Monday, June 17, 2024

2023 Ram 1500 Review: Yep, still the truck to beat


Pros: Best-in-class ride, handling and interior; impressive infotainment tech; extra-comfy rear seats
Cons: Fewer and less advanced engine options; safety tech not standard

Last year, we pondered whether the Ram 1500 was still the best in its segment after significant improvements made to its competitors (including an all-new Tundra). Now, after driving all those extensively as well as taking another go in a Ram, we feel confident in saying that the 2023 Ram 1500 should still be considered No. 1 for most truck buyers.

It all starts with its coil spring rear suspension (or optional air suspension) that provides a degree of ride comfort and vehicle control that can’t be matched by its competitors. That includes the new Toyota Tundra, which despite going with coils at the rear too, doesn’t come close to the Ram’s almost crossover-like ride and handling. Then there’s the Ram’s interior, which despite being in its fourth year since being completely redesigned and facing tough new competition from GM, still strikes us as the most innovative, functional and highest in quality. The uppermost trim levels are also genuine luxury-grade, which is important given the genuine luxury price tag. The Uconnect infotainment suite isn’t the advantage it once was, but it remains exceptional.

If there is an area where the Ram falls short it could be under the hood. The 1500 has no answer for Ford’s electric, full hybrid or silky-smooth turbo V6 engine options that are all wildly impressive (ditto several innovative features), but we’re guessing most truck buyers won’t see that as such a big deal.

Want a good, old-fashioned American V8? Well, the Ram’s Hemi still gets the job done (with potential help from an available mild-hybrid system) and sounds remarkably civilized. Heck, even the V6 manages to get better fuel economy than GM’s new turbo-four base engine. So yeah, it’s hard to find fault with the Ram 1500, and no matter which version you’re looking at, we think it should be the first truck you check out.

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