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2009-2012 Dodge Ram pickup trucks

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2009-2012 Dodge Ram pickup trucks

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[See 2013 changes] • 2012 changes: The 545RFE software was updated to create the 65RFE (allowing manual access to the "secondary second gear"). The RamBox storage system gets a price drop and is available on both 5'7" and 6'4" beds, on regular and quad cabs, and on heavy duty Rams in all price classes. A new steering wheel has the cruise control onto the front, and monochrome paint will be available on Outdoorsman and Longhorn (on the latter, replacing White Gold running boards with Mopar tubular side steps and polished wheels).

Ram will gained new power folding trailer towing mirrors and chrome side mouldings. The ST, however, lost its bright grille, reverting to black. Silver has the two-tone effect, and AutoStick is on the steering column shift lever when it's not on the floor console. Detroiters can get a $400 factory Red Wings Edition (thanks, Steven Kasher).

The popular Ram Tradesman was expanded to include Crew Cab and Quad Cab® sizes, while the base engine was switched from the Hemi to the 4.7 V8 (the Hemi is optional). Tradesman pickups include a six-speed automatic and factory sprayed-in bedliner; RamBox will now be standard on 4.7 models. The Tradesman Quad Cab starts at $27,330, while Crew Cab starts at $29,810. Tradesman regular-cab pricing dropped to $22,370 with the 4.7 V8.

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A Cummins V8 diesel was listed on dealer systems for a time, but it was dropped; this engine generates 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. The quiet, high-revving engine (redline is over 5,000 rpm) is said to get highway gas mileage in the mid-20s in half-ton trucks.

Readers reported that, shortly after its 2012 release, the 1500 Laramie's rear camera and parking aid went from being standard to optional, at $200 and $250, respectively.

2011 changes: The 2011 Ram 1500 had an optional factory-installed spray-in bedliner, a new midline navigation system with the hard-drive stereo, and a standard touch-screen stereo with hard drive on Sport models. The SLT was expected to be responsible for half of sales. Separating the ST from the bargain-priced Ram Express were a standard Hemi engine, body-color fascia, fog lamps, painted-surround grille, carpeting (instead of vinyl), floor mats, heavy-duty cooling, P275/60R20 tires (instead of P265/70R17 on ST), 20x8 aluminum wheels, and transmission oil cooler. (When the 2012 model year began, the ST started at $21,475; Tradesman at $22,340; Express at $23,080; and then there was a larger leap up to SLT at $25,655. The top model was Laramie Longhorn at $43,125.)

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The Ram 1500 Tradesman was set up for commercial use. It used the 5.7 Hemi engine with 390 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, getting 20 mpg on the highway. It was more capable and highly capable than the competition's V6, and came with a class IV hitch, 17 inch wheels, and more, with up to 10,400 lb of towing, best in class of entry level full size pickups. It had 1660 pounds of payload, would be available in the second quarter with short or long beds. The starting price was $22,780 including destination, and they were due April/May 2011. (Add $300 for long box; add $4,455 for 4x4. Long box 4x4 started at $27,535.)

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The long-rumored Ram Adventurer pickup had a standard Hemi V8 engine with 20 mpg highway, and a monochromatic paint scheme with dual chrome-tipped exhaust. Standard would be fog lamps, 20-inch aluminum wheels with locking lug nuts, a locking tailgate, cargo lamp, rear-bumper step pad, 6" x 9" side-view mirrors, and rear wheel-well liners; 3.55 rear axle ratio, four and seven-pin trailer wiring harness, and a full-size spare tire.

Inside, the truck would get a vinyl 40/20/40 split-bench seat, and buyers had a choice of vinyl or carpeted floor covering. Standard comforts included air conditioning, tachometer, 12-volt outlet, tilt steering wheel, six-speaker media center, audio input jack, automatic headlamps, behind-the-seat storage bins, driver and passenger assist handles, power accessory delay, rear dome lamp, rear-view day/night mirror, tinted glass windows, tip start, and variable intermittent windshield wipers.

