2014 Ram 1500 Review and Prices
The 2014 Ram 1500 is the best full-size pickup for you if remarkable refinement is a priority -- and you’re enticed by the prospect of a half-ton with a diesel engine.
Think of the 2014 Ram 1500 as a continuation of the re-engineered 2013 Ram but with expanded availability of features introduced for 2013, like the class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission. The big news would be introduction of a diesel-engine option, satisfying legions of truck fans who pine for diesel torque and fuel economy in something lighter than a three-quarter or one-ton pickup. Ram’s model-year 2013 updates were significant. They included freshened styling and important powertrain and suspension advances. The 2014 Ram will need all that and more to compete with the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, and to gain ground on the No. 1-selling Ford F-150.
Should you wait for the 2014 Ram 1500 or buy a 2013 Ram 1500? Buy a 2013 Ram if the excellent new V-6 that came on line with the re-engineering meets your needs. You’ll avoid the inescapable model-year price inflation, and you’ll enjoy all the other new features that were part of Ram’s 2013 revision. Wait for the 2014 Ram 1500 if you’re a Hemi V-8 fan and want to be certain it’ll be available with the eight-speed automatic transmission instead of a six speed. No significant styling or equipment changes are likely. Rumors persist, however, that a diesel is coming, and that would be a reason to wait.
2014 Ram 1500 Changes back to top
Styling: The 2014 Ram 1500 will continue with styling unveiled on the 2013 Ram 1500. That was Ram’s first sheetmetal re-do since model-year 2009. It brought a new body that’s still unmistakably Ram but changed sufficiently to look fresh and to improve aerodynamics.
The 2014 Ram 1500 will retain the brand’s trademark crosshairs grille, bold fenders, and crisply defined tail.
A multitude of model tiers will meet various tastes, jobs, and budgets. The 2013 Ram 1500’s lineup had ten model grades. If the 2014 roster isn’t changed it would look like this, in ascending order of equipment and price: entry-level Tradesman; value-oriented Express; high-fuel-economy HFE; volume SLT; Texas-region Lone Star and Western-region Big Horn; hunting-and-fishing-outfitted Outdoorsman; Sport (foundation for the performance R/T package); luxury Laramie; premium Laramie Longhorn; and flagship Laramie Limited.
Exterior trim details will again be specific to nearly every model. For example, the Tradesman would have a black front fascia and other models will have grilles with chrome or body-color treatments. Sport and Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Laramie Limited should reprise projector headlamps, LED turn and accent lamps, and LED taillights.
The 2014 Ram 1500 will again feature three cab styles and three cargo-bed lengths.
Regular-cabs will have two doors and seat up to three. The regular-cab short-bed will have a 120.5-inch-wheelabse and a 6-foot-4-inch cargo box. The regular-cab long-bed will ride a 140.5-inch-wheelbase and have an 8-foot bed.
The Ram 1500 Quad cab will again stretch to add two scaled-down rear doors and a reduced-depth rear bench seat, for a maximum six-passenger capacity. Quad cabs will use the140.5-inch-wheelbase and likely will continue with the 6-foot-4-inch bed.
Crew Cabs will again be large enough to accommodate four full-size doors and a voluminous rear bench seat. The Crew Cab short-bed will continue on the140.5-inch-wheelbase with a 5-foot-7-inch cargo bed. Added for model-year 2013 and back for 2014 will be the Crew Cab long-bed. It’ll use a 149.4-inch wheelbase and the 6-foot-4-inch bed.
The RamBox cargo management system will return as an option with the 5-foot-7 and 6-foot-4 beds. It mounts lighted, locking, watertight covered bins along the inner bed walls and includes a bed-extender frame. Ram’s keyfob will again be capable of remotely locking and unlocking the RamBox compartments and the tailgate. Crew Cabs will again have below-floor bins behind the front seat with removable, cooler-type liners.
Ram’s interior was redesigned for model-year 2013 and the 2014 Ram will benefit from the upgraded materials as well as a dashboard reshaped to accommodate the 8.5-inch central touchscreen that comes with the Uconnect control system. The main gauge cluster will also include a vehicle-information screen -- a 3-inch display on models below the Outdoorsman, a 7-inch display on those above.
Cabin décor tailored to specific models is a big-pickup trend, especially for the high-end trims. The 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn, for example, will almost certainly return with wood interior panels made from fence posts burled by rusted barbed wire.
Again controlling the eight-speed automatic transmission will be an innovative rotary dial on the dashboard just above the driver’s right knee. It supplants a steering-column or center-console-mounted shift lever and rotates through Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive settings. The settings are highlighted at the dial and in the main instrument cluster. Steering-wheel buttons provide manual-type gear selection. On 4-wheel-drive (4wd) Ram 1500s, the transfer-case controls are below the dial in the form of elongated buttons.
