Surprisingly luxurious and refined, this version of the Ram pickup truck remains fully capable of doing dirty work when duty calls. A unique coil-spring rear suspension gives it a smooth ride and the interior is whisper-quiet. Continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice, and it was the first truck in its class to offer a diesel.
Starting with this model year, all Ram 1500s come with an efficient, slick-shifting eight-speed automatic, a pickup-truck exclusive. Most also get a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that delivers seamless power and still returns a class-average 15 mpg overall. A 3.6-liter V6 engine is standard, aiding fuel economy and a significant savings over the Hemi. It does an admirable job motivating this big truck, as long as your towing needs are modest.
More intriguing is the available 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, the only turbodiesel offered in a half-ton truck at the time. It gives up some payload and acceleration compared to the Hemi V8 but dishes up tons of welcome torque for merging, passing, or towing. We measured 20 mpg overall -- the best fuel economy of any full-size pickup.