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For safety, the Ram included supplemental front curtain and side air bags, anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, height-adjust shoulder belts, sentry key theft deterrent system, and tire pressure monitoring warning lamp.

It was available in Bright Silver Metallic, Bright White, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl; Deep Water Blue Pearl; Flame Red, Hunter Green Pearl and Mineral Gray Metallic.

Factory-installed exterior options included Mopar chrome tubular side steps, Mopar chrome steel bed rails, folding and heated trailer-tow power mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps, spray-in bedliner and under-rail bedliner.

Inside, buyers could choose a cloth 40/20/40 split-bench seat, Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, rear-view auto-dim mirror, remote USB port, sliding rear window, cruise control, instrument cluster with vehicle information center display screen, tire pressure monitoring display, power one-touch windows, remote keyless entry, Sirius Satellite Radio and either carpet or rubber floor mats

There was also a choice of two optional rear-axle ratios (3.21, 3.92), anti-spin differential, engine block heater and trailer brake controller.

Ram Adventurer came as a regular cab, short-bed model, with a choice of 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain. When equipped with an optional Class IV hitch, the new Ram would tow a maximum trailer weight of 10,450 lbs.

The list price started at just $23,830, including destination charge; the truck was expected to hit dealerships in the second quarter of 2011.

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The Outdoorsman model took over from the old TRX, and was targeted at customers who hunt, fish, or camp, with added standard features for those activities - including mud/slush mats and fog lights. It was an addition to the SLT package and had either the 4.7 or 5.7 engines. Fred Diaz wrote in late September 2010, "Based on dealer and media feedback, the Outdoorsman package has been very well received. The name and combination of features is resonating quite well. Dealer orders have been well above expectations." In February he said, "consumer response and initial sales are already off the charts." Monochrome paint became an option for the 2012 Outdoorsman.

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Big Horn and Lone Star models would continue as customer-preferred option packages, and the Sport model had its own price class. An active on demand 4x4 transfer case would be standard on Big Horn, Lone Star, Sport, and Laramie 4x4s. The Big Horn package for quad and crew cabs was aimed at Ford XTR, and included the dual-exhaust Hemi engine, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, full-time transfer case, luxury group, leather steering wheel with audio controls, quad headlamps, heated mirrors with signals, fog lights, tow hooks, locking lug nuts, badging, and chrome grille, side steps, and door handles. Options included a wheel downgrade back to 17-inch wheels.

On top of all other grades was the luxurious Ram Laramie Long Horn pickup in 1500, 2500, and 3500 trim.

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Monotone Lamarie trucks would be built first without wheel flares, but with a $100 credit; these would be added later and the credit would be dropped. The Ram had three new paint colors - deep cherry red crystal pearl (yes, that's one color), white gold metallic, and deep forest green pearl.

The Ram 1500 had best in class aerodynamic efficiency, triple sealed doors for a quieter ride, class exclusive features such as the Ram Box cargo management system (built only in Warren, Michigan) and heated steering wheel, with optional dual exhaust and crew-cab in-floor storage. The multi-link coil rear suspension greatly increased ride, comfort, and cornering, with only a minimal impact on capacity.

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The Dodge Ram R/T returned and, in the second half, 22-inch forged, polished aluminum wheels will be an option on the R/T. New exterior colors included Austin Tan Pearl and Rugged Brown Pearl. Mango Tango replaced Sunburst Orange and Bright White replaced Stone White. 2010 Crew and Quad cab production would begin August 24th while Regular Cab production would start a month later.

The 2009 Dodge Ram, introduced on January 13, 2008, featured revised engines, a new rear suspension setup featuring coil springs fitted to a solid rear axle held in place with multiple links, a first-class interior, and two revolutionary storage systems, along with nearly every gadget seen on a minivan.