The rotary dial works well enough and frees up space. However, a dial larger and heftier than this sippy-cup-diameter knurled knob would be more user-friendly. And larger, more accessible transfer-case buttons would be easier to use with gloves on. Overall, though, the 2014 Ram 1500’s cabin should remain spacious, hospitable, and as quiet as that of many upscale automobiles.
Mechanical: The Ram 1500 belongs to the “half-ton” pickup category, named loosely for a truck’s payload capacity. It’s rivals are the half-ton F-150 and GM’s 1500-series trucks, with the Ram 2500 and 3500 competing in the three-quarter and one-ton classes, respectively.
The 2014 Ram 1500 is certain to reprise three engines, a V-6 and two V-8s.
The V-6 will again be the Chrysler Group 3.6-liter Pentastar. It replaced a less powerful V-6 as part of the 2013 redesign and probably will again be rated at 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. (Torque is acceleration’s secret ingredient, accounting for the force that gets a vehicle moving and the muscle needed to tow or haul -- particularly important in big pickups.)
Expect the V-6 to be standard in HFE, SLT, and Outdoorsman models and optional in the Tradesman. In the HFE model, it will again feature a stop-start system that shuts off the engine when the truck is stopped and automatically restarts it when the brake pedal is released.
A 4.7-liter V-8 rated at 310 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque is likely to return as standard in the Tradesman and optional in the SLT.
Also returning will be the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. It’ll probably again be rated at 395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque. And it’ll return with automatic fuel-saving cylinder deactivation so it can run on four cylinders in low-demand cruising. Expect the Hemi to remain optional in Tradesman and SLT models and standard in the Big Horn, Lone Star, Sport, and all three Laramies.
All engines will again team with an automatic transmission. The eight-speed automatic was slated to expand from a V-6 exclusive to also become the Hemi V-8 transmission during model-year 2013. That expansion should be definite for model-year 2014 and bring with it the rotary shift dial and steering-wheel controls. Expect the 4.7-liter V-8 to retain its six-speed automatic with a column- or console-shift lever, depending on trim level.
The 2014 Ram 1500’s towing and payload ratings should remain class-competitive. Figure a maximum of 10,450 pounds with the Hemi, 7,550 with the 4.7-liter V-8, and 6,500 pounds with the V-6.
All returning Ram engines will be available in all cab types and with rear-wheel drive (2wd) and 4wd, although the HFE and R/T are likely to remain 2wd only. All 4wd Rams will again have low-range gearing.
Expect Tradesman, Express, SLT, and Outdoorsman models to again offer a “part-time” 4wd system not intended for use on dry pavement.
The 2014 Big Horn and Lone Start editions, the Sport model, and all the Laramies should again be available with Chrysler’s Active Transfer Case and Front-axle Disconnect setup. This “full-time” 4wd system can remain engaged on dry pavement. It automatically switches between 2wd and 4wd to maintain traction. To aid fuel economy, the system disconnects the front axle when 4wd isn’t engaged.
On-road or off, there’s no reason the 2014 Ram shouldn’t remain a delight to drive and to ride in. The eight-speed automatic is a smooth operator. In harness with the V-6, it makes the 4.7-liter V-8 redundant unless you do heavy towing or hauling. The Hemi has always been a reliable powerhouse and should benefit further from the eight-speed automatic.
Ram’s ride and handling – already at the top of the class thanks to its category-exclusive rear-coil-spring suspension – improved for model-year 2013 with addition of standard electric steering an optional air-spring suspension. Both will return on the 2014 Ram, with the air suspension likely to again remain available at $1,595 on all 2wd and 4wd Quad and Crew Cabs.
The air suspension features five height settings. It’s lower-than-standard mode eases passenger and cargo loading when stopped and aerodynamics at high speeds. The off-road settings elevate ground clearance to 10.7 inches, from the standard 8.7. It also incorporates automatic load-leveling for more stability when towing or with heavy loads in the bed.
A Ram 1500 with a diesel engine seems increasingly likely. It would probably be a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V-6 developed in cooperation with Italy’s Fiat, which has corporate control over the Chrysler Group and its Chrysler, Dodge, and Ram brands.
Chrysler has reportedly registered “EcoDiesel” as a trademark for the engine and would also offer it in the U.S.-market Jeep Grand Cherokee, among other possibilities.
Diesel engines are a staple of the three-quarter and one-ton classes, where they’re prized for their ability to generate copious torque with reasonable fuel economy and great longevity. The diesels used in those heavier-duty trucks, however, are generally inappropriate for the half-ton class, partly due to an inability to meet tightening emissions standards.
