The ’02 model year marks the return of Dodge’s full size pickup as a truly formidable opponent against competitors like the Chevy Silverado and Ford F150. The 2002 Dodge Ram has been entirely redesigned both inside and out, with the result being one of the most refined and powerful trucks ever produced up to that point by any manufacturer. While the Silverado still has a lack luster interior, the Ram’s inside features are more reminiscent of a luxury sedan than a full size truck capable of out-towing and hauling all of it’s competitors. The strengthened frame is another key feature of the ’02 Ram.
Dodge decided that it would be better to offer just two cabin sizes with it’s revamped line up of Rams. Gone is the medium sized Club Cab that previous model years were optionally equipped with. 2002-2005 models were only offered with a regular cab, or the more than roomy quad cab. Regular sized cabins were roomy for both drivers and passengers and actually had a respectable amount of room behind the seats to store a few tools or other essential equipment. Most models could also come with either the short or regular cargo bed sizes.
Under the hood the engines have been revamped slightly and another larger engine has been added to the lineup. All the available engines are the 3.7 liter V6, 4.7 liter V8, and a 5.9 liter V8. The two smaller engines come equipped with either a 5 speed manual transmission or a 4 speed automatic. The larger engine is only offered with an automatic transmission. Rear wheel drive is standard on all models, and 4 wheel drive is optional as well and must be disengaged when driving on dry pavement. Another new feature that owners will appreciate is the implementation of an electronic transfer case on some models, making the transition from 2 to 4 wheel drive easier than ever. Off road packages are also offered with independent front suspensions, replacing the old solid axle style that was used for decades.
Trim packages offered for the 2002 Dodge Ram include the SL, SLT, and Laramie. Buyers looking for a basic workhorse minus the extra frills should consider one of the SL trim packages. They might not have full power accessories and amazing CD/Stereo systems but they do still offer all the towing and hauling capabilities that Dodge has become so good at offering. Those who want a little more luxury could consider an SLT model that comes with full power accessories, AC, and CD players. The Laramie models constitute the utmost in luxury you can find in a pickup and come with either off-road or sports (highway) oriented packages.
Fuel efficiency is the one area where the 2002 Dodge Ram still is behind its competitors. Highway fuel economy ranges from 17-20 mpg while city driving averages between 13-15 mpg. Comparable Silverado and F150 trucks do offer substantially better gas mileage. Drivers who want optimum hauling capabilities may be willing to look past this one negative factor for the extra power the trucks are able to offer.
Overall the revamped Dodge Ram is one of the classiest and powerful trucks available from the 2002 model year. Except for the less than stellar fuel economy, it is a class leader in practically all other areas.