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Josh Rosenberg
Josh Rosenberg

We don't just talk cars ... we teach how to buy them.

Pre-2019 Dodge Ram Truck Overview And
How To Buy At The Best Price

Third-generation Dodge Ram trucks were produced from 2002 through 2008. The model lineup included the basic Ram ST, the overall most popular SLT and the upscale Laramie (replaced the SLT Plus in 2003). Club and Quad Cabs were available and the larger Mega Cab was introduced in 2006.

Two of the three available engines were new, including a 3.7-liter V6 that was good for 215 horsepower and was used on the 2WD regular cab only, as well as a 4.7-liter V8 that produced 235 horsepower. There was also an older 5.9-liter 245 horsepower V8 that was replaced by the 345 horsepower 5.7-liter V8 Hemi in 2004. In addition, the 2007 model year saw a boost in power for the 4.7 V8 to 310 horsepower.

Dodge Ram Laramie Quad Cab (2006)

Transmissions were also consistently updated during this time. Five-speed manuals were replaced by six-speeds, while four-speed automatics were upped to five-speeds.

In terms of standard features, the Ram ST was sparsely equipped and featured 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a 40/20/40 front bench seat, vinyl upholstery, a tilt steering wheel, manual windows and a 4-speaker CD stereo. Moving up to the SLT added full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, alloy wheels and cloth seating. The top-of-the-line Laramie went on to add leather upholstery, a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a 6-disc CD changer.

Many optional features were available as well depending on the year and the model. Used Ram pickups can be found with upgraded sound systems, various wheel and tire packages, navigation, Bluetooth, keyless remote start, a rear DVD entertainment system, Bluetooth connectivity and an off-road package.

Overall, this generation offered agile handling, a smooth ride and plenty of creature comforts. It's no wonder we still see many of these on the road. And the 5.7-liter V8 Hemi was unquestionably a major improvement over the more sluggish and less efficient 5.9L V8.

The fourth-generation Ram was produced for the 2009 and 2010 model years and was offered again in ST, SLT and Laramie trims, each with progressively more features. There were also three different cabs, three different bed lengths and either two-wheel or four-wheel-drive models. And while the "Mega Cab" had been eliminated, this run's Crew Cab still had nearly 40 inches of rear legroom.

2009 Dodge Ram Laramie Crew Cab

The three available engines include a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, a 310-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 and the 390-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 Hemi. Particularly significant was the addition of a new coil-spring rear suspension that provided improved ride quality over rough roads.

Again fairly lightly equipped, highlights of the ST's (available in regular and extended cabs) standard features include 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery, vinyl floor covering, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a folding rear bench seat in the extended cab, a tilt steering wheel and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. However, some used models can be found with options such as satellite radio, cruise control, chrome-clad steel wheels and a bedliner.

The SLT, which came in all cab styles, added full power accessories, cloth upholstery, keyless entry, cruise control, satellite radio, a rear power-sliding window, 17-inch alloy wheels, floor carpeting and a trip computer.

The upscale Laramie model, which came in extended and crew cab styles, came standard with a leather interior with wood-grain trim, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, a 10-way power driver seat with memory settings, a 6-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a heated steering wheel, a universal garage door opener, power-folding exterior mirrors, remote engine start, power-adjustable pedals, a 60/40-split rear seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, additional exterior chrome trim accents and a surround-sound stereo system.

Again, the cabin of this version was spacious and well-equipped. And these used models can be found with options such as rear-seat video, a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, Bluetooth, lined wells below the rear floor mats, a RamBox, a cargo bed storage compartment, navigation and a rear back-up camera.

In 2011, Chrysler rebranded this iconic pickup to simply "Ram".

2012 Ram 1500

This version (produced from 2011 - 2018) is much like the previous and offered the same trim levels. Again, the ST is fairly basic, but still offers air-conditioning and a full array of safety features including side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and stability control. The SLT and Laramie models are also similarly equipped to their predecessors and the engine choices remain the same. Option highlights include navigation, "RamBox" storage containers (mounted on the sides of the bed), a rear entertainment system and a TRX off-road package.

The previous Sport Package also became its own "Sport" trim and featured the larger V8 engine, dual exhaust, 20-inch chrome wheels, a body-colored grille, foglamps, auto-dimming rear- and sideview mirrors, Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a touchscreen display, special bucket seats, a unique console, an upgraded audio system, a 10-way power driver seat and a split-folding rear seat with under-seat storage in the crew cab.

Overall, all three of the latest Dodge Ram production runs have produced a truck that can be strongly recommended for daily use. It's roomy, well-equipped, powerful in V8 form, solidly built and provides a surprisingly comfortable ride quality. And we can suggest a number of ways to help you save when buying one.

How To Get The Best Price

Used Dodge Ram SLT reg cab (2003)

There are actually several different ways to buy an older Ram truck at the lowest price, and even at wholesale. You can click on the links to each of the following methods to get the specific instructions.

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a super effective method, one that often beats down prices even to wholesale levels. And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.

Also ... for those of you who might be interested in a
brand new Dodge Ram, if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Ram Pickup. This works just phenomenally well.

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