truck?

It is, though we do miss the days of proud wide fenders and a tractor-trailer front end. It’s a 7, with two points above average for the interior. 

The latest Ram 1500 has shed most of that semi style; it’s more contemporary and more anonymous as a result. The Ram name stamped across its nose wouldn’t feel out of place on an IMAX screen; the engine badges on its fenders are less subtle, but only in comparison. The rest of it fades into truck tried-and-true lines, and that’s fine by us. 

The Ram interior fares far better; it’s the best in full-size pickups, our eyes say. Tradesman editions have a wash-and-wear simplicity, with all the essential gauges and dials in their rightful places; only the teensy audio display scratches the needle out of its styling groove. Laramie Longhorns and Limiteds dress for a night out with the McGraw-Hills, all fancy open-pore wood and leather and massive 8.4-inch or 12.0-inch touchscreens, while Rebel and TRX versions are ready to flip a table or two with Carrie Underwood with their black and red leather trim.

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7

2022 Ram 1500

Performance

Well-tamed handling and a superb V-8 put the Ram on a performance pedestal.

Full-size pickups have joined an arms race with explosive off-road editions, but basic Rams skip that with tepid performance. V-8s are more common, anyway—and the Ram’s ride and handling are uncommonly good, better than most rivals. It’s a 6 here, thanks to the V-8’s strength.

Is the Ram 1500 4WD?

Every version except the Tradesman HFE can be configured with four-wheel drive; the TRX only comes with 4WD.

How fast is the Ram 1500?

It’s acceptable in civilian spec. Ram fits a 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6 into most trucks as standard equipment. It’s fine for workhorse duty, and it’s coupled to a sweet-shifting 8-speed automatic. Available on rear- or four-wheel-drive trucks, this powertrain can tow up to 7,710 lb and deliver fuel economy in the low 20s.

Ram sells more V-8s, though, and it’s not difficult to see why. The 395-hp 5.7-liter V-8 twists out 410 lb-ft through a similar 8-speed automatic, and its superior output pushes towing to 12,750 lb and payload to 1,900 lb. The refined but distinctive V-8 roar wouldn’t sound out of place at an oval track. It shares the mild-hybrid system from the V-6, but in either case it doesn’t move the fuel economy needle much; the system mostly saves power to run accessories.

For fuel economy, Ram’s 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel makes sense in theory, but not in practice. It tows about 200 lb more than the V-8 and costs about $5,000 more. Its 280 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque make the grade and turn in 32-mpg highway ratings, but the payback would take decades.

Buy a TRX and the turbodiesel’s fuel economy will seem like the stuff of fantasy. At 10 mpg city, but with 702 hp on tap, the dune-jumping TRX doesn’t sit around and wait for a good time. It chases it down with extravagant quickness and raucous noises. How much of this the world needs pretty much comes down to whether you’re in its driver’s seat.

It’s tough to draw conclusions for a lineup this broad, but in general, the Ram trucks have better on-road composure than the competition. Ram sets its trucks apart from rivals with an available air suspension and standard coil springs that generate a firm but controlled ride. It can seem too stiff at highway speeds, when the air springs take a low set to conserve fuel via aerodynamics. But in general, the Ram rides better than its rivals. Steering can be just as much a chore as any two-ton truck. The TRX? It’s either the worst or best of all worlds, depending on whether or not your commute takes you over crumbling city streets or to Ulaan Bataar. 

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2022 Ram 1500

Comfort & Quality

Ram skips the regular cab, and leans into luxury with the Laramie Longhorn.

Ram sells the 1500 as an extended cab or as a crew cab, with a cascade of utility add-ons for the cabin and bed. It’s able to seat up to six people and has its truck bona fides locked down, so it’s a 7 here. That’s based on the Big Horn crew cab, one of the most popular versions, but Laramie and Longhorn trucks would pick up another point for interior quality.

Work-spec 1500s get a wide bench seat in front, but most are configured with a front center console to split them. The extended cab has a short-bottomed bench seat that flips up in sections to reveal extra storage, but it’s not comfortable for longer trips thanks to a vertical backrest and less leg room. Crew cabs resolve all of that, with a cavernous amount of leg room and sliding seats that allow the back bench sections to recline.