The “EcoDiesel” 3.0-liter would reportedly generate around 240 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. And it would have higher fuel-economy ratings than a Ram 1500 with the Hemi V-8; speculation has the diesel at something like 21/31/23 mpg city/highway/combined in a Ram 1500.
Owing to its costly heavy-duty construction and other factors, a diesel would likely be the Ram 1500’s most expensive engine option. And in many areas of the country, diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline.
Features: USB iPod connectivity will remain standard on all 2014 Ram 1500s, but Ram marketers have an opportunity to maintain competitive parity by also making Bluetooth hands-free phone linking standard across the board. For 2013, this aid to driver safety was standard starting with Ram’s Big Horn/Lone Star models and was optional on the Tradesman, Express, HFE and SLT.
The same marketing largess ought to be applied to the 2014 Ram 1500’s navigation system. For 2013 it was unavailable on Tradesman, Express, HFE and SLT Rams while offered as standard or optional on all other trims.
Otherwise, the 2014 Ram 1500 should again be available with a wealth of features and amenities of appeal to work-truck buyers, luxury-pickup sybarites, and most everyone in between.
Expect leather upholstery to remain optional on 2014 Ram 1500 Sport models and standard on the Laramies. It’ll include rich contrast stitching on the Laramie Limited. Heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel will also return as Laramie-series standards. The Laramies will also have interior ambient lighting and power adjustable pedals; the latter will likely be a Sport-model option.
Chrysler Group’s Uconnect multimedia control center will return with its customizable touchscreens and voice command of audio, navigation, climate, and other systems. Uconnect also integrates smartphones to access apps and can display and respond to text messages. Available audio systems should again include a premium 10-speaker setup with a subwoofer and 12-channel amplifier.
A power-sliding rear-cab window will probably again be standard on Quad and Crew Cabs starting at the SLT trim. Power heated mirrors should again be optional on Tradesman and Express and standard on other 2014 Ram 1500s.
A tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, and automatic headlamps ought to return as standard across the board. Rear parking assist, power memory seats, remote engine start, and an integrated remote garage and gate opener also well be standard or optional depending on model.
2014 Ram 1500 Prices back to top
Prices for the 2014 Ram 1500 were not announced in time for this review. But based on 2013-model pricing, expect a 2014 Ram 1500 base-price range of roughly $24,000-$50,000. That would likely keep it within the range of its rivals from Ford and GM, as well as the 2014 Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan. (All base-price estimates in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; the fee for the 2013 Ram 1500 was $995.)
Estimated base-price range for the 2014 Ram 1500 regular-cab short- bed is $24,000-$34,400 with 2wd and $27,800-$37,200 with 4wd. For the 2014 Ram 1500 regular-cab long-bed, estimated base-price range is $24,300-$29,000 with 2wd and $27,900-$32,800 with 4wd.
Expect 2014 Ram 1500 Quad Cabs to have a base-price range of $28,500-$39,900 with 2wd and $32,000-$43,100 with 4wd.
The base-price range for 2014 Ram 1500 Crew Cab short-bed is an estimated $31,200-$45,700 with 2wd and $34,400-$50,000 with 4wd. For 2014 Ram Crew Cab long beds, its $31,500-$46,000 with 2wd and $34,900-$50,400 with 4wd.
Which Ram 1500 models might be available with a diesel engine is open to speculation, but each would likely be priced several thousand dollars above its gas-engine counterpart.
2014 Ram 1500 Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2014 Ram 1500 were not released in time for this review, but ratings for 2013 models present some clues.
With the V-6/eight-speed-automatic combination, the Ram 1500 had the highest fuel-economy ratings in the full-size-pickup class. It should repeat for 2013 at 17/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined with 2wd and 16/23/19 with 4wd.
Whether that’ll be sufficient to retain its No. 1 ranking depends on ratings for the 2014 GM pickups with their new V-6 engine. That powerplant will feature direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation that allows it to run on three cylinders. The new V-8s in the Silverado and Sierra will have those features, as well, as GM places a major emphasis on improving its big-pickups’ fuel economy.
Expect the 2014 Ram 1500 with the 4.7-liter V-8 to repeat at 14/20/16 mpg with 2wd and 14/19/16 with 4wd.
Helped by the efficiencies of the eight-speed automatic transmission, 2014 Ram1500s with the 5.7-liter V-8 should improve on the ratings of 2013 Ram 1500s that paired the Hemi with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Those models’ rated 14/20/16 mpg with 2wd and 13/19/15 with 4wd. Ram engineers project the Hemi/eight-speed-automatic combination will match the ratings of the F-150 with Ford’s twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. That truck, with its 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, was rated at 16/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined with 2wd and 15/21/17 with 4wd for model-year 2013.
