2022 Ram 1500 Review | Still great, but is it still best?

·14-min read


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Things have gotten interesting. The 2022 Ram 1500 remains every bit the exceptional pickup it's been since being completely redesigned three years ago. From the humble Tradesman all the way up to the indulgent Limited (with the stupefying Ram TRX on its own high-octane plane of existence), the Ram is a thoughtfully designed truck with distinctive features and a compelling lineup of build combinations. It satisfies the nuts-and-bolts capability requirements of a serious truck, while boasting shockingly refined road manners and a knock-out interior. It's a winner.

The wrinkle is that this winner's league just got a whole lot harder this season. Last year's updated Ford F-150 saw the addition of a hybrid powertrain Ram can't match, plus chassis refinements that wipe out much of the Ram's previous on-road advantages. For 2022, there's an all-new Toyota Tundra that counts a rear coil-spring suspension (just like the Ram) among its multitude of improvements, while the 2022 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra see their laughable interiors get replaced by what appear to be cabins that are every bit the equal (if possibly better) than the Ram in terms of design, quality and feature content. Apart from the Ford, we have yet to spend enough time with these updated competitors to make any definitive statements about which is now the best (OK, so it's probably not the Tundra), but the Ram definitely remains in the running.

Interior & technology | Passenger & cargo space | Performance & fuel economy

What it's like to drive | Pricing & features | Crash ratings & safety features

What's new for 2022?

The new Uconnect 5 tech interface is added to the Ram 1500, starting with the Big Horn trim level. It's four times faster and has three times more memory than Uconnect 4 (which was one of the better systems out there as-is). The Trailer Tow Group adds four LED lights directly above the hitch, and a new Clean Air system is now standard, filtering out 95% of air particulates.

Then there's the annual Ram tradition of new models and appearance packages, most of which are pictured in the above gallery. The new Laramie G/T and Rebel G/T (pictured above left) are fully described here. The BackCountry, which builds upon the Big Horn/Lone Star, adds a body-color grille surround, black-accented two-tone paint and various black-painted exterior parts. On the other end of the trim level spectrum, the mighty TRX gains an Ignition variant. Last year's Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition lives on as this year's Longhorn SouthFork, while the Limited gets its own 10th Anniversary Edition for 2022 (pictured above right). It gets unique blue paint and "Indigo and Sea Salt" quilted leather seats, 22-inch wheels, "a jeweled shifter knob and aluminum Litho bezels" (don't those sound fancy?), a 19-speaker sound system and of course special badging.

Clockwise from upper left: Tradesman, Big Horn BackCountry, Limited 10th Anniversary, Longhorn Southfork

What are the Ram interior and in-car technology like?

It's easy to be smitten by the Ram 1500 in its fanciest Longhorn and Limited trim levels, which are bedecked in soft leather, special color schemes and unique styling elements like the Longhorn emblem literally branded into real wood trim. There are unique features like the huge vertically oriented touchscreen and the ventilated reclining back seat. They're easily the most luxurious pickups ever made.

Crucially, however, we are actually more impressed by the basic Ram 1500 Tradesman and Big Horn trim levels. While the quality of plastics is typical for the segment (that goes for those ritzy Rams, too), the different textures and attractive design result in a cabin that looks and feels better than trucks that cost a comparable amount or more. For instance, the rich gray cloth upholstery in a Big Horn test truck contributed to a far more premium environment than what we found in a comparable Ford F-150 XLT trim level (not to mention any trim level of the pre-2022 Chevy Silverado).

The Ram doesn't just impress aesthetically. The five-passenger model's center console features clever, multi-configuration storage solutions thoughtfully designed for how people might use this space — it's not just some cupholders and a pair of differently sized bins. There's also a covered compartment under the rear floor and the RamBox bins that can be added to the bed walls.

In-car technology is exceptional as well. Even the most basic Tradesman has a perfectly useable 5-inch touchscreen and three USB ports, while the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen found on other trims is one of the most user-friendly interfaces on the market and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And we thought that before the system was upgraded for 2022 to be faster and have more system memory. Additional USB ports can also be added to the rear, including the USB-C type. The top four trims can step things up further with the aforementioned 12-inch vertical touchscreen, which we review in the video below.

How big is the Ram 1500?

The 2022 Ram 1500 is available with three body/bed configurations: extended Quad Cab with a 6-foot-4 bed, or a Crew Cab with either the longer bed or a standard 5-foot-7 bed. There are also two tailgate designs: the standard one and the optional multifunction split design pictured below left. The exterior dimensions are similar to its competitors, although the new TRX is a whopping 8(!) inches wider than its siblings. It's also 2 inches taller.