The 1500 gets either a 5-foot-7 or a 6-foot-4 bed in crew-cab spec, but extended cabs come only with the longer bed. As with other full-size trucks, it’s the bed accessories that matter, and Ram has them nailed: a spray-in bedliner, cargo tie-downs, bed lighting, a sliding rear window, and a locking tailgate that can open, drop, or swing on a side hinge. It’s only missing a bed step.

Ram’s basic 1500s won’t offend any truck driver, but the Laramie Longhorn might embarrass them with its richly upholstered interior. Just over the Nashville line for glitz, the Longhorn’s embossed leather, open-pore wood, big touchscreen, and cooled front seats feel like the reward for a long day of hard work in the great outdoors or even saddled to a desk and a keyboard.

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6

2022 Ram 1500

Safety

Work trucks lack the latest safety tech.

How safe is the Ram 1500?

Its crash-test scores get kudos, but Ram omits automatic emergency braking on base work trucks. Because of that, it loses one of the two points it picks up for its good grades. It’s a 6.

The NHTSA calls the Ram crew cab a five-star effort, though it does earn four stars for front passenger and rollover resistance protection, as well as a four-star rating for extended-cab trucks.

The IIHS dubs it a Top Safety Pick, but only Laramie and Longhorn and TRX versions have the headlights that merit it; others get headlights rated “Marginal.”

Tradesman and Big Horn trucks lack automatic braking, but above that, the Ram includes it, along with available blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. Some trims offer a rear camera mirror, a surround-view camera system, and a head-up display—all of which make parking and towing much easier.

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7

2022 Ram 1500

Features

The Ram 1500 has great value when it’s configured correctly.

Ram sells the 1500 in myriad configurations—and when you choose from them well, it offers good value. That and lots of options earn a 7 here; it’d do better if its base touchscreen were bigger and its warranty longer.

Ram sells the 1500 in Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, Limited, and TRX versions, with some new trim packages added this year. The base $35,770 Tradesman comes with a front bench seat, cloth upholstery, and a 5.0-inch touchscreen, as well as an average 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. Automatic emergency braking costs $595; it should be standard.

The $40,495 Big Horn gains a new infotainment interface with faster processing and a wi-fi hotspot. It also comes with chrome bumpers, 18-inch wheels, and a 6-foot-4 bed. On its options list are 20-inch wheels, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, all manner of packages for trim and bed utility and lighting and towing and—still, a $595 surcharge for automatic braking. Rebel models get beefy off-road hardware on top of this equipment.

Which Ram 1500 should I buy?

Take the $48,395 Laramie, which gets that technology standard, along with the bigger touchscreen, heated and cooled front seats, and leather upholstery. 

How much is a fully loaded Ram 1500?

Laramie Longhorn and Limited trucks pile on features such as a rear camera mirror, a 12.0-inch touchscreen, parking sensors, a power tailgate, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Need to spend more? Buy a Ram TRX for $74,185 and get a truck that can hit triple-digit speeds—and pass $100,000 when all its option boxes are checked.

 

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3

2022 Ram 1500

Fuel Economy

The Ram has low fuel economy, save for turbodiesel models.

Is the Ram 1500 good on gas?

Ram’s 1500 pickup does better with its mild-hybrid and turbodiesel offerings, but the most common versions could hardly do worse. It’s a 3 here, thanks to EPA ratings for its  5.7-liter V-8 that only reach 15 mpg city, 21 highway, 17 combined when teamed with four-wheel drive. Ram does have a mild-hybrid system which boosts the combined and city ratings by 2 mpg.

One Ram earns even lower ratings: the 702-hp, Hellcat-powered Ram TRX checks in at a cool 10/14/12 mpg. But most other versions settle in higher than the V-8s: with the 3.6-liter V-6 and four-wheel drive, the Ram 1500 earns EPA ratings of 19/24/21 mpg, and with the turbodiesel, 21/29/24 mpg.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$34,400
MSRP based on Express 4x2 Reg Cab 6'4" Box
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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 6
Features 7
Fuel Economy 3
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