By KBB.com Editors
Heavy-duty pickups are a special breed of hauler. These full-size leviathans are built to tote and transfer big-time payloads and pull trailers weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds. Chrysler's entrants into this segment, which includes competitors from Chevrolet, GMC and Ford, are the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups. Available in Regular, Quad or Mega Cab configurations, with rear- or four-wheel drive, short or standard bed lengths, shorter or longer wheelbases, single or dual rear wheels, multiple trim levels and HEMI V8 gasoline or Cummins Turbo Diesel power, these ultra-Rams offer everything the basic Ram 1500 pickup does while adding even greater all-around capability.
If you want capacious rear-cabin room for people and cargo, the 2009 Dodge Ram Mega Cab is your truck. With a limo-like 44.2 inches of rear-seat legroom and 71 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded, the Mega Cab is the King of the Hill when it comes to interior space.
Those who place a high importance on interior design and features may find more to admire in the Ram's heavy-duty competitors from Ford and GM. The Mega Cab's scale also requires mega-sized garages or parking spots.
The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is upgraded to 355 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. The 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel is now the standard engine on all 3500 models and can now be equipped with remote start.
Driving Impressions A strong, stiff frame and decently sorted suspension endow the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks with a good basic foundation. The cabin is comfortable and reasonably well isolated and,...while the ride on certain road surfaces can get slightly choppy (particularly in an unladen 4x4 model), adding passengers or payload settles things down nicely and is a modest price to pay for the Ram's excellent all-around capabilities. Despite its tow-maxing bottom-end torque, the Cummins Turbo Diesel can't quite match the HEMI's off-the-line snap. But even the 2500 Laramie Quad Cab 4x4 we drove was still capable of accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds. Slightly raucous on cold starts, the potent diesel quickly quiets down and is always virtually smoke and odor-free. The Allison-supplied six-speed automatic transmission is an equally laudable and smooth operator. Like the five-speed automatic that backs the HEMI engine, it offers a convenient Tow/Haul-mode switch on the shift lever.
Available Mega Cab
Quite literally the biggest cabin in the pickup segment, the Mega Cab's additional 20 inches of length yields outstanding accommodations for front-seat and, particularly, rear-seat passengers. Its 60/40-split flat-folding rear bench seat features reclining seatbacks and an additional 7.7 cubic feet of stowage space behind it. Other Mega Cab features include rear air-conditioning outlets and an available DVD system.
Cummins Turbo Diesel
While the HEMI may be slightly quicker, when it comes to sheer pulling power the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel is the clear choice. It boasts prodigious towing capabilities, outstanding reliability and durability, HEMI-beating fuel economy and "BlueTEC" design enhancements that make it the only turbo-diesel clean enough to meet the EPA's 2010 requirements for NOx emissions levels.
Depending upon configuration and trim, interiors vary from decently civil in a vinyl-clad ST-level Regular Cab Ram 2500 with its 40/20/40-split bench seat, to quite nice in a cloth-covered six-passenger SXT or SLT Quad Cab and to demonstrably upscale in a leather-swathed and ultra-spacious Laramie-spec Mega Cab. The instruments are legible and most switches and controls well positioned – although the audio system selector buttons and the undersized display for the optional navigation system could use a rethink. While the Quad Cab's 60/40-split flat-folding rear seat will carry three adults in reasonable comfort, stepping up to Mega Cab spaciousness makes the aft quarters downright inviting and adds power-adjustable pedals plus numerous comfort and convenience touches.Exterior
The "big rig" look is a long-time Ram styling cue, and the 2500 and 3500 lineup carries on with the now-classic Dodge face that matches a prominent "gunsight" crossbar grille surrounded by bold brightwork (dark grey on the base ST) with squared-off fenders and wraparound headlamps. Additional shiny bits and chrome wheels are parts of higher trim levels, but no Ram truck includes a locking tailgate. There are two cargo-box lengths, of eight feet with the Regular Cab, six feet, three inches with the Mega Cab and either size for the Quad Cab. The rear doors on Quad and Mega Cab models swing open nearly 90 degrees to facilitate loading and unloading.
Even a base 2500 SL Regular Cab has air conditioning, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system, dual 12-volt power outlets, tilt steering column, four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) and dual front airbags. The SXT trim adds chrome bumpers, cloth upholstery, power windows, locks and mirrors, keyless remote and cruise control, while the SLT has an overhead console and chrome steel wheels. The top-line Laramie trim level includes leather and faux wood in Mega Cabs as well as a power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, steering-wheel cruise-control buttons, security alarm and more brightwork in Quad Cabs. All SLT and Laramie 4x4 models feature electric activation of their dual-range transfer cases.
In addition to features that define specific trim levels, the Ram 2500 and 3500 offer an assortment of appeal-enhancing packages headed by the descriptively named Popular Equipment Group (ST/SLT), Navigation Convenience Group (SLT/Power Wagon/Laramie), Light Group (SXT/SLT) and Sport Appearance Group (SLT). Beyond the commercially-oriented Power Wagon, any SXT model can be equipped with the comprehensive TRX4 Off-Road package that includes skid plates, limited-slip differential, on and off-road tires, tow hooks and fog lamps. Stand-alone options include a bedliner, premium audio (with or without SIRIUS Satellite Radio), power sunroof, side air bags and electronic stability control (standard on Laramie) plus dedicated trailer towing upgrades.
The Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks offer two different engines for two different kinds of customers. Each delivers outstanding performance and is available with a choice of transmissions. The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 makes 355 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. But even with Chrysler's efficiency-enhancing Multi-Displacement System, that can deactivate four cylinders under light-load cruising conditions, real-world mpg will still peak in the mid-teens with either the six-speed manual transmission or the available five-speed automatic. For those seeking up to 16,500 lb of towing capacity, there's the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel. Available on nearly all 2500s and 3500s, this refined, rugged and super-clean diesel develops 350 horsepower with a heady 650 pound-feet of torque at 1500 rpm when backed with its available six-speed automatic or 610 pound-feet at 1400 rpm with the standard six-speed manual transmission.
5.7-liter V8 HEMI
355 horsepower @ 5400 rpm
395 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.7-liter in-line 6 Cummins Turbo Diesel
350 horsepower @ 3013 rpm
650 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500 rpm (automatic)
610 lb-ft of torque @1400 rpm (manual)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
By MuckFopar on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice body lines."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought my truck last year and drive it every day. It was great at first until the heat quit working then the engine valvetrain started ticking(valve lash) then the power steering pump went, then the alignment went. Now a belt slipped in the rear tire. Wheel bearings are shot. Hood doesnt stay up. Makes strange grinding noise when going into gear.If you want a ram, buy a cummins. An actual engine and an actual transmission. The drivetrain in these trucks are garbage. Struggles to pull anything (4.7). Oh and the body is trash rusting everywhere.."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Mike on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 214,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Cons: "The steering. ball joints and tie rod ends replace"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This has been one of the best trucks I have had. The power out of the cummins is unreal, I tow a 10,000 lbs. trailer with all the toys in the trailer. This truck is stock no computer upgrades."
By thedreamaster on Saturday, March 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,211overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Even Dodge Ram owners when told the year of my truck have to look at my registration, its paint is THAT shiny. I have used McGuire's classic and have used a random buffer three times in 8 years using their Scratch X compound. The Putco chrome 4" round wheel to wheel step bars reflect the paint further, and the Putco 2.75" bed rails jump from the paint to the LineX bed protection.The only OTHER chrome is in the tail lights and head lights. I have hauled tons of dirt and crushed stone and moved myself three times with this truck. I installed a Gibson dual rear exit exhaust as my first upgrade in 2006 and its sound is the envy wherever I go. Every accessory I installed was of the highest quality and $ and all are still 100% 7 to 8 years later. I am on my 2nd set of Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armour RWL tires, mounted to the standard 17" chrome clad steel wheels that still look new."
By Residentmiller on Thursday, February 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Dollar for Dollar this is the one vehicle I have purchased that has retained not only its value but its reliability as well we have had the pickup for 4 years and wouldn't change a thing. Form its towing capabilities to it ability to go deep into the country for that monster buck its unstoppable. i would by another one for sure."
By LJPinNV on Friday, January 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 148,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cummins Reliability, sure footed."
Cons: "Death Wobble."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this truck used with approximately 48000 miles on the odometer. I have not performed any major upgrades. Just minor ones like K&N Air Filter and running Full Synthetic Oil, as well as changing all other fluids to a certain brand of synthetics. The truck has had a couple of glitches that are noteworthy because it seems that Dodge knows about them, but hasn't done anything to repair or redesign. The most troublesome one is the "Death Wobble". This occurs when driving on the highway and an external force like running over a pothole or expansion joint causes the front wheels to shimmy back and forth. At highway speeds this can shake the entire truck with sufficient force and severity to rearrange loose items within the cab. This is usually caused by either the trackbar bushing(s) being worn out, or more likely one or more of the ball joints being worn out. A brand new steering stabilizer will have NO EFFECT on minimizing this shaking. If you replace the ball joints, use QUALITY US/CANADIAN MADE JOINTS. DO NOT BUY any Asian made ones. They're steel is too soft and the joints won't last. The other problem had to do with the fuel pump in the tank. This is directed at the Diesel equipped trucks like mine. These are apparently known for going out but newer replacement units are much more reliable. This tells me that Mopar knows of an issue but did not deem it recall worthy. (Not to mention that it would have cost them a fortune if they did recall it). One final issue is the 6-speed transmissions. The New Venture 5600 that is in these trucks until the mid-2005 model year, is a good transmission, unless or until the oil level drops below a certain level. This unit must be kept FULL or even Over-full to keep the bearings submerged. Trying to find a shop to overhaul these can be a nightmare. The replacement 6-speed, the G56, apparently has it's own problems and I'm not fully versed on it to comment further. As for the NV5600, keep it full or preferably over-full, and you will likely have no problems with it. Make sure to change your oil as well. Aftermarket Manual Transmission filter units are available for this tranny. The truck itself has otherwise been an absolute joy to drive. It goes where, when, and how I want. I can go over 400 miles without refueling and do it rather comfortably. I've towed an overloaded horse trailer with this rig and did it going up and down a steep grade in the middle of Nevada, without any problem whatsoever (thanks to the 5.9L Cummins!). It cleans up nice enough that I can take it out for a night on the town. All in all, a dang good rig."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Cody on Saturday, January 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of space with the convenience of a truck bed"
Cons: "4.7L v8"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"2002 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab. About 66,000 original miles. Some dings and scratches it is a truck. Wheels and tires are in excellent condition."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful