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Styling: The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 isnít expected to see any alterations to its basic appearance, which means it will retain its trademark cross-hairs chrome grille and broad-shouldered fenders that give it an aggressive overall character.
The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will continue in a wide assortment of configurations. Expect three cab styles: the two-door regular cab, the extended Quad Cab with small clamshell-opening rear access doors, and the Crew Cab with four conventional doors and a full back seat thatís large enough to hold three adults in comfort.
The 2012 Ram 1500 regular-cab will likely retain its 120.5-inch wheelbase and offer a choice of 6.3- and 8-foot cargo beds. Quad and Crew Cab models should still have a 140.5-inch wheelbase with the Quad Cab coming with the 6.3-foot cargo box and the Crew Cab featuring a 5.6-foot box. As before, all cargo beds will be wide enough to accommodate 4x8-foot sheets of building materials, though the sheets would overhang onto or beyond the tailgate with all the but the 8-foot bed.
Ride and handling ought to be an area in which the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 continues to shine. Thatís because the Ram 1500 will continue to be the only full-size pickup to employ coil springs in conjunction with its durable solid rear axle rather than the buckboard-like leaf springs found elsewhere in this segment. That means the 2012 Ram 1500 would continue as arguably the most well mannered full-size pickup with responsive steering and a smooth ride that resists becoming unnerved over bumps or broken pavement.
The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will likely carry over the 2011 modelís core selection of trim levels, though some content may be juggled. Expect to be able to again choose from among the base, work-truck-oriented ST, the up-market SLT, the more-aggressive Sport version, and the luxury Laramie. Major options packages with their own trim designations will continue to differentiate the model range. Expect to see variations like an Outdoorsman version of the SLT and in some regions of the U.S., a Big Horn package. A Laramie Longhorn package will likely continue as the ultimate expression of 2012 Ram 1500 opulence, with specific leather treatments and added equipment to help it compete with top-shelf luxury pickups like the Ford F-150 King Ranch and GMC Sierra Denali.
Mechanical: Short of swapping its current V-6 for the worthier 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 being phased into other Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models, the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 will likely carry over mechanically intact.
This means the line will still start with a dated 3.7-liter V-6 that generates a lackluster 215 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. Thatís barely enough to get this large a vehicle up to speed and sufficient for a meek 3,600-pound towing capacity. Its availability will likely continue limited to Ram 1500s with two-wheel drive (2wd) and a mediocre four-speed automatic transmission. The Pentastar V-6, by contrast, is rated at 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, minimum.
Assuming it wonít be supplanted by the 3.6-liter Pentastar, the first serious engine choice in the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 would continue be to be the 4.7-liter V-8, which would likely retain ratings of 310 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque.
The popular and powerful 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 will likely return with its 390 horsepower, 407 pound-feet of torque, and class-competitive maximum 10,450-pound tow rating. This engine would again include a function that saves gas by automatically shutting down half its cylinders while idling and at cruising speed. Both 2012 Ram 1500 V-8s should continue to come with five-speed automatic transmissions and be offered with 2wd and four-wheel drive (4wd).
The 2012 Dodge Ram Pickup will likely continue to offer a choice of two 4wd systems depending on the model. For most versions this would still be a basic part-time system intended only for slippery surfaces
A more sophisticated full-time 4wd system that can be left engaged on dry pavement will continue to be available -- likely be limited to Sport and Laramie models and in combination with the SLTís Big Horn option package. The full-time system is Chryslerís Active Transfer Case and Front-axle Disconnect setup that transitions between 2wd and 4wd without driver intervention. As its name implies, the system is designed to save gas by disconnecting the front axle when 4wd isnít engaged. Both Ram 1500 4wd systems would again include low-range gearing for getting out of deep mud ruts or low-speed off-roading.
Antilock brakes will certainly remain standard for better control in emergency stops. So will antiskid electronic stability control to help prevent this large truck from sliding sideways in emergency maneuvers or if the driver is negotiating a curve or exit ramp too quickly. A trailer sway control function for more secure towing abilities also would remain standard.
Features: The 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 should continue to offer an impressive array of standard and optional amenities, including a few exclusive offerings that help set it apart from the competition. For example, Crew Cab versions will likely still offer the RamBox, an optional set of storage bins built into the sides of the cargo bed that are lined, drainable, and lockable.
The available rear-seat entertainment system will no doubt continue with the subscription-based Sirius Backseat TV service to keep the kids entertained and/or the dealer installed FLO-TV system that includes more varied video fare. The truck will likely still continue to offer a dealer accessory that allows the Ram 1500 to operate as a mobile WiFi hotspot (with an extra-cost data plan) for connecting portable computers and other devices to the Internet. Unlike the Ford F-150, however, the Ram 1500 will probably still not offer either an in-dash Internet solution nor its Tool Link system that can inventory and track tools and other jobsite gear stored onboard using small radio frequency identification (RDF) tags. A voice-activated navigation system will likely still reside on the options list, and it will likely continue to come with iPhone/iPod connectivity and software sourced via the noted GPS manufacturer Garmin.
Storage cubbies, pockets, and cup holders throughout the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500ís spacious and nicely designed cabin will continue to be plentiful. The Crew Cab will likely still come equipped with in-floor storage bins in the rear cabin that feature removable liners and can be used as either hidden storage or as beverage coolers.
Standard equipment will probably continue to include head-curtain airbags that (where applicable) extend to both rows of seats, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, and a CD audio system. Available equipment should still run the gamut from a rear parking proximity warning system to heated seats, a remote starter, garage-door opener, and leather upholstery; these will continue to be offered either separately, in packages, on included with higher trim levels, depending on the feature and/or model.
An Outdoorsman package is expected to continue for 2012 SLT models that bundles trailer-towing equipment, lighting enhancements, skid plates, and off-road tires for adventuresome use. It can also be fitted with a dealer-installed rack that can store six fishing rods or two rifles or shotguns. Meanwhile, the already well-equipped Laramie version can still be expected to offer a Longhorn package that adds a few extra features, assorted burled walnut interior trim and a choice of exclusive leather treatments, all to suggest a certain trail boss image.
No major body changes expected until 2013 model