At the beginning of the 90s, Dodge’s pickups flew under radar and its models never managed to conquer a healthy market share. In 1994 however everything has changed, after the launch of the innovative Ram pickup that took everyone by surprise.
The new Dodge Ram attacked its rivals with a modern style and one of the most comfortable and ergonomically designed cabins. There was also offered a complete lineup of engines which included both diesel and petrol units. Not to mention about the biggest payloads and towing capacities in the segment.
The 1994 Dodge Ram was offered in 118.7-inch and 134.7-inch wheelbases (6.5-foot and 8-foot boxes respectively). Engines options included 5.2, 5.9 and 8.0 liter engines.
Back in the 90s most of the pickups were pretty dull and came with boring designs, yet the Dodge Ram came up with a pretty modern exterior style that was slightly different than what you’d usually find in the segment.
The raised hood was combined with a set of muscular body lines, giving the vehicle a purposeful look that was also enhanced by the high ground clearance and the big wheels.
Up front there was the typical crosshair grille which came with a shiny chromed treatment. More chrome can be found on the bumper and the door mirror housings.
The headlights were pretty small and had a simple design without any fancy lines to break up the monotony and around the back there was a wide opening tailgate flanked by two rectangular taillights.
The Dodge Ram interior was pretty rudimentary, but there was plenty of space and enough leg and head room for everybody. Most of the plastics were part of the hard class and sounded hollow when tapped with a finger. The build quality however was fairly solid.
The dashboard had a pretty basic design, but every control was placed within easy reach. Yet the storage department was pretty poor represented and we expected to find more consoles and cubbies to put our things.
The instrument cluster was laid out in a classical way with big round gauges and various indicators to keep you posted on various vehicle stats.
You won’t have any complains about the steering wheel either, as it had an attractive design and offered a good grab. The floor mounted gear knob however, wasn’t the most comfortable unit you’d find around and its awkward position made it uncomfortable to use.
The Dodge Ram’s front seats were flat and hard which made them slightly uncomfortable for longer journeys. The driving position however, was pretty high which gave you a top notch all around visibility. The exterior mirrors were also pretty big and offered a proper rear visibility.
The 1994 Dodge Ram was only offered as a regular cab body but the cabin was available with a plethora of more or less useful features which included a 40 / 20 / 40 cloth bench, power windows and door locks, AC, cruise control, a fold-down center armrest and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Engines and performance
The Dodge Ram’s standard engine was a strong 5.2 liter V8 which produces 220 hp and 300 pound feet of torque. There was also a 5.9 liter straight six Cummins turbo diesel engine which developed 175 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The real deal was the 8.0 liter V10 which comes with 300 hp on tap and a massive 450 lb-ft of torque. All engines had more than enough grunt to keep the vehicle agile even when fully loaded, but the fuel economy wasn’t exactly stellar.
There were two gearboxes available including a standard five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic with three axle ratios (3.55, 3.90, 4.10). The transmissions were at par with what you’d usually get in this segment and they’ve coped well with the utilitarian nature of the truck.
1994 – 2001 Dodge Ram engines specifications
|Engine || Power – hp || Torque – lb-ft |
| 5.2 liter V8 || 220 || 295 |
| 5.9 liter V8 || 175 || 420 |
| 8.0 liter V10 || 300 || 450 |
Ride and handling
The Dodge Ram was fitted with a coil-spring suspension system in front and a multi-leaf spring design at the rear. The suspension setup needed to deal with heavy loads so ride quality had to be sacrificed.
On the other hand body lean was small and the vehicle stayed pretty well planted on its wheels. The off road driving wasn’t as good as other vehicles in its class, but overall, the old Dodge Ram offered reasonable performances.
The Ram’s steering was more on the heavy side of things, but it was at par with what you’d usually find in this class. The stopping power was great and there weren’t many trucks that were able to offer the same pedal feel as the Dodge Ram.
The 1994 Dodge Ram represented a huge step forward for the American company and its innovative design and features made it stand out from the crowd. The vehicle was received with open arms by the pickup enthusiasts and its strong work horse character helped it to deal effortless with a wide range of commercial applications.
Moreover it was also pretty reliable and had a solid build quality which helped it endure the punishment of harsh working conditions without backing down.