The fastest 2009 Ram pickup would do 0-60 in a remarkable six seconds or less (Dodge Ram R/T regular-cab 4x2 with short bed and 4:10 gears - Motor Trend achieved 0-60 in 5.7 seconds with a 14.4 second quarter mile) - with a normal V8 available on most models.

Gas mileage increased along with power (except on the V6). Still rumored was the Ram R/T which, according to Mr. Source, had an upgraded 5.7 HEMI, beefed-up suspension and steering, and a 4.10:1 axle. The aerodynamic drag of .419 Cd was best in class, beating even Toyota - as did the 0-60 time of under 6 seconds (according to Edmunds, Truck Trends, and Toyota's official figure of 6.3 seconds).

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2009 Dodge Ram 1500 pricing

Base pricing had been set for 2009 at $22,170 for regular cab, $26,225 for Quad Cab®, and $32,530 for Crew Cab (all prices included destination charges.) Adding an eight-foot box cost $300 for Ram ST and SLT; 4x4 added around $4,500 on ST, $3,600 on SLT; Quad Cab added around $4,000 on ST and SLT. The TRX started at $30,920 with a Quad Cab. Ram R/T (Sport) started at $30,265 with regular cab, $33,900 with quad cab, and $35,955 with crew cab.

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The 2009 Ram Hemi's 390 hp (407 lb.-ft. of torque) was expected to have about 10% better gas mileage than the 2008 Ram Hemi - due partly to a 4% increase in engine efficiency, partly in an 80 lb weight reduction, and partly in extensive aerodynamic work. Highway mileage was expected to reach 23 mpg, among the top performers in pickups. Gas mileage would probably be considerably higher with the new Cummins turbodiesel engine, designed and produced specifically for the Dodge Ram. Even the revised 4.7 liter engine was getting a power boost, to 310 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, while the V6 was beating the V8s of just a few years back with 215 horsepower (160 kW) and 235 lb-ft. (A more powerful Pentastar V6 was expected for 2012).

We have more details on the development and features of the 2009 Dodge Ram in our Industria Show page.

The mega cab was being replaced by a conventional crew cab, but the 2500 and 3500 models still had mega cabs and leaf-spring rear suspensions in the 2009 model year. After that, the 2010 heavy duty models kept their leaf springs but dropped the mega-cab for a standard crew cab. Chassis cabs changed to the new look in 2011 but would keep the leaf springs and gained a crew cab.

Police Ram

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In September, Allpar said Ram would be preparing a truck for police use; it was introduced in November 2011. The Ram is to be sold as a "special service vehicle" rather than as a pursuit truck. Neither Ford nor GM offer a pickup with a specified police package, and there is a market: commercial enforcement, game wardens, and park rangers all use pickups, along with some specialized police officers (e.g. at weigh stations). Full Special Service Ram details.

2010 Ram 1500 model year changes

The gross weight rating rose by 1,500 pounds with the Hemi, 3.92 rear axle, and 140.5 inch wheelbase. A fuel saver indicator was added for the V6, and all engines got Interactive Decel Fuel Shutoff. A trailer brake controller, trailer tow mirrors (folding or power), automatic rearview mirrors, and iPod controller were all introduced as options; passive head restraints became standard. The R/T gained 22 inch wheels late in the year. A 700 amp battery was standard. A Challenger style hood was available from Mopar.

Ram 1500 Powertrain

See details on the 2009 Dodge Ram engines, axles, transfer cases, and transmissions.

Ram engines5.7 Hemi4.7 V83.7 V6
Horsepower390 bhp (291 kW)
@ 5,600 rpm
310 bhp (231 kW)
@ 5,650 rpm
215 bhp (160 kW)
@ 5,200 rpm
Torque407 lb.-ft. (548 N•m)
@ 4,000 rpm
330 lb.-ft. (447 N•m)
@ 3,950 rpm
235 lb.-ft. (319 N•m)
@ 4,000 rpm
Redline5,800 rpm6,000 rpm6,000 rpm
Fuel 89 octane recommended,
87 acceptable
87 octane;
E85 OK (FFV)
87 octane
EPA mpg (2WD)13/1913/1914/20
EPA mpg (4WD)13/1813/18not made
EmissionsSULEV 1
Tier 2 Bin 10C
Tier 2, Bin 10A

A hybrid-electric version is expected by the 2010 model year; it's nearly identical to the Hemi hybrid setup used on the Durango and Aspen hybrids.

