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1997 Dodge B1500 Review
A truck in van’s clothing.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1997 Dodge B1500 takes the design from the Ram series of pickup trucks and modifies it to create a spacious cargo van. The same engine model designations apply to the vans as well. It's the lowest power Ram van in the lineup with a lower output engine than the B2500 or B3500. Despite the weaker engine, it is a capable cargo van that can handle the needs of most drivers. The engine size makes a larger difference compared to the passenger wagon model. Since drivers are moving around cargo, it is important to make sure the engine option selected provides sufficient power. Drivers that plan to consistently push the maximum payload should consider upgrading to the more powerful B2500 or B3500 vans.
The 1997 Dodge B1500 is designed to take the performance on the Dodge Ram and turn it into a cargo van with as little performance loss as possible. It's generally going to the most economic option in the B-Series lineup since the impressive payload should satisfy most drivers. While the Dodge B-Series doesn't have any particularly unique or amazing features, it is a well-built, powerful cargo hauler that is offered at reasonable price. In such a utilitarian segment of the market, the Dodge B-Series does exactly what it is supposed to do. As long as the engine is properly sized for the intended usage, the B1500 will be a reliable workhorse that can take quite a bit of punishment due to its pickup truck roots.
Engines: 3.9-liter six-cylinder, 5.2-liter eight-cylinder, 5.9-liter eight-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed manual, five-speed manual
Models: Dodge B1500
The 1997 Dodge B1500 comes with an upgraded stereo system, and the ignition system now has an anti-theft system installed. The cargo doors have been widened, and the front vent windows have been entirely removed.
The 1997 Dodge B1500 looks like the Ram 1500 with a cab that extends all the way over the truck bed. Despite being in a different class, the two have recognizably related designs. Measuring at 187.2 inches long, the Dodge B1500 is a little shorter than the Dodge Ram pickup. Available options include steel wheels, alloy wheels, chrome wheels, camper towing package, and a chrome step bumper.
The 1997 Dodge B1500 is a very utilitarian vehicle and has very little in terms of standard amenities, which is fairly standard for a full-size cargo van. An AM/FM radio is the only notable standard amenity offered. Drivers get it for the massive interior and 2427 pounds of maximum payload that comes with the base engine, not for the luxury or comfort of this vehicle. The optional equipment list, however, is fairly robust with drivers able to add a power driver’s seat, air-conditioning, power windows, power locks, power doors, keyless entry, a cassette player, a CD player, and cruise control. While even fully loaded out, it's not going to be as comfortable as a standard passenger vehicle; it's a step above most commercial vehicles with the right optional equipment added.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Dodge B1500 has decent performance overall. Excluding the somewhat underpowered six-cylinder base engine, it has reasonably good acceleration and speed for a vehicle its size. Most buyers will upgrade to one of the eight-cylinder engines to ensure decent performance, especially when carrying around cargo. Turning is about average for a vehicle its size. While not bad, it can take some adjusting for drivers used to smaller consumer vehicles.
The 1997 Dodge B1500 has a driver side airbag and rear-wheel anti-lock brakes as standard equipment on all models. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are available as an option. This is the same set of standard safety equipment found on the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck.
EPA Fuel Economy
Dodge B1500 5.2-liter eight-cylinder: 12/17 mpg city/highway
Dodge B1500 5.9-liter eight-cylinder: 11/16 mpg city/highway
- Massive interior cargo space
- Relatively low price tag compared to other similarly-sized vehicles
You Won't Like
- Poor fuel economy
- Aging design
A truck in van’s clothing.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Suburban
- Ford Excursion