Large pickup truck; Built in USA, Mexico
  • crew cab long bed
  • crew cab short bed
  • reg. cab long bed
  • reg. cab short bed
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,700 – $17,000*

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 extended cab

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 interior

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab

2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Off-Road 4×4 Quad Cab

  • Instruments/controls
  • Available all-wheel drive (2004)
  • Trailer-towing capability
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride (w/20-inch wheels)

The previous Ram was a sound design, made popular by attention-grabbing “big-rig” styling. The current model is better in every way–performance, comfort, solidity–and merits attention from every full-size pickup shopper.


Dodge’s full-size pickup was redesigned for 2002, with fresh styling, two new engines, bigger cabs, and available curtain-type side airbags. Only the half-ton Ram 1500 models were affected. Heavier-duty 2500/3500 trucks were to switch over to the new design for 2003.

Ram’s two-door extended Club Cab was scuttled, leaving a regular cab and Quad Cab. The Quad Cab became a crew style, with four front-hinged doors. Prior Quad Cabs had rear-hinged back doors. Both cab styles came in three trim levels, with a 6.3- or 8-foot cargo bed.

Exterior dimensions changed little, but both body styles gained 3 inches in cab length from a corresponding reduction to the bed. All had a 40/20/40 split front bench seat. Quads got a three-passenger rear bench, available in 60/40 split form.

Available power-adjustable pedals and front/rear curtain side airbags were new. Dodge said both were “firsts” for full-size pickups.

A 3.9-liter V6 gave way to a new 3.7-liter V6, while a 4.7-liter V8 replaced the previous Ram’s 5.2-liter V8. An optional 5.9-liter V8 continued with automatic transmission. The other engines came with either manual or automatic.

All Rams were offered with rear-wheel drive or 4WD, which must be disengaged on dry pavement but included low-range gearing. Dashboard buttons to engage 4WD were newly optional, in place of a floor-mounted lever. Ram 4x4s got an independent front suspension instead of the previous solid axle. Four-wheel disc brakes with rear ABS were standard; four-wheel ABS was an option.

Other changes included standard 17-inch wheels (instead of 16s), and newly optional 20-inch alloy wheels.

Yearly Updates

2003 Ram 1500
A budget-priced Work Special option package with grey exterior trim emerged for 2003, along with an optional four-wheel-drive Off-Road Group for 4WD SLT models. The Off-Road option included all-terrain tires and skid plates, among other rugged extras. The top-of-the-line trim option, formerly called SLT Plus, switched its name to Laramie.
2004 Ram 1500
All-wheel drive and a navigation system became available for 2004 models. Offered on SLT editions, the AWD system included low-range gearing,
At midyear, Dodge introduced a high-performance Ram SRT-10 with a Viper V10 engine, six-speed manual gearbox, sport suspension, 22-inch wheels and special trim.
2005 Ram 1500
Wider availability of a 6-speed manual transmission and a sunroof made available for Quad Cab models are new for ’05. For 2005, the V6 and 4.7-liter V8 offer a 6-speed manual transmission, replacing the 5-speed. Also for ’05, a Quad Cab SRT-10 joins the carried-over regular cab. It has a V10 engine mated with a 4-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive, sport suspension, 22-inch wheels, and special trim.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Half-ton Ram 1500s came with a choice of three engines: a V6 and a pair of V8s. All except the 5.9-liter V8 were offered with either five-speed manual shift or a four-speed automatic transmission. Only automatic was available with the top engine. Rams could have either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (including low-range gearing). The new-for-’05 SRT-10 comes with a V10 engine mated with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Also in 2005, the 3.7-liter V6 and 4.7-liter V8 offer a 6-speed manual transmission, replacing the 5-speed.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.7/226
Engine HP 215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
6-speed manual
ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.7/287
Engine HP 235-240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 295-300
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
6-speed manual
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.9/360
Engine HP 245
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 335
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/345
Engine HP 345
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 375
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


ohv V10
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 8.3/505
Engine HP 500
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 515
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Road Test

A V6 engine in the half-ton Ram feels labored under heavy load, particularly when passing or climbing hills. The 4.7 V8 has ample power; a 2WD regular-cab Ram with manual shift accelerated to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds. Still, only the 5.9 V8 feels really strong in these heavy trucks.

A test SLT Plus Quad Cab 4WD with the biggest engine averaged just 11.9 mpg. With 4WD and automatic, a Quad Cab with the 4.7 V8 averaged 12.6 mpg, and the overworked V6 should return no more than 15-16 mpg in daily driving. A slightly lighter 2WD version will do a little better. All engines use regular-grade fuel.

No full-size pickup rides really smoothly, but a Ram with 17-inch wheels is among the best in class despite mild bounding over big dips and crests, and some vertical jiggle on bumpy pavement. Available 20-inch wheels turn the ride uncomfortably busy, with abrupt vertical motions over even slightly rippled surfaces. Try before you buy.

