By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/11/2011
In the world of heavy-duty pickups, the 2012 Ram 2500/3500 HD reigns supreme. Powered by a monstrous 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine, the 2012 Ram HD pickup outguns the Chevy Silverado HD Duramax in torque, and equals that of the Ford PowerStroke. With 350 horsepower and an astounding 800 lb-ft of torque and a tow rating up to 22,750 pounds, there isn't much a Ram HD truck can't move. Those not requiring such Herculean power can opt to go with the Ram HD's standard gasoline Hemi V8, which makes an equally impressive 383 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. With stats like these, plus pricing and trim levels on par with its principle competition, the 2012 Ram 2500/3500 HD pickup should continue to help pull more of the lucrative truck market back into the Ram fold.
If you need to pull 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 pounds behind you, the PeterBilt-like towing power of the 2012 Ram HD pickup should do the trick.
Dollar-for-dollar, the Ram is every bit the equal of its Ford and Chevy counterparts. About the only reason we can think of not to go with the Ram would be due to a personal preference for one brand over another.
The 2012 Ram HD pickup gains a new 6-speed automatic transmission on Hemi powered trucks, plus a new longer RamBox cargo organizer to fit 6-foot 4-inch beds. The Ram Power Wagon model range is expanded to include ST and Laramie trims.
In between delighting at the 2012 Ram Power Wagon pickup truck's seemingly limitless ability to pull big things, and pushing it over tough off-road regiments, we decided to see how the Ram HD would stack up against the competition. In a back-to-back comparison with the Chevy Silverado HD pickup, most of our testers concluded that the 2012 Ram Power Wagon is more visually appealing than the Chevy. We were also quite amazed at how much better the 2012 Ram HD pickup performed in everyday driving, especially in the areas of ride comfort, refinement and interior noise levels. Though it lacks the softer coil-spring suspension found on the Ram 1500 pickups, the HD truck's carefully-tuned leaf springs, coupled with fluid-filled hydro mounts beneath the cab, help keep harsh vibrations from entering the cab.
If bouncing around the farm in your Daddy's 1972 Dodge pickup formed your opinion about how trucks should behave, you owe it to yourself to experience the smooth, comfortable ride afforded by the 2012 Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks.
The 2012 Ram Power Wagon is an off-road beast. It's a Hemi-powered 2500 Crew Cab with electric-locking front and rear differentials, electronic-disconnecting sway bar, Bilstein shocks, 32-inch tires, skid plates, 4.56 axle ratio for hill climbing and a 12,000-pound winch.
Inside the 2012 Ram Heavy Duty pickups is a very un-workman-like interior. Even base trims feel a bit upscale, and upscale trims feel downright plush. Along with its roomy cab, comfortable seats and loads of storage bins and power outlets, the 2012 Ram Heavy Duty pickup offers an amazing array of available features, including heating elements for the steering wheel and rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable foot pedals – the list goes on and on. A massive center console is long and deep enough to swallow a larger laptop or multiple tablets; it can even hold a set of hanging files. Reclining rear seats are one of the perks to be had with the Mega Cab, while Crew Cab owners enjoy convenient under-floor storage compartments.
Available in Regular, Crew and Mega Cab styles, there is a 2012 Ram Heavy Duty pickup to fit just about any need. Bed lengths vary between 6-feet, 4-inches and 8 feet, depending on cab style, while the rear-axle configuration can be had with choice of the standard 2-wheel or heavy duty 4-wheel dually setup. Visually separating the Ram 2500/3500 HD trucks from the basic Ram 1500 truck is a larger grille (needed to get more air to the Cummins diesel), a taller hood with stamped louvers, and large chrome or black bumpers.
Standard feature highlights on a base-priced 2012 Ram Heavy Duty ST include air conditioning, tilt steering, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, plus front and side-curtain airbags. More basic features include manual windows/locks/mirrors, vinyl seats and black vinyl flooring.
The 2012 Ram HD is as tech-savvy as it is tough, with an options list that includes navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Sirius Backseat TV (offering Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network) , USB music connectivity, 30-gigabyte hard drive, 10-speaker Surround Sound, backup sensors and a backup camera (for easier trailer hook-ups). The 2012 Ram HD also offers an integrated trailer-brake as standard equipment on SLT, Outdoorsman, Laramie and Power Wagon.
About 90 percent of Ram HD buyers choose the Cummins Turbo Diesel, which is standard on the 3500, is offered with a choice of 6-speed automatic or manual transmissions and includes the segment's only standard exhaust brake (we didn't get to properly evaluate the braking and stability advantages of the exhaust brake, but it sounded great). The new High-Output Cummins Turbo Diesel does not require diesel exhaust fluid and, although horsepower remains unchanged, delivers up to 40 more horsepower at cruising speeds than the previous Cummins engine. The lineup also includes two 4x4 transfer cases (a manual unit standard on 4X4 ST and Power Wagon, an electric unit on all others) and four available axle ratios: 3.42, 3.73, 4.10 or 4.56. For those who prefer a gasoline engine, Ram offers the 5.7-liter Hemi backed by a new 6-speed automatic transmission.
5.7-liter Hemi V8
383 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
400 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel
350 horsepower @ 3,000 rpm
800 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
650 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm (manual)
The 2012 Ram HD starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) beginning around $29,000 and climbs all the way to around $60,000 when fully loaded. As the Ram HD trucks are a hot commodity, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to get an idea of what others in your area paid for their trucks. As for resale, the Ram 2500 trucks hold slightly lower values than their Ford and Chevrolet counterparts, but the 3500 models are more than capable of holding their own against similarly-equipped F-350 and Silverado 3500 models.