Ram 1500 lands Consumer Reports' top spot
'Recommended' rating could help counter Chrysler's recall concerns.
After a series of recalls that have called into question Chrysler's efforts to rebuild the company's reputation for quality and reliability, the automaker has finally gotten a much-needed endorsement.
Following a month in which more than 2 million different Chrysler products were recalled, the maker's new full-size truck, the Ram 1500, was named No. 1 in Consumer Reports magazine's latest pickup round-up, and given a coveted "Recommended" rating.
"The Ram 1500 is surprisingly luxurious and refined — but still fully capable of doing hard work when needed," said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. Continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice," he said.
The news couldn't have come at a better time for Chrysler which last month reluctantly agreed to recall 1.2 million Jeeps that federal safety regulators alleged could catch fire in rear-end collisions. That was followed by a collection of five additional recalls impacting about 840,000 sedans, coupes, crossovers, SUVs and minivans.
The recalls have raised doubts about the overall effectiveness of Sergio Marchionne's efforts to alter consumer perceptions of Chrysler quality, which has long been one of the company's biggest liabilities, according to outside analysts and third-party ratings.
But at least one Chrysler product now has the Consumer Reports imprimatur, an endorsement that typically carries significant weight with American automotive buyers.
The full-size pickup segment has long been dominated by Ford and Chevrolet but Ram — which was spun off from the Dodge division several years ago — has made a determined charge since parent Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. It has had more than three consecutive years of sales gains and has readily outpaced the overall U.S. automotive market recovery, picking up share at the expense of Chevrolet — as well as Toyota and Nissan, the only foreign competitors in the segment.
One of every 10 vehicles sold in the U.S. are pickup trucks, and a surge in truck sales this year have helped all three of the Detroit makers boost their sales. That's particularly good news for the domestic industry's bottom line as full-size pickups have traditionally been among the industry's highest-profit products.
The new Ram 1500 got off to a good start in January when it was also named North American Truck of the Year by a panel of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists.
The completely redesigned pickup got a lighter and stiffer frame, a revised interior with a new infotainment system, and updated powertrains. Consumer Reports tested a four-wheel-drive Ram 1500 Crew Cab, with the most popular engine option, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 paired with a new and more efficient eight-speed automatic transmission. The combination delivers seamless power and still returns a class-leading 15 mpg overall in CR's own fuel economy tests, Consumer Reports noted.
Consumer Reports is still evaluating the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks and won't announce its findings until later this summer. "First impressions are that the Silverado is a well-rounded and refined truck that will strongly challenge the Ram in our Ratings," the magazine noted.
Ford's F-150, meanwhile, will be redesigned for 2015.
While the Chevrolet Avalanche currently outscores the Ram by two points, Avalanche production ends with the 2013 model year.
Prior versions of the Ram have met minimum reliability levels, something required to earn a Consumer Reports "Recommended" rating for the freshened Ram. The vehicle was required to perform well in CR's battery of tests, have average or better reliability in CR's Annual Auto Survey and perform well in government and industry crash tests, the magazine said.
The magazine also reported that the Ram delivers one of the best rides of any pickup, thanks to its unique coil spring rear suspension. It has a super-quiet, super-roomy crew cab, and the optional UConnect infotainment touch screen is one of the best in the business.
On the downside, the step up to the cabin is very high, and — unlike some other pickups — the Ram's tailgate isn't damped or sprung, so it's heavier than that found on competitors.
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Funny how the media makes the recalls Sergio Marchionnes fault, especially when most of that junk was made by Damnliar (Daimler) and corporate greed mongers Cerebus who got away with almost killing Chrysler. (Thank you Obamonation)
Chrysler has come farther in 4 years with FIAT/Marchionnes than anyone since Iaocca, has the best products and quality that surpases GM, Toyota, who I might ad has more product, but also far more recalls on (Google it).
I bought a RAM 1500 a few months ago. Had one of the first 8 speed transmissions.
Love the vehicle and I have owned all the makers.
This is the best truck I ever had. I like better than the loaded Suburban I traded in for it.
The millage average I get is 19mpg. Really, 5.7 L engine with 3:55 rear gears 4x4 crew cab with cover. That is combined millage. I do not suggest to idle this vehicle because it eats gas idling. I'm a 5 over the speed limit driver. I don't know how these people drive, but they need to learn how to drive better. You drive down the highway at 70mph and you are running at 1600 rpm's. I would like to see from dodge what gear you are on. The paddle **** on the steering wheel is nice, but like to know what gear I'm in.
The controls on the steering wheel are perfect. The channel change and the volume and mute controls are on the back of the steering wheel. So you don't have to move your hands from the wheel to control these functions.
I tow a 32ft trailer and I average 13mpg in the wind. I cannot believe that. Just starting. I drive at the speed limit when towing. 6800lbs. trailer with 650lbs. hitch.
The best trailer tow package I have ever experienced. The built-in controller is the best I have used. I have used the so-called best controllers and this unit kills them.
I do not like leather. But these seats are cloth and heated with heated steering wheel, nice seats and wheel. Features you can set-up with important information on the heads-up display. I have an 8 inch screen with all the bells and whistles. Real easy to use.
The only complaint I have is the temperature setting control (there is none) and less than HD (high definition) on the rear view camera and screen. For those people who have a boat, trailer or RV, the camera is the best. My wife cannot give directions to the back of her head. So this camera alleviates that stressful verbal exchange. The tires from Goodyear standard on this truck suck. I would suggest from the start to make sure the dealer puts on a real set of tires.
Why? But my new Harley has the same crap tires too. It must be a trend in new vehicles when the factory puts on crappy tires from the start. That is just being cheap and greedy! From both Dodge and Goodyear. I will not purchase Goodyear tires at their over inflated price. I find Coopers that I traded for 90% better.
The crew cab is big. The quad is very small. You decide what works best. We have the crew and our friends love the big area.
So far I would highly recommend this vehicle. I checked the other trucks Ford and Chevy. They need to re-design their vehicles. The Chevy and the engine and transmission package provides terrible millage. The Ford hit their interior with and ugly stick. People at Ford should get fired for that interior.
There is no cheap plastic in this Dodge. Although it takes more to clean, because its more of a resign plastic and much stronger and pliable.
It also looks killer when you add on the accessories. I suggest the chrome bug guard. It looks really hot with the factory front grill. Other cars get out of the way faster!
I should stop. Sorry for the length.
My RAM is a bright yellow, gets great compliments, gets an avg mph of 17, is a 4x4, 4Door, 5.7 eng. with an auto trans, most of the bells-n-whistles its a two thousand and eight - and its great!
Pulled a 7k box trailer overloaded by 3 hundred lbs from AZ to IL got about 13 mph avg.
Dodge fanboys quite frankly can't see the forest for the trees. To each his own. People will buy and drive what appeals to them and do what they need it to do.....period. Dodge, Ford, Chevy, etc...not much difference in terms of quality. They ALL have good points and bad. This is a fact.