Expert Reviews

2023 Ram 1500 Limited Review and Video

AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Safety

There’s no question that pickups have long since crossed the threshold into luxury vehicle territory.

Not all of them, mind you, but certainly the priciest of the bunch. No longer relegated solely to work duty, these half-tons will happily serve as six-figure family haulers. Included among them is the 2023 Ram 1500 Limited, a truck that’s just about as opulent as any of its rivals. Except there’s one glaring omission that betrays its affluence, not to mention its astronomical asking price.

Value: 6/10

There’s always a chance that by the time you’re reading this, your local dealer could be offering massive incentives that slash thousands of dollars from the sticker price of a truck just like this one. Of course, the odds are just as good that there are no discounts to be had, which means paying $104,035 before tax for this tester.

Features: 9/10

Ram isn’t the only brand building fancy trucks with price tags to match; Ford will happily sell you a similarly equipped F-150, while General Motors (GM) will do the same with its twin half-tons. Even the Toyota Tundra gets pretty close in its priciest trim. But where both the Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra come with massaging front seats, they aren’t offered here – even as an upgrade. (The same is true of the Chevrolet Silverado, which can’t be had with actuating thrones in its High Country trim.)

Otherwise, just about every other extravagant feature you can think of is offered, although not all of them are included in this Limited trim’s $83,545 manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). That means paying extra for stuff like quilted leather seats and a suede headliner, as well as the available 19-speaker stereo and self-parking system, among others. But air suspension and powered side steps are standard, as are heated and ventilated seats front and rear.

User-Friendliness: 9/10

Also standard is a massive portrait-oriented touchscreen that runs wireless versions of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and satellite radio (both of which require subscriptions). Flanked by buttons and knobs for climate and audio control, respectively, the 12-inch display is responsive to inputs and boasts a smartphone-like interface that’s easy to master.

Overall, the Ram 1500 is an approachable truck that doesn’t feel especially truck-like to drive. Sure, it requires something of a step up to climb aboard – but that’s what the air suspension and deployable running boards are for. Once inside, it provides commanding views of what’s around you, while the light and responsive steering gives it an SUV-like quality. The trouble is the seating position itself, which isn’t exactly kind to tall drivers.

Practicality: 7/10

The Ram 1500 might look like a modern and sizable half-ton, and that’s because it is. But it also manages to feel smaller than most from behind the wheel because of the height of the driver’s seat. Worse still, the steering wheel doesn’t tilt high enough to match your 6-foot-3 author’s seating position, while the top half of the optional head-up display is obscured from view in its lowest setting.

This truck serves as a high-priced reminder that it’s important to try before you buy. While automotive designers and engineers deserve all kinds of credit for a one-size-fits-most approach that generally works for people of all shapes, this Ram is one of the rare occasions where that’s not necessarily the case.

The cabin is spacious and sizable otherwise, with a roomy rear seat and all kinds of storage front and back, including in the floor. Outside, optional locking bedside cargo bins ($1,295) add everyday usability while leaving plenty of space inside the 5-foot-7 box. Meanwhile, payload and towing are both impacted by all the fancy features this truck comes fitted with, so don’t expect the advertised numbers. Instead, be prepared for a payload in the neighbourhood of 580 kg (1,279 lb), and a maximum pulling capacity of around 4,950 kg (10,913 lb), depending on the axle ratio and options.

Safety: 8/10

Among those options are advanced safety features, with precious few equipped as standard – even at the top of the lineup. Beyond blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic high-beam control, features like lane-keeping, front pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control needs to be added at an additional cost. Notably, that adaptive cruise doesn’t include hands-free highway driving capability – something offered by this Ram’s rivals from GM and Ford.

Comfort: 9/10

With standard air suspension at all four corners, the Ram 1500 Limited is a model of comfort and compliance on the road. (The same system is available optionally on cheaper trims.) And while the front seats lack the massage settings some competitors offer, both are fairly supportive in spite of being mostly flat in their construction and lacking much in the way of contouring.

Styling: 9/10

As trucks like this one have evolved into the premium entries we know them as these days, it’s their cabins that truly tell the tale. Swathed in leather – of course, the standard stuff was upgraded in this tester to fancy quilted leather along with a suede headliner – and tons of tech, the Ram 1500 Limited looks every penny of its price tag inside.

The outside isn’t quite as head-turning – not that there’s anything wrong with the way this Ram looks, with all kinds of chrome set against rich ruby red paint; but then nothing beyond the subtle Limited badges hint at just how much it costs. Surely that will suit some of you just fine, but others might be left wanting a little more of a premium presence.

Power: 9/10

The Limited trim comes powered exclusively by a 5.7L V8, although it can be paired with a 48-volt mild hybrid system ($1,495). While not a full-fledged gas–electric setup like the one that’s offered in the Ford F-150, or even the Toyota Tundra, the system sends pulses of electricity to the crankshaft during gear changes to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness, as well as run in-vehicle accessories like the infotainment system.

Of course, it’s supplemental torque and it doesn’t increase the engine’s output, which stands at 410 lb-ft to go with 395 hp. That’s enough to move this truck smoothly and swiftly, while it sounds fantastic with a firm press of the accelerator pedal.

Fuel Economy: 6/10

While the mild hybrid system reduces the load on the powertrain by running accessories, fuel savings are minimal. Officially, it’s rated to burn 13.5 L/100 km in the city, 10.5 on the highway, and 12.1 combined. The same engine without the 48-volt add-on comes in at 16.1 around town, 11.0 on the highway, and 13.8 combined, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Even so, those numbers proved elusive during this week-long test, with 14.4 L/100 km burned over the course of some 320 km.

Driving Feel: 8/10

There’s a good reason this pickup’s platform and related components were used to underpin the oversized Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Particularly with the air suspension, the Ram 1500 rides and handles a lot more like an SUV than a truck, which is hardly a criticism. It’s easy to operate in all settings, with a steering system that’s perhaps a little on the light side but one that makes manoeuvring in parking lots and other tight spaces a treat.

The Verdict

While the supercharged TRX is the true halo of the lineup, as far as a showpiece truck goes the few features missing from the 2023 Ram 1500 Limited put it a short step behind the competition. And sure, it’s a little laughable to think it’s fancy features like massaging seats and hands-free highway driving that can make a difference, but it goes to show just how much this segment has changed in recent years.

Those omissions might not be enough to steer you into one of this Ram’s rivals – just be prepared for a bit of FOMO the first time a GMC Sierra Denali parks next to you.

Engine Displacement 5.7L
Engine Cylinders V8
Peak Horsepower 395 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Peak Torque 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm
Fuel Economy 13.5 / 10.5 / 12.1 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 5-foot-7 bed; 1,526 L
Model Tested 2023 Ram 1500 Limited
Base Price $83,545
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,095
Price as Tested $104,035
Optional Equipment
$18,295 – Limited Level 1 Equipment Group, $5,995; Elite Package, $1,995; Dual-pane panoramic sunroof, $1,695; 22-inch polished aluminum wheels w/inserts, $1,595; 5.7L V8 w/eTorque, $1,495; Tow package, $1,495; Bedside storage boxes, $1,295; Tri-fold tonneau cover, $650; Limited-slip rear differential, $595; 125-L fuel tank, $595; Class IV hitch receiver, $495; Red Pearl paint, $395