2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Review and Prices | iGuida

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Review and Prices

Price: $26,000 - $50,000
MPG: 14 City / 20 Hwy

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Buying Advice

The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 is the best pickup for you if you want a boldly styled half-ton that can tackle the toughest jobs on the work site, yet remain relatively civilized around town.

The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 isn’t expected to change dramatically compared to the 2011 Dodge Ram Pickup. The most intriguing change would be the addition of a new base engine, namely Chrysler’s 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V-6. But reports suggest the Ram 1500 won’t get any notable revisions until model-year 2013. They’d likely include the Pentastar V-6, as well as assorted updates that would encompass revised communications and connectivity technology. Do expect the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 to add a new option package or two and perhaps expand current features to a broader selection of models. What’s certain is that the 2012 Ram 1500 will remain a handsome and versatile pickup with the best ride and handling qualities in the full-size field.

Should you wait for the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 or buy the 2011 Dodge Ram 1500? Buy the 2011 model, especially if you’re interested in either of the available V-8 engines, particularly the superior 5.7-liter Hemi. Wait for the 2012 Ram 1500 if you’re gambling it will come with the new Pentastar V-6 engine and think a six-cylinder might fit your full-size pickup needs.

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Changes back to top

Styling: The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 isn’t expected to see any alterations to its basic appearance, which means it will retain its trademark cross-hairs chrome grille and broad-shouldered fenders that give it an aggressive overall character.

The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will continue in a wide assortment of configurations. Expect three cab styles: the two-door regular cab, the extended Quad Cab with small clamshell-opening rear access doors, and the Crew Cab with four conventional doors and a full back seat that’s large enough to hold three adults in comfort.

The 2012 Ram 1500 regular-cab will likely retain its 120.5-inch wheelbase and offer a choice of 6.3- and 8-foot cargo beds. Quad and Crew Cab models should still have a 140.5-inch wheelbase with the Quad Cab coming with the 6.3-foot cargo box and the Crew Cab featuring a 5.6-foot box. As before, all cargo beds will be wide enough to accommodate 4x8-foot sheets of building materials, though the sheets would overhang onto or beyond the tailgate with all the but the 8-foot bed.

Ride and handling ought to be an area in which the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 continues to shine. That’s because the Ram 1500 will continue to be the only full-size pickup to employ coil springs in conjunction with its durable solid rear axle rather than the buckboard-like leaf springs found elsewhere in this segment. That means the 2012 Ram 1500 would continue as arguably the most well mannered full-size pickup with responsive steering and a smooth ride that resists becoming unnerved over bumps or broken pavement.

The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will likely carry over the 2011 model’s core selection of trim levels, though some content may be juggled. Expect to be able to again choose from among the base, work-truck-oriented ST, the up-market SLT, the more-aggressive Sport version, and the luxury Laramie. Major options packages with their own trim designations will continue to differentiate the model range. Expect to see variations like an Outdoorsman version of the SLT and in some regions of the U.S., a Big Horn package. A Laramie Longhorn package will likely continue as the ultimate expression of 2012 Ram 1500 opulence, with specific leather treatments and added equipment to help it compete with top-shelf luxury pickups like the Ford F-150 King Ranch and GMC Sierra Denali.

Mechanical: Short of swapping its current V-6 for the worthier 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 being phased into other Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models, the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will likely carry over mechanically intact.

This means the line will still start with a dated 3.7-liter V-6 that generates a lackluster 215 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. That’s barely enough to get this large a vehicle up to speed and sufficient for a meek 3,600-pound towing capacity. Its availability will likely continue limited to Ram 1500s with two-wheel drive (2wd) and a mediocre four-speed automatic transmission. The Pentastar V-6, by contrast, is rated at 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, minimum.

Assuming it won’t be supplanted by the 3.6-liter Pentastar, the first serious engine choice in the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 would continue be to be the 4.7-liter V-8, which would likely retain ratings of 310 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque.

The popular and powerful 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 will likely return with its 390 horsepower, 407 pound-feet of torque, and class-competitive maximum 10,450-pound tow rating. This engine would again include a function that saves gas by automatically shutting down half its cylinders while idling and at cruising speed. Both 2012 Ram 1500 V-8s should continue to come with five-speed automatic transmissions and be offered with 2wd and four-wheel drive (4wd).

