The light-duty pickup truck market is evolving. This time around it isn’t about payload or towing capability, but what seems to be an industry trend. Recent announcements from Ford and General Motors about their trucks involve electrification, with the upcoming F-150 Lightning and Silverado EV. While these trucks are promising from a first glance, the majority of truck buyers want to stick with a formula that works, and are somewhat averse to serious change. We jumped behind the wheel of a 2022 Ram 1500 Sport G/T, with a whole plethora of bells and whistles, to see what it offers as a regular, trustworthy work companion.
Ram still offers two distinct body styles for their 1500, starting with the previous generation body style sold as the Ram 1500 Classic with a starting price of $28,440. The 2022 Ram 1500 is the new body, which has been sold for the past three years, and starts at $47,445 for a bare-bones Tradesman. Stepping up to the Sport tested here will set buyers back $64,495, but there’s a lot more truck to be had.
The Ram 1500 Sport gets the tried and true 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine, now putting out 395 horsepower an 410 lb-ft. of torque. This engine avoids the turbocharging of the Ford and General Motors offerings, however does have a 48-volt mild hybrid system called eTorque. It doesn’t necessarily add any power or torque, but the eTorque setup claims to smooth out the torque curve near the bottom of the rev range. We didn’t see any noticeable difference between this and the last 5.7-liter model tested, but it’s a creamy smooth motor with tons of power. The performance exhaust on our tester sounds meaty, too.
All models with the 3.6-liter V6 and the 5.7-liter V8 are mated to the precise ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s a wonderful gearbox, and really does round out the powertrain nicely. The HEMI has an excellent personality and really is the perfect light-duty truck engine for most of today’s buyers. It has enough get-up-and-go without any hesitation, and feels great on the road.
The Ram’s four-corner air suspension also makes for exceptional ride quality, some of the best we’ve seen in a full-frame pickup truck. While there is still some semblance of an unsettled back end when the 5’7” bed is unloaded, the Ram rides better than the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado. It’s a wonderful commuter for those traversing in inclement weather, and the selectable 4×4 system can kick in on the fly as well.
Ram rates the fuel efficiency of this particular model at 13.4L/100km in the city and 10.5L/100km on the highway, for a combined 12.1L/100km. If past tests of Ram 1500s with the 5.7-liter HEMI are any indication, this truck should have no issue reaching these numbers in optimal conditions. Our test took place during an extreme cold warning in Toronto, so with mostly city driving we observed an average of 14.4L/100km. Out of the three major American trucks’ gasoline powerplants though, we have seen the best fuel efficiency out of the Sierra and Silverado with the 6.2-liter engine and 10-speed automatic.
One of the reasons I like the Ram best of the current crop of pickup trucks is the interior. While the Laramie and other upper trim levels get a beautiful array of cowboy-grade leather, this mid-grade Sport G/T gets a perfectly comfortable and functional cabin, lined with leather and high-quality synthetics. The seats are very comfortable, giving all drivers a commandeering look at traffic ahead. Front and rear legroom in this Crew Cab example is plentiful for a group of four adults, and particularly noteworthy during our bitter cold week is just how hot the heated seats are.
Overall, the dashboard is very well laid out and everything is well within reach. We like the inclusion of a regular shifter rather than the rotary dial of years gone by. Of note is the new Uconnect 5 infotainment interface, housed in a 12-inch touchscreen that debuted with the latest Ram a couple of years ago. It’s fairly good and a functional improvement over its predecessor, but we did have some gripes. The heated seat and steering wheel controls are housed deep in the menus, and are impossible to reach with gloves on. Apple CarPlay can be accessed wirelessly, which is quickly making its way through the industry, though we experienced intermittent glitches with the wireless charging slot in the dashboard.
Building onto the $64,495 base price, our tester was fully jammed with options. Noteworthy is the $3,495 G/T Package, which adds leather seats, a cold air intake, unique GT interior trim, a performance hood, 3.92 rear end, and more. The $1,095 Multi-Function Tailgate is a must-have for those doing a lot of loading, and the Advanced Safety Group adds Lane Keep Assist, adaptive cruise control, park assist and Pedestrian Emergency Braking. While this safety suite is nice to have, it really should be standard at this truck’s price point. All in all, factor in some additional niceties and the sticker comes to $87,775 before taxes and fees.
Over their long history, Ram has proven time and time again that they can make a wonderful truck for their target demographic. This particular model, with its performance exhaust and RamBox feature taking up some valuable bed real estate, is more of a Costco cruiser, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The 2022 Ram 1500 Sport G/T makes for a seriously good do-everything pickup truck, for the modern buyer who may not need to do heavy truck things on a daily basis. It looks just as great on the construction site as it does parked up at the local arena for the kids’ hockey games.