2022 Ram 1500 Review Update

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Feb 10, 2022

Introduction - Find the best Ram deals!

According to the people who own them, the Ram 1500 is one of America's highest-quality and most appealing large light-duty pickup trucks.

In the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS), the Ram brand ranks highest in overall initial quality (including Lexus!). Within its competitive market segment—Large Light-Duty Pickups—the Ram 1500 ranks second in initial quality, behind the Toyota Tundra. Furthermore, in the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL), the Ram 1500 ranks highest in its class for overall appeal.

A program of regular improvement since the Ram was last redesigned for the 2019 model year undoubtedly contributes to these high rankings. For example, multiple special-edition models have come and gone over the past few years, and Ram introduced the high-performance Ram 1500 TRX off-road model for the 2021 model year. But the list of updates is longer than that.

Other changes to the big Ram 1500 truck since the 2019 redesign include:

  • Multi-function tailgate option that drops down and swings open to each side (2019 late arrival)
  • Return of the EcoDiesel engine option (2020)
  • Available Snow Plow Prep package (2021)
  • Optional head-up display (2021)
  • Optional digital rearview camera mirror (2021)
  • Trailer Tow Group adds Trailer Reverse Steering Control system, Trailer Light Check, and Trailer Tire Pressure Monitoring (2021)
  • Off-Road Group adds Off-Road Pages display (2021)
  • Advanced Safety Group adds pedestrian detection (2021)
  • New Uconnect 5 infotainment system debuts (2022)
  • Ram Clean Air System is standard, filtering 95 percent of particulates from cabin air (2022)
  • Trailer Tow Group adds Trailer Hitch Light (2022)

For the 2022 model year, the Ram 1500 continues in extended cab (Quad Cab) and crew cab styles equipped with Tradesman, Big Horn (Lone Star in Texas), Laramie, Rebel, Limited Longhorn, Limited, and TRX trim. Special editions for 2022 include the BackCountry, Laramie G/T, Rebel G/T, Longhorn Southfork, and Limited 10th Anniversary Edition.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie with a 5.7-liter V8 engine and eTorque mild-hybrid technology. Last year, we examined the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. This review focuses on the Ram 1500 Limited with a turbocharged diesel V6 engine and other updates since 2019 and how they potentially impact this truck's overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Ram 1500 - Find the best Ram deals!

2022 Ram 1500 Limited Dark Blue Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The Ram 1500 competes in the Large Light-Duty Pickup market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the 2021 APEAL Study, 89 percent of new Ram 1500 buyers are male (vs. 90 percent for the segment), and the median age of a new Ram 1500 buyer is 56 years, the same as for the segment.

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Ram 1500 in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Powertrain
  • Interior design
  • Driving comfort
  • Getting in and out (in a tie)
  • Feeling of safety (in a tie)
  • Setting up and starting
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Ram 1500 ranks highest out of six Large Light-Duty Pickup models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Ram 1500 - Find the best Ram deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a Ram 1500 Limited Crew Cab equipped with the following options:

  • 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine
  • Four-wheel drive (4WD)
  • Electronic-locking rear axle
  • 3.92 rear axle ratio
  • Extra-cost paint
  • Limited Level 1 Equipment Group
  • Limited 10th Anniversary Edition package
  • Technology Group
  • Trailer-Tow Group
  • Chrome Power-Fold Trailer Tow Mirrors
  • Tri-fold Tonneau Cover

The price of the test vehicle came to $77,260, including the $1,795 destination charge.

The EcoDiesel Option Solves the Fuel Economy Issue

2022 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Badge

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

By far, Ram owners are least happy with this truck's fuel economy. The solution to this problem is the EcoDiesel engine option, a pricey upgrade that nevertheless delivers satisfying power and impressive real-world fuel economy.

Depending on the trim level and configuration, this engine upgrade can cost nearly $5,000. It was a $3,200 option on the Limited Crew Cab test vehicle. Either way, it is more expensive than the Duramax 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder General Motors offers in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, which can run as little as $870 depending on the model (Silverado LTZ). The Duramax is standard in the GMC Sierra AT4.

The Ram's turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 engine generates 260 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 480 pound-feet of torque starting at 1,600 rpm. It pairs with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the EPA says it should get between 24 mpg and 26 mpg in combined driving, depending on the truck. For comparison, the Ram 1500's gasoline V8 engine can't do any better than 20 mpg (17 mpg without eTorque), while the gas V6 tops out at 22 mpg (23 mpg for the Tradesman HFE).

The EcoDiesel averaged 24.8 mpg while running the drivetrain in automatic 4WD on the evaluation loop. However, remember that it had the optional tri-fold tonneau cover, which improves aerodynamics. In any case, that's an impressive figure. Whether it is impressive enough to spend the extra money up front for the EcoDiesel option is another matter.