The 2012 Dodge Ram Pickup will likely continue to offer a choice of two 4wd systems depending on the model. For most versions this would still be a basic part-time system intended only for slippery surfaces

A more sophisticated full-time 4wd system that can be left engaged on dry pavement will continue to be available -- likely be limited to Sport and Laramie models and in combination with the SLT’s Big Horn option package. The full-time system is Chrysler’s Active Transfer Case and Front-axle Disconnect setup that transitions between 2wd and 4wd without driver intervention. As its name implies, the system is designed to save gas by disconnecting the front axle when 4wd isn’t engaged. Both Ram 1500 4wd systems would again include low-range gearing for getting out of deep mud ruts or low-speed off-roading.

Antilock brakes will certainly remain standard for better control in emergency stops. So will antiskid electronic stability control to help prevent this large truck from sliding sideways in emergency maneuvers or if the driver is negotiating a curve or exit ramp too quickly. A trailer sway control function for more secure towing abilities also would remain standard.

Features: The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 should continue to offer an impressive array of standard and optional amenities, including a few exclusive offerings that help set it apart from the competition. For example, Crew Cab versions will likely still offer the RamBox, an optional set of storage bins built into the sides of the cargo bed that are lined, drainable, and lockable.

The available rear-seat entertainment system will no doubt continue with the subscription-based Sirius Backseat TV service to keep the kids entertained and/or the dealer installed FLO-TV system that includes more varied video fare. The truck will likely still continue to offer a dealer accessory that allows the Ram 1500 to operate as a mobile WiFi hotspot (with an extra-cost data plan) for connecting portable computers and other devices to the Internet. Unlike the Ford F-150, however, the Ram 1500 will probably still not offer either an in-dash Internet solution nor its Tool Link system that can inventory and track tools and other jobsite gear stored onboard using small radio frequency identification (RDF) tags. A voice-activated navigation system will likely still reside on the options list, and it will likely continue to come with iPhone/iPod connectivity and software sourced via the noted GPS manufacturer Garmin.

Storage cubbies, pockets, and cup holders throughout the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500’s spacious and nicely designed cabin will continue to be plentiful. The Crew Cab will likely still come equipped with in-floor storage bins in the rear cabin that feature removable liners and can be used as either hidden storage or as beverage coolers.

Standard equipment will probably continue to include head-curtain airbags that (where applicable) extend to both rows of seats, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, and a CD audio system. Available equipment should still run the gamut from a rear parking proximity warning system to heated seats, a remote starter, garage-door opener, and leather upholstery; these will continue to be offered either separately, in packages, on included with higher trim levels, depending on the feature and/or model.

An Outdoorsman package is expected to continue for 2012 SLT models that bundles trailer-towing equipment, lighting enhancements, skid plates, and off-road tires for adventuresome use. It can also be fitted with a dealer-installed rack that can store six fishing rods or two rifles or shotguns. Meanwhile, the already well-equipped Laramie version can still be expected to offer a Longhorn package that adds a few extra features, assorted burled walnut interior trim and a choice of exclusive leather treatments, all to suggest a certain trail boss image.

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Prices back to top

The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 prices weren’t announced in time for this review, but don’t expect them to increase much over 2011 levels. Dodge will need to keep the Ram 1500 competitive in a market that’s been hit hard in recent years by the economic downturn, fluctuating gas prices, and changing consumer tastes. As before, prices will vary by trim level and cab configuration, cargo bed size, and powertrain.

Base prices for the 2012 Ram 1500 ST model should range from around $22,000 for a regular cab version to about $26,000 with Quad Cab and just over $30,000 with a Crew Cab. (All prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Dodge’s fee for the 2011 Ram 1500 was $900.)

The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT models should have a base-price range of roughly $26,000-$33,500. Expect 2012 Ram 1500 Sport versions to have a base-price range of around $35,000-$37,500. Estimated base price for a 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie edition is $38,000-$40,000. Figure another $3,500-$4,500 to get 4wd, depending on the model and system. Expect a fully equipped 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn to break the $50,000 barrier.

