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2003 Dodge Ram 1500

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2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Review

The rougher, tougher design that makes it a tough vehicle to beat.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 is the light-bodied version of the Dodge Ram pickup. This is a truck meant for work. With its big engine and big rig features, buyers wouldn’t expect anything less. It receives a redesign in 2002, making it a bit more attractive to workers and regular consumers alike. There is a lot to love about the 1500. There is a lot of room in the interior, especially for a pickup truck, and even more on the Quad Cab body style. The engines are pretty good as well, although buyers would expect more performance from the top V-8 engine. It isn’t without its weaknesses. A big truck should have a side-step body option, but the 1500 does not offer such a feature. Also, poor gas mileage will hit drivers in the pocket if they're making long trips. However, It is a touch pickup to beat.

The Range

Body Style: pickup truck
Engines: 3.7-liter V-6, 4.7-liter Magnum V-8, 5.9-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic transmission, five-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: ST, SLT, Laramie

What's New

The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 offer two new packages: the Off-Road and Work Special packages. Also, a special Laramie trim line replaces the old SLT plus model. A five-speed automatic transmission is also available and new to the 3.7-liter V-6 and the 4.7-liter, V-8 engine.


The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 varies depending on the cab model. The regular cab models receive a 6.3-foot cargo bed and ride on a 120.5-inch wheelbase. An extended eight-foot cargo bed is also available that extends the wheelbase to 140.5-inches. The Quad cab is available with both bed sizes. The ST and SLT models have an all-chrome grille. The new Laramie model receives the chrome grill but body-colored molding on the sides. It's with the Sport appearance package receive a body-colored grille with chrome center billets. Its 17-inch tires come standard on all vehicles, and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels are optional.


The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab has a front seat that will sit three passengers using a 40/20/40 configuration. Passengers who sit in the middle of the bench may find manual-transmission equipped models a bit uncomfortable. A center business console is available for laptop storage. Under-cushion storage is also available. The Quad Cab models also have a folding rear seat with a 60/40 split, which allows extra storage. The interior offers leather upholstery and adjustable pedals as optional features. Other available features include an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, remote keyless entry, air-conditioning, power windows, tilt-steering wheel, CD player, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, four-speaker audio system, a seven-speaker audio system, and power adjustable side mirrors.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 comes with four different engine choices. The standard engine is a 3.7-liter, V-6 engine that produces 240 horsepower. The second engine is a 4.7-litre, Magnum V-8 engine that produces 240 horsepower. Next is a 5.9-liter, V-8 engine that produces 245 horsepower. All of these engines come paired with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. The top-of-the-line engine is a 5.7-liter, Hemi V-8 engine that produces 345 horsepower and is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. Although it's a light duty truck, it seems to have big ambitions. It handles bumps and potholes like a big truck might, bouncing all the way. This can create some shocking conditions when driving in the city. Ride quality is much improved on the highway. The ride and steer is quite pleasant otherwise: responsive and well balanced in turns. The automatic transmission is smoother than what buyers find on most trucks. The drive is also pretty quiet, unless it’s upgraded to the big Hemi V-8.


The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 comes with standard dual front airbags and standard anti-lock brakes on all models. Roof-mounted side curtain airbags are an optional feature. Dodge Ram 1500s equipped with the side curtain airbags will fare better in side collisions and rollovers.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Ram 1500 SLT: 13/18 mpg city/highway
Dodge Ram 1500 ST: 14/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Lots of passenger room
  • Great handling
  • Sharp ride
  • Big interior
  • Optional side curtain airbags

You Won't Like

  • Top V-8 engine lacks power
  • Gas mileage
  • No sidestep body

Sum Up

The rougher, tougher design that makes it a tough vehicle to beat.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevy Silverado 1500
  • Ford F-150

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