Interior dimensions are also similar to those of its competitors. The Quad Cab's rear legroom (34.7 inches) is a bit more than a Ford F-150 Super Cab's (33.5) and a bit less than a Silverado Double Cab's (35.2). All of those figures equal cramped legs, and given the upright backrest angle they all share, none are exactly ideal for lengthy journeys. Neither is the six-passenger model's front middle seat (pictured below right), but at least its seat back is notably higher than any other truck's and should actually provide some head and neck support to go with additional comfort.

If you really need your truck to ferry passengers, though, an upgrade to the Crew Cab is a must. With it, backseat legroom grows to an indulgent degree to a whopping 45.2 inches. That's about 2 inches better than the Silverado Crew Cab and F-150 Super Crew, and 3.6 inches better than the 2022 Toyota Tundra Crew Max. Admittedly, all possess so much massive, stretch-out legroom that there'll likely be a full foot from knees to the front seat back. So yes, the Ram has more, but we're not sure it really matters. What could, however, is the available reclining back rest that increases comfort considerably. The Tundra is the only other truck that offers that.

Ram Multifunction Tailgate
Ram Multifunction Tailgate

What are the Ram 1500 fuel economy and performance specs?

The Ram 1500 has fewer powertrain options than its GM and Ford competitors. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that is aided by a 48-volt mild hybrid system Ram calls eTorque. It adds a small amount of electricity while accelerating from a stop to increase power and refinement, as well as improving the automatic stop/start system and fuel economy. We explain it more in our Ram 1500 eTorque first drive. Output is 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, and an eight-speed automatic is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with RWD, and 19/24/21 with 4WD. It wasn't so long ago that V6-powered midsize sedans were getting that sort of fuel economy.

There are two versions of the optional 5.7-liter V8 available, both good for 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. One has eTorque and achieves 17/23/19 with RWD, an estimate we confirmed during our test of a Ram 1500 Big Horn. The other version does not have eTorque and achieves 15/22/17 with RWD. The penalty for 4WD is negligible. While the differences in fuel economy figures with and without eTorque may seem small, when we're talking lower mpg numbers like these, they actually equate to hundreds saved in gas every year.

For max torque and fuel economy, the 3.0-liter V6 produces 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque that is tops among full-size truck diesel engines. It returns 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with RWD, and 21/29/24 with 4WD. That's a smidge lower than GM's DuraMax diesel, and roughly the same as the Ford F-150 Power Boost hybrid (of course that's way more powerful and has other benefits). Although your savings will largely depend on diesel prices where you live, the EcoDiesel could save you many hundreds of dollars at the pump every year compared to the eTorque V8. It'll also allow you to go much further on a tank.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Ram TRX and its 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8. It produces 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. It also gets a different eight-speed automatic, transfer case and rear axle to handle all that grunt. The EPA says the TRX will get a truly atrocious 10 mpg city, 14 mpg highway and 12 combined, and that's pretty consistent with what we've experienced. According to EPA average fuel cost estimates, it would cost you $1,950 more per year to fill a TRX versus a Ford Raptor. It would be $2,100 more than a Ram 1500 with the eTorque-equipped V8.

What's the Ram like to drive?

The Ram 1500 continues to be so refined that it can feel like you're driving a large crossover rather than a pickup. Thanks to its five-link coil spring rear suspension, its ride quality is buttery smooth and betters all its competitors (though the F-150 and the similarly coil-sprung 2022 Tundra come closer than ever before). That suspension design also benefits handling and trailer control, and can even be upgraded with an available air suspension capable of raising to clear obstacles and lowering for easier loading. The steering possesses linear, consistent effort and is reassuringly precise on-center.

Acceleration from the eTorque-equipped V8 is similarly buttery smooth and impressively quiet. You don't really notice the smidgen of power contributed by the 48-volt electrical system as you would in a proper hybrid, but you also don't notice noise or vibration coming from the automatic stop/start system. Even without eTorque, however, the Hemi V8 is still excellent and one wonders if it'll be cheaper to maintain in the long term without the complicated extra bits attached. Similarly, you'd be hard pressed to know that the base V6 possesses eTorque, and you'll be surprised at just how capable the Ram can be with only six cylinders. The eight-speed automatic certainly helps in this regard, especially while towing.

As for the EcoDiesel, it impresses with its quiet and confident voice, steady power, easy response and smooth acceleration. Like other diesels, it starts to run out of steam higher in its rev range, but that's where the eight-speed automatic comes in handy once again. We towed with this engine, used it while off-roading in the Rebel and generally found it well-suited to truck duty.

