2012 Ram 1500 Tradesman 4X4 (928)

This week we’re looking at the 2012 Ram 1500 Tradesman 4X4 pickup truck with a standard cab and side built in locking tool boxes or just for general storage. It is deceptive in size. This is a lot of truck even with the shorter bed it only looks small. The Standard cab however is far from standard in today’s world. Most pickup trucks are crew or at the very least extended cabs with half rear doors. Not that a ‘front seat’ only is not serviceable, it depends on the use it is needed for. So it has limited seating if you need more than two or three and four would really be cramped. But it does have convenient storage behind the seat and the locking side tool box / storage area is very usable. The only drawback is that it reduces the width of useable space in the bed.

I still have a hard time separating Dodge from Ram when I think of trucks. As you may know, the affiliation with Fiat influenced the company to spin off the truck division from Dodge and make it a separate company and thus a subsidiary of Chrysler in 2009. That way Dodge would be able to concentrate on cars only.

General Information:

Parts content – US/ Canadian 70%, Mexico 18%; Engine – Mexico & Transmission – U.S. It is assembled in Saltillo, Mexico; Classification is Standard Pickups. Cars from Ram Trucks: 1500, 2500, 3500, Ram chassis cab, Ram C/V, Ram Commercial.


Gas prices warrant repeating – the good news is that gas prices are falling but the bad news is that it is a manufactured drop because of the election only 4 months away at this writing. Obama has made it abundantly clear that gas prices should go up to the price of gas in Europe which is $8-10 per gallon. He wants to encourage “we the people” to move away from cars like this Ram pickup truck and into high mileage little putt-putt’s, while government doesn’t have to be on the same diet and has all the big gas guzzlers. Oh, by the way, the government will tell us which vehicles are acceptable for us to drive. Will they all be one color so we can all look like all other good commies? Where is Joe McCarthy when you need him.

Headlines on Politico: “Chu: DOE working to wean U.S. off oil”. Steven Chu was scolded by congressmen for his 2008 comment that “…gas prices in the U.S. should be as high as in Europe”. That folks is where Obama will go if he is re-elected. Think about that when you spend $100 plus for your next trip to the pump. Then, brace yourself, when the gas price increases to where Obama wants it, a fill up will go to $200 plus. Don’t believe it? Guess again.

To most of freedom loving capitalists we’re not buying what Obama has to sell because it is all ‘anti-American’. I sense folks are finally catching on to the lies of government. Time for real change? I think so.

Handling & Performance:

HEMI power is great but it will cost you in lower fuel economy. But it handles surprisingly NOT like a truck. The ride is smooth and quiet and road hugging that you don’t expect from a truck.

It is a little light on its feet without a load which is pretty much expected for a truck.


RAM tough is the intended look, with the same badge of a Ram head like you see on National Geographic documentaries where the Ram’s are butting heads over mating rights. It reminds me that this Ram is also butting heads with other truck competitors. It’s hard to tell who the winner is. Either way its gotta give you a headache.

Chevy, GMC, Ford and all the Japanese products have their followings of devoted truck buyers but none as passionate as Dodge and now Ram truck buyers.

Ram just looks like a “Man’s” truck. No more hormones needed here. And I suspect they don’t sell many in San Francisco.

Fit and Finish:

After all is said and done, much is said and little is done, generally, but it would appear that Ram has got ‘er done, in style I might add. It is built in Saltillo, Mexico, and many vehicle manufacturers are finding the quality of work there to be very good. The gaps on a truck are necessary to be wider than passenger cars as there is more give, especially with a heavy load…  but they do a good job hiding the wider gaps.

As an example of the growing acceptance of Mexico for the assembly of cars, Daimler Benz’ division that builds 18 wheel Freightliner trucks is also Ram’s choice to use the Mexican workforce there in Saltillo, Mexico for the assembly of this Ram.


Well, cost is relative to the competition which are all closely aligned.

Conveniences and comfort:

Well I gotta tell ya, I haven’t seen a window CRANK in years. But there it was right where you’d expect it to be on the door panel. It worked but I had to ask WHY? Really! Why? How much could it save in the whole scheme of things to eliminate power windows? And worse yet, why on a “Tradesman”, presumably a work truck. My experience with a company I’m affiliated with buys lots of trucks / service vehicles and power windows are considered necessary. On a job site it is not convenient to have to manually roll down the passenger window to talk with a co-worker for example. You can’t simply lean over and roll the window down.

The locking side storage compartments are very nice and there is a bed adjustable device to make separate compartments as needed.

Consumer Recommendation:

My favorite truck ever was a 1955 Ford ½ ton pickup. But I was young and lacked experience so I discount the emotions of being a new driver. However, in living on a ranch Dodge was the truck of choice. They just seem to hold up better for hauling tons of Hay for example. You will have to determine what the intended use will be for you and if it is for city stuff that doesn’t require 4X4 off road driving with a heavy load, fuel economy should mean more in the decision making process.

Recognized Competition:

Ram 1500 Tradesman $26,000, Chevrolet Avalanche $40,000, Ford F-150 $28,000, Toyota $44,000, Honda Ridgeline $29,000, GMC Sierra 1500 $26,000, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $26,000, Nissan Titan $31,000, Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid $40,000.

Good News:

Great “Man Land” styling, HEMI power, smooth ride with great road hugging handling.

Bad News:

Only fair fuel economy. There was an annoying squeak on mountain road driving.

Standard Equipment:

5.7 liter 383 Horsepower V8 HEMI engine, 6-speed automatic trans, Trailer tow with 7-pin wiring harness, 25 gallon fuel tank, front & side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, electric shift-on-demand 4-wheel drive, Sentry Key theft deterrent system, tire pressure monitor, variable intermittent wipers, locking tailgate, manual door locks and windows. Air conditioning, media center with CD/MP3 and 6 speakers. Audio input for mobile devices, tilt steering column, 12 volt aux power outlet, behind the seat storage.

Gas Stats:

$3.69/ Gal avg. June 22, 2012


For more information.

13 City and Highway 19 MPG


MSRP $25,835 with options $32,545.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair


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