- - Sunday, November 2, 2014

The 2014 Ram 1500 is a full-size pickup with an over-the-top power train and a good clean ride inside as well as out. New in 2014, the Ram 1500 offers a turbocharged diesel V6 engine, but the 4.7-liter V8 is no longer available. The Ram folks have also added some changes to the 2014 trim levels as well.

The Ram 1500 has been getting consistently better over the years and 2014 adds to that list of progressive tweaks with the new turbo diesel engine that will give drivers better fuel mileage and a better towing capability.

Competition here is with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 or the GMC Sierra as well as the Toyota Tundra and the Ford F-150.

The 2014 Ram 1500 has a variety of body styles with a regular cab seating of three and offered in either the 6-foot-4-inch or 8-foot cargo bed. There is also an extended cab called the “Quad Cab” with seating for up to six people, but on this it is the 6-foot-4 bed offering only. On the crew cab you get more leg room in the back seat and a choice of the 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4 bed.

As for trim levels within these body styles choose from the Tradesman, HFE, SLT, Sport, Laramie and Longhorn.

The Tradesman trim offers 17-inch steel wheels, black bumpers and grille, automatic headlights, a locking tailgate, vinyl flooring and upholstery, air-conditioning and a 40/20/40-split front bench seat. You also get a tilt-only steering wheel with cruise control and for audio a six-speaker sound system with USB inputs while on the extended and crew cabs add to that power windows and a folding rear bench seat.

Optional on this trim level are a variety of groups that offer keyless entry, power locks and mirrors, cloth upholstery and carpeted flooring and a Bluetooth phone and audio connect with a five-inch touchscreen.

The HFE trim is touted for its fuel economy and it comes only in the two-wheel-drive regular cab. It’s an automatic engine stop-start with a 3.21:1 rear axle ratio and a tonneau cover. Power accessories are standard on this trim and there is cloth upholstery to round out the package.

On the SLT the standards are the same as the first two trims with the exception of a spray-in bedliner with 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim and twin glove boxes. You can also choose to add on the Luxury Group package, which will give you folding outside mirrors that come with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an overhead console with illuminated vanity mirrors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

On the Sport trim, expect all the regular features above and add to that a tuned dual exhaust, grille/bumpers that match the body color, LED running and turn signal lights, fog lights along with folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps, 20-inch alloy wheels, front bucket seats and a center console with a 10-way power driver seat and heated front seats and steering wheel. There is also a power-adjustable pedal and a 60/40 split for the rear bench seat. The climate control is dual-zoned and there is an 8.4-inch touchscreen display with a rearview camera. You will also find that this trim offers a Uconnect Access system with voice control and tech goodies like text-to-speech messaging capability, emergency roadside assistance and a 115-volt power outlet and LED cabin lighting.

The next trim level up is the Laramie and you can get this trim in extended and crew cab with the Sport trim level features as well as heated mirrors, driver memory functions, leather front seats in the front and a six-way power passenger seat with wood and chrome interior and an improved sound system.

Finally, the Longhorn comes in the crew cab only with a mesh grille with tow hooks, a larger fuel tank as well as remote ignition, front and rear parking sensors and a navigation system. With the Limited package on this one, you can add air suspension, monochromatic paint, chrome side-step bars, automatic windshield wipers, automatic high beams, keyless ignition and entry and a leather and wood steering wheel with upgraded leather upholstery and ventilated front/heated rear seats.

On all of these trims, there are optional features that come standard on the upper trims and are available on the lower trims with several add-on packages to choose from depending on the trim level. You can get the Lone Star Package offered in Texas only or the Big Horn package offered everywhere else. The Outdoorsman package can only be had on the four-wheel-drive, but take note of the additional underbody skid plates, tow hooks and all-terrain tires. There is also the stand-alones like air suspension, weatherproof bins and a trailer-brake controller.

Under the hood, the Tradesman, HFE and SLT has a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The eight-speed also comes with a rotary “e-shift” knob on the instrument panel and two-wheel or four-wheel drive is available. For 4WD there are two options with a low-range transfer case and one option being part-time or an on-demand Auto 4WD.

On the upper trims and available on the other Rams too if desired, there is a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 395 horsepower and 410 pound feet of torque. You can have this with an automatic transmission and either six or eight-speed.

Also on the Ram 1500, you can choose the 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 engine with 240 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

For safety, expect four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, hill start assist, trailer sway control, front seat side and full-length side curtain airbags and an integrated trailer brake controller that is an optional. As well, there is a rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors and, depending on trim, this is either standard or optional.

The special features on the 2014 Ram 1500 interior includes a great design inside no matter the trim level you choose, that with good material and controls and knobs that are easy to access and use. With the high-end Laramie wood-grain trim there is the upscale leather upholstery and indeed, truck lovers will feel the fresh design that is a bit different from the competition since there is a rotary shift knob on the dashboard. However, you will come to appreciate this since there is more room in the front seat due to this configuration. Overall, the front and the back seats are comfortable with plenty of legroom as well.

Take note of the two touch-screen sizes available, either the five or 8.4 inch option and there is plenty of storage space all around too. Other features worth mentioning include the quad cab’s fold-out flat floor space with the 60/40 rear seats flipped and on the crew cab you will find watertight storage compartments that are under the rear floor.

When driving the 2014 Ram 1500, it’s an easy feeling with no problem getting where you need to go fast and smooth except with a bit slower acceleration on the diesel option. Towing definitely gets high marks on this Ram and overall expect a quiet ride. When four wheeling there are two off-road settings allowing for an increased 1.2 or two inches above the standard height if needed as well as a drop in the suspension when driving on the freeway for fuel efficiency and a better drive overall.

Should You Need to Know: Worth pointing out is the fact that the 2014 Ram 1500 is the only truck in its class that has the coil-spring rear suspension. For towing the 1500 V6 can tow up to 7,450 pounds and the diesel version up to 9,200 pounds.

Miles Per Gallon: The 2014 Ram Lone Star Crew Cab 4 X 2 I drove came in with 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The 2014 Ram Lone Star Crew Cab 4 X 2 had a price tag of $47,820.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita at @RitaCook13.

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