Machine Design

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Sport Review

Going grill-to-grill
Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Sport
Toyota Tundra CrewMax
Height (in.)
Length (in.)
Wheelbase (in.)
Width (in.)
5.7-liter Hemi V8
Base engine
5.7-liter DOHC32-V i-Force V8
Five-speed automatic
Base transmission
Six-speed electronically controlled

Drivers will rejoice when they slide behind the wheel and drive off in this beauty of a pickup. But don’t let its looks fool you. Underneath the beautiful exterior is one beast of a truck.

The Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Sport looks like a truck but, thanks to a greatly improved rear suspension, rides more like a luxury car. Whether you’re traveling on paved roads, over railroad tracks, or gut-wrenching dirt/gravel roads, the Ram’s ride is tamed by a set of enormous coil springs that support the rear of the truck, improving both ride and stability. The suspension’s four trailing links and panhard rod position the rear axle in three dimensions, leaving the coils to support the truck’s rear end. Additional benefits of this setup include better shock absorption (the shocks are parallel instead of staggered), inclusion of a rear antiroll bar, and increased off-road axle articulation, all while saving around 40 lb.

The Ram’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8 has been upgraded, leading to a significant increase in output. Variable-valve timing, variable-length intake manifold runners, and a higher compression ratio let it churn out 390 hp @ 5,600 rpm and 407 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Multiple displacement cylinder deactivation lets the engine operate in V4 mode.

The Hemi is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Ram weighs in at a hefty 5,740 lb, but that doesn’t detract from its get up and go. We were able to whisk past slow-moving traffic with ease.

The engine improvements did not come at the expense of fuel consumption as its EPA ratings are 14/20 mpg (city/highway).

The Ram’s rough-and-tumble exterior is new and more aerodynamic. The Crew Cab version offers more space than the Quad Cab and required its own pickup bed, which has been dubbed RamBox. The perfectly rectangle 5 × 7 bed sports a pair of saddlebag-style lockable and lighted storage bins incorporated into the walls. This leaves plenty of room for carrying standard drywall or plywood flat on the floor.

The ride on this truck is amazing. Everything about the interior, from the oh-so-comfortable leather-trimmed bucket seats to the 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, makes for an enjoyable ride. On a 3-hr trip to Pennsylvania without any stops, my friend and I weren’t stiff or weary from the long ride. The Crew Cab also boasts some very generous legroom for backseat passengers.

Base price of the Ram Crew Cab is $31,880. Optional equipment on our vehicle included leather-trimmed bucket seats package ($1,875), customer-preferred package 25L ($3,445), remote-start and security group ($335), power-adjustable pedals ($125), and the 5.7-liter V8 Hemi ($1,310). Add in the $900 destination fee, and this beauty of a truck can be yours for $38,870.

— Denise Greco

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