2014 RAM 1500

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$15,448–$34,716 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2014 RAM 1500. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Interior design, comfort and quality
  • Storage options
  • Diesel-engine availability
  • Cheapest V-8 pickup you can buy
  • Excellent ride quality

The Bad

  • No direct injection in gas V-6 engine
  • Crank windows, manual locks &amp
  • amp
  • mirrors on base model
2014 RAM 1500 exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2014 RAM 1500

  • Newly available turbo-diesel V-6 engine
  • V-6 and V-8 gas engines also offered
  • Available eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Available four-corner air suspension

2014 RAM 1500 Road Test

https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/64x64/80/-151469626-1425053040780.jpg
Aaron Bragman

In the age of expensive pickup trucks, you can still get a great deal for under $30,000 — but in the case of the 2014 Ram 1500 Express, the content you'll have to sacrifice to get there may be too much.

Pickup trucks are expensive, far more now than they used to be, with the sticker prices of more well-optioned rigs easily topping $70,000. Even average, midlevel versions can go for nearly $50,000 when you start adding options.

The folks at Ram, however, think a good pickup doesn't have to be so expensive — and to prove it, they built the 2014 Ram 1500 Tradesman/Express. Take a Tradesman body type work truck, add a few appearance items, give it a Hemi V-8 engine and — voila: an attractive, two-door, sporty pickup that just happens to be the least-expensive V-8-powered truck in America. What do you get for the money you do spend? Not much, it turns out — not even some of the basics that people have come to expect in modern vehicles, though that hasn't stopped the Express trim from being massively popular with Ram customers. Compare the 2013 and 2014 Ram 1500s here.

Styling
The Dodge Ram light-duty truck got an update for the 2013 model year, making it one of the most attractive pickups on the market. The Express is the base version of the truck, so there isn't much flash. Instead, Ram has made a few cost-careful cosmetic choices to emphasize sportiness. The Express is limited to a few body styles: only regular or quad cab with the 6-f...

In the age of expensive pickup trucks, you can still get a great deal for under $30,000 — but in the case of the 2014 Ram 1500 Express, the content you'll have to sacrifice to get there may be too much.

Pickup trucks are expensive, far more now than they used to be, with the sticker prices of more well-optioned rigs easily topping $70,000. Even average, midlevel versions can go for nearly $50,000 when you start adding options.

The folks at Ram, however, think a good pickup doesn't have to be so expensive — and to prove it, they built the 2014 Ram 1500 Tradesman/Express. Take a Tradesman body type work truck, add a few appearance items, give it a Hemi V-8 engine and — voila: an attractive, two-door, sporty pickup that just happens to be the least-expensive V-8-powered truck in America. What do you get for the money you do spend? Not much, it turns out — not even some of the basics that people have come to expect in modern vehicles, though that hasn't stopped the Express trim from being massively popular with Ram customers. Compare the 2013 and 2014 Ram 1500s here.

Styling
The Dodge Ram light-duty truck got an update for the 2013 model year, making it one of the most attractive pickups on the market. The Express is the base version of the truck, so there isn't much flash. Instead, Ram has made a few cost-careful cosmetic choices to emphasize sportiness. The Express is limited to a few body styles: only regular or quad cab with the 6-foot-4-inch bed, or crew cab with the shorter 5-foot-7-inch bed. The least expensive version is the one I drove: a standard cab with the regular bed, in 4x2 configuration. Despite its being cheap, it looks complete — body-colored bumpers front and back, blacked-out trim, fog lamps and big 20-inch painted wheels don't make it look like a stripped-down model. There's very little chrome for a pickup, but it has a custom sport-truck look to it that's fantastic. Unfortunately, the Express is also built to a price, so things like a spray-in bedliner and a trailer hitch receiver for towing are extra-cost options.

How It Drives
The best part about the Express is what comes under the hood — a 395-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It also pumps out 410 lb-ft of torque, good enough to lay down some massive stripes if smoky burnouts are your thing. Around town, it means instant acceleration and maximum bass through the truck's exhaust. A recent back-to-back drive with the much more expensive Ford F-150 Tremor and its twin-turbo V-6 engine gave the crown of best-sounding truck to the Ram, hands-down, thanks to that traditional V-8 rumble.

The six-speed automatic shifts with authority but feels clunky and outdated — the optional eight-speed would've been smoother, more fuel efficient and would have made the 1500 Express quicker off the line, as well. My test truck came with a 3.92:1 rear axle and a limited-slip differential. The former made acceleration a bit quicker than it might have been, the latter helped put the Hemi's power down in slippery conditions. Not that the 1500 feels slow by any means; all that power in the smallest, lightest pickup in the Ram stable means the truck flies when you ask it to. It also helps the brakes haul the truck to a stop with considerable force.

Handling is typical for a truck, meaning it's not going to win any autocross events, but the thick steering wheel is grippy and confidence-inspiring. What stands out much more is how well the 1500 rides — choppier than your average family sedan, of course, but much more relaxed and controlled than most pickups over broken pavement. There's no bouncing around in here and no unusual chassis movements, just a steady, comfortable ride for three people. It's quiet, too, keeping the Ram's occupants very well insulated against wind and road noise. 

Being a pickup, the 1500 Express tows and hauls easily, especially with the big, torquey V-8. The truck is rated to tow 9,250 pounds thanks to the 3.92 gear, which is more than enough to haul a boat, a pair of Jet Skis, a camper trailer, even an automobile. Fuel economy is fair for a two-wheel-drive, V-8 pickup, rated 14/20/16 mpg city/highway/combined. My week with the truck averaged a spot-on 16 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving.