The manual transmission has been dropped, according to a Chrysler representative. Gas mileage with the Ram Hemi is said to be 23 mpg on the highway, a 10% increase - despite the 40-hp power boost.

Ram 1500 Models

The base model was the ST, which had a simple four-gauge instrument cluster (tach, temp, gas, speed), an open top glove compartment, and vinyl seats and floor with steel wheels, black upper front bumper, and gray bumpers in front and rear.

The SLT features upgraded wheels, headlamps, and mirrors, with a painted upper front bumper, chrome bumpers, quad headlamps, and signal/puddle mirrors; standard wheels are 17" painted aluminum. The interior featured carpet and cloth seats and trim, with a covered upper glove box, six-gauge instrument cluster with trip computer, and optional console with floor shifter.

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The TRX model, available in quad and crew cabs, had an integrated two-tone style with flared fenders, body-color grille, unique wheels, and matching bumpers.

The Sport exterior was available with all cabs, had a standard Hemi engine, body-color mirrors, door handles, grille, and bumper fascia, dual exhaust, unique 20 inch wheel, upgraded interior with standard bucket seats and floor shifter, and soft dashboard padding with visible stitching.

The Laramie was available with quad and crew cabs, and featured a chrome grille, mirror, and door handles; unique chrome wheels; two-tone exterior with integrated wheel flares; stop dashboard padding with visible stitching; and chrome trip with wood appliqués on both front and rear doors.

Separate pages for features, styling, interior, suspension

Features, styling, the interior, and safety features

Multi-link coil-spring suspension with an interview and suspension expert's thoughts

The RamBox and other storage systems

The RamBox, an option on Crew Cab 1500 models, was Avalanche done right: instead of small plastic containers stuck onto the pickup bed walls, Dodge had set up full-length storage bins, lighted, drainable, lockable, and weatherproof, as wide as the wheel well, with 7.6 cubic feet of space. They included configurable bed dividers, an adjustable bed extender that fit onto the lowered tailgate for another 2 feet of length (7 feet long total), and a cargo rail system with sliding adjustable cleats for tie-downs. The system could hold 240 twelve-ounce cans, or golf clubs, fishing rods, toolboxes, or other gear, while still leaving enough room in the bed for a flat sheet of plywood - in short, it had 7.6 cubic feet of storage, while still leaving 49 inches between the wheel wells. (For more details, see our Features and Styling page.)

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The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram used a low-torsion frame design that contributed to stability and handling precision while decreasing noise, vibration and harshness. Two frame lengths were available: 120-inch and 140-inch.

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Portions of the frame were hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduced the amount of welding that led to distortion), and side rails were fully boxed. The front frame section incorporated advanced, high-strength steel that maintained overall strength and durability while saving approximately 30 pounds. New for 2009 were redesigned tow-hook brackets (four-wheel drive models). The rear section of the 2009 Dodge Ram's frame was new, and supported Dodge's new multi-link coil-spring rear suspension.

The 2009 Dodge Ram was capable of handling a payload of up to an estimated 1,840 pounds and towing up to an estimated 9,100 pounds.

Multi-link coil-spring suspension with an interview and suspension expert's thoughts


The cooperative application of aerodynamic science and innovative styling led to aerodynamic improvements on the new Ram that resulted in an estimated coefficient of drag (Cd) of .422 for a crew cab 4x4 model - compared with a Cd of .463 for a 2008 Ram Quad Cab® 4x4 (and .42 for the original 1994 Dodge Ram!). Extensive wind-tunnel testing was conducted to hone the 2009 Dodge Ram's exterior shape.

