The Dodge Ram 1500 is a light-duty, full-size pickup truck that was introduced in 1981. It’s available in rear- and four-wheel drive configurations with your choice of cab and bed sizes. The fourth-generation Dodge Ram 1500 was released in 2009 and lasted two model years before the truck line was consigned to an all-new Ram brand.
Dodge Ram 1500 Overview
The first-generation Dodge Ram 1500 was built from 1981 to 1993. In 1994, Dodge made an extensive overhaul of its full-size pickup truck line as it introduced the second-generation Ram 1500. The new trucks featured a more robust appearance, and their design was compared to that of the Peterbilt 18-wheelers of that era.
The second-generation Ram 1500 offered a 3.9-liter V6 as the base engine. Four additional engines were offered between 1994 and 2001, including a 5.2-liter V8, a 5.9-liter V8, a turbodiesel 5.9-liter inline six and an 8.0-liter V10. Transmission choices included a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
In 1995, Dodge rolled out an extended cab version, and in 1998, it introduced a quad cab model.
The third-generation Dodge Ram 1500 was introduced in 2002 and sold through 2008. This model mirrored the cab choices, bed sizes and transmission options of the previous model. A 3.7-liter V6 served as the base engine, while a 4.7-liter V8 and a 5.9-liter V8 were available.
An optional five-speed automatic transmission was introduced in 2003, and 2004 saw the debut of a full-time four-wheel drive system, along with Bluetooth connectivity. For 2005, the 3.7-liter V6 and 4.7-liter V8 both received a standard six-speed manual transmission, and crew cab models added a power sunroof and satellite radio to their list of options.
The Ram 1500 received a slew of updates for 2006, including luxury features, freshened styling, a navigation system and a new mega cab body style. For 2007, stability control and keyless remote start were made available, while the 4.7-liter V8 was revised for improved power and fuel efficiency the following year.
The fourth-generation Dodge Ram 1500 was introduced for 2009. It continued with the rugged looks this model line has maintained since 1994, featuring a handsome, sculpted body teamed with a coil spring rear suspension.
Regular, quad (extended) and crew cab models were offered, along with 8-foot, 6-foot-4-inch or 5-foot-7-inch beds. This truck seats up to six people, depending on its cab configuration.
The standard engine with the 2009 model was a 3.7-liter V6 paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. Other choices included a 4.7-liter V8 and a 5.7-liter V8 that were both paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Standard features included 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, vinyl upholstery and a six-speaker stereo. Options included satellite radio, a navigation system, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod integration and heated and cooled front seats.
Various packages brought in skid plates, improved shocks and enhanced towing capacity. Dodge also offered RamBox, a unique storage system providing secure storage inside the truck bed’s walls.
For 2010, the Dodge Ram 1500 earned a higher tow rating and received an integrated brake controller. The 2010 models also benefitted from an updated tire-pressure monitoring system and trailer-tow mirrors. This truck was reassigned to the then-new Ram brand the following year, where it continues to be sold as the Ram 1500.