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1997 Dodge Ram 1500

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1997 Dodge Ram 1500 Review

A classic work truck with a lot of options.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 provides a classic work truck with a lot of style. It comes with a choice of four different trim levels, three engine choices, and two transmission choices. The Work Special, LT, and SLT all seat up to three occupants. The ST serves as an extended cab model and can seat up to six occupants.

The Range

Body Styles: pickup truck
Engines: 3.9-liter V-6, 5.2-liter V-8, 5.9-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Ram 1500 Work Special, Dodge Ram 1500 LT, Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie SLT, Dodge Ram 1500 ST

What's New

Leather seating and wood grain trim become available on the Laramie SLT. Remote keyless entry and a combination cassette/CD stereo provide new options. Also, some new exterior and interior color choices join the lineup for the 1997 Dodge Ram 1500.


The Dodge Ram 1500 has monotone paint, with a regular pickup box and silver styled steel wheels. Two-tone paint or monotone tri-coat paint remain optional. The rear window and antenna are fixed. A sliding rear window provides an option for all models.

A chrome grille trim comes standard for all models except for the Work Special, on which black grille trim comes standard. Lightly tinted windows come standard on all models except for the ST, which has deep tinted windows instead. The ST also includes a pickup cargo box light and a rear step bumper as standard equipment. These two features remain optional on all other models of the 1997 Dodge Ram 1500.

Silver alloy wheels, chrome styled steel wheels, and a full-size spare wheel comprise the list of options on all versions except the Work Special.


For a work truck, the 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 includes a lot of interior features. Front air-conditioning, a day/night rear-view mirror, and an AM/FM/cassette audio system with four speakers come standard on all models. Other standard features include a dome light, instrument panel storage, dashboard storage, front cup holders, and two 12V DC power outlets.

All Ram 1500s except the ST come with a bench front seat standard. The ST comes with a split bench front seat. The LT, SLT, and ST offer the options of a mini-overhead console with storage, a lighted glove box, and front map lights.

The Laramie adds a few extra options, which include an AM/FM/cassette/CD audio system with six speakers, an amplifier, and a graphic equalizer. Other options include a compass, a full overhead console with storage, power front windows, an exterior temperature display, driver and passenger vanity mirrors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and a leather steering wheel.

Performance & Handling

The 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 uses coil front springs and leaf rear springs. Heavy-duty shocks improve the front and the rear. The Ram has re-circulating ball steering. A locking/limited-slip differential remains optional for all models.


The Ram 1500 comes with front disc brakes and rear anti-lock drum brakes. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes remain optional on the 1997 Dodge Ram 1500. Other standard safety features include a driver front-impact airbag, a center high-mounted stop light, and variable intermittent windshield wipers. The Ram warns the driver when the oil level gets low, and when the lights remain on, and when the key gets left in the ignition.

Front fog lights remain available as an option on all versions except for the Work Special. The Laramie SLT also has the option of a key fob for all doors and power door locks.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Ram 1500 Work Special: 15/21 mpg city/highway
Dodge Ram 1500 LT: 15/21 mpg city/highway
Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie SLT: 14/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Ram 1500 ST: 14/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • User friendly
  • Distinctive look
  • Engine choices

You Won't Like

  • Four-wheel ABS not standard
  • No passenger airbag
  • No third door option

Sum Up

A classic work truck with a lot of options.

If You Like This Vehicle

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