A Ram 1500 EcoDiesel can tow up to 12,560 pounds when properly configured. In the Limited Crew Cab 4WD, the maximum tow capacity was 9,600 pounds, and the test truck could tackle 1,780 pounds of payload. For 2021, Ram added Trailer Reverse Steering Control, which allows the driver to twist a dashboard knob in the direction the trailer should travel while the truck autonomously steers to execute the maneuver correctly.

Limited Trim is Downright Luxurious

Luxury trucks are officially a thing, and we're not talking about Cadillac Escalade EXTs or Lincoln Blackwoods and Mark LTs here. The top trim levels of any large light-duty pickup pack in plenty of upscale design, high-end materials, and top-shelf technology.

The 2022 Ram 1500 Limited equipped with the Limited 10th Anniversary Edition package is one of the best I've sampled. Building on a fundamentally appealing truck cab, Ram layers on the premium perforated and quilted leather, a simulated suede headliner, a jeweled transmission shift knob, metal pedal covers, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system. The front and rear seats are heated and ventilated, too. All that's missing is a front-seat massage function.

Not only is the Ram Limited's cabin sumptuously outfitted, but it's also quite comfortable with wide and deep seats, excellent overall support, and plenty of head room and legroom. The rear seat is particularly accommodating, and the Ram crew cab offers lots of storage space, including useful Ram Bins underneath the rear floor mats.

Sophisticated Uconnect 5 Infotainment System Impresses

2022 Ram 1500 Limited Interior Dashboard

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

For 2022, all Ram 1500 models except the Tradesman come with a new Uconnect 5 infotainment system. Ram says it boasts far more processing power, is quick to respond to inputs, features natural-voice recognition, and offers enhancements such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In most Ram 1500s, Uconnect 5 uses an 8.4-inch touchscreen display. The test truck came with a 12-inch touchscreen mounted portrait-style on the middle of the dashboard. It works as Ram advertises, though it did stumble a bit or return unexpected results for a couple of standard evaluation commands and queries.

Furthermore, due to the Ram 1500 Limited's extensive equipment list, Uconnect 5 provides access to a wide range of features and settings. It is worth your time to open the manual and go through each of the menus and settings to set the truck up the way you want it.

For example, the test vehicle had power-deploying running boards, but they were not operational when we took delivery of the vehicle. It took us a while to figure out how to turn them on. The setting is located within the system, under the Settings category, within the Safety & Driver Assistance sub-menu. Ram also offers a quicker route to single-instance activation or deactivation of the running boards to address specific situations.

Assessing Other Changes to the Ram 1500

Since its last redesign, the Ram 1500 has seen other changes. Halfway through its first year on the market, a multi-function tailgate arrived. It offered a traditional opening to provide a flat surface or a 60/40 split opening that swings each tailgate portion to the sides on hinges. The design extends the truck bed to carry longer items while making it possible to stand closer to the bed floor for easier loading and unloading. Swing the sides open, deploy the handy step from under the rear bumper, and it's easy enough to get up and into the bed to tie down loads.

In 2021, Ram introduced an optional head-up display, which projects data onto the windshield within the driver's line of sight. That same year, a digital rearview mirror became available, using a camera to provide an unobstructed, 180-degree view of what's happening behind the Ram 1500. This rear camera mirror technology lets the driver see what's happening behind the truck even when the bed is fully loaded.

In addition to Trailer Reverse Steering Control, the 2021 Ram 1500 added ways for the driver to check the operation of trailer lights and trailer tire pressures. For 2022, a new Trailer Hitch Light makes it easier to hook up and check connections after dark.

Lastly, a Ram Clean Air System also debuts for 2022. It is standard on every Ram 1500, and the company claims that it can filter 95 percent of particulates from the air entering and circulating within the truck's cab.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Ram deals!

2022 Ram 1500 Limited Dark Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Truck buyers are a loyal bunch. Often, they'll buy the same brand of pickup truck that a parent or a grandparent drove without considering the alternatives. That makes it hard for any brand to add market share.

Ram, collectively, has proven to be an exception to the rule. Its pickups ranked second in sales in 2021, ahead of the Chevrolet Silverado. There is nuance and context to understand about this situation, ranging from the continued impact of the microchip shortage on the ability of General Motors to build its trucks to Ram's continued production of the previous-generation Ram 1500 as the low-priced "Classic."

However, as Ram owners have told J.D. Power, and as you can discover for yourself with just a little bit of quality time behind the 2022 Ram 1500's steering wheel, the swap in standing on the sales charts is justified.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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