Option prices for the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 should also remain close to 2011 levels. That means you can anticipate paying around $1,350 for the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine on LT and SLT models, around $1,900 for the RamBox in-bed storage on Crew Cabs, about $200 for a backup camera, nearly $1,700 for a DVD/satellite entertainment system, and around $450 for a factory spray-on bedliner. The Outdoorsman off-road package on SLT versions should again cost around $2,600.

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Fuel Economy back to top

EPA gas-mileage ratings for the 2012 models had not been released in time for this review, but 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 fuel-economy shouldn’t change – as long as powertrains repeat. 

This means the base 2wd 2012 Ram 1500 with the 3.7-liter V-6 would rate 14/20 mpg city/highway. For 2wd V-8 Ram 1500s, expect a 14/19-mpg rating with the 4.7-liter V-8 and 14/20 with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. With 4wd, the 4.7-liter V-8 would again carry a rating of 13/18 mpg and the 5.7-liter a rating of 13/19.

As before, expect Dodge to recommend mid-grade 89-octane gas for the Hemi. Ram’s other engines use less expensive regular 87-octane. The 4.7 V-8 (and the Pentastar V-6) can also run on E85 ethanol, but fuel economy declines by some 30 percent, which will likely register a 9/13 rating with 4wd and 9/12 with 4wd.

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Release Date back to top

The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will likely go on sale during September 2011.

As before, the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will be considered the so-called “half ton” member of the Ram family, which is a traditional pickup designation that’s loosely tied to its payload capacity. Though we don’t review them here, the full model line will likely continue with “three-quarter ton” Ram 2500 and “one ton” Ram 3500 heavy duty models. Featuring sturdier construction for commercial users and the strongest towing abilities, they will likely again be offered in two-door regular-cab, four-door Crew Cab and the truly spacious four-door Mega Cab configurations. We expect the 1500’s 5.7-liter V8 engine to continue here as the standard engine, with a torque-happy 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8 optional for extreme hauling and towing abilities that top out at 19,950 pounds in the 3500 with the diesel and dual rear wheels.

What's next for the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 back to top

With its last major makeover coming in model-year 2009, the Dodge Ram 1500 will likely receive a “re-engineering” for model year 2013. Chrysler and its corporate overseers at Italy’s Fiat are revamping all the automakers’ models, some of which are more in need of serious work than the Ram. At the same time, they’re readying replacements for several cars. So don’t expect model-year 2013 changes to the Ram 1500 to constitute a complete overhaul. The truck’s exterior styling should remain familiar, though there may be a few tweaks in the works. More work may go into revamping the Ram 1500’s interior, with perhaps an updated instrument panel and some upgraded surface materials throughout the cabin.

We anticipate a version of the Pentastar V-6 engine to eventually find its way into the Ram 1500 lineup. It’ll replace the 3.7-liter V-6 and may also supplant the 4.7-liter V-8, leaving the Ram with the 3.6-liter V-6 and the stalwart 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. We’d bet the 4.7-liter V-8 will survive for the duration of the current Ram 1500’s run. It has a higher torque rating than the Pentastar V-6 and torque matters more to truck buyers than horsepower.

Also expect a future Ram 1500 revision to add high-tech connectivity features that should include Chrysler’s new Uconnect Touch multimedia control center. Introduced in the 2011 Dodge Journey, Unconnect Touch is similar to Ford’s MyTouch system. It features customizable touch screens to control various systems and offers full integration with smartphones and other portable devices.

Otherwise we expect the Dodge Ram 1500 won’t see a full makeover until at least 2015 or even 2016. By then new fuel economy regulations will have phased in that will require automakers to boost their corporate fuel economy averages by about 40 percent over 2011 levels. For trucks this means a 28.8 mpg fleet-wide average. While automakers will be able to leverage sales of more fuel efficient crossover models to help meet this mandate, which the government classifies as trucks for fuel economy and other purposes, big pickups like the Ram 1500 will no doubt have to become a bit smaller and lighter and come packed with more fuel-efficient engines in future generations.

