It’s not a car…it’s a bulldozer
Usually when I get an email that I’m reviewing a vehicle with 6 cylinders, two turbo’s, and all wheel drive it’s something sleek, fast, and German. Needless to say when I found out that I was driving something Italian, my mind instantly went to the brilliance of some of the recent Alfa Romeo’s and to questions about the possibility of an AWD Maserati Biturbo. So when I saw the hulking, battleship grey Ram 2500 — I was pretty sure it was the wrong car. Mainly because it’s not a car, it’s basically a bulldozer!
Right away, the thing that hits you is the magnitude of the Ram. It’s tall, wide, long, and built like a brick sh*thouse. Looking at some of the stats on the thing, this is matched by the weight, torque, and unrelenting capability of the thing. The tires were huge and grippy. The springs looked like the ones on NORAD to protect it from taking a direct missile strike. It weighs just shy of 8000 pounds, and it feels like it.
However, when you get inside (with a crane if you’re under about 5’8’’) you find an interior that really quite nice. Every truck I’ve ever owned was a single cab beater “Les Miller Special” meaning it was about as well equipped as a Quaker’s wet bar. So when there was a lot of nice features, such as heated seats, heated steering wheel, navigation, ample leg room in the back, cubby holds for your drinks, dry storage for things, and enough glovebox room for an AR-15 completely disassembled — I was a bit surprised. Honestly, I don’t drive a lot of trucks, but this one was as well equipped as a BMW. I know as they have grown in cost, the equipment has been tarted up to match, and it was nice to see that the Ram follows this trend.
Impressive towing specs, and surprising fuel economy
Driving the thing took a lot of getting used to. I honestly felt like I was getting vertigo because it is riding that high off the ground. This vehicle wasn’t lifted, it came that tall. Needless to say, I stayed away from parking garages, drive-thrus, low bridges, and the airport. The ride was incredibly stiff. However, when you look at the towing and hauling specs, it makes sense. You can put well over a ton in the bed, and pull almost 25000 pounds in a trailer behind it. That is commercial license territory. We did some hauling with it, but the net effect was a little bit like hitting an anthill with an atom bomb.
I used this truck to help a friend move some furniture from her aunt’s house. The total was a couch, some desks and file cabinets, and various other knickknacks. The ride wasn’t any better with all of the thing in the back, probably because it came out to weigh less than 1000 pounds- which would be to us like putting on a cap. What’s weird though was the fuel economy. I figured this 8000 pound behemoth with the aerodynamic properties of a brick, made worse by the couches hanging off of it would struggle to get double digit fuel economy. Much to my surprise, it averaged near 20, at 19.8 mpg.
It influences the Earth’s rotation
This brings up the party piece of this vehicle. The Powertrain. It is a 6.7 Liter turbocharged Cummins straight-6 diesel paired to an 8 speed automatic transmission. Right off the bat, the 8 speed transmission has 2 very clear setting: stump pulling, although it would probably be better suited to pulling down a building, and highway driving. At 70 mph, the tach reads just over 800 RPM’s. In the lower range, the Cummins gives you all of the grunt you can every want. 800 ft pounds of grunt to be precise. When you step on the gas (diesel) the turbo gauge flex’s and the truck digs in. It’s not nearly the fastest thing on the planet, but when you consider the immense weight, 4 wheel drive, and 800 ft pounds of torque- it’s not the truck going faster, it’s the continent getting hurled in the other direction. This isn’t a truck, its mechanical proof of accelerated plate tectonics.
Extremely well equipped, and incredible resale value
Talking to truck owners and technicians something remarkable happened. A group that is often so fiercely divided among brand allegiance, no one had anything bad to say about the Ram, and specifically, the Cummins powertrain. Older models are frequently harvested for these powertrains, that often demand fairly huge money despite having high mileage and the cars they are attached to being beyond gone. One technician remarked that he, “had never seen one engine in so many different trucks.” With regular maintenance, many of these powertrains have made a quarter of a million miles, according to our Surfwrench technicians. We had a used car check on an older one with 300k on it and the owner wanted 15k for the truck — and got it.
So it’s hugely reliable, extremely well equipped, and perfectly capable of just about anything that you could throw at it. But should you buy one?
Due to all of the above reasons, the resale value for these trucks is very high. Getting a good one could run you as much as getting a new one with a gasoline engine. The Cummins powertrain really is that good. If you are going to be pulling incredibly heavy trailers long distances, this is probably the best vehicle you could buy. Other than that probably not. I highly recommend you not buy one of these vehicles if you live in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts. Or the South Wedge. Or Corn Hill. Or the East End. Or basically any metropolitan neighborhood of Rochester. Or really in any metropolitan area on the planet.
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