  • The shape of the front grille, hood, and exterior mirrors cut wind resistance
  • A subtle circumferential notch near the rear edge of each outside mirror housing caused airflow (and dust or water, when present) to separate from the housing. This also helped keep the door glass clean
  • An air dam directed air flow around the vehicle to reduce drag, and cooled the engine and air conditioning condenser
  • Full cut-line doors reduced wind noise and drag
  • A carefully developed curve at the leading edge of the windshield frame reduced drag
  • A raised lip on the cowl screen directed air flow and water toward the sides of the windshield
  • The cowl screen smoothed the airflow transition from hood to windshield, reducing turbulence and wind noise
  • Troughs created by windshield side moldings channel water over the roof rather than around to the side windows
  • Side windows offset from door frames were minimized to help reduce turbulence and wind noise
  • Side sills were lowered, extending the attached air flow and eliminating some underbody turbulence
  • The new front-end module had smaller gaps around head lamps to help aero performance
  • A large tailgate spoiler integrated into the sheet metal improved aerodynamic flow
  • Lowered windshield-wiper location improved visibility, as well as reduced wind noise and drag
  • Flush-fit fog-lamp pockets eliminated drag of fog lamps
  • Reduced wheel openings helped decrease drag
  • Optimized ride heights provided aerodynamic efficiencies
Quality assurance

Engineers conducted approximately 40,000 hours of full-scale vehicle and system testing for durability and reliability of the 2009 Dodge Ram. Testing and validation in various climates included road trips to a variety of locations including Death Valley, Nev., Bemidji, Minn., Tampa and Denver. A full battery of lab testing included full-frame fatigue testing, door-slam testing, a road test simulator, and more than 200 hours of wind noise and aerodynamic evaluations in Chrysler's state-of-the-art aerodynamic and acoustic test facility in Auburn Hills. By the time the 2009 Dodge Ram goes on sale, nearly 6.5 million customer-equivalent miles will be logged by Dodge Truck engineers.

The company was also employing techniques of Design for Six Sigma, which was folding in "voice of the customer" data along with lessons learned to ensure any vehicle reaching the customers' hands was the highest quality. Since 1998, the company had seen its warranty costs drop nearly 50 percent.

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Every facet of the development of the 2009 Dodge Ram was aimed at quality improvement. A few examples included:

  • A hydroformed tubular front body structure was both stiff and light. The natural frequency of this structure and the continuity of its weld attachments to the cab were developed using computer-aided structural analysis
  • The 2009 Dodge Ram's sloping windshield was composed of two layers of solar glass for thermal protection and glare reduction
  • Fenders were now bolted to a hydroformed inner structure for the engine compartment, and no longer served as structural elements. This made fenders easier and less costly to replace when damaged
  • The overall cab construction used a full-length roof ditch with continuous molding where cab and roof surfaces meet. One-piece bodyside outer panels match inner panels to form door openings with exceptional dimensional control
  • To make the cab as quiet as possible, every path that led to the interior was sealed. Joints were made as tight as possible and applied sealers were often expandable, which caused them to swell to form a tight seal
  • The air-tight cabin forced air to flow through the cab and out via the cab-back air exhausters, rather than taking a shortcut that might leave some occupants uncomfortable
  • Computer-aided analysis was used to develop bead (rib) patterns and mastic patch dampers that stiffen the floor pan and dash panel. The resulting panels achieved a natural vibration frequency that prevented them from amplifying with the frequencies of other vibration sources
  • Doors were triple-sealed to keep out weather and noise. The first weatherstrip, in the greenhouse area, closed the gap to the door opening, cutting wind noise. The second was a full-circumference door-mounted seal. The third was a full-circumference body-mounted watertight seal. In addition, the wiring harness was on a plastic carrier, which was also a water shield for the interior trim. The integrated foam seal reduced traffic noise intrusion.
  • Bake-hardened steel door panels provided greater dent resistance than conventional steel doors because the steel hardened when subjected to high heat during the paint-curing process. Inner and outer door panels were also galvanized for corrosion protection.
  • Expandable baffles were used at the base of the structural pillars to block noise
  • In crew cab models, a reinforced structural pillar between front and rear doors provided a solid attachment for the front door latch striker, supported the roof in a vehicle rollover, supported the rear door hinges and gave side-impact protection for occupants. Rear door side impact beams were placed at a height where a car or truck bumper would make first contact
  • Dual-bulb taillamps used acrylic lenses with optical reflectors to distribute light. Reflectors were vacuum metallized to provide a brighter appearance
  • All-new top covers on pickup bed rails reduced box marring and scratching for long-term durability