Interior
Haul yourself up into the cab (there are no side steps) and you'll plant yourself on a big bench seat — three across, with the center position featuring a fold-down seatback that becomes an armrest, cupholder and storage bin. The driver and passenger seats are plenty comfortable, but I wouldn't want to test that center seat: Along with a lack of legroom, one has to contend with a thick backrest that just doesn't look like it would be comfortable for anything more than the quickest jaunt down the street.

At an as-tested price of $28,380 including destination, this is an inexpensive truck — and it's easy to see where the cost came out. There's almost nothing in the interior besides the aforementioned bench seat, which can be optionally clad in cloth rather than vinyl.

Stepping inside this truck is like stepping back in time to how trucks used to be: crank windows, manual door locks, manual seats, fixed rear window glass, manual climate control, a column shifter, manual side mirrors and very little in the way of creature comforts. My truck did feature satellite radio as part of a popular equipment group, but the only things “automatic” on the truck are the headlights and the transmission. It will take only a few times having to stretch all the way across the cabin to unlock the passenger door for a friend, or wishing you could reach that door while driving to roll down the window on a hot day, to make you realize that for just $735 more, the Power and Remote Entry Group with power mirrors, locks, windows and a remote key fob would make living with the Express massively easier.

Despite the lack of equipment, the cab is very well-done. The latest Ram pickup interiors are the best in Chrysler history, by far. Even in this stripped-down, entry-level model, material and assembly quality is noticeably good. About the only thing to complain about is the drabness of it all in diesel gray, but with the money you've saved getting the Express over a more expensive truck, you can easily spring for some aftermarket leather seat coverings in matching body-colored red to spice things up.


Ergonomics & Electronics
There isn't much to talk about in the Express in terms of electronics. There's a standard trip computer in the gauge cluster, which itself is clear and easy to read, but there isn't even a CD player in there. There is, however, a media hub containing an aux jack, USB port and 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in the fold-down console. In my tester, satellite radio was present thanks to an option package, but there was no Chrysler Uconnect, the company's excellent multimedia system, at this price. Again, it feels like a throwback to a simpler time, but it does offer an interesting palette for customization.

Cargo
It's a pickup, so cargo is ostensibly the name of the game, and there's a full-size 6-foot-4-inch bed behind the cabin that can accommodate anything you might need for towing. Payload is rated at 1,620 pounds, but without an optional spray-in bedliner, practically whatever you put in the cargo box is going to scratch up the paint. The RamBox fender storage system is optional. Storage inside the truck is limited to some space behind the seats, but with two larger cab sizes available (Quad Cab and Crew Cab), the option to have a more capacious cabin is there.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Ram 1500 good in every test except the roof-crush strength, where it was rated marginal.

There's not much in the way of extra safety equipment in the 1500 Express, but the basics are here, like front- and side-impact airbags and stability control. The 2014 Ram 1500 has been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from which it got a mixture of four and five stars throughout the various tests. See the results of the crash tests here and a list of the 1500's safety equipment here.


Value in Its Class
The Ram 1500 Express justifies its existence right here, in the value category. As equipped, my truck cost $28,380 including a rather hefty $1,195 destination charge (a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG luxury sedan has a destination charge of $925 and it was shipped here from Germany on a boat, not put on a train from a factory in suburban Detroit). Ram has adjusted prices over the course of this past year, however, with my example now costing $28,630 as-tested rather than the $28,380 seen on its window sticker when I had it.

That's a pretty good price for a V-8 truck with all the basics you need to get by, but as stated earlier, checking the box for the Power and Remote Entry package still brings you in under $30,000 and makes the Express a much more pleasant truck to live with on a daily basis. Adding the eight-speed automatic would also be a good decision, but strangely it also eliminates your ability to opt for a cloth seat instead of the standard vinyl. Choose your own options on one here.

The Ford F-150 has an STX trim level that does much of what the 1500 Express does: provide an entry-level, relatively inexpensive sporty truck for younger buyers with limited means. It's more expensive than the 1500 Express and does not include a standard V-8 engine, but it does have more standard equipment, like power windows and locks. Optioning one up to match some of the features of the 1500 Express (V-8 engine, 20-inch alloy wheels, fog lights) does push it well above $32,000, however, giving the value advantage to the Ram.

Over at Chevrolet, there really is no equivalent entry-level sport truck — it's all about work at this low price. A regular-cab Chevrolet Silverado 4x2 with the 2WT package is roughly equivalent, but like the Ford it does not include a V-8 engine or 20-inch wheels. It does have a more advanced electronics suite, however, with Chevrolet MyLink and satellite radio standard, along with more power equipment than the Ram offers. Neither the Ford nor the Chevy can match the 
best-in-class Ram's 5.7-liter V-8's power and torque, however. Compare all three here.


So yes, you can get a cool truck for under $30,000 these days. But pay a little extra for the convenience touches, and your cool truck will become much more enjoyable.

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2014 1500 Video

PickupTruck.com editor Mark Williams is in Arizona at the Firebird International Raceway for PickupTruck.com's Annual Physical pickup comparison.

Latest 2014 1500 Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(1.0)

Biggest piece I've ever owned

by Billings from Ormond on July 6, 2018

This truck breaks down non Stop maintenance on this truck is extremely expensive dealer fees are through the roof the prices they charge on their parts are through the roof I would never buy this ... Read full review

(5.0)

RAM ECO Diesel

by REB from Sacramento, Ca on July 4, 2018

Love this Truck. It?s the top level 4X4 with the ECO Diesel and does everything advertised. Mainly commute to work with it and it still get 23 around town. Tows a 7000 pound travel trailer with ease ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2014 RAM 1500 currently has 12 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2014 RAM 1500 Tradesman/Express

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by RAM

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, Carfax vehicle history report, rental car and 24-hour towing, and first day rental

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7 years/100,000 mile warranty on all certified vehicles
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 125 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 1500 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker