2009 Dodge Ram 1500 3.7L versus 2009 Dodge Ram 5.7L Hemi Comparison

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ram right side flat.jpgThe 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 has received a complete facelift, but more importantly, the mighty 5.7L Hemi has received an increase to 390 horsepower, making it the most powerful standard engine offering in the half-ton truck class.  Dodge spends so much time promoting the legendary Hemi that their other two engine options are overshadowed, but the 2009 Ram also offers a 3.7L V6 and a 4.7L V8.  These smaller engines offer less initial cost, and in the past you would assume that these less powerful engines would also provide better fuel mileage.  Thanks to the Multiple Displacement System (MDS), the Hemi offers fuel economy numbers of 14 city and 20 highway, equal to the economy numbers from the 3.7L V6 and better than the 4.7L V8.

hemi1.jpgThe 5.7L Hemi
One of the key features of the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 is the fact that the Hemi is available in any trimline and configuration, from the base model ST to the top of the line Laramie, from the regular cab to the quad cab.  The newest version of the 5.7L Hemi makes 390 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, adding 45 horsepower and 35 lb-ft of torque to the performance of the 2008 5.7L powered Ram.  The biggest complaint about the Hemi, like many other V8 engines during these times of unstable fuel prices, is the fuel economy.  A wide variety of engineering efforts went into making this 2009 Hemi more powerful and more efficient, and although the result is an increase of just 1mpg, considering the power gained, the 2009 Hemi is more impressive than ever.  Hemi powered 2009 Rams come equipped with 3.55 rear differentials, although buyers can select a 3.92 ratio for better acceleration and towing or a 3.21 ratio for increased fuel economy.  The 2009 5.7L Hemi powered Dodge Rams are the most powerful trucks in the half ton truck class, with the exception of the Chevy Silverado’s equipped with the optional 6.2L V8 making 403 horsepower.

47v81.jpgThe 4.7L V8
The 4.7L V8 has proven to be a great engine since effectively replacing the 5.9L Magnum motor, and  in its current form, the 4.7L makes 310 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque.  This is the standard engine in the SLT and TRX models, as well as being optional for the ST models.  Previously offering mileage of only 12 city and 16 highway, the 2009 4.7L Ram offers 14/19 on rear wheel drive models, making it more comparable to the other two engines in the lineup, but with the modest price increase for the Hemi, the 4.7L has become less commonly chosen in the Ram.  Like the Hemi models, the 4.7L comes with a standard 3.55 rear differential, with an optional 3.92 ratio available for $375. 

37v61.jpgThe 3.7L V6
The 3.7L V6 is only available in the rear wheel drive ST models, and it is not available in the crew cab models.  Making 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque, the 3.7L is only available with a 3.55 rear differential in the regular cab models and the 3.92 is standard in the quad cab models, even though it raises the price by $375.  The V6 powered Dodge Ram offers more power than Chevy’s V6 model, but less power than Toyota’s V6 or Ford’s base model V8.

Head to Head Comparison
It isn’t difficult to understand that the 5.7L Hemi is more powerful and just as fuel efficient as the 3.7L V6 powered 2009 Dodge Rams, so why would someone select the V6?  To keep mostly everything else the same for comparison’s sake, we will use a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 ST Regular Cab with a 6’4″ bed, as this configuration allows the buyer to select the standard V6 or either of the optional V8 engines.
The base model 2009 Dodge Ram ST with the 3.7L V6 has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $22,170.    Should you decide to buy that same truck with a 5.7L Hemi, the cost increases by $2,295 for the engine upgrade, but that choice also requires the buyer to select the 5-speed automatic transmission that ads on $75 and the $735 ST Popular Equipment Group.  Overall, the price of a Dodge Ram 1500 ST equipped with a 5.7L Hemi comes to $25,325.  This makes the 3.7L V6 the bargain truck, but along with that low introductory price comes the fact that there are very few luxury options of any kind.  Items like bucket seats, sound system upgrades, and wheel upgrades are not offered with the ST package, so for those who want a V6 model, there are very few customization options.
If you want a bit more interior room, you can also select a 2009 Dodge Ram Quad Cab with either the 3.7L V6 or the 5.7L Hemi.  The price of the quad cab Dodge Ram 1500 3.7L starts at $26,600.The price increases to $29,740 when packed with the 5.7L Hemi.
The biggest advantage that the 3.7L V6 has over a 2009 Ram 5.7L Hemi is that the 3.7L powered 2009 Dodge Ram has a greater hauling capacity in some trimline comparisons.  The Hemi, in this case, has only a 1,440lb capacity, whereas the V6 Ram offers a hauling capacity of 1,820lbs, and in regular cab form features 1,910lb of hauling capacity.   That is the key bragging point for the 2009 Dodge Ram V6 models, as no other 1500 series Ram offers so much hauling capacity, even though the V6 has the lowest towing capability.

ram rr rambox.jpgThe 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 offers the most powerful standard engine lineup in its class, thanks in part to the 5.7L Hemi.  Those who are most concerned with hauling capacity, price and 4-wheel drive will find the 3.7L V6 to be a great option.  However, the 390 horsepower Hemi is well worth the $3,000 price increase, especially with its improved fuel economy, and for us the 5.7L Hemi is the easy choice.

Is the Hemi worth the added price over the V6 models? Discuss it here!!

Price Your 2009 Dodge Ram Today! < /o:p>

Longtime auto journalist Patrick Rall contributes to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Rennlist, Club Lexus, F-150 Online, and YotaTech.

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