Probably no other US pickup truck is as suitable as an example of the farmer's best friend as the Dodge Ram. Huge, equipped with powerful V8 gasoline engines and six-cylinder diesels, it is definitely frugal and tough. That's how the Americans like their workhorse.

Ram 1500, Ram 2500 or for the very heavy tasks, the Ram 3500. In 2002, Dodge brought out the Ram SRT10 with the ten-cylinder engine out of the Dodge Viper. Ram even became a TV star alongside Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger.

Since 2009, Dodge Ram has spun off the Ram brand as a separate brand (commercial vehicle division), which means that they no longer run under the Dodge name. All information and history about the Dodge Ram can be found here in this article.


Dodge Ram 1st Generation (1981-1993)



The Dodge Ram full-size pickup truck debuted in 1981. It continued the Dodge D series on which it was also based. However, the new model featured a revised body, a new cabin interior, a new grille and, most importantly, a new name!

Dodge used the Ram symbol as early as 1933 to market its pickups as strong and tough vehicles, but discarded it in the 1950s. The Chrysler-made pickup was mainly sold in the US market and Canada. The first generation was manufactured for 13 years - until 1993 - and was also the longest lasting generation of this pickup.



The Dodge Ram was available in a rear-wheel drive D model and an all-wheel drive W model. The name Ram became established for the 2WD pickups, while the 4WD models were referred to as Power Ram.

The numbers after the letters indicated how much the Dodge Ram could tow: the ½ ton was designated 150, the ¾ ton was designated 250, and the 1 ton was designated 350. For example, a Dodge Ram D150 was a rear-wheel drive model with a payload of ½ ton.

Like the previous models, the Dodge Ram could be ordered with different cabin variants. In addition to the standard cab, there was also the ClubCab with an enlarged driver's cab and the four-door CrewCab. Buyers could also choose between short and long bed sizes of 6,5 ft and 8 ft.


The Design



Thanks to the new galvanized steel body, the Dodge Ram not only weighed less than its predecessors, but was also much more resistant to rust. The hood of the Dodge pickup was adorned with a Ram hood ornament. The radiator grille, which was redesigned again in 1991, was flanked by large rectangular headlights.

In the interior, a modernized instrument panel was used, as well as improved air conditioning and an efficient heating system. From 1989 ABS became standard equipment and Dodge introduced a new overdrive automatic transmission for reduced fuel consumption.



The same engines that Dodge had used in previous years were initially working under the new body. Starting with the 3.7-liter six-cylinder up to the 5.9-liter V8 engine that delivered 130 kW / 176 hp. This was revised in 1989 and fitted with throttle valve injection, which gave it a power increase of 15 kW.

In 1992 the 3.9 and 5.2 liter engines were improved. In the following year, a 5.9 liter unit was added to the engine range. The V8 engine featured multi-port fuel injection, new distributors and improved cylinder heads, resulting in noticeably higher performance. The engines in the Dodge Ram were combined with either a 4-speed manual transmission or a 3-speed automatic.


Dodge Ram 2nd Generation (1994-2001)



Completely revised, the second generation of the Dodge Ram came onto the market in 1994. In contrast to the previous model, the new edition was a great success with sales of around 100,000 units in the year of its market launch. In 1996 almost 480,000 units of the pickup were already sold.



The second generation Dodge Ram was available in three body styles: a Regular Cab with three seats, an Extended Cab with 5 or 6 seats, and a four-door Double Cab Model 3500 with 1 ton payload and twin wheels on the rear axle available. In terms of platform length, the buyer could still choose between the short and long bed, with the short bed on the double cab version being slightly shorter than on the extended model.

Later, the Dodge Ram was also offered as an "Offroad Edition", which included, among other things, special springs, 17×8 rims, 275/70/17 off-road tires, a 4.10 gearbox, a limited-slip differential and mudguards. Depending on the model, the pickup was equipped with rear or all-wheel drive.


The Design



On the outside, the new, oversized radiator grille was particularly striking. In addition, the Dodge Ram received, among other things, new headlights, dual airbags and a digital odometer. Rounded black plastic side mirrors replaced the previous rectangular ones.


The interior of the second gen Dodge Ram was far from that of the previous model. Particular emphasis was placed on comfort and functionality. It has therefore been completely redesigned and equipped with a large glove compartment, a center armrest and additional storage space behind the seats.

A completely revised dashboard and new instrument cluster were introduced in 1998. Heated leather seats were also available as an option beginning from the 2000 model year.



For the first time, an 8.0-liter V10 gasoline engine was available for the Dodge pickup, which had an output of 220 kW/330 hp and a torque of 610 Nm. However, this was only available on the larger 2500 and 3500 models.

A natural gas powered variant of the Dodge Ram was available for the first time in 1995. However, this did not sell particularly well and was only used in small numbers in fleet vehicles. Therefore Dodge took them out of the program again in 1997. Depending on the engine, the Dodge pickup was available with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic.


