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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Dodge Ram Van Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Dodge Ram Van Overview

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The full-size van is undergoing something of a renaissance. People are discovering that for the money, you get a lot more passenger and equipment hauling capability than you do with a full-size SUV. Take the Ram van for example; you can order it stripped out for use as a work truck or have it converted into a mobile living room complete with refrigerator and TV. You can also order a special package that makes the Ram ideal for use as a transport for those who require mobility assists such as wheelchair lifts and custom seating. With the 1970's coming back into vogue, you may even see a return of the custom van complete with shag carpet and built-in waterbed; if these rolling dorm rooms ever do make a comeback with today's youth, it's hard to think of a better vehicle to use than the Ram.

Of all the vans on the market, the Ram seems to have the most pleasing shape. Though the front and rear have been freshened to keep up with both technology and safety requirements, the outline of the Ram has basically remained the same for the last 30 years; if that is not a testament to great styling, we don't know what is. It's a cool looking van with a short nose and narrow front windows that lends itself perfectly to aftermarket conversion. With the Ram, you get a sense of privacy that you won't find in the open greenhouse of an SUV. Once past the windshield and front doors, there are a number of glass options that range from full surround to none at all.

For the workingman or woman, the Ram makes an ideal tool carrier. You can order the Ram in a number of configurations that include both short and long wheelbase (109-inches vs. 127), panel van or windowed, and a variety of door options that include either dual-split or sliding-side entry. You'll find a number of Tradesman packages that include such useful additions as a full metal partition with mesh top, heavy-duty cargo compartment mat, four-tiered steel shelving units and a sliding ladder rack. You can also order a variety of towing packages to match the wheelbase and engine choice of your Ram; mobility vans can be equipped with wheelchair lifts, raised roofs and adaptive driving devices that bypass the traditional foot pedals.

Dodge has outfitted the Ram with three powerful engine choices. The base engine on the standard wheelbase Ram is a 3.9-liter V6 that produces 175-horsepower and has a tow rating of 5900 pounds. Dodge provides a number of rear-end choices that will help you better maximize either your engine's fuel efficiency or low-end power output. One step up from the V6 is the 5.2-liter Magnum V8; many of you long-time Dodge fans may recognize this engine as the venerable 318 (this is the engine's displacement in cubic inches, not liters.) Though it is now fuel-injected and fitted with a new manifold, the guts of the venerable old 318 are still at the heart of this durable powerplant. Likewise the old 360 is now known as the 5.9-liter Magnum V8 and with 245 horsepower is offered as the top-of-line engine choice. If you're not pulling a great deal of weight and fuel economy is somewhat important, the V6 makes a fine choice. You might also be interested to know that Dodge offers a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of its 5.2-liter engine.

Climb inside the Ram and you will find an interior that mimics the Ram's ruggedly handsome exterior. The dash is pleasing to the eye, with thick soft-touch plastics and soft rounded edges. There are a number of cup holders and storage bins built into the front console and dash, and you'll find all the secondary controls such as climate and audio to be placed within clear view and arm's length. The standard seats are high-back vinyl buckets, but you can upgrade to cloth-covered captain's chairs. There are a myriad of options that include power windows and door locks, cruise control, tilt wheel, front and rear A/C and a choice of high-powered audio units.

A quick note about the luxury conversion vans; they are not done at the Dodge factory but are put together by a number of Dodge-approved conversion shops. The conversions done at these shops do not void any part of the Ram's standard warranty, an important thought to keep in mind when shopping the conversion market.

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