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    ram v chevy.jpgThis year brought about a complete redesign for the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, and Dodge has staked their claim as the top half ton truck in the market.  One key competitor in that market is the 2009 Chevy Silverado 1500.  There is little change from the 2008 model, but where Dodge has taken an approach of being the most powerful trucks on the road, General Motors has keyed the Silverado in on being the most efficient truck in the class.

    Powertrain
    The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2009 Chevy Silverado 1500 offer the most powerful engine lineups in the full-size truck class, along with offering a base model V6.  The 2009 Ram has an improved engine lineup, beginning with a 3.7L V6 making 210 horsepower, followed by a 310 horsepower 4.7L V8, and the premium engine is the 390 horsepower Hemi.    The 2009 Silverado returns the VORTEC engine lineup from the 2008 model year, starting with a 4.3L V6 making 195, followed by a pair of V8s; one measuring 4.8L and making 295 horsepower, the other being a 5.3L offering 315 horsepower.  Chevy also offers two premium engine choices, although they do not come standard in any of the trimlines.  The first is a 6.0L making 367 horsepower, and the top option is the 403 horsepower 6.2L V8.


    During the hauling exercise, we tested two 2009 Dodge Rams equipped with the 4.7L and 5.7L Hemi against two 2009 Chevy Silverados packed with the 5.3L and 6.2L.  The trucks were each packed with 850lbs of ballast, and the testing area was an autocross course with a variety of s-turns, long sweeping turns, hard hairpins, and a “lane change maneuver”.  All four of the test trucks had plenty of power to accelerate hard into the course, and the 5.7L Hemi Ram and the 6.2L Silverado both were able break traction easily.  Even with the smaller engines, neither truck seemed hampered in any way by the extra weight, although the Chevy’s transmissions shifted harder than the Ram’s and the drive train created a tremendous amount of cabin noise.

    Surprisingly, both of these trucks struggled in the towing exercise.  The 2009 Dodge Ram 5.7L Hemi was matched against the 2009 Chevy Silverado 6.0L, both with the available towing packages.  The Dodge Ram and Chevy Silverado were each hitched to a 7000lb trailer and taken through a two mile road course.  The Dodge Ram had no problems pulling the trailer on the flat portions, but from a stop heading up a large hill, the Dodge struggled to reach the target speed of 50mph. The Dodge Ram’s transmission allowed the RPMs to sit at a point where it was not pulling strongly, nor would it downshift, causing the truck to slow towards the top of the hill. The Silverado was able to reach the target speed of 50 mph, but in doing so, the transmission shifted violently back and forth as the transmission attempted to keep the LS2 engine in its peak torque band.  During these repeated shifts, the engine noise inside the truck was excessive.  

    Both the 2009 Dodge Ram and the 2009 Chevy Silverado offer a great spread of powerful engines,. The overall edge in power goes to the Silverado, but Chevy’s crude transmissions and interior engine noise aren’t worth the extra power compared to the 2009 Ram.


    Ride Quality and Handling

    The 2009 Dodge Ram has made a dramatic change to their new rear coil springs, whereas the 2009 Chevy Silverado 1500 uses the more conventional leaf spring setup.  Right away, the advantage of the Ram’s coil springs were evident, as the Ram transferred less vibration from the road surface and offered a smoother ride through turns during the basic road test. When the 2009 Ram and 2009 Silverado were each taken down the Ford Proving Grounds Silver Creek Test Track, the advantage of the new Dodge suspension was clear.  The 2009 Ram was very smooth heading down the rough track, with only the most violent of the bumps causing the rear wheels to hop, but the story was very different for the Chevy.  The 2009 Silverado struggled with the medium to large bumps, shaking not only the chassis and steering wheel, but causing a violent shake to the dash and interior panels.  This vibration was so severe that it made it a bit uncomfortable to maintain the target speed of 30 miles per hour.

    During the autocross hauling exercise, the Ram’s new coil suspension stood head and shoulders above the Chevy.  The Ram easily handled all of the hard turns, with only a slight amount of wheel slide on the last of the s-turns. The Silverado’s body roll was much worse, and in the hard, tight turns the Chevy felt like the weight was overwhelming the suspension.  This gave the driver very little feeling of control through the lane change maneuver, with only the traction control keeping the Silverado pointed straight ahead.  During the towing exercise, the Ram performed well, even though the 7000lb trailer caused the rear end to squat a bit.  The 7000lb trailer served to magnify the body roll of the Silverado, and during the long sweeping turns at higher speeds, the Chevy felt unstable.  Overall, the suspension of the 2009 Dodge Ram easily outperformed the 2009 Chevy Silverado in every category, whether pulling a trailer, carrying a full load, or simply running over rough road surfaces.

