2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500

  • 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 Base Cargo Van

    Base Cargo Van

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      5.2L V8
    • MSRP
  • 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 Base Extended Cargo Van

    Base Extended Cargo Van

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      5.2L V8
    • MSRP
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2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 Review

Venerable van in its final year before retirement.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 marks its last year before retirement. The European-flavored (and underpowered) Dodge Sprinter sets up to replace it. The Ram Van provides one of the classic American vans along with the Ford E-Series, Chevrolet Express, and GMC Savana. The Ram Van offers plenty of power and torque for towing and hauling jobs. This particular model year focuses on cargo, so buyers who need a people hauler must check out the competition or a Sprinter.

The Range

Body Styles: van
Engines: 5.2-liter V-8, 5.9-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Ram Van 2500, Dodge Ram Van 2500 Maxi

What's New

For the final year of the old stand-by, the 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 gets an upgrade to 16-inch wheels, but sees no other changes as it heads into old car retirement.


The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 comes in a base or conversion trim. Both trims have three doors only with a rear barn door and can be a standard van or a Maxi van. The base includes 16-inch steel wheels, intermittent wipers, auxiliary transmission fluid cooler, and a front independent suspension. The Conversion trim doesn’t add anything to the standard exterior features list. Standalone options for both models include a security system, limited-slip differential, an engine block heater, a rear window defroster, a trailer hitch receiver, and power door mirrors.

The Ram Van looks about as basic as it could, without any thoughts of style, aerodynamics, or flair.


The interior of the 2500 looks rather basic and comes with two vinyl front bucket seats that can be covered in the optional cloth. The passenger seat can be removed. Dodge intends this model for cargo and conversion use, so it offers no option for bench seats to haul passengers. Cargo capacity for the base 2500 totals 238.9 cubic feet and 294.6 cubic feet for the Maxi Van.

The interior of the 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 comes with a very basic set of standard features, including power steering and an AM/FM stereo with a cassette player and two speakers. Options available for any type of 2500 include a power driver’s seat, a CD player, six or eight speakers for the audio system, power windows, air-conditioning, rear HVAC, speed control, remote keyless entry, and a tilt steering wheel.

Dodge supplies special equipment for commercial applications, like a Tradesman Group that includes a ladder rack, shelving, and partitions.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 uses a 5.2-liter V-8 that develops 225 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The 5.9-liter V-8 generates 245 horsepower. Dodge also offers a version of the 5.2-liter that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). A four-speed-automatic transmission provides the only gearbox option. All models of the Ram Van use rear drive. A Ram Van 2500 can tow between 7600 and 8600 pounds depending on the specifics of the configuration. The Ram Van handles traffic situations alright. Thanks to the high torque output, the Ram Van can tow or haul big loads without feeling strained.

The handling meets expectations for a truck. The steering feels vague, with ever-present body lean, and the grip feels adequate in most situations. For a heavy vehicle the Ram Van brakes well, even better with the optional four-wheel anti-lock brakes. The ride seems even more like a rattling and heavy truck ride with all of the bumps. The Ram Van doesn’t get good marks for ride quality. Noise levels get relatively high and surpass the rest of the class. Long trips can be an endurance test in the Ram Van because of the noise and the ride quality.


The 2003 Dodge Ram Van 2500 Maxi offers some of the basics for standard safety equipment including dual front-impact airbags, an anti-lock braking system for the rear brakes only, child seat anchors, a passenger-airbag deactivation switch, front seat belt pretensioners, and electronic brake force distribution. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes remain optional. Side-impact airbags remain unavailable.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Ram Van 2500 Maxi: 13/15 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Cargo space

You Won't Like

  • Fuel economy
  • Ride
  • Steering and handling

Sum Up

Venerable van in its final year before retirement.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • GMC Savana
  • Chevrolet Express
  • Ford E-Series

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