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2014 Ram 1500: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions November 2015

The 2014 Ram 1500 is arguably the best-looking, best-riding full-size pickup available. Adding the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission to the lineup has brought enhanced efficiency and flexibility. Available in regular, quad and crew cab body styles and 6.4- and 8-foot bed lengths, the 2014 version of the Ram 1500 can tow up to 10,450 pounds. For 2014, the 4.7-liter V8 is dropped and a new 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel is added. 2014 Ram 1500s can also now be optioned with front parking assist.

What We Like

Big-rig styling; attractive interior; V6 fuel economy; 8-speed transmission flexibility; available HEMI V8; torquey turbodiesel; Uconnect; lockable RamBox storage; good ride quality

What We Don't

No telescopic steering wheel; twist-knob shifter on 8-speed automatic takes some getting used to

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The Ram 1500 has three engine choices for 2014. The Express, Big Horn and HFE feature a Pentastar 3.6-liter dual-overhead-camshaft V6 with 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. It's mated exclusively to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The fuel-economy-optimized 2-wheel-drive HFE has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The 2-wheel-drive Express and Big Horn receive a 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy EPA rating, and 4-wheel-drive versions net a 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy label. It's flex-fuel-capable and uses regular unleaded or E85 fuel.

Optional on Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn trims is a new EcoDiesel 3.0-liter V6. The turbodiesel is produced by VM Motori of Italy. It pumps 240 hp and a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque while delivering impressive EPA ratings of 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy. It's mated to an 8-speed automatic and can tow up to 9,200 pounds.

Ram's signature 5.7-liter overhead-valve HEMI V8 comes standard on Express, Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn models, with 395 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque. It runs on regular unleaded, but midgrade is recommended. A fuel-saver mode shuts down four cylinders when the vehicle is cruising with a light load. Rear-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with the 8-speed automatic transmission and 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with the 6-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drive Ram 1500s with the 8-speed automatic are rated at 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy by EPA, while 4-wheel-drive versions with the 6-speed fall to 13 mpg city/19 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The RAM 1500 comes in Tradesman, Express, HFE, Bighorn, Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn trims.

The Tradesman and Express are the no-frills Ram 1500 work trucks. The Tradesman comes with a 3.6-liter V6 and vinyl flooring, and the Express gets a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 and carpeting. Standard features include air conditioning, vinyl seats, a 6-speaker AM/FM radio, cruise control, automatic headlamps, a tilt steering wheel, 17-inch steel wheels and, on quad and crew cabs, power windows. However, modern niceties, such as power mirrors, remote keyless entry and alloy wheels, are optional. Standard safety gear includes dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, overhead airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability and traction control. Options are limited.

The HFE is a limited-production 2-wheel-drive Regular Cab optimized for fuel economy. It features the 3.6-liter V6 and 8-speed automatic, a 3.21:1 final-drive ratio, 17-in alloy wheels, a tonneau cover, active grille shutters and a stop-start system that shuts off the engine at stoplights.

The Big Horn is a midlevel trim with a standard 3.6-liter V6, a 6-speed automatic, a power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a backup camera, power windows, door locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, a 5-in Uconnect audio system with Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio and steering-wheel controls, a power-sliding rear window, power adjustable pedals and 17-in alloy wheels. More importantly, it can be optioned up with items such as 20-in alloy wheels, navigation, a moonroof, rear entertainment, an upgraded audio system, a backup camera, adjustable pedals, fog lamps, a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, an 8-speed automatic, heated bucket front seats, a leather steering wheel and a power driver's seat.

The Sport upgrades to the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, a sport exhaust, a body-color grille, bumpers and door handles, LED turn and running lights, a performance hood scoop, 20-in alloys, a leather steering wheel and a power driver's seat. Sport options include heated leather front seats, a power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, automatic air conditioning and an air suspension.

The Laramie and Laramie Longhorn add chrome exterior trim and other appearance upgrades. The Laramie and Laramie Longhorn also add heated and ventilated power front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded 10-speaker stereo with an 8.4-in Uconnect screen, navigation, a security system, dual-zone auto air conditioning, LED park, turn and tail lamps, and a 7-in programmable gauge display.

Pricing

With the prices of new full-size pickups hitting new heights, good used examples also cost a pretty penny. The Ram 1500 has muscular good looks and the best ride quality among its competitors. Four-wheel-drive models will command higher prices in the snowy Northeast and Upper Midwest.

To research the prices of Ram 1500 pickups, check out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what's for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2014 Ram 1500:

The steering-wheel harness may abrade against the driver's airbag module, causing a short that can inadvertently deploy the airbag, increasing the risk of injury and a crash.

The rear shocks may separate at one end and damage the brake system or tires, increasing crash risk.

Certain audio systems can be hacked, allowing unauthorized access to vehicle systems, increasing crash risk.

On quad cabs, the overhead airbags may not overlap the C-pillars when inflated, creating an increased injury risk to rear passengers in a crash.

On 4-wheel-drive models, the transmission parking pawl may not engage when park is selected, allowing the truck to roll away and crash.

On EcoDiesels, battery-harness contact with an engine mount bracket may create a short, causing engine stalling and increased fire risk.

Miscalibrated side-impact sensors may deploy the side airbags or activate the seat pretensioners unexpectedly.

Instrument-panel warning lamps may function intermittently, randomly failing to notify the driver of system problems, increasing crash risk.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2014 Ram 1500 a 4-star overall rating, with a 4-star rating for frontal impacts and a 5-star rating for side impacts. For rollover resistance, 2-wheel-drive Rams were given four stars and 4-wheel-drive models were given just three stars.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Ram 1500 Crew Cab 2014 model a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, head restraints and seats and a Marginal rating for roof strength. It did not test regular or quad cabs.

FIAT Chrysler Automobiles covered the 2014 Ram pickup with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty with roadside assistance, along with 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain and corrosion-perforation warranties.

Ram certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be less than 5 years old. Every CPO Ram 1500 undergoes a 125-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 3-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the original sale date.

Others to Consider

2014 Ford F-150 -- It's hard to beat the powertrain lineup and resale value of the F-150, but the Ford can't match the style, interior quality and ride suppleness of the Ram 1500.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 -- All-new sheet metal and a reworked, more businesslike interior highlight a major update that includes a roomier extended cab, new frame mounts that reduce body jiggle and a new direct-injected engine lineup with a 285-hp 4.3-liter V6, a 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 and a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8. However, there are still no 8-speed automatic, diesel or SS models.

Autotrader's Advice

The Ram 1500 offers a stylish and smoother-riding take on the full-size pickup. Even though it needs midgrade unleaded fuel to run best, we like the performance and flexibility of the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. Resale value will also be better because of the HEMI's solid reputation. The 3.6-liter V6/8-speed automatic is also an impressive package with surprisingly responsive all-around performance and good fuel economy. And although expensive, Ram buyers now have the option of a fuel-efficient EcoDiesel V6, too. You can't go wrong with a well-optioned Big Horn, but if you want all the bells and whistles, the Laramie Longhorn is worth a look. Look for a certified pre-owned Ram 1500, and always get a vehicle-history report. Make sure the pickup you're considering has had all applicable recalls performed.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Ram 1500: Used Car Review - Autotrader