Steering/handling is good for a full-size pickup. Body lean is fairly well-controlled, and grip adequate. New rack-and-pinion steering pays dividends in precise road feel. Standard all-disc brakes furnish more than ample stopping power in routine use, though pedal modulation isn’t the best.

Cabins are impressively hushed for a truck, with some wind rush at highway speed but only modest tire noise. The V6 is raucous when worked hard, which it often needs to be. The V8s emit a muted rumble while cruising, a pleasing roar under hard acceleration.

Instruments and controls are clear and mostly handy in a simple layout, though climate and audio controls are a reach for the driver. New 4WD dashboard controls are similarly distant, but more convenient than the standard floor lever. Dash-top vents cast distracting windshield reflections.

Spacious up front even for very tall adults, the Ram has a center floor hump that protrudes into passenger foot space. Seats are fairly comfortable, but too flat for ideal support. Power-adjustable pedals improve comfort and help shorter drivers position themselves a safe distance from the steering-wheel airbag. Doors are heavy, and 4x4s have an extremely high step-up.

Quad Cab models offer good rear head room but won’t feel roomy unless front seats are more than halfway forward. Otherwise, taller adults’ knees press against seatbacks. The rear cabin is wide enough for three, though the floor hump limits a center rider’s foot clearance.

Generous storage is provided between regular-cab seats. Quad Cabs’ rear seat cushions fold up to expose storage bins or a handy available fold-out steel load floor.


Model Tested: 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT reg. cab 4WD w/4.7-liter V8, auto.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 3
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 6

Total: 39


crew cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
160.5 249.7 79.9 74.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
35.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.8 40.0 41.0 36.4
crew cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
140.5 227.7 79.9 74.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
26.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.8 40.0 41.0 36.4
reg. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
140.5 229.7 79.9 74.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
35.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.9 NA 41.0 NA
reg. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
120.5 207.7 79.9 74.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
26.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.9 NA 41.0 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The fan for the A/C condenser may repeatedly blow fuses on the 5.7L Hemi engine requiring an upgrade fan motor and redesigned fan shroud. (2002)
Air conditioner
Description: The air conditioning and/or defroster may quit working because the condenser fan motor draws too much current and blows the fuse, which can also be caused by ice buildup in the fan shroud preventing fan rotation. (2002)
Description: Power door locks may lock/unlock by themselves, especially in rain or after a carwash, requiring replacement lock cylinder switches. Also, rear door power locks may not work requiring repair to the lock rod in the doors. (2002)
Audio system
Description: Front door speakers (Infinity sound system) may rattle or buzz and removing the mesh cover from the speakers is required. (2002)
Rough idle
Description: The 4.7L Hemi engine may idle too slowly when coming to a stop in gear requiring an update to the powertrain computer software. (2002)
Description: The power seats may be loose and rock or chuggle when accelerating or braking, requiring replacement of the seat track(s). (2002)
Steering noise
Description: Snapping or clicking noise in steering caused by defective upper bearing retainer for which there is a fix kit. (2003-05)
Water leak
Description: A water leak at the grab handle on the A-pillar (the section between the windshield and door) is likely due to a leak in the roof seam or the retainer that holds the door seal in place, while a leak at the rear window requires resealing from the inside. (2002)
Description: Water may leak into the interior via the secondary door gasket or the rear window. (2002)
Description: The hood may have dents, or low spots, from how it was glued down at the factory. Melting the glue with a heat gun generally relieves the dents. (2002)

Recall History

2001-02 Ram van with automatic transmission
Description: The transmission lever may potentially be shifted out of park with the key removed and without depressing the brake pedal, or the key may be removed when the shifter is not in park which fails to comply with Federal regulations. Dealers will replace the gearshift blocker and bracket assembly.
Description: Detent on exterior mirror may lose functionality resulting in restricted rearward vision. Dealers will install a kit to correct this condition.
Description: Incorrect terminal for HVAC blower-motor circuit could cause the blower motor to become inoperative. Dealers will install a wiring harness overlay to correct this condition.
2002 w/4WD
Description: Rear axle flange weld could fatigue and allow brake caliper assembly to rotate resulting in loss of braking ability. Dealers will install rear brake caliper reinforcements on the rear axle assemblies.
Description: Trucks equipped with the snowplow preparation package may have tires that exceed the maximum load capacity. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
Description: On vehicles with antilock brake systems that have aftermarket batteries, the batteries may leak electrolyte into the control module and short circuit it. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2004 Ram 1500/Ram 2500
Description: The transfer case may not be attached properly, causing a possible leak of fluid and damage to system components. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2004 Ram 1500
Description: Vehicle certification label on some pickups lists incorrect tire and wheel sizes, and incorrect recommended inflation pressure.
2004 w/4.7-liter V8
Description: Generator wiring harness may short-circuit due to contact with valve cover stud; could cause an underhood fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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