Our 1500 visited the dealer twice for scheduled maintenance, both times included an oil/filter change and tire rotation for a total of $87.40. Our only concern came at 15,047 miles when the brake pedal developed a squeak during application. Some grease at the offending joint provided an instant cure, at no cost to us.

Of course, our main power gripe has been dissolved with the introduction of the Hemi in the 1500 series. As Sessions remarks, "After driving the Ram with the Hemi, this ol' 360 feels like it needs a shot of Geritol." But during its long-term test, our 5.9 remained a trooper, and the 1500 proved an outstanding appliance at the home-improvement store, a comfortable cruiser to and from the office, and a heavy hauler for weekend toys. It's a winner in our book. TT

2002 Dodge
Ram 1500 Sport
Price $35,950
Engine 5.9L OHV 16-valve V-8
Miles 10,332
EPA, city/hwy 11/15
Observed average, mpg 11.6
Observed worst, mpg 7.5
Observed best, mpg 14.7
Average distance per fill-up 170.0
Average cost per gallon $1.70
Average cost per fill-up $24.27
Number of services 2
Overall service cost $87.40