Stronger V-6 engines like the Pentastar and Ford’s turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 will, for many buyers, suffice instead of a V-8. In the Ford F-150, the EcoBoost V-6 is rated to tow as much as 11,300 pounds. Where they’re needed, smaller V-8s will come with technology like direct fuel injection to help boost power and include more aggressive versions of displacement management that will essentially allow them to run as four-cylinder powerplants for greater periods of time, with the extra cylinders kicking in only when necessary.

Assuming the next Ram 1500 is slightly smaller and less bulky than the current model to help boost its fuel economy, it’s possible that its showroom companion, the Dodge Dakota, could face extinction. Compact and midsize pickups are already an endangered species and with less of a size and power differentiation to differentiate them from what could be a smaller fleet of full-size models they could well go away altogether.

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Competition back to top

Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500: Rapidly aging, these underskin twins haven’t received a major redesign since model-year 2007. They’ll continue in their current form until model-year 2013 or 2014. Fortunately brand-loyal buyers keep the factories running and these General Motors pickups continue to hold up well thanks to their admirable overall design and performance, full range of available models, and competitive pricing. A gas-electric hybrid model should remain in the lineup, but it’s mostly for “green” bragging rights as it registers only minor fuel economy savings over the standard versions.   

Ford F-150: Even with big-pickup sales depressed in recent years, the F-150 has remained the auto industry’s top selling model, car or truck. As with the Dodge Ram 1500 it last received a full  redesign for model-year 2009, though it added new powertrains for model year 2011 that included a stronger base V-6, fresh V-8s, and Ford’s twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6, which boasts the top maximum tow rating in the line. The Ford’s ride and handling qualities aren’t as refined as with the Ram 1500, but the F-150 can go toe-to-tow with it in terms of available high-tech features, which include an in-dash computer with Internet connectivity.

Toyota Tundra: Never much of a player in what remains an intensively domestic brand-centric model segment, the full-size Tundra nevertheless remains a capable and comfortable pickup that’s offered in the usual configurations with a plethora of available equipment. It’s not as easygoing as the Big Three brands, however, and trails Ford and Dodge in terms of available technology. Still, it offers a choice of smooth and powerful V-8 engines and features a nicely styled and comfortable passenger cabin for those who want something different in a big pickup. We probably wont see a major revision before model year 2014 at the earliest.


2012 Dodge Ram

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 is not expected to change dramatically in comparison with the 2011 Dodge Ram pickup. Rumors abound about what specific changes to be introduced, but the most talked about change is the ability to add a 3.6-liter Chrysler “Pentastar” V-6. Engine expected much, which was introduced as a new power in 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2009 in New York International Auto Show. With double overhead camshafts and variable valve timing, Dodge claims Pentastar provide a remarkable 38 percent increase in horsepower and torque increase by 11 percent compared with the previous 3.7-liter V6. It would welcome a change of 210-hp V6 are currently offered. 5.7-liter Hemi V8 will almost certainly continue to honor that a large group of offering in 2012.

Performance Features

By all indications, the Dodge Ram 1500 won’t have any other noticeable changes over the 2011 model. The 4 speed and 5 speed automatic transmission will likely remain as standard mating with the V6 and V8, respectively, with no choice offered for a manual transmission. A full-time 4wd system, which transitions between 2wd and 4wd automatically to allow driving on dry pavement, will continue to be an option. Four wheel anti-lock disc brakes and electronic stability control as standard equipment won’t be changed. Three different rear axle ratios should still be available for most models, as well as being able to choose a 6,200 pound GVW Rating. A large selection of features, including a dealer installed entertainment system module allowing the vehicle to be a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, and the Media Center option with a voice activated Garmin navigation system will certainly be carried over from the previous model year.


Features Dodge Ram distinctive brand surely survive with little or no change, but you want to see more extensions from a greater choice of models. Dodge Ram fans are not likely to see in addition to the model 2012 to drool over, except for those of you disappointed by poor performance of the current V6 engine. Those fans can through the fingers that Dodge will include a powerful engine in it Penastar 2012 Ram pickup lineup.

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