2014 Ram 1500 Release Date back to top
Some reports put the 2014 Ram release date during the first quarter of 2013. The 2013 Ram 1500 went on sale in autumn 2012, with availability of some trim and powertrain combinations delayed into calendar 2013. This timing could mean the Hemi/eight-speed combination – as well as the possible diesel engine – could arrive in Rams labeled 2014 models.
What's next for the 2014 Ram 1500 back to top
Diesel issues aside, expect the Dodge Ram 1500 to carry on with only minor changes until its next full redesign, which likely will be in model-year 2015 or 2016.
That next-generation Ram 1500 could be far different from today’s model. The driving force would be tightening federal fuel-economy regulations that by 2016 require automakers to achieve a corporate-average fuel economy (CAFÉ) rating of 28.8 mpg for light trucks. That’s up from 27.3 mpg today.
A preponderance of car-based crossover SUVs, officially classified as trucks, will help automakers meet the 2016 standard. But half-ton pickups sell in large numbers and will need significant modifications to hold up their end of the CAFÉ requirements.
A future-generation Ram 1500 would likely be smaller and lighter than today’s truck. It could shrink enough to approach the exterior dimensions of the discontinued “midsize” Dodge Dakota pickup, though we’d expect it would still retain a six-passenger crew cab and a cargo bed large enough to accommodate 4x8-foot material sheets. Ram 2500 and 3500 models would likely continue as larger alternatives for bona-fide heavy-duty work.
A direct-injected and turbocharged V-6 engine could supplant a V-8 in a future Ram 1500. And it’s within reason that a turbocharged four-cylinder could be offered as the standard powerplant instead of a V-6.
If a V-8 is still in the picture it likely would have less displacement than the 5.7-liter Hemi and feature both direct fuel injection to help boost power and more aggressive cylinder cut-off or even start-stop capability to cut fuel consumption.
All this seems to make diesel power a near-certainty in the future half-ton-pickup field, and also opens the possibility of gas/electric hybrid models, too.
2014 Ram 1500 Competition back to top
Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500: The 2014 versions of these GM siblings are all new for the first time since model-year 2007. The styling is evolutionary but more muscular and more aerodynamic. Correcting a competitive deficiency, passenger room is increased, especially in the crew cabs. Extended-cabs get rear doors hinged at the front not the rear, and GM prioritized improved noise suppression and better ride and handling. It brings the powertrains up to date, revises the suspensions, and adds electric steering. Full specifications were unavailable in time for this review, but GM confirms a 4.3-liter V-6 and V-8s of 5.3- and 6.2-liters return. All are more efficient thanks to direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation to three cylinders. Six-speed automatic transmissions with traditional shift levers return. New safety features include Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and front and rear park assist. GM’s MyLink hands-free infotainment control is new, and all models get multiple power outlets and multiple USB ports. Access to the cargo beds is improved with a “CornerStep” bumper and built-in hand-grip pockets. The 2014 Silverado and Sierra crew cabs will hit showrooms in the in the second quarter of 2013, with the regular- and extended-cabs following later in the year.
Ford F-150: Model-year 2014 will be the last for America’s top-selling vehicle before a full redesign in model-year 2015. With no major changes expected, the 2014 F-150 will carry on with updates given the 2013 version. They included a revised grille and available xenon headlamps, power-telescoping steering column, and power-folding trailer-tow side mirrors. Ford’s sophisticated but glitch-prone MyFord Touch infotainment controller also will return. Two V-6 engines – one the impressive EcoBoost twin-turbo -- and V-8s of 5.0- and 6.2-liters will return, all with power and fuel economy rivaling best in class. Ford will also defend its class-leading tow rating of 11,300 pounds, achieved with both the EcoBoost V-6 and the 6.2-liter V-8. A full range of models, the most complete selection of cab and bed combinations, and perks like the optional Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tool-tracking system will keep the 2014 F-150 in the game.
Toyota Tundra: The 2014 version of this full-size pickup is due the same sort of re-engineering the Ram 1500 got for model-year 2013. It’ll be the first such change since model-year 2007 and bring new styling reportedly “truckier” than today’s bold but rounded shape. Toyota is likely to again offer a V-6 and two V-8s, though it’ll follow the trend and fortify the six-cylinder enough to perform as a fuel-saving alternative to an eight-cylinder. Look for at least 300 horsepower, up from the 2013 V-6’s 270. A V-8 of comparable size and power to Ram’s 4.7-liter V-8 will return. So will a 5.7-liter V-8 that will at least match the 2013’s 381 horsepower, 401 pound-feet of torque, and 10,400-pound trailer rating. Regular- and extended cabs will reprise a choice of two bed lengths. The CrewMax crew cab may add a long-bed choice but will retain a class-exclusive power vertical opening and closing rear cab window.