This mid-range RAM Sport proves that you don’t need to spend $70,000 on a full loaded cowboy Cadillac.
Like most pickups, the RAM 1500 comes in so many different configurations that renders it a difficult decision to pick out a new truck. The 2017 RAM 1500 Sport 4×4 does seem like a good mid-range compromise without breaking the bank. Defining features for this model are the monochromatic paint scheme (color-matched bumpers and grill), projector beam halogen headlamps, and the powerful HEMI V8. Beyond that, you can spec your RAM Sport just about any way you want it; three different cab sizes, two different box lengths, 4×2 or 4×4 and of course, the interior can be finished any way you like.
This test truck came optioned in a very popular configuration, in Crew Cab form (the largest cab available), and 4×4 with the shorter box option. This is typically how a lot of pickup trucks are being ordered today, with ample room for the family and the capability to tackle most jobs. Conservatism was exercised in checking off extra options and this truck gets only a small taste of the long list of available add-on luxuries.
Popular options for Canadians such as heated seats and steering wheel ($595) are on board, as well as the remote starter and alarm ($595), both of those packages got extensive use during the frigid week. The RAM 1500 Sport also has the upgraded UConnect 8.4 infotainment with navigation ($700), rear view camera ($450), park assist ($550), Class IV hitch receiver ($475), trailer brake controller ($375) and a spray-in bed liner ($550). The build sheet for this truck suggests that it’ll run you $58,210, but building an identical truck on the RAM website lists it for $51,010.
$50,000 is a lot of money, but when you think about the role pickups are filling for a lot of buyers, often times they are being bought for more than just work. This is the family hauler, commuter and work truck all rolled into one. If the number of trucks on the road is any indication, buyers are seeing the value in owning one “do it all” vehicle, and they’re flocking to trucks just like this. At $50,000, this RAM has just about everything you need to be comfortable. From its tasteful and very comfortable cloth mesh seats, simply massive rear cab area that will comfortably seat three adults, to the bright LED bed lighting that makes loading in the dark so much easier; this truck really is ready to do just about anything you could ask of it.
Except for one thing of course – moderation of interior temperature is quite difficult, as the Sport trim does not come equipped with automatic climate control. At this price point, that would be a must-have for most buyers. Unfortunately, getting automatic climate at this level requires buyers to come up with another $675 for the Sport Premium Group, would also add a nine-speaker (including subwoofer) Alpine sound system.
Enough about the small stuff though – what really matters is how the RAM 1500 drives, and that is where it really does impress. This truck, packing the RAM-exclusive rear multi-link coil spring suspension (air suspension is optional), tackles the city’s winter worn streets with a ride quality that’s far better than the F-150 (reviewed here). It’s at least as good, if not better, than the GM twins as well. Steering is similar with a nice direct feel, and enough feedback to know that you’re in control.
Highway cruising also feels great with just a little bit of wind noise intruding the cab and no significant road noise from the Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires equipped. In the cab, this is a nice quiet and roomy vehicle. Under the hood is the big 5.7L HEMI V8 with its fuel-saving MDS cylinder shutdown system. The HEMI puts out a healthy 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft. of torque. This is all fed to the wheels through the 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, which delivers butter smooth intuitive shifts no matter what the situation.
This tester has the optional 3.92 axle ratio, which is pretty low compared to the standard 3.21 ratio. This means the RAM 1500 Sport can take off from a stop light like it’s nobody’s business (or easily haul a trailer uphill). On the flip side, highway RPMs will be higher and therefore the trade-off will come in the form of fuel economy. As expected, the HEMI delivers sharp throttle response (sharpest of the full-sized pickups), brisk acceleration and true V8 sound through the dual polished exhaust tips.
That fun does come with a price, and our 15.2L/100km test average is significantly worse than what we have seen in other full-size trucks (reviewed here). A good portion of this is blamed on the extreme cold temperatures and liberal use of the remote starter, but the shorter gearing definitely had a significant impact on highway fuel economy. Those not doing a lot of towing with their RAM truck may want to opt for the standard gears.
The RAM’s quick steering and throttle response make it feel a lot smaller than it really is which is particularly nice in the city, where driving a full-sized pickup truck can often get a bit cumbersome. The rear view camera and park assist radar features also help here, making it easy to park in tight spots with little fuss. Let’s not forget though; the RAM 1500 is capable of towing up to 10,640 lb., or a payload of up to 1,880 pounds. We won’t play the numbers game about whose truck can carry more, but these numbers are right in line with what is expected of a full-sized truck today.
*ADVERTISEMENT* Discover This! *ADVERTISEMENT*
This mid-range RAM Sport proves that you don’t need to spend $70,000 on a full loaded cowboy Cadillac to own a truck that’s capable and comfortable. The more time spent with the RAM, the more drivers will begin to appreciate the little touches that encompass it. For example, there are small LED lights hidden in very intuitive little places; the most notable on the ceiling directly above the centre console. It keeps the storage bin and cup-holder area well lit, helping at night. There is the cell phone holder built into the console, which keeps your phone secure and within easy reach.
Storage is a big priority in any truck, so there are convenient areas everywhere you look inside the RAM. Without the optional RAM-Box, the full bed can be utilized for hauling with enough width to lay down 4×8 sheets. The only complaint from an ergonomics standpoint is that access to both the bed and cab can be annoying. The cab desperately needs step bars to help short-legged passengers like my wife get in, and the bed has no easy access point like the tailgate step offered by Ford, or the bumper corner steps found on the GMs (reviewed here).
If in the market for a truck today, buyers are often hard-pressed to make a decision between a 2017 RAM 1500 Sport 4×4, the comparable F-150, and the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra twins. Truthfully, all three of the big domestic trucks on the market have their own merits, but the RAM’s aggressive styling, best in class interior and outstanding ride quality definitely put it near the top of the recommended list. Whatever configuration you choose, and however you option it, this is a great truck.
2017 RAM 1500 Sport 4×4 Gallery