The RAM 1500 was first introduced in 1981, and suffice to say, it’s barely even the same truck anymore. For over 30 years, the design has been refined, fine tuned, and sometimes taken right back to the drawing board. This has resulted in a gradual evolution, as the RAM 1500 grew into a truck that rightly deserves to be counted among the best.
We here at Go Auto Don Mills Chrysler decided there is better to way to highlight the MotorTrends 2019 Truck of the Year, than to take a look back over its history.
1981-1993: First Generation
While the Ram hood ornament was used on Dodge vehicles as far back as the 1930’s, the first true RAM truck (and van) was introduced to the world in 1981. On the outside, the Dodge Ram D150 and W150 were refined versions of the Dodge D-Series pickups from 1972, but the interior was given a full overhaul including a new bench seat and redesigned dashboard. It originally came with three engine options, a 225 Slant-6, and a pair of V8’s. The Slant-6 would eventually be replaced with a 3.9L fuel-injected V6. In 1989, they also added the Cummins B Series engine, and sales started to really pick up.
1994-2002: Second Generation
With sales and demand increasing, the second generation RAM 150 started development in 1986… but it took until 1990 before the new truck was finally unveiled to the world, and until 1994 for it to begin full-scale production for release. The redesign of the truck was extreme, shifting the design away from the old Dodge D-Series and closer to something reminiscent of a big rig — a look which was radically different then the competition, and would be the foundational design of the line moving forward. The name also changed from the 150, to the 1500. It was a sales success, named “Truck of the Year” in 1994, and was the hero truck in the 1996 film “Twister”! The second generation Dodge Ram 1500 would stick around into the new millennium.
2002-2009: Third Generation
The third generation Dodge Ram 1500 was introduced in 2001. The overall look of the truck didn’t change so much, but the performance was given a total overhaul. A new frame, better powertrain, and improved suspension were the biggest improvements. In particular, the live axles of the 4WD 1500 were replaced with independent front suspension. The third generation of the 1500 also brought the Ram into the 21st century, adding Bluetooth connectivity, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and other high-tech improvements.
2009-2018: Fourth Generation
The current generation came only a few short years later, with with 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. Some of the major improvements to design came with the new four-door cab, the new 5.7L Hemi V8 engine, and the Rambox storage system. For over 20 years, Ram had distinguished itself above the rest of the Dodge line of trucks, so much so that in 2010 Dodge split RAM off into its own brand. For the first time, the RAM 1500 stood on the merit of its own name, rather than relying on the Dodge legacy.
Today: Fifth Generation
The last of the fourth generation RAM 1500’s are still available, including a new 2019 model called the RAM 1500 Classic. But with 2019 comes the introduction of the fifth generation 1500. With a new, more aerodynamic design, wraparound headlamps, and a stunning new grille featuring the RAM name, the new 1500 is a handsome pickup. In addition to further refinements to all aspects of performance, the 2019 RAM 1500 also features the latest in driver assist technologies, to help make your drive as worry free as possible. It’s no wonder MotorTrends named the 2019 RAM 1500 their “Truck of the Year.”