Finally, there's the TRX. Not only is it quick on pavement, it's impossibly fast on dirt, too. You can even use launch control off-road. Its substantially overhauled and upgraded suspension, transfer case, tires, etc. add up to what we're comfortable proclaiming the best and most capable factory off-road pickup truck in existence. It's astonishing. Of course, it's also incredible tall and wide, which can make it a chore to drive certain places and swills premium fuel like few other new vehicles on the road. For more about it, make sure to read our specific Ram TRX review.

What other Ram 1500 reviews can I read?

2021 Ram TRX First Drive Review | King of the Jurassic parking lot

We put the new TRX to the high-speed test and find it to be bigger, badder and better than the Raptor.

2021 Ram 1500 12-inch Uconnect Infotainment System Review

Explaining why the Ram's available 12-inch vertically oriented touchscreen is one of the best infotainment systems on the market.

2020 Ram 1500 4x4 Suspension Deep Dive

Why is the Ram's coil-spring rear suspension better and how does it work? Engineer Dan Edmunds explains.

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel First Drive

More in-depth driving impressions and information about the new EcoDiesel V6.

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Drivers' Notes Review

Our editors breakdown the mid-level Laramie trim level.

2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman Drivers' Note Review

Our editors also got a chance to evaluate the basic Tradesman. It still impressed.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque First Drive Review

Find out more about the V6 and V8 engines equipped with the eTorque mild hybrid system.

2019 Ram 1500 First Drive

Our most comprehensive first drive of the Ram 1500, including multiple videos and in-depth information about its design and engineering.

How much is the 2022 Ram 1500 price and what features are available?

The 2022 Ram 1500 doesn't offer as many build combinations as its Ford and GM competitors – specifically it doesn't offer a regular cab and there are fewer available powertrains. Nevertheless, there's still an abundance of choice and customization opportunities. You can find a fairly comprehensive listing of available features and pricing for each trim level here on Autoblog.

There are two cab styles: the extended Quad Cab with smaller, front-hinged rear doors and the Crew Cab with enormous, front-hinged rear doors. The Quad Cab is only available with a 6-foot-4 bed, while the Crew Cab offers a choice of standard 5-foot-7 or optional 6-foot-4. Note that not every trim level is available with the Quad Cab, which we indicate in the pricing below. All prices listed below include the rather excessive $1,795 destination charge that is mandatory, yet left out of advertised pricing.

Tradesman: $36,195
(A basic work truck available in Quad and Crew cabs)

Big Horn / Lone Star: $40,995
(The volume-selling trim level with a huge number of options. It's called Lone Star in Texas and some surrounding states. Available in Quad and Crew cabs, and offers BackCountry, Sport Appearance and Night Edition variants).

Laramie: $45,140
(The first luxury-oriented trim and the only one available in both Quad and Crew cabs. Offers G/T, Laramie Southwest, Night Edition and Sport Appearance package variants).

Rebel: $49,935
(The first of two off-road oriented models easily identified by its handlebar mustache grille. It's 4x4 only and available in Quad and Crew cabs. Offers G/T and Night Edition variants).

Longhorn: $56,490
(The first of two extra-luxury models. It doesn't have quite as much standard equipment than Limited and has ranch-themed design elements. Crew Cab only. Offers a Longhorn Southfork variant pictured above left).

Limited: $61,505
(The ritziest trim level with the most standard equipment and the most intricate grille. Crew Cab only. Offers the Red package and 10th Anniversary edition, which is the only version available with the handsome Indigo/Sea Salt interior color combo).

TRX: $75,175
(Insane off-roader truck powered by the Hellcat V8. Crew Cab and 4x4 only. It offers the Ignition variant pictured above right).

Finally, note that Ram still sells the 1500 Classic, which is the previous-generation version. That is not considered here.

What are the Ram 1500 safety ratings and driver assistance features?

Front-, front-side and side-curtain airbags are standard along with a rearview camera. Forward collision warning is now standard on all trims but the Tradesman and Big Horn/Lone Star, which can add it as part of the Level 1 Equipment Group. Automatic emergency braking is included with the adaptive cruise control system that's optional on all but those two bottom trims. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, lane-departure warning and trailer reverse control are optional on all trim levels. Much of this equipment is standard on all but the most basic Ford F-150.

The government gives the 2022 Ram 1500 Crew Cab a five-star overall rating with four-star frontal and five star side ratings. The Quad Cab gets four-star overall and frontal ratings, and the five-star side rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 1500 Quad Cab and Crew Cabs the best possible ratings for crash worthiness and its available forward collision avoidance system. Upper trim levels with LED headlights earn a Top Safety Pick+ award.

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