Dodge Ram 3rd Generation (2002-2009)



The third generation of Dodge Ram was produced from 2002 to 2009. After eight years of construction, Daimler Chrysler's bestseller was completely revised and, with around 400,000 vehicles sold in 2002 and almost 450,000 in 2003, even surpassed the success of its predecessor.



The third-generation Dodge Ram was available in Regular Cab, Quad Cab, and Mega Cab versions. The two or three-seater Regular Cab grew by more than 77 mm, which not only benefited the storage space behind the seats, but also the legroom for the driver and front passenger. The Ram Regular Cab was also available with the 40/20/40 front seat.

The 2002 model Ram Quad Cab had a choice of five or six seats and featured front-hinged rear side doors. The cabin, now also lengthened by 76mm, allowed for larger rear seats and improved legroom.

From 2006, the Ram Mega Cab was available as a third variant - a counter version to the Crew Cab models offered by Ford and GM. The Mega Cab was only available ex works with a shortened bed area.


The Design



Although the Ram received a completely new body, Dodge did not want to take any risks and remained true to the basic design of the successful series. Therefore, at first glance, the visual differences were hardly noticeable, but a closer look revealed new details of the third generation of Dodge full-size pickup.

Above all, the now even more powerful radiator grille, the significantly more inclined windscreen and the more prominent front fenders were noticeable.

Not only the body of the third generation was new, a lot had happened underneath it too. The new Ram featured a frame that, according to the manufacturer, was 400 percent more torsion-resistant than the previous one.

Rack and pinion steering was used instead of recirculating ball steering, and on the all-wheel drive models the front coil spring rigid axle was replaced by independent wheel suspension on double wishbones with torsion bar springs. The rear axle was still leaf-sprung. The Dodge Ram pickup was available in three trim levels, ST, SLT, and SLT Plus.



The third generation Ram 1500 had two new engines to choose from. The 5.2 liter Magnum V8 engine installed in the previous model was replaced by the 175 kW/238 hp 4.7 liter Magnum V8, the 3.9 liter V6 engine had to be replaced in favor of the 3.7-liter Magnum V6 with 160 kW/218 hp.

The proven 5.9-liter Magnum V8 with 245 hp was available as a third drive option. The two new engines could be combined with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four speed automatic transmission. The old 5.9-liter engine was only available in conjunction with the automatic.

In 2003, the Hemi-V8 with 5.7 liters displacement and around 350 hp complemented the engine range of the Dodge Ram 1500. In addition to the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, the heavy-duty Ram 2500 and 3500 models also had a choice of two diesels.

The smaller, 5.9-litre diesel had an output of 238 hp to 330 hp, the 6.7-litre diesel available from 2007 had 355 hp. Another engine in the Ram 2500/3500 was the 8.0 liter Magnum V10, which delivered 230 kW/314 hp.

Equipped with the top-of-the-range 8.3-liter V10 engine from the Dodge Viper (371 kW/505 hp, 730 Nm), the Dodge Ram SRT10 even made it into the Guinness Book as the world's fastest series-produced pickup.


Ram Trucks / Dodge Ram 4th Generation (2009-2018)



The fourth generation of the successful Dodge Ram pickup truck was presented at the North American International Auto Show in 2008 and introduced to the general market in 2009. Visually, the latest generation is similar to the previous model, but has increased in size again.

The 4th gen Ram truck has a maximum length of up to 7470 mm and a width of 2017 mm. Handling characteristics have been further improved with a new rear suspension and suspension with coil springs instead of leaf springs.

Beginning with 2010 model, Ram was spun off from Dodge and became a separate division of Chrysler Group LLC. As a result, the pickup models now also wore the new Ram brand logo - a ram's head with the corresponding RAM lettering.



The fourth-generation Ram pickup truck was available in a variety of body styles. A two-door, two-seat Regular Cab with your choice of short or long bed, a five-seat, four-door Quad Cab (where the rear doors are significantly shorter than the front) and as a four-door crew cab with five seats and full rear doors. The Mega Cab was only available for 2500/3500 Ram models.

In terms of equipment variants, a lot has happened with the Ram; In 2009, various sports and off-road packages will be added to the three lines. Many trim levels for the Ram Truck were available at the time of launch.

As the base entry version, ST designation was used, and SLT was for the intermediate. Sport version included sporty rims and body-colored grille. This time around, an offroad variant was available as the TRX4 Offroad.

A luxury model, Laramiel included standard leather interior and two-tone body colourse. Lastly there was the Power Wagon, an off-road variant equipped with a cable winch, differential locks on the front & rear axles and a detachable anti-roll bar on the front axle.


The Design



Designers made the Ram more comfortable, gave it attributes of premium cars, but at the same time kept its outward brutality. The new Dodge Ram was equipped with backseat television screen and sound system with surround sound.

In addition, a small box called RamBox (optional) appeared in the passenger compartment of the pickup, as well as luggage compartments in the bottom of the car, like a Chrysler and Dodge minivan.