    Exterior And Interior
    While the exterior appearance comes down to a matter of opinion, the 2009 Dodge Ram has added innovations to make it far more functional than the previous generation Ram, as well as the 2009 Chevy Silverado.  Dodge has added the new RamBox Cargo Management System, a unique feature across the entire truck market.  This adds weatherproof, lockable storage compartments to the top of both bedsides, and the inside of the Dodge Ram’s bed features ribs to control the integrated bed divider/extender.  The 2009 Silverado offers a bedrail system with a handful of customizable, lockable configurations including a cargo box divider, a sliding toolbox, and side storage boxes.

    The 2009 Dodge Ram and the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado offer interior packages ranging from a bare work truck to a luxury package fitted with leather, heated seats, and a state of the art sound system.  The 2009 Ram even features a heated steering wheel, which Chevy pokes fun at in a new commercial, but for those who live in the Northern US and have to wake up to sub-zero temperatures, the heated steering wheel in the Ram is a great addition.  Both trucks offer the popular touch screen navigation radio, but the Dodge has the advantage of their on-board Wi-Fi connection that works with devices like laptops or PDA within 100 feet of the truck.  The Chevy does not offer mobile internet capabilities, and although the Silverado offers satellite radio, the Sirius system found in the Ram is superior in quality and quantity to Chevy’s XM system.  Even from an aesthetic standpoint, the Dodge interior was much nicer.  The finish on the seats, door panels, and dash area were cleaner than the Chevy, the seats in the Ram were more comfortable, and the controls were all more accessible to the driver in the Ram.  Whether you are looking for an everyday work truck or a truck to tow the boat to the lake with the wife and kids, the Ram offers a much more comfortable and convenient interior and is the better choice.

    Summary
    The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 has an all new look, new suspension, and improved engine lineups, and those revisions have put the Ram head and shoulders over the 2009 Chevy Silverado 1500.  Chevy may have a slight edge in horsepower, but the power difference is negligible, especially considering how much better the Ram was in every other aspect.  If you want to get one or two miles per gallons more out of your truck, then the Silverado is for you.  However, if you want a far superior truck for a similar price, the 2009 Dodge Ram is better across every trimline.

    Is the Chevy advantage in MPG enough for you to consider a new Silverado over a Ram?













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    2009 Dodge Ram
    1500 Specs

    Model Line
    Overview


    Model lineup:

    Dodge Ram ST regular
    cab long bed 2WD ($21,270); SLT Quad Cab 4WD ($32,695); TRX Quad Cab 4WD
    ($33,840); Sport Crew Cab 2WD ($35,055); R/T ($29,365); Laramie Crew Cab 4WD
    ($43,240)

    Engines:

    215-hp 3.7-liter sohc
    12-valve V6; 310-hp 4.7-liter sohc 16-valve V8; 390-hp 5.7-liter ohv 16-valve
    V8

    Transmissions:

    4-speed automatic;
    5-speed automatic

    Safety equipment (standard):

    dual front
    multi-stage airbags, three-point belts in all seating positions with
    constant-force retractors, LATCH child-seat anchors, child-protection rear
    door locks; electronic stability/traction control, four-wheel ABS

    Safety equipment (optional):

    side-curtain airbags
    for front and rear seats, back-up camera, rear park sensors

    Basic warranty:

    3 years/36,000 miles

    Assembled in:

    St. Louis, Missouri;
    Warren, Michigan

     


    Specifications
    As Tested


    Model tested (MSRP):

    Dodge Ram Crew Cab
    1500 Laramie 4WD ($44,035)

    Standard equipment:

    leather upholstery,
    dual-zone climate control, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, heated
    front seats, security alarm, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Sentry Key engine
    immobilizer; overhead console with mini trip computer and compass, cruise
    control, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, four-wheel disc brakes
    with four-wheel ABS; part-time manual shift transfer case

    Options as tested (MSRP):

    Navigation radio with
    AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 ($945); 20-inch wheels ($125)

    Destination charge:

    ($900)

    Gas guzzler tax:

    N/A

    Price as tested (MSRP):

    $46,005

    Layout:

    four-wheel drive

    Engine:

    5.7-Liter V8

    Horsepower (hp @ rpm):

    390 @ 5600

    Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):

    407 @ 4000

    Transmission:

    5-speed automatic

    EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:

    13/18 mpg

    Wheelbase:

    140.0 in.

