2016 Ram 1500

Starting MSRP: $26,145 - $55,485

Estimated MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy

2016 Ram 1500 Review

Whether you need a dedicated work truck or a comfy weekend adventure mobile, the 2016 Ram 1500 is a full-size pickup that answers the call. With a trio of powerful engines and a spacious cabin that can be optioned to rival that of a luxury sedan, the Ram 1500 proves to be a capable work truck can double as your primary vehicle.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 07/13/2016

The full-size Ram 1500 is a long-time favorite in the light-duty pickup truck segment. Available with rear- or four-wheel drive, the Ram 1500 can be powered by a base V6, an optional V8 or a turbodiesel V6 engine. Most Ram 1500 trucks employ a refined eight-speed automatic transmission, but a six-speed automatic is standard on a couple of trims.

The 2016 Ram 1500 is available as a three-passenger Regular Cab with either a 6-foot-4-inch or an 8-foot bed. A Quad Cab with a 6-foot-4-inch bed and a Crew Cab with either a 5-foot-7-inch bed or 6-foot-4-inch bed are also offered. Quad Cab and Crew Cab models seat up to six. The Ram 1500 is available in 11 trim levels including Tradesman, Express, HFE, SLT, Big Horn/Lone Star, Outdoorsman, Sport, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited.

Exterior

Exterior
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The Ram 1500 has long been distinctive for its looming, larger-than-life presence, with a bold grille and muscular fenders providing a look that's all business.

The current fourth-generation Ram 1500 continues this take-no-prisoners design theme. Mildly restyled for 2013, the Dodge name was removed and replaced with a Ram badge. The redesigned fascia is tough, striking and more aggressive than ever.

Our special edition Ram 1500 Rebel takes the ruggedly styled truck to the next level. Featuring an adjustable air suspension that increases the ride height, standard 33-inch tires, skid plates, tow hooks and a host of off-road ready features, the aptly named Rebel is ready for just about any adventure you throw at it.

Interior

Interior
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When you sit inside the 2016 Ram 1500, you are immediately aware of the model's long heritage. The product of years of refinement, the 1500’s interior is well thought out and expertly implemented. Base models benefit from an ergonomic design and Ram’s attention to detail. While materials may not be premium, they are long-wearing and high quality. The Ram’s upper trim levels provide an upscale leather-appointed environment bordering on luxury.

While the base front seats are fine for around-town, they lack the support of the optional 10-way adjustable seats on longer trips. It's easy to find a comfortable driving position with both, thanks to the standard tilt steering wheel.

The rear seats in the Quad Cab are comfortable and angled perfectly for the majority of passengers. Unlike many extended cab trucks, the Quad Cab’s rear seats provide plenty of legroom for most occupants. The Crew Cab boasts a gigantic rear seating area, and even tall rear passengers will find room to stretch out.

For 2016, Ram has adopted a new center console that includes enhanced connectivity and storage across the lineup. A nifty rotary gear shifter mechanism is located on the dashboard, freeing up space normally required for a center console-mounted shift lever. The rotary dial only takes a minute to become acquainted with, and once you’re comfortable reaching to make gear changes, using the device becomes second nature.

The rugged theme continues inside the cabin. The 1500 Rebel’s seat design features a unique Toyo tire tread pattern on the fabric. According to Ram, the pattern on the seat matches the Rebel’s actual “footprint,” a snazzy design element that isn’t apparent at first blush.

Performance

Performance
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The base Ram 1500 is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. That engine is coupled with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with rear-wheel drive, fuel economy is rated up to 18/25 mpg city/highway. Four-wheel drive variants are rated at 16/23 mpg city/highway. When properly equipped, the V6-powered Ram 1500 has a towing capacity of 7,610 pounds.

The Ram 1500’s available 5.7-liter V8 doesn’t disappoint. It generates 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to allow the 1500 to tow an impressive 10,640 pounds. Six- and eight-speed automatic transmissions are available, depending on the trim level.

A turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine is also available, producing 240 horsepower and an impressive 420 pound-feet of torque. Ram 1500 models with this engine get up to 21/29 mpg city/highway and can tow up to 9,210 pounds when properly equipped.

Our time behind the wheel of the V8-powered Ram 1500 Rebel was rewarding. The muscular engine makes the Ram Rebel as capable as it is refined. Even if you're not into trucks, you'll find piloting the Rebel a straightforward experience. Parking is easier than expected thanks to the optional rearview camera and parking sensors, which we highly recommend. Steering is direct and fairly precise for a large truck, and the brakes are competent, with a firm, natural brake pedal feel.

We carried a fairly heavy load of gravel in the truck at one point during our week-long test, and although the payload neared 800 pounds, the Ram 1500 handled exactly the same as it did with nothing in the bed at all. This is a testimony to the truck's balanced suspension and capable powertrain.

Technology

Technology
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The base Ram 1500 Tradesman includes a six-speaker audio system with USB connectivity and an audio jack. An 8.4-inch color touch-screen audio system is standard on upper trim levels. The navigation-capable system includes satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity. The system also includes Uconnect Access, which provides access to pair smartphone apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio.

Our 1500 Rebel Crew Cab included the 8.4-inch touch screen and the optional navigation system with a five-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link and a one-year subscription to Uconnect Access. Ram’s infotainment systems, which are shared with Dodge and Chrysler, have always been rewarding, and the newest iteration lives up to the manufacturer’s history of excellence. The system is user-friendly, with audio that's clear and enjoyable.

Safety

Safety
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All Ram 1500 models include antilock brakes, electronic stability control and a suite of air bags.

The 2016 Ram 1500 earned a four-star (out of a possible five) overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In rollover crash tests, the Ram earned three or four stars out of five, with different cab and bed designs garnering different results.

In testing from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Ram 1500 received a top Good rating in front moderate overlap crash testing, side impact crash testing and testing done to evaluate head restraints and seats. In small overlap front and roof strength tests, the Ram 1500 was given a Marginal rating.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The base 2016 Ram 1500 Tradesman starts at $26,145. With manual windows and door locks, the Tradesman is a no-frills work truck that offers a powerful and efficient powertrain that includes the eight-speed automatic transmission. The base Ram 1500 represents strong value in the segment, matching or beating the starting prices of the majority of comparably equipped full-size trucks.

The top-trim Limited Crew Cab with four-wheel drive starts at $56,200. The Limited is powered by the V8 and is luxuriously appointed with leather seating, an Alpine stereo, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seating and much more.

Our review vehicle, the four-wheel drive Rebel Crew Cab, starts at $45,200 with the V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. The Rebel is much more than an appearance package and features an adjustable air-suspension and an enhanced off-road chassis. Our Rebel also included a number of aforementioned extras that led to a final price of $51,755 (including a $1,195 destination charge).

Overall

Overall
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Thanks to its abundance of cab, bed and trim choices, the 2016 Ram 1500 can be configured to meet every need, and it may be equipped as a basic work truck or a high-end luxury liner. The Ram 1500’s engine choices and the efficient eight-speed automatic transmission provide an excellent balance of economy and power. The 3.0-liter diesel is especially noteworthy considering its substantial torque and great fuel economy.

While the Ram 1500 may not be the best truck for everyone in the full-size pickup market, the V8-powered 1500 is a great choice for anyone wanting a powerful truck that won’t break the bank at the dealer or the gas pump.