Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2002   by CARS Magazine

SSGM Road Test: 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab

There's no question about it: the new full-size Dodge Ram is big. In pickups though, bigger can definitely be better, and these days, bigger often means bigger cabs as well as more power and towing ca...


There’s no question about it: the new full-size Dodge Ram is big. In pickups though, bigger can definitely be better, and these days, bigger often means bigger cabs as well as more power and towing capacity. What we used to call “crew cabs” are all the rage today, with pickups becoming the family car as well as work hauler for many. SSGM tested a “loaded” 2002 Dodge Ram Quad Cab 1500 4X4, which carried a base price of $30,365, and $40,020 as-tested.

The four-door cab uses conventionally-hinged doors and a “B-pillar” instead of the demi-doors from the previous model, offering better access to the large rear sea t area. The Ram offers a large array of storage options, with cubbyholes and bins everywhere. The rear seat arrangement is especially clever, creating a flat load floor with the seats flipped up, ideal for dirty items (or golf clubs). The driver and front passengers are ensconced in a roomy environment with clever storage options that including two bins in the centre console, one with a power port for a laptop or cell phone. Power assists are everywhere, and include power adjustable pedals, a feature that should be widely adopted by everyone. Combined with the power seat controls and tilt wheel, a comfortable seating position that’s a safe distance from the driver’s air bag should be possible for all but circus-proportioned occupants.

The Quad Cab is powered by D-C’s “Next Generation” 4.7L V-8, which replaces the venerable 5.2L “318”. Displacement is smaller, but power is up five horses over the old unit, producing 235 HP at 4800 RPM. Torque is 300 lb.-ft. at 4800 RPM.

The engine architecture is a 90-degree V-8 with a cast-iron block under alloy heads. 16 valves are actuated by chain-driven single overhead cams and hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers. Compression is 9.3 to 1, and emissions are controlled by three-way converters and the usual electronic spark, fuel and EGR management. The engine runs on Regular fuel. In the test vehicle, the powerplant spins an unusual multi-speed overdrive automatic with two separate “second” gear ratios. Under normal driving conditions, the unit uses a 1.50 ratio, but when driven hard or towing, kicks down to an alternate 1.67 gear allowing the engine to climb up higher into the power band. Third is direct, and fourth is a long 0.75 overdrive for efficient highway cruise. Manual or electrically-actuated transfer cases are available in 4X4 models, both offering locked low ranges. Axle ratios as short as 3.92 are available, which in the test “sport” model still offered a towing capacity of 6950 lbs. Payloads vary with the extensive number of options, powerplants and body styles. The test Quad Cab can carry 1450 pounds in its eight-foot box.

Driving the Quad Cab is comfortable both because of good noise isolation and the independent torsion bar front suspension of the 4X4 model. Brakes feature very large 13.2-inch diameter front discs and 13.8-inch diameter rears. The ABS is especially useful with this much brake under an empty eight-foot box. Clearing the huge discs are 20 X 9.0-inch alloy wheels wearing P275/60R20 Goodyears.

The combination is more agile that you might imagine, despite a 5300-pound curb weight and considerable length. A high seating position helps, as does a tight turning circle and excellent passing power with the optional automatic transmission. Fuel economy in real-world driving, including a Saturday appliance haul and lots of stop-and-go driving generated 18 MPG fuel consumption, very impressive for a four door full size 4X4. The powertrain is so good, in fact, that the optional 5.9L V-8 might be superfluous for all but the most die-hard pushrod fans. The Dodge Ram Quad Cab 1500 4X4 is big, comfortable, economical, and can pull or haul significant loads when needed. It might not fit in your garage, but it should fit your lifestyle.

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4X4

Capacities
Engine: 4.7L SOHC V-8
Oil Capacity: 5.7L
Oil Viscosity: 5W-30 (preferred), 10-30
Cooling System Capacity: 16L
Fuel Type: Regular Unleaded, 87 Octane (R + M/2)
Fuel Capacity 132 L

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