2012 Ram 1500 Review:
This is a bare bones truck with standard cab and comes with a 4.7-liter, 310-horse V8. Base price for a 2-wheel drive standard cab pickup, with RamBox cargo system is $22,125. An even more basic model without the RamBox system, including two giant toolbox bins built into each side of the cargo bed, is $21,125 and that’s with a 6-foot 4-inch bed.
The Ram will carry 1,385 pounds and pull 7,700 lbs. of trailer and cargo behind it. My white test truck with its black grille and bumpers and other options to drive the price to $32,545.
The biggest chunk of that was $1,310 to add a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that cranks 383 horsepower and adds heavy-duty transmission oil and engine coolers. The test truck also added $1,295 for the RamBox system and other equipment to help with towing and trailering, including an anti-spin rear axle to give better traction.
Yet at $32,000 the truck has none of the basic power equipment that a $15,000 economy subcompacts offers. No power windows, no power door locks and no power mirrors. I’d also expect a compass.
The Ram is a strong and useful truck that drives well in all respects. The Hemi V8 will crank the truck up to highway speeds in a flash. You feel like you’re in a very tall muscle car.
This 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth and shifts effortlessly, like a fine sedan.
Note that the Tradesman is out of the lineup for 2013 as the new model rolls out. So if you’re in need a work truck, snag one of the 2012s models.
Ram’s power rack and pinion steering is fairly precise for a big pickup, delivering decent road feel and relatively quick steering with only a bit of play in the wheel. There is stability control and four-wheel disc brakes too, very useful when pulling a trailer.
I found the ride mostly fine, but on uneven or dirt roads, there is the usual rear-end truck bounce. Ram uses a coil spring rear suspension with no leaf springs, so a bit different from many pickups. That helps it on most streets, but not rougher surfaces. There also was a creaking noise in the rear of the test truck from time to time.
Gas mileage is nothing special, although the V6 next year is supposed to up the ante for pickup mileage. This one is rated 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. I got 16.4 mpg in about 70% highway driving.
The test truck features the usual macho big grille and slightly lowered fenders of previous Rams. The tradesman package also adds 17-inch steel styled painted wheels a spray-in bedliner and Class IV receiver hitch. There are tow hooks and a skid plate for when you take it into the field, plus a trailer brake control group that adds an instrument cluster with display screen, tire pressure monitor, trailer brake control and information center.
Oddly, even though there’s no power options, a $750 ST package adds a cloth 40/20/40 bench seat, cruise control and 1-year of Sirius XM satellite radio service. The bench seat features a large fold down armrest with massive storage inside, big enough to hold a laptop.
I like the big knobs and buttons inside too because they are easy to see and use, even in winter.
There are automatic lights and a tilt steering wheel, plus a big shift knob that sticks out of the steering column.
The truck requires a giant leap up to climb aboard, although that massive ground clearance is awesome out in the field.
From a working standpoint the Ram is a winner, plus I like the sprayed in bedliner, which gives a finished look. Plus those RamBox tool and storage boxes along the bed’s sides are extremely useful.
truck, 4×4, MPG, Dodge, Ram