After you’ve decided what size Ram Truck you want — either 1500, 2500, or 3500 — now you need to make another decision: what type of cab/box setup are you going to get? Believe it or not, this has a much bigger impact on the overall driving experience than you may think. The cab determines how many people you can transport, and it also affects the fuel-efficiency. The smaller the cab, the more fuel-efficient a truck is going to be. Also, the bed length (or box) varies with the cab configuration, and will also affect the weight, acceleration, and fuel-efficiency of the vehicle.
For a frame of reference, we’ll take a look at the cab configurations available on the 1500, since half-ton trucks are a common sight on the road. With the cab and bed affecting so much, it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Therefore, let’s take a look at the specs on the different configurations, and which one would be best suited for your needs.
The first option is probably the most common configuration found on the road today; crew cab with a short box. A crew cab means it can sit up to six people, thanks to a bench seat in the front and a bench seat in the back. The legroom is 41 inches in the front, and 40.3 inches in the rear; with a total interior volume of 125.3 cu-ft. This cab is combined with a bed length of 5.7 feet, which is plenty of room to carry some smaller objects; such as a wheelbarrow, garden tools, coolers, or even a dirt bike or two if you drop the tailgate and throw some straps on the back.
This cab and box configuration is best for the family man who has to take the kids to school in the morning, and go to work during the day. Having that six-seater capability is a life-saver when it comes time for transporting family or friends, and while squeezing three full-size adults together in the back bench seat is possible, it could be condoned as an act of cruelty. After all, it’s still a truck; so it’s not like the 40-inches of rear legroom is anything magical. On the flip-side this is also the configuration that provides the best balance between space, size, and fuel-efficiency.
However, this is the smallest size truck bed available on the 1500. Therefore, having a box under six-feet might not provide you with the storage space you are looking for.
If that’s the case, and you still have family and friends to cart around, then the crew cab with a mid box is your best option. This cab has the same specs as the last one; seating up to six; 41 inches of front legroom and 40.3 inches of rear legroom; with an interior volume of 125.3 cu-ft. The difference lies in the truck bed, and it’s now 6.4 feet long — which is almost a foot longer than the previous truck bed.
This is helpful if you still need to transport family and friends around, but need more length in the truck bed for carrying longer items safely. Maybe you like to go kayaking and need the extra space for transporting the kayaks, or you don’t want construction materials like long boards or planks hanging over the tailgate by a foot or two; maybe, you simply just need a longer truck bed to store more coolers or gardening supplies.
Whatever the case, it’s important to know that the difference in versatility between these first two options boils down to the length of the box. But, it’s also important to know that this is the truck configuration that allows six people to ride with ample room for supplies in the back; which might mean an increased amount of weight. In turn, the fuel-efficiency is likely to suffer more on this than the previous one; along with the acceleration.
Even just the extra foot on the truck bed alone will cause this to be the more expensive of the two crew cabs at the pump.
The quad cab is more of an older style of cab and box configuration, and the introduction of the crew cab has all but phased this style out on the 2016 market. However, it’s still an option; so it’s important to know if it’s for you or not.
This configuration still has seating for up to six, but the cab only has an interior volume of 116.6 cu-ft — which is much smaller than the crew cab. The difference in space? That’s taken out of the back, which now only has 34.7 inches of legroom. Even though the front still has 41 inches of legroom, so the driver and passenger won’t notice a difference, the backseat is even more squished.
It’s fine for when the kids are young, and while it’s still possible to fit in the back when you hit high school, it’s very uncomfortable. Trust me, I know; I rode in the back of one of these multiple times. With that in mind, if you don’t plan on having this truck in 14 years when your kid(s) starts getting too big for the backseat, then it’s a great way to get a little extra interior storage without adding on the weight of a larger cab.
Therefore, stay away from this configuration unless you have small children, or want a little extra inside storage without worrying about the added weight of a crew cab. If you expect anything more out of the cab on the truck bed, then just grab the crew cab.
Just like the crew cab setup, the regular cab configuration comes paired to two different types of truck beds: a 6.4 foot and an eight-foot. But before we get into the bed length, let’s talk about the size of the regular cab. The regular cab has the ability to only seat up to three people, with 41 inches of legroom in the front, and an interior volume of 62.5 cu-ft. Basically, if you take away the back seat in a crew/quad cab, this is what you’re left with. Saving that extra space in the cab has a purpose though, and that purpose is so this truck can (potentially) have a bed length of eight-feet. This is the longest truck bed offered on the 1500, and comes exclusively paired with a regular cab.
Therefore, this truck is a good choice if you aren’t worried about transporting friends or family. You could squeeze two kids in the front seat and take them to school in the morning, but the idea of using it as a full-time family vehicle isn’t an option. Again, it’s possible to fit three in the front; but it would get a little uncomfortable after a while. But, that sacrifice in passenger volume comes with the ability to carry almost anything you can think of in the truck bed, and still have room for more. Changing gears a bit; opting for a 1500 with the regular cab and mid box configuration gets you a truck bed length of 6.4 feet, and seating for three.
In a nutshell, only opt for the eight-foot regular cab if you need that much extra space for materials. If you can get away with a 6.4 foot bed and aren’t worried about seating for three, then grab the regular cab mid box setup. This will get you the best possible fuel-return, and also get you a smaller truck that’s easy to maneuver in tighter spaces.
There are a lot of different options when it comes to the type of 1500 cab and box configuration you can pick. As a general rule, just remember that more space will mean a less-efficient truck, and less space will mean a smaller and more fuel-friendly truck, with a much easier turning radius.
What I’ve written here is more of a general rule; and you might have more reasons you can think of to get one configuration over the other. So before you go shopping for a 1500, think about what you need it for in your life, and your reasons for needing or not needing that particular setup. In turn, that will ensure that you get the right rig in the end.