1996 Dodge Ram Wagon 1500 Review
The Clydesdale of pickup trucks.
You say you think a truck ain't a truck unless it looks like a truck? Well, you're not alone. Judging by the macho assertiveness of the full-size Ram pickup, the folks at Dodge seem to think so, too.
When the Ram was introduced in 1994 it set the truck business on its collective ear; here was a pickup that looked like it was styled by the same people who design long-haul big rigs. With its bold snout and distinctive front fenders, the Dodge Ram (even its name sounds like a tough-guy product), was the epitome of the he-man look.
As it turned out, it became so popular that one of the biggest problems facing early customers was simply finding one in the preferred trim, equipment level and color. In the 1995 model year, Dodge added a Club Cab body, with seating for six. For 1996 there are refinements in powertrains and detail changes in features and trim.
Contributing to the Ram's macho image is the availability of the gorilla-like V10 engine, with 8.0 liters, 300 hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. To drive a Ram with the V10 is to develop whole new perspective on pickup truck power, and the Ram V10 upped the stakes at the upper end of the pickup power struggle.
In answer, General Motors improved the output of its big 7.4-liter V8 and Ford is readying a V10 of its own. But even with those two new choices, the Dodge V10 will remain the biggest and strongest engine available to pickup truck buyers this year.
Most Ram pickups will be powered by something other than the V10, however, and Dodge offers a wide range of good performers--a base 3.9-liter V6 with 170 hp, a 5.2-liter V8 with 220 hp, a 5.9-liter V8 with 230 hp and 330 lb.-ft. of torque (this makes a very good trailer-towing choice), and then there's the Cummins turbodiesel, a 5.9-liter 6-cyl. that makes fair horsepower and a mountain of low-speed torque--440 lb.-ft. at only 1600 rpm. The Cummins is noisy and rough and we suggest you choose it only if you really, really gotta have it, because the V10 is cheaper, stronger and smoother.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 1996 Dodge Ram Wagon 1500, click here: 1996 Dodge Ram Wagon 1500.