Redesigned optics, new grille, bumpers and the increased amount of chrome is not the main thing in the updated pickup. The designers worked very closely on the technical part. Both the front and rear seats are heated - as is the steering wheel. The standard air conditioning ensures pleasant temperatures in summer.



The engine range of the model series from 2009 was largely based on that of its predecessor again. However, the performance of the V8 engines was increased enormously through technical modifications, while fuel consumption was reduced.

The 4.7 liter V8 engine now delivered 231 kW/314 hp and the 5.7 liter Hemi V8 had also been revised and brought it to 283 kW/385 hp and just under 550 Nm of torque when it was launched.

For the 2013 model year, the output of the 5.7 liter engine was increased again to 290 kW/395 hp. The V8 engine accelerated the Ram pickup from 0 to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. The familiar V6 engine with a displacement of 3.7 liters continued to generate 160 kW/218 hp.

The new variant is the 3.0 liter diesel with 177 kW/241 hp and 570 Nm of torque, which was only available for the Ram 1500. With this EcoDiesel, Ram Trucks set a milestone in the pickup segment, because the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is one of the most efficient trucks in its class.

A 6.7 liter six-cylinder diesel with 261 kW/355 hp and a maximum torque of 880 Nm was available for the 2500/3500 models.


Ram Trucks / Dodge Ram 5th Generation (2018-Present)



The fifth generation of the pick-up was presented at the North American International Auto Show on January 15, 2018 in Detroit. The vehicle has been on sale in North America since spring 2018. For the time being, the old model was still available as the Ram 1500 Classic.

In August 2020, Ram presented the top model TRX. It is to be positioned as a competitor to the Ford F-150 Raptor. In the opening credits of the premiere, the manufacturer showed a film clip from Jurassic Park , in which a T-Rex successfully fights against a Velociraptor. A launch edition of the TRX, limited to 702 units, sold out within three hours.



The fifth-gen Ram pickup truck was again available in a variety of body styles and they were the same as the 4th generation. A two-door, two-seat Regular Cab with your choice of short or long bed, a five-seat, four-door Quad Cab and as a four-door crew cab with five seats and full rear doors. The Mega Cab was again only available for 2500/3500 Ram models.

As the base entry version, ST designation was used again, and SLT was for the intermediate. Sport version included sporty rims and body-colored grille. The offroad variant was available again as the TRX4 Offroad and the luxury model is called the Laramie.


The Design



The revised front of the latest generation is almost completely taken up by the radiator grille, in the middle of which a distinctive "Ram" lettering is emblazoned. Depending on the equipment, it is made of plastic or chrome. The headlights are also redesigned. Otherwise, the American have remained true to the design.

However, the heavyweight has slimmed down by around 220 lbs compared to its predecessor. This was mainly due to the increased use of aluminum. Overall, the focus during development was heavily on consumption optimization. The active aerodynamics also serve this goal. The assistance systems have been supplemented, among other things, by a blind spot monitor and a collision warning system.

Despite the enormous height of the body, getting into the passenger compartment of the Ram is easy, because the electrically extending running board comes to your aid when you open the door. But beware! If you are too impatient when boarding and want to swing up into the driver's cabin in one go, the additional step will hit you in the shins.

Arriving at the top of the driver's seat, you almost feel like you're in a lavishly equipped luxury class sedan. This applies to both the design of the cockpit and the space available. Five people can travel royally in the Ram.

Without exaggeration, the storage compartments in the Ram are gigantic. The entire center console serves as a storage compartment - on different levels, with a drawer and small partitions to divide up the storage space. Large bags, cameras and liter bottles also disappear here.

In the rear there are storage compartments in the floor that accommodate removable containers. Typically American and very practical, for example to cool drinks in ice. Also new is the separately sliding rear bench seat with adjustable backrest.



On the drive side, a 3.6 liter or a 5.7 liter engine is used. Both are designed as mild hybrids, the 48-volt battery required for this is located on the rear wall of the cabin. The TRX has a 6.2-liter gasoline engine with 523 kW (712 hp). This makes it the most powerful series-built pick-up in the world. In mid-2021, the Ram 1500 also went on sale with a 3.0-liter diesel engine option.


Protecting Your Dodge Ram


Dodge Ram has been around since 1981. The first generation looks rather inconspicuous and old-fashioned but that changed with the second generation in 1994. The customers like that very much, starting from the second generation, Ram name became a great commercial success.

Over generations, Dodge Ram has established itself as a popular utility and lifestyle pick-up as well as an off-road vehicle. Since it is a full size truck, it’s not always easy to find any protective equipment to buy for the Ram.

As always we recommend Coverking. They have custom protective equipment ready for any vehicle on the market anytime. Check out their catalogand see for yourself. Coverkingis the official protective equipment supplier for most automotive brands. So, the manufacturers agree that they are the best.




Tankut Basar

Tankut Basar is an ARA (American Rally Assoc.) Racing Driver and an FIA Bronze Category License Holder. His passion for driving began with karting like most racers. He started racing internationally at the age of 22. Tankut loves everything car-related and will keep enjoying the drive until the end.