KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/30/2011
Ford and Chevy pulled out their big guns in 2010, effectively matching or besting the latest Ram Heavy Duty pickups. Not to be upstaged, Ram once again moves the bar, this time by introducing a newly-improved Cummins diesel. The new High-Output 6.7-liter diesel engine produces an astonishing 800 pound-feet of torque and enables the Ram 3500 to tow up to 22,700 pounds. As heavy-duty pickups still account for nearly one-third of the growing full-size pickup market, the Ram Heavy Duty should continue to be a major player in Chrysler's recovery effort.
You'll Like This Car If...
Can't fit a Mac truck in your garage? A Ram 3500 with the Cummins diesel is the next best thing.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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.
What's Significant About This Car?
The 2011 Ram Heavy Duty gains two new trims: Laramie Longhorn and Outdoorsman. A more powerful engine lineup helps move the Ram's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) to 22,000 pounds, while new standard features include a vehicle information center and electronic brake controller (SLT, Outdoorsman, Laramie and Power Wagon.) New options include a navigation radio and a factory spray-in bedliner.
While we've taken a Ram Power Wagon off-road and even done some towing, the trip that impressed us most was when we did back-to-back comparisons between the 2011 Ram 2500 Crew Cab and its Chevrolet Silverado equivalent. Most agreed the Ram to be visually more attractive, but we were all stunned to discover how it was also head-and-shoulders above the Chevy in the areas of ride comfort, interior quiet and overall refinement. Although the 2500 lacks the new coil-spring rear found in the Ram 1500, the re-tuned suspension and fluid-filled hydro mounts at the rear of the cab do an impressive job of isolating the cabin from the road.
If bouncing around the farm in your Daddy's 1972 Dodge formed your opinion about how trucks should behave, you owe it to yourself to experience the smooth, comfortable ride afforded by the 2011 Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks.
The 2011 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.
While we applaud Ram's use of higher-grade plastics and handsome trim, the best part of the 2011 Ram Heavy Duty's cabin space is the impressively long list of available features. Depending on the trim, the Ram HD can be equipped with heating elements for the steering wheel and rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable foot pedals – the list goes on and on. The Ram HD's enormous center console can swallow a large laptop computer and a set of hanging files, while the rest of the cab offers cup holders, storage bins and electrical outlets galore. Mega Cab models feature reclining rear seats, while the Crew Cab models offer dual under-floor storage compartments.
The 2011 Ram Heavy Duty is available in three cab styles (Regular, Crew Cab and Mega Cab), two box sizes (6 feet 4 inches and 8 feet) plus single- and dual-rear-wheel configurations. The Ram HD is distinguished from the Ram 1500 by a notably larger grille and taller hood (with stamped louvers) and unique bumpers. When placed next to the next Ford and Chevy heavy duties, we still think the Ram is the most stylish of the three.
Notable Standard Equipment
Standard feature highlights on a base-priced 2011 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.
Notable Optional Equipment
The 2011 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 Ram HD also offers an integrated trailer-brake as standard equipment on SLT, Outdoorsman, Laramie and Power Wagon.
Under the Hood
About 90 percent of Ram HD buyers choose the Cummins Turbo Diesel, which is standard on the 3500, is offered with a choice of six-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 last year's engine. The lineup also comprises 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, 3.783, 4.10 or 4.56.
5.7-liter Hemi V8
383 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/19 (4WD)
6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel
350 horsepower @ 3000 rpm
800 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
The 2011 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.