The 2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck was built at two Chrysler manufacturing facilities in the United States, St. Louis North (Fenton, Missouri) and Warren, Michigan; 2009 Dodge Ram Crew 1500 crew cab and Quad Cab® pickups will be built at Warren Truck. Ram standard cab and Quad Cab pickups were built at St. Louis North until 2009, when the plant was shut down. RamBox production moved at that time from St. Louis to Warren.

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With over a $400 million combined investment at the two assembly plants, each facility underwent extensive upgrades. Enhanced processes and new technology would also benefit future product launches and product variants due to the greater levels of flexibility.

In St. Louis North (closed in summer 2009), the body shop was completely rebuilt, with the addition of 210 new robots and more than one mile of new conveyor, including an extensive use of clean, quiet, friction-drive conveyance systems.

The Warren Assembly Plant added a 200,000-square-foot body shop with new automation, including 270 new robots, several new conveyors and use of a fast, quiet pallet conveyance system. In both facilities, the trim, chassis and final areas implemented a new sun roof installation process as well as modifications to the seat delivery system.


In the 2002 model year, crew cabs accounted for only 8% of the segment. In 2007, crew cabs accounted for nearly 50% of the segment. Following were target demographics for the 2009 Dodge Ram:

  • 84%; Median age: 52; 70% married
  • Median annual income: $64,000; 28% college-educated
  • Primary vehicle usage: 71 percent "personal"
The rumor mill

2013 Ram

Hybrid and Pentastar-V6 models are expected for the 2013 Ram 1500.

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2009 Ram 1500 launch

redriderbob and Brenda Priddy were pretty far off. Autoblog was right about the suspension. The anonymous writer who told us about the new interior was completely right about that, horsepower from the new 5.7 liter Hemi, and better gas mileage; he also predicted the models and the new box storage system. He wrote, "The hood bows down towards the headlights more now, so it's more sleek but still has the unmistakeable Ram-ness to it." That was true, as was "The interior on the Laramie is luxurious, with multiple shades of brown and tan, bright chrome, and woodgrain panels. The Sport interior is the usual high-contrast color scheme, with bright chrome highlights. Both are impressive in appearance." He gets the "oh20 Award for Predictive Accuracy." Or at least he would if we could find him.

Brenda Priddy wrote that the 3.7 would be replaced by the 4.0, which was wrong; and she greatly underpredicted the 4.7 V8's power boost, but was right it would get more power. Brenda said the Hemi would get more power from a size increase, while we (correctly) said VVT would be used instead. She predicted a six-speed automatic, which eventually arrived - in 2012 models - and was basically the same old five-speed with a new name and different behavior with electronic range select.

Redriderbob said the big-rig styling would give way to aerodynamics and he was right (though the original "big rig" seems to have been equally slippery). He also went with the 4.0 V6, power updates on the 4.7 to 290 hp (which was fairly close), and a 5.9 liter or 6.1 liter Hemi with three valves per cylinder and VVT; he was right about the VVT. Like Brenda Priddy, he also predicted six speed automatics.

Overall, Allpar did well compared with the larger media world.

Development and features of the 2009 Dodge Ram

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