The 2014 Ram 1500 is our top pick in the full-size pickup segment, thanks to a winning combination of strong powertrains, a smooth ride and a well-trimmed cabin.
After a significant round of improvements last year, the Ram 1500 pickup gets even better for 2014. Headlining the handful of updates this year is a new turbodiesel V6 engine. This is the only diesel engine offered in a light-duty full-size truck, and it promises impressive fuel mileage and towing capability.
One of the best things about driving the new diesel-powered 2014 Ram 1500 is that you'll barely notice any difference compared with the gasoline-powered versions in normal driving. The cabin remains peaceful, and typical of diesels, there's plenty of thrust for merging and passing, and it's accessible from low rpm.
Of course, some consumers prefer the power characteristics of a traditional gasoline V8, so Ram will also continue to offer its 5.7-liter V8 engine as an optional upgrade over the base gasoline V6 engine. The torque ratings are very similar between the diesel engine and the gas V8, but the V8 has slightly higher towing capacities (depending on the cab/bed configuration you choose), and it's actually a less expensive upgrade than the diesel. However, given that Ram expects the diesel V6 to top the base gasoline six-cylinder's EPA fuel economy ratings, the extra up-front cost for the diesel is likely to pay for itself within a couple years.
The new engine option enhances what was already a class-leading truck. The Ram 1500 has the nicest interior of any full-size pickup. Its upgraded touchscreen interface is impressively easy to use and offers substantial technology capabilities. We're also fond of the Ram as it offers a composed and smooth ride whether you're driving it on- or off-road. That's largely due to the fact that the Ram is the only truck in this class with a coil-spring rear suspension plus an optional air suspension that you can use to adjust the truck's ride height.
Of course, Ram is not the only company offering a comfortable and capable full-size truck. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and its more upscale twin, the GMC Sierra, offer strong gas V6 and V8 engine options, as well as comparable cabin amenities, including a slick touchscreen and voice control interface. The 2014 Toyota Tundra has received a significant interior overhaul this year and boasts a strong V8 engine of its own. Also, no search for a full-size truck would be complete without taking a look at the Ford F-150, which remains one the best all-around options in this class. In our view, though, the 2014 Ram 1500 noses out the competition in most areas -- whether you're talking ride comfort or fuel efficiency -- and remains our top pick for a light-duty full-size pickup.