Surprisingly luxurious and refined, the Ram 1500 is fully capable of doing dirty work when duty calls, but it also produces among the most comfortable rides in the class. The Ram doesn’t beat you up like most trucks, thanks to a unique coil-spring rear suspension. And interior and powertrain improvements have made it a well-rounded choice.

All Rams come with an efficient, slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. Most have the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which delivers seamless power and 15 mpg overall. A 3.6-liter V6 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.

Most recently, Ram was on the cutting edge in offering a turbodiesel engine for a half-ton truck. While the available 3.0-liter diesel V6 gives up some payload and acceleration compared to the V8, it dishes up tons of welcome torque for merging, passing, or towing. We measured 20 mpg overall—the best fuel economy of any full-sized pickup.

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The available UConnect 8.4 infotainment system is one of the clearest and most intuitive around. The competitive interior fit and finish and all the storage of a Container Store make the cabin a nice workspace. The roomy Crew Cab has a huge backseat, which we found handy to keep cargo inside and out of the elements. Tow ratings are competitive with competing pickups, but payload numbers are a bit light. While the rotary transmission shifter is easy enough to use, it lacks some safeguards to prevent the truck from rolling away if the driver doesn’t select Park when needed.

Our complaints are few: It’s a really steep climb up to the cabin; running boards are a must, as is a rear camera to help backing up. And the tailgate isn’t damped or sprung, so it’s heavy to raise.

Read the complete Ram 1500 road test.

Why Buy One

  • Impressively refined yet can still handle truck chores
  • Excellent powertrains, with slick eight-speed transmission
  • Diesel’s 20 mpg overall leads class
  • Coil-spring rear suspension makes ride comfortable
  • Super-roomy and quiet crew cab
  • Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system

Why Not Buy One

  • It’s a huge climb into the cabin
  • Heavy tailgate lacks an assist feature, and no steps for climbing into the bed
  • Awkward to park in tight spaces
  • V8 fuel economy is thirsty
  • Diesel engine is expensive option
  • Well-below-average reliability

Best Version to Get

Note that different axle ratios can change the tow rating by thousands of pounds. The 5.7-liter V8 has the highest tow ratings and fastest acceleration. The diesel’s fuel economy costs $4,000 more. Get the backup camera, power driver’s seat, and Uconnect 8.4 system.

2017 Ram 1500