Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Ram 1500, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Ram 1500 Review.
Although the 2015 Ram 1500 is mostly unchanged from last year’s model, the pick up is still on top of its game. The Ram 1500 has had several major changes over the recent years, including a new 3.6-liter V6, an optional fuel-efficient diesel powerplant, and available air suspension that offers automatic leveling when towing and helps to smooth out the truck’s ride.
Inside, the Ram 1500 cabin looks as if it were plucked from a Chrysler 300. It’s rich in detail and craftsmanship, and it’s loaded with a wide array of electronics including the full suite of Uconnect apps, voice-activated navigation and even a Sprint-backed wireless hub. Of course, the Ram 1500 also offers the wide range of body styles you’ll find in any pickup — from varying bed lengths to a multitude of cab configurations.
In essence, the Ram 1500 excels at just about anything — and that means its only real problem is its competition. Its primary rivals — the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado — are both newly redesigned, which means you should probably give them a try before you sign the papers on a new Ram. See the 2015 Ram 1500 models for sale near you
What’s New for 2015?
After major updates in 2013 and 2014, the Ram enters 2015 largely unchanged.
What We Like
Available diesel power; upscale interior; smooth ride; muscular engine lineup; 8-speed transmission; Uconnect infotainment and connectivity options
What We Don’t
Awkward 8-speed’s rotary gear selector; styling may be too much for conservative truck buyers
The 2015 Ram 1500 offers three engines. Base models use a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic. Gas mileage is 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with 2-wheel drive, or 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.
Its 8-cylinder power is provided by the Ram’s available 5.7-liter HEMI V8. It makes a whopping 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, and depending on the model, it’s mated to one of two automatic transmissions: a 6-speed or an 8-speed. Fuel economy with the 6-speed is 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive or 13 mpg city/19 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive. Trucks equipped with the 8-speed return 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive, or 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.
The Ram’s newest engine addition is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, which joined the lineup last year. It makes 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, and it’s mated to an 8-speed automatic. The diesel-powered Ram returns up to 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy driving with rear-wheel drive, or 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
The Ram 1500 is offered in a wide array of body styles, trim levels, engine sizes and drivetrain options. We’ve summarized the trims here, but note that there may be some variation in features and pricing depending on the truck you choose.
At the bottom of the Ram lineup is the commercial-oriented Tradesman ($26,100), which comes with only the basics: steel wheels, vinyl floor coverings and seats, air conditioning and a locking tailgate. You won’t even get features such as keyless entry, power locks or power mirrors, though those items are optional.
Next up in the Ram world is the HFE model ($30,300), which stands for High Fuel Economy. Only offered with 2-wheel drive, the Ram 1500 HFE includes a 3.21:1 axle ratio, a start-stop engine that shuts off when idling and a tonneau cover — all geared toward improving gas mileage. It also includes cloth upholstery and power accessories as standard equipment.
Above the HFE in the Ram lineup is the SLT, which starts at $30,500. It adds alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim and dual glove boxes. This is the Ram’s volume trim level, as shoppers can add many options to equip it in just about any way they desire.
Topping the SLT is the Ram 1500 Sport ($35,800), which adds power-folding mirrors, integrated mirror turn signals, an overhead console with a garage door opener, 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.4-in touchscreen with Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system, wireless hot spot capability, voice control, power adjustable pedals, heated front seats and a power driver’s seat.
Next up is the Ram 1500 Laramie ($41,500), which is essentially a luxury pickup truck. It adds leather upholstery, driver’s seat memory, a power passenger seat, an upgraded audio system, wood trim and chrome bumpers.
Topping the range is the crew-cab-only Longhorn ($47,200), which adds a remote starter, park assist, a navigation system with traffic updates, a larger fuel tank and tow hooks. An available Limited package boasts automatic wipers, a keyless ignition, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats and rear air suspension.
The Ram 1500 offers many options. Several of the truck’s lower trim levels, for instance, offer optional features found in high-end Ram models. There are even a few available option packages, including the feature-heavy Lone Star (for Texas truck shoppers) and Big Horn (for shoppers elsewhere) editions, which are available on the Ram 1500 SLT, and the off-road-oriented Outdoorsman, which offers skid plates, all-terrain tires and other 4-wheel-friendly features.
Standard safety equipment includes front-side chest airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags, as well as electronic traction and stability control, trailer sway control, hill-start assist and automatic reverse pinch protection on the windows and sunroof. Rain Brake Support uses the brake pads to occasionally brush water away from the rotors, helping to keep them dry and more able to stop the vehicle.
In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s testing, the Ram 1500 Quad Cab earned four overall stars: four stars in frontal and rollover tests, along with five stars in NHTSA’s side-impact assessment. The Ram with a regular cab achieved the same results.
Behind the Wheel
The Ram 1500 delivers one of the best rides we’ve experienced in a full-size pickup to date. The cabin is solid and well insulated from outside noise, and the new seats are supremely supportive. The new electric power steering setup delivers good feedback and an on-center feel. It also helps improve fuel economy by taxing the engine less. When equipped with the available air suspension, the Ram 1500’s ride is nearly luxury-car smooth, absorbing most road imperfections with ease. Off road, the air suspension allows the Ram 1500 to power over dips and hills without bottoming out — all while keeping tight control over body movements that usually translate into passengers being tossed around the cab.
The new 3.6-liter V6 is a capable workhorse, delivering good off-the-line acceleration and impressive fuel economy. For heavy towing and rapid passing power, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is still the best choice for this big, heavy truck. The V6 is tow-rated at 5,630 pounds, while the HEMI V8 tops out at 11,500 pounds (on the Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty).
While we have yet to drive the diesel version, we’re excited to get behind the wheel — largely because we’re eager to see just how high we can get the fuel economy. We think it could be a very successful truck if it can match the performance of the V6 while improving gas mileage.
Other Cars to Consider
Chevrolet Silverado — The newly redesigned Chevrolet Silverado offers fuel-efficient new engines, a redesigned interior and an impressive ride — all of which give the Ram a run for its money.
Ford F-150 — The all-new F-150 boasts excellent EcoBoost powertrains along with strong fuel economy numbers and a heavily improved driving experience and interior. Even if you’re a die-hard Ram driver, the latest Ford is worth a look.
Used RAM 2500 HD — If you need even more capabilities than the Ram can offer, you might find that the brawny 2500 HD is more for you. Unfortunately, prices can be pretty high, which is why we suggest checking out a used model.
If you’re pulling heavy loads, there is just no substitute for the power and torque of the 5.7-liter V8. We’d opt for the Sport or Laramie editions, which are nicely equipped and reasonably priced. If your truck use is on the lighter side (just moving jet skis or mountain bikes), you can’t go wrong with an SLT equipped with the 3.6-liter V6. It has plenty of power, delivers impressive fuel economy and can be equipped with most of the most desirable options in the Ram inventory. We suggest driving the diesel first to see if it matches your expectations for acceleration and passing power. Find a Ram 1500 for sale