Back in the
early 1990's Dodge made it's first effort to join Ford and GM in the booming
full-size pickup truck marketplace. Ford was selling over 600,000 F-Series
a year and GM was second with the Silverado/Sierra twins combining for
over 450,000 in sales. The Dodge Ram was a distant third with only 75,000
to 80,000 units selling each year.
a larger share of this rich market and decided to put more time and money
into engineering and designing
a new generation of full-size pickup trucks that would change the
face of the marketplace.
The new generation
Dodge Ram 1500 came with bold new looks, best-in-class roominess, comfort
and safety. You had a choice of the 5.2-liter V8 making about 220hp, a
5.9-liter V8 making 245hp and the behemoth 8.0-liter V10 from the Dodge
Viper but detuned to 300hp with 440-lb.ft. of torque.
By the late
1990's sales increased significantly to over 300,000 units but still Dodge
lagged far behind.
In 2002 Dodge
introduced its second generation Ram 1500 with even bolder 'big-rig' styling,
more interior room with 4-real doors, a refined independent front suspension
on 2WD models for a smoother ride plus the first rack & pinion steering
system for sharper handling. The 5.2-liter was now replaced with the 4.7-liter
V8 making 235hp. These engines were 'old school' and couldn't keep up
with the power generated by Ford's 5.4-liter Triton V8 at 265hp, and GM's
6.0-liter Vortec V8 making 300hp, offered on their light-duty pickups.
In 2003 the
new Dodge Ram Heavy Duty puts an end to the this deficiency by reaching
back into its muscle car heyday of the 1970's and re-engineering the Hemi-head
V8 engine and offering it in their new lineup of heavy duty pickup trucks.
Hemi V8 engine is a technological marvel with the free breathing hemispherical
combustion chamber cylinder head design, two spark plugs per cylinder
and aluminum head. It displaces 5.7-liters and includes a long list of
features such as overhead camshafts, electronic fuel injection and the
latest in engine management software. The Hemi V8 now pumps out 345hp
at 5,400rpm with 375-lb.ft. of torque at 4,200rpm - that's more horsepower
than any gasoline powered V8 from Ford or General Motors. The Hemi is
topped only by Ford's 6.8-liter V10 and GM's 8.1-liter V8 in available
torque but the Hemi weighs considerably less and gets better fuel mileage.
If you need more torque you can order the Ram heavy duty with the new
5.9-liter Cummins common-rail inline 6-cylinder, turbo-diesel with 250hp/460lb.ft.
of torque or the high-output version with 305hp/555lb.ft. of torque.
finally closed the circle begun in the early 1990's and can now boost
best in class styling, horsepower/torque, handling, ride quality, brakes,
17in. tires/wheels, interior comfort and safety, along with a 7-year/70,000mi.
the 345hp hemi V8 engine to make its appearance in the light-duty Ram
1500 in next model year.