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 schellekson on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I bought this truck used and I always wanted to own a Ram. I traded a 2006 Mustang for it and i wish I never traded. PROS: Great versatility and use of space Awesome power Looks good Aggressive Sound CONS: Fuel pump went out immediately Coils went out after Fuel pump Spark plugs right after that HEATER COIL went out and must remove Entire Dash Board to replace (cost of part: $85 Cost of Labor: $900) Headlamps aren't great, very dim even with replacing bulbs with bright ones steering is a bit shaky, tends to groan when turning"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By joe on Sunday, February 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"first 35000 miles-no problem. good motor.then nightmare started with TIPM . Headlights flicker constantly because of TIPM.Can not drive at night. Hoping Chrysler will issue recall.Many people have various electrical problems with many Dodge vehicles 07-14."
5 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Jake on Thursday, February 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, spacious, powerful"
Cons: "Oil Pressure Sending Unit is bad, PO534 reflash"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"even after being neglected for 20,000 miles be a previous owner it still runs good. Small issues that are foreseen at the mileage I'm at. Good for family AND work."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Rampant on Saturday, January 31, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,678overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased Dec. 05 @ 41,680 MI for $16,500. KBB top value is 8189, almost half of what I paid nearly 10 years ago. On third Battery. 3rd set of tires,3rd steering rack, NOTE buy Mopar, have replaced power steering hose's, and radiator and related hoses, still have same serpentine belt, have never done anything to it. Have put Slick50 in engine. replaced rear e shoes and cables. Have Heavy duty premium DR/SL rotors F/R with ceramic pads Gibson cat back exhaust. Truck had been abused by 1st owner after 19K miles then cared for by navy Pilot, until I found her. She needed front forward shaft in 4wd assembly and transmission needed overhauling both done with reputable dealers. Have periodically changed transmission fluid, have had no issues in over 60K MI.average 15 mpg Have K&N air Filter Element in stock air box. and the Tornado in air inlet. Original plugs, wires, starter, everything under hood is as original save for battery and radiator and hoses."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By airstreamAl on Friday, January 30, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "sis a work horse"
Cons: "lousy manual shifting"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"great MPG, great towing, lousy manual shifting. hydraulic clutch and flywheel replaced early. still a good value"
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By CarrBucks on Thursday, January 29, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles great, very few mechanical problems."
Cons: "None that come to mind."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We have had this truck for about 3 years...only has depreciated about $4k. We tow a 35 ft 5th wheel. I love the power of the Turbo Diesel. I have put about 30k miles on it...mostly towing. We did have to replace a couple of injectors last summer, but now it runs as strong as ever. I have had Ford and Chevy trucks but have been sold on Dodge after owning this."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful