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When buying a used truck, you need to find something powerful, reliable, and that will last you a while. Trucks are designed to be used on the hard jobs and the even harder adventure. If you are looking for a used truck that will take you the distance without running out of power quickly, you should be looking for a used Ram 1500. These trucks offer the best performance and advanced features. Plus, they are more affordable than a new model. Ram 1500 trucks are built to last no matter what model year they were manufactured in.
While a used Ram 1500 from any model year is going to get the job done, you are most likely going to find trucks from the 2010 to 2019 model years have the best prices and least amount of mileage on them. These models are also great to look for because they are going to contain some of the latest and greatest tech, safety, and convenience features that the line has to offer. Heavily integrated smart technology is fairly new in the auto industry, so we recommend finding a pre-owned Ram 1500 that is less than ten years old.
For the last six years, the Ram 1500 trucks have consistently scored four- or five-star crash-test ratings from the NHTSA. This is mainly due to the exceptional safety features that come standard on every used Ram 1500 from 2014 until now. These features include hill start assist, hill descent control, stability/traction control, anti-lock disc brakes, trailer sway control, and numerous protective airbags. Furthermore, most used Ram 1500 trucks from 2014 to 2019 also come with automatic emergency service notifications via the UConnect telematics service. This system will alert emergency service if your truck is stolen or in an accident.
Over the last decade, the Ram 1500 has made a name for itself for being reliable, durable, and capable of performing well under pressure. Overall, it’s a practical vehicle with plenty of intelligent features, including safety systems, towing packages, and premium entertainment. All this combined makes the Ram 1500 perfect for workers and families alike.
The Ram 1500 half-ton pickup series became a staple part of the automotive industry back in 1994, completely changing the game thanks to its unique design and features. This followed on the popularity of the original Ram that debuted back in the early 1980s. The re-introduction of the Ram 1500 in 1994 was a vastly different vehicle from the one that came before it, though. The 1500 had a completely different look and feel, taking the market by storm and becoming one of the most popular pickup trucks on the market. Everyone wanted a new or used Ram 1500 after the new model year made its debut.
The newly introduced 1500 was earmarked with an amazing lineup of reliable and very capable powertains. Throughout the '90s, the Ram 1500 was fitted with a Magnum engine, including a very powerful V8 for the 1500 series. The half-ton iteration of the truck was an instant success, combining many of the quality aspects you would find in a heavy-duty truck but made available in a light-duty variant.
This kind of rugged durability and performance-heavy focus of the Ram 1500 became a staple of the marque throughout the years, leading to it becoming one of the most recognized and best-selling pickups in the industry. The Ram 1500 also occupied more than just the role of being a horsepower-heavy half-ton with an impeccable penchant for handling heavy workloads and towing tasks. The 1500 also managed to branch off into other market segments as well.
Engineers managed to fine-tune the truck throughout the 1990s to make it a more capable off-road vehicle, with four-wheel drive, improved transfer case, and larger wheels. This eventually evolved into special off-road editions of the Ram 1500 being made available that were specifically designed to handle many of the challenges the great outdoors could throw at it. Thanks to undercarriage protection in the form of skid-plates, improved axle ratios of 4.10:1, and a limited-slip rear differential, the Ram 1500 became a nice go-to option for those who wanted a half-ton pickup that was off-road ready.
During the early aughts, the Ram 1500 honed in on its high-performance capabilities with trims such as the SRT-10, in addition to other traditional trims such as the ST, SLT, and Laramie. The SRT-10 trim would take certain high-performance features from the heavy-duty variants from previous model years and elevate the performance of the 1500. This included the introduction of a half-ton 8.3-liter variant of the V10 Magnum based on the racing engine found in the very popular Dodge Viper3. The V10 Magnum produced a massive 500 horsepower for the Ram 1500, making it more of a sports truck than a traditional work truck.
The popularity of the SRT-10 trim would carry on for additional model years throughout the aughts, positioning the light-duty truck as far more evolved compared to the competition. It was now considered a high-performance, sports-oriented production pickup. The Ram 1500 would also further embrace its off-road capabilities in the form of the TRX4 trims by the mid-aughts, making it known that the pickup was as powerful as it was versatile.
The image of the Ram as a horsepower-heavy light-duty truck would help shape its appeal throughout the years. Various trims would be used to help highlight both the aesthetics and the under-the-hood sports-car-like performance that the Ram 1500 offered, something that the competition lacked. By the 2010s, the Ram 1500 also adopted another identity: a luxury pickup.
With the Laramie and Laramie Longhorn trims filling out the persona of the 1500, truck enthusiasts found the Ram 1500 offering options and variations suited for almost every type of driving personality. The following years would introduce the Limited Edition trim, which would further flesh out interior accouterments, such as high-quality seating materials, special badging, and upscale comfort features. However, the cornerstone of the Ram 1500's identity has always been outlined by its ability to outperform the competition, and this was highlighted with the revival of the TRX trim for the 2021 model year.
The Ram 1500 TRX occupies a rare role as an ultra-high-performance, luxurious sports truck. With Launch Control, four-wheel drive, and a specially tuned supercharged V8 Hemi, the TRX has been lovingly referred to by enthusiasts as the “T-Rex” of pickup trucks. Finely crafted for lots of off-road abuse, great off-the-line performance, and capable towing functionality, the Ram 1500 has continued to adapt and evolve in ways that forces the market to recognize its prowess as a powerhouse pickup.
Different generations of the Ram 1500 have introduced vastly different features over the years. During the first-generation of the Ram's original 1980s run, the 1500 wasn't present, but it did appear during the second generation of the Ram during the 1990s. The 1500, in fact, made its debut as a 1994 model year, housing many carryover features from the first generation but fine-tuned and updated to accommodate the needs of truck shoppers during the 90s. This included a completely overhauled visual look for the exterior with the iconic cross-grille-shaped fascia and the masculine lines that outlined the cab and bed.
A mid-generation refresh in the late '90s introduced additional powertrain and comfort features, which would play a pivotal role in the overhaul the Ram 1500 received in the third-generation debut that took place in 2002. While the trim variation was limited to just the ST and SLT in two and four-wheel drive formats, the Ram had a complete do-over in the handling and maneuverability thanks to rack-and-pinion steering and a completely new chassis platform that featured an advanced new suspension.
The third-generation 1500 would quickly receive new trim formats in the following years, including the Laramie, TRX4 Sport, and SRT-10, along with an updated powertrain in the form of the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, featuring improved horsepower, torque, and fuel economy. Throughout the third generation, the Ram received incremental upgrades and improvements to the cabin and interior, while some fuel-saving measures were doled out to the powertrain. These minor upgrades would persist up until the fourth generation, where another major overhaul was given to the Ram 1500.
The 2009 model year is where all new features and competitive upgrades were added to the light-duty pickup truck. An all-new suspension, powertrain lineup, and crew cab design helped keep the Ram 1500 competitive on the market. Brand new luxury trims became more prominent following a mid-generation refresh in 2013, which introduced the new Ram fascia and badging, as well as the Laramie Longhorn and Limited Edition. The all-new Pentastar engine also made its debut for the Ram 1500 series during the generation, along with air-ride suspension and more modern-day accouterments such as keyless entry and infotainment suites.
The Ram 1500 received the Uconnect touchscreen, along with wireless capabilities and 3G support during this time. Those features would slowly advance and evolve with each new model year, including adding support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as media streaming, driver assist packages, and all-new engine start-stop technology for increased fuel economy. Further fuel-economy advancements would be introduced with the 1500-iteration of the EcoDiesel V6 powertrain in 2014.
In 2019 the fifth-generation Ram 1500 was rolled out and not only paved the way with all new advancements but also reintroduced the Ram 1500 Classic, hearkening back to the classic cross-grille design made popular in the 1990s. The fifth generation also made way for all new trims with eTorque powertrain options, giving truck shoppers more fuel-saving features out of the light-duty pickup. These features were also made available without sacrificing the Ram's power, performance, or towing capabilities. In fact, the 1500 half-ton pickup only saw increases to its overall towing and trailering capabilities over the years, owing to the fact that the EcoDiesel, Pentastar, and Hemi engines consistently see upgrades in engineering efficiency, helping keep the marque a competitive and noteworthy pickup on the market whether you buy a new or used Ram 1500.
The amount of horsepower that a used Ram 1500 can generate depends on which engine is equipped on that particular truck. Over the last 10 years, there have been some changes to the powertrain lineup, but every truck produced during this time belongs to the fourth generation of Ram 1500 models. We have put together a handy list for you to refer to if you are looking for specific performance stats.
As you can see, there are a lot of available engines for the Ram 1500 across the years. So, make sure that you always ask your dealer what engine is under the hood of the used Ram 1500 you are considering. Furthermore, if you are looking for one of these powertrains specifically, you can narrow down your search considerably.
As with the horsepower and torque stats, the amount of weight a used Ram 1500 truck can tow depends on which engine it is equipped with. Different used models and trims may also feature different add-ons that can increase the towing capacity. Always ask your dealer what the max towing capacity is of the specific vehicle you are looking at, especially if you plan on towing a lot with it. As a general rule of thumb, these are the maximum towing capacities of each engine option.
Keep in mind that other variables are involved in the actual towing limit for any particular used Ram 1500 truck. Even the cab style and bed length could play a role in how much weight the vehicle can pull. If you need to know exact towing measurements for work or conventional trailering purposes, make sure to ask your dealer for the specific ratings for the truck you are looking at. After all, you don't want to damage your new truck by trying to pull more than it can handle, and you don't want to buy a truck that can't keep up with you.