Ram 2500 Is a Refined Workhorse
Updated heavy-duty pickup truck is enjoyable to drive and offers advanced safety features for the first time
Ram has revised its 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickup trucks with an eye toward making them quieter, more luxurious, and smoother-riding, and with increased towing and hauling abilities.
Heavy-duty trucks (which typically use 2500/3500 or 250/350 nomenclature) are extra robust pickups built primarily for towing and hauling, compared with the more mainstream 1500/150-level pickups. These trucks are often used by commercial contractors, ranchers, and farmers during the week, and on weekends by people who haul horses, RV trailers, or big boats.
Properly equipped, the Ram 3500 has the ability to tow an astounding 35,100 pounds and handle a 7,680-pound payload, which includes the weight of the passengers in the cabin and the cargo in the bed.
In other words, the heavy-duty Ram 2500 is a lot of truck. It sits so high off the ground that the optional running boards are a necessity to help passengers get in or out. On top of that, its length and height make it a bear to drive and park in congested areas, or maneuver around just about any parking lot. And it’s so big that it might not fit into your garage at home. But despite its size and brawn, the Ram 2500 has become a sophisticated machine.
For 2019, Ram has made advanced safety systems available on its heavy-duty trucks for the first time, including such key features as forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane keeping assistance (LKA), blind spot warning (BSW), and rear cross traffic warning.
We rented a 2019 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn crew cab with an 8-foot bed to experience what it’s like to live with a 260.8-inch-long behemoth for a couple of weeks. These are our first impressions.
We like how this Ram combines its big, burly attitude with a relatively refined driving experience, thanks to its comfortable ride (for a heavy-duty truck) and luxurious cabin.
Heavy-duty Rams come with a 410-hp, 6.4-liter V8, but the truck we rented from the automaker was outfitted with the optional 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline six-cylinder engine that makes 370 hp and 850 lb.-ft. of torque. That prodigious low-end power plays a key role in the Ram’s immense towing ability. (For comparison, the Ram’s standard gasoline V8 produces just 429 lb.-ft of torque.) Plus, the powerful diesel engine defines the truck’s character more than anything else; it gives the driver a relaxed and confident feeling that there isn’t anything this big Ram can’t handle.
There’s power without hesitation from the first prod of the accelerator, but it’s not overwhelming because this truck was designed to tow heavy loads, not blister through the quarter mile. That said, the truck is so front-heavy, the wheelbase so long, and the power so readily available that it’s easy for drivers to spin the rear tires in wet weather without even trying.
The Ram 2500 comes with a coil spring rear suspension, much like an SUV, that gives it a smooth ride. Other heavy-duty trucks use leaf springs that date back to horse-and-carriage days. But our rented Ram 2500 ups the ante with an optional rear air suspension that has a bed-lowering mode; that makes it easier for drivers to match the height of the truck’s tow hitch to the height of their trailer.
Even with the air suspension, the Ram 2500 is bouncier and not as comfortable as the Ram 1500, but it squelches road ruts and imperfections fairly well, and isn’t as stiff as most other heavy-duty pickups. The cabin is nice and quiet, with very little wind or road noise on the highway, although there’s always a restrained murmur from the diesel engine.