2010 Dodge Ram 2500 – 3500 Heavy Duty Trucks
Base price: $28,165 – $51,095
- Need mega towing – hauling capability
- Definitely not a commuter vehicle
- Dismal fuel mileage Nothing to haul or tow
By Jim Prueter
The mega trucks from Dodge get a complete makeover
Last year Dodge completely redesigned their most popular Ram 1500 pickup and we chose it as our Top Pick for trucks. This year, the 1500’s two prodigious brothers, the Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty offerings, get a complete makeover.
We should note that for some odd reason, most likely due to a presentation from the Chrysler marketing department, “Dodge” has been dropped and the Ram name is now a separate brand. However for ease of reader identification, with this review we have elected to use the name Dodge Ram rather than simply Ram. If you want to price your own Ram truck or learn more about it, you can still find info at www.dodge.com, which will link to www.ramtrucks.com. Once there, if you click the “Build your Own” tab, it will redirect you back to www.dodge.com. Go figure.
Both the 2500 Power Wagon Crew Cab 4x4 and 3500 Laramie Crew Cab tested here are the Hercules of the truck world — handsome, strong and well-built.
The new trucks come in two sizes: the single-rear-wheel 2500 version and the dual-rear-wheel 3500 dually. Regular cab and Mega Cab offerings continue for 2010. A new four-door crew cab with larger rear doors and a massive sofa-size rear bench seat replaces the previous generation’s smaller four-door Quad Cab. There’s also a new eight-foot cargo bed option, which is almost two feet longer than the standard bed. It should be noted that, in addition to the two trucks tested here, the 2500 and 3500 Ram trucks are offered in an almost endless combination of models, including ST, SLT, Lone Star, Big Horn, Power Wagon, Laramie, cab sizes, bed lengths, wheelbase, engine-transmission, driveline and optional equipment configurations.
The least expensive Ram 2500 Heavy Duty is the two-wheel-drive regular cab with a starting price of $28,165 including the $950 destination charge. Our Ram 2500 Power Wagon ($39,430) and 3500 Laramie Crew Cab ($51,095) test trucks were equipped more like luxury sedans than work trucks. Both vehicles had a long list of standard equipment and high-tech gadgetry, including power windows, locks, heated mirrors, speed control, air conditioning, audio system and expected safety features. The 3500 added heated 10-way power adjustable driver’s and six-way adjustable passenger seats, heated steering wheel, rear power sliding window, upgraded audio and media systems, trailer towing equipment, rear parking sensors, keyless entry, security alarm and other standard equipment.
Optional equipment on the Power Wagon included the $6,350 customer preferred package with clear coat exterior paint, iPod control, shift-on-the-fly transfer case, integrated trailer brake controller, off-road group, front electric winch, aluminum wheels, roof-mounted lamps, fog lights and other equipment. It also came equipped with the $345 luxury group, rear park sensors with backup camera, navigation, bed liner, and a backseat TV service by SIRIUS for an additional $1,695. The Power Wagon MSRP lists at $51,140.
The 3500 includes all the equipment on the Power Wagon plus leather seats, for a total price of $56,820
Almost everything about these heavy-duties is brand new, including both exterior and the all-new interior, which is identical with the Ram 1500. These heavy-duty trucks share the same headlamps and front fenders with the Ram 1500. And while the grille looks the same, it’s larger for better engine cooling when towing heavy trailers and loads. The previous generation 3500 had protuberant plastic rear fenders that have been replaced with a nicer-looking flat-sided cargo bed.
Both our 2500 Ram Power Wagon and 3500 Laramie 4x4 trucks sit so high, most drivers and passengers will require a good grip on the steering wheel or grab handle to themselves into the cab. Once behind the wheel, however, the benefit is a commanding view unequaled by anything we’ve ever tested.
The hood is also larger to accommodate the obsequious 6.7-liter 350-horsepower six-cylinder Cummings diesel engine that powers the 3500. Dodge says this Cummings can go at least 350,000 miles before an overhaul. The diesel powered Ram is linked to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The manual shifter has a “creeper” first-gear ratio for heavy hauling. Our tester had the six-speed automatic along with an integrated trailer-brake controller.
But these trucks aren’t meant to be used as daily commuter vehicles, like so many of the Ram 1500 pickups. They’re bought to haul cargo, horse trailers, boats and fifth-wheel recreation campers, making the diesel powered option, with its 650 foot-pounds of torque and 18,500 pound maximum towing capacity, an ideal choice for those needing this much capability.
The EPA does not require mileage ratings for heavy-duty trucks, but, according to the onboard computer, we averaged just over 15 mpg in the diesel powered 3500 and 12 mpg in the 5.7-liter V8 Power Wagon with a five-speed automatic transmission.
As with the Ram 1500, the ride has been significantly improved thanks to a re-tuned suspension with coil springs up front and multi-leaf springs in back for heavy-duty load capacity; new front and rear shocks make for a surprisingly comfortable ride.
Behind the wheel, it doesn’t take long to understand that piloting one of these ponderous trucks is much different than driving an ordinary vehicle. Parking for example always requires a three-point maneuver: forward, back, then forward again.
Overall the new large Ram trucks score big in our books, with all the muscle and capability needed for heavy-duty work and the right design touches and treatment to make it unexpectedly luxurious and comfortable at the same time. We give the Ram top styling marks, with nice touches like massive chrome bumper, grille and exterior mirrors. We also like the attention to detail in the Laramie interio: stitching on the dashboard, plush seats, satellite radio, UConnect tunes with 30GB hard drive and 10-speaker surround-sound, numerous storage options, including in-floor storage, and optional rear-seat heating.