Dodge Ram 1500 makes big splash in 2016

The 2016 Ram 1500 capitalizes on a truckload of exclusive, pioneering, fuel-saving systems, including an eight-speed automatic transmission, thermal management system and active aerodynamics with grille shutters and air suspension.

2016 Ram 1500

Rating:Star5 Star Star Star Star

Price as tested: $37,670

Engine: 5.7-liter V8 Hemi

Mileage: 15 city / 22 highway

Curb weight: 4,516 pounds

The Dodge Ram has been in third place among the Big Three American truck makers for decades. And with foreign automakers upping their truck game every day, Ram was falling into oblivion. But that has changed with the all-new 2016 Ram 1500, which leads pickup truck fuel economy with an optional 3-liter V6 that offers up to 29 mpg. The test truck, however, had the standard 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, which maxes out around 22 mpg.

The 2016 Ram 1500 capitalizes on a truckload of exclusive, pioneering, fuel-saving systems, including an eight-speed automatic transmission, thermal management system and active aerodynamics with grille shutters and air suspension. With a starting price of $26,605, including destination charge, Ram offers one of the best values in its class. The test truck, with four-door quad cap seating, two-wheel drive and some optional equipment packages, had a sticker price of $37,670, including destination charge. The Optional Equipment package, which added 20-inch aluminum wheels, all-season tires, dual rear exhaust pipes, carpeting on the floor and front and rear floor mats among other items, added $1,645 to the price.

The optional Express Group “black out” package, which added black aluminum rims, black Ram badges, black grill and Uconnect’s 5-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity, added another $1,645. The Laramie Limited trim, fitted with high-end features such as hand-stitched leather seats, power folding mirrors, and the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen display, tops out around $57,000.

While any full-size truck can handle virtually anything you throw at it, the biggest differentiator between pickups today and pickups twenty years ago are the little things. And this is where Ram really shines. Chrysler’s proprietary rotary dial gear selector has made its way to Ram as well as a plethora of soft touch points on the door panels and dash. Ambient interior lighting also stands out.

One of the first things I noticed about Ram was the many storage nooks. From the dash and center console to the doors and seatbacks, the truck offers plenty of storage solutions. And given Ram’s size, the optional parking sensors and backup camera are a must if you’re not used to driving a full-size pickup. Ram’s bold and cohesive design is sure to win over any skeptic. The Ram 1500 retains its ruggedly handsome appearance with an award-winning interior, exterior design aesthetics and segment-leading technology.

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