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2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500

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2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500 Review

A highly-useful vehicle with an adaptable carriage that can be converted to suit the driver's needs.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500 is a full-size van in the last year of its production. Although useful, it remains relatively unchanged. The unibody construction makes it sturdy, and there is plenty of room for cargo. It is also suitable for conversion into a camper van, or a van for those with physical handicaps.

The Range

Body Style: cargo van
Engines: 3.9-liter V-6, 5.2-liter V-8, 5.9-liter V-8
Transmissions: three-speed automatic, four-speed automatic
Models: 1500, 1500 Maxi

What's New

The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500 remains unchanged for the 2003 model year. This is the final year of production for the cargo van with no named successor.

Exterior

The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500 is a large vehicle riding on a 109.3-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 192.6-inches. An extended wheelbase version is also available measuring 127.2-inches in length and available in 208.5 or 234.5-inch overall lengths. The extended wheelbase models are called the Maxi. The rear extends 26-inches over the back wheels. The van is fitted with twin opening side doors and a rear-opening door for easy access. The rear and side doors make the Dodge Ram Van 1500 suitable for conversion, allowing to install power lifts for wheelchairs, extending stairs, and other utilities. Optional features include power exterior mirrors, a trailer hitch, trailer hitch receiver, block heater, and a limited rear-slip differential.

Interior

The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500 is pretty bare bones due to its use as a cargo and passenger vehicle. The front seats are only available vinyl-covered with a cloth upholstery option available. The passenger seat can be removed for extra cargo area, which is a nice feature. A cassette player is installed as standard equipment with an optional CD player option. Tilt steering is, thankfully, standard on all models. The cargo volume for the standard Dodge Ram Van 1500 wheelbase is a massive 200 cubic feet. The longer wheelbase on the Maxi model offers 294.6 cubic feet. Special features are also available on request. A Tradesman Group is available that includes a ladder rack, shelving, and partitions for work applications. Standard equipment includes front cup holders, AM/FM radio with cassette player, and variable intermittent wipers. Other optional interior features include power front windows, air-conditioning, rear HVAC system, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and a rear window defroster.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500 comes with a standard 3.9-liter, V-6 engine that produces 175 horsepower. An optional 5.2-liter V-8 that produces 225 horsepower is also available. The extended wheelbase Dodge Ram Van 1500 can be equipped with a 5.9-liter, V-8 engine that produces 245 horsepower. The V-6 engine is paired with a three-speed automatic transmission, while the V-8 engines use a four-speed automatic. It can tow between 4150 and 8200 pounds depending on the engine, the wheelbase, and class. It isn’t exactly the most exciting vehicle to drive. The blocky body doesn’t exactly give the driver confidence in quick turns or on windy days, but the unibody frame gives the half-ton vehicle a sturdier feel than other vans of it size. The steering is a bit loose, but not so much that it feels like the drivers are not in control. Overall, it is a competent vehicle.

Safety

The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500 comes with dual-front airbags, anti-lock brake system, power steering, front-wheel independent suspension. The large size of the Dodge Ram Van 1500 will protect you from most crashes. The NHTSA and IIHS have not tested the vehicle for front or side crash tests.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Ram 1500: 14/16 mpg city/highway
Dodge Ram 1500 Maxi: 14/16 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful engines available
  • Huge cargo capacity
  • Ability to convert vehicle
  • Working vehicle features
  • Utility vehicle features

You Won't Like

  • Discontinued product
  • Gas guzzler

Sum Up

A highly-useful vehicle with an adaptable carriage that can be converted to suit the driver's needs.

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