    Length/width/height:

    227.5/79.4/74.8 in.

    Track, f/r:

    68.1/67.5 in.

    Turning circle:

    45.4 ft.

    Seating capacity:

    5

    Head/hip/leg room, f:

    41.0/63.6/41.0 in.

    Head/hip/leg room, m:

    N/A

    Head/hip/leg room, r:

    39.9/63.2/39.4 in.

    Cargo volume:

    N/A

    Payload:

    1380 Lbs.

    Towing capacity:

    6300 Lbs.

    Suspension, f:

    independent, double
    A-arms, coil-over-shock springs, stabilizer bar

    Suspension, r:

    live axle, trailing
    links, coil springs, Panhard rod, stabilizer bar

    Ground clearance:

    7.7 in.

    Curb weight:

    5440 lbs.

    Tires:

    P275/60R20 Goodyear
    Wrangler

    Brakes, f/r:

    vented disc/vented
    disc with ABS, EBD

    Fuel capacity:

    26.0 gal.

     

     Price Your 2009 Dodge Ram Today!

     

     

     

    2009 Chevy Silverado 1500 Specs

    Model Line
    Overview


    Model lineup:

    Chevy Silverado 1500
    WT regular cab, standard bed, 4WD ($21,585); 1500 LT extended cab, standard
    bed, 2WD ($27,125); LS crew cab, standard bed, 4WD ($31,860); LTZ crew cab,
    short box, 2WD ($36,925); Silverado Hybrid

    Engines:

    260-hp 4.3-liter V6;
    295-hp 4.8-liter V8; 315 hp 5.3-liter V8; 367-hp 6.0-liter V8; 403-hp
    6.2-liter V8; 332-hp 6.0-liter hybrid

    Transmissions:

    4-speed automatic,
    6-speed automatic

    Safety equipment (standard):

    dual front airbags,
    daytime running lights, tire pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brakes

    Safety equipment (optional):

    driver and front-seat
    side air bags, side-curtain airbags, StabiliTrak electronic stability control
    with rollover mitigation technology (standard on Crew Cab, optional extended
    cab, NA regular cab), Autotrac active transfer case, rear parking assist,
    OnStar

    Basic warranty:

    3 years/36,000

    Assembled in:

    Pontiac, Michigan;
    Fort Wayne, Indiana; Oshawa, Ontario; and Silao, Mexico

     


    Specifications
    As Tested


    Model tested (MSRP):

    Chevy Silverado LTZ
    Crew Cab 4×4 ($40,075)

    Standard equipment:

    leather front seats
    reclining and heated with 12-way power, dual-zone automatic temperature
    controls, in-dash 6CD with Bose speakers, turn signal indicators in exterior
    mirrors, heated windshield wash, driver information center, power windows,
    locks, mirrors, remote keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror with
    compass and outside temperature display, 17-inch wheels, audio controls
    mounted on the steering wheel, fog lamps, spare tire lock, heavy-duty
    trailering equipment, automatic locking rear differential, body-colored
    bumpers

    Options as tested (MSRP):

    Safety package
    includes side curtain airbags, rear parking sense, adjustable pedals; EZ-Lift
    tailgate

    Destination charge:

    ($975)

    Gas guzzler tax:

    N/A

    Price as tested (MSRP):

    $41,860

    Layout:

    four-wheel drive

    Engine:

    5.3-liter V8

    Horsepower (hp @ rpm):

    315 @ 5200

    Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):

    338 @ 4400

    Transmission:

    4-speed automatic

    EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:

    14/19 mpg

    Wheelbase:

    143.5 in.

    Length/width/height:

    230.2/80.0/73.7 in.

    Track, f/r:

    68.1/67.0 in.

    Turning circle:

    47.2 ft.

    Seating capacity:

    5

    Head/hip/leg room, f:

    41.2/62.5/41.2 in.

    Head/hip/leg room, m:

    N/A

    Head/hip/leg room, r:

    40.5/65.4/38.7 in.

    Cargo volume:

    N/A

    Payload:

    1629 Lbs.

    Towing capacity:

    8000 Lbs.

    Suspension, f:

    independent, coil
    springs

    Suspension, r:

    solid axle, leaf
    springs

    Ground clearance:

    9.0 in.

    Curb weight:

    5371 lbs.

    Tires:

    245/70R17

    Brakes, f/r:

    vented disc/vented
    disc, ABS

    Fuel capacity:

    26.0 gal.


    Price Your 2009 Chevy Silverado Today!

     
     
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