2019 Dodge Ram 2500 First Drive


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The comfortable, capable 2500 is a muscular workhorse that can be outfitted plain or fancy. Configurations range from the base Tradesman to the deluxe Power Wagon Laramie. It will tow up to 17,980 pounds; payload is 3160 pounds. Two gasoline V-8s—a 400-lb-ft 5.7-liter and a 429-lb-ft 6.4-liter—are offered, both with a six-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a turbo-diesel 6.7-liter inline-six with six-speed manual or automatic; we love the diesel’s 800 lb-ft of torque with the automatic.

Heavy-duty models account for roughly one-quarter of all full-size-pickup sales, which may come as a mild surprise. Even in a robust truck market, these big boys are more than a little overqualified for daily use. So-called lifestyle buyers may have played a significant role in growing the pickup market, but it’s hard to perceive the heavy-duty variety as suitable for all-around family duty.

2019 Ram 2500 Redesign, Price and Review

On the other hand, the HD of today isn’t the brawny, no-frills work truck of yesteryear. Luxury has filtered up to these big bruisers, and if their massive capabilities mitigate against enlisting one as the primary family vehicle for those who don’t frequently haul marble slabs or loads of cast-iron lawn statuary, there’s that intangible: image. Since the demise of the civilian Hummer, no vehicle exudes machismo like a big ol’ all-American pickup truck.

With dimensions rivaling a World War II landing craft, a towering bluff bow, lofty climb-in height, and king-size Ram logos, this 2500HD has massive street presence. If casting shadows over the neighbor’s house doesn’t suffice to intimidate, add the potent baritone throb of a big Hemi V-8 engine. Big in this context means a pushrod 6.4-liter V-8 rated for 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. This is the middle engine in Ram’s HD inventory; the standard powerplant is the 383-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, but upgrading the Laramie trim level to this larger-displacement Hemi is free (and it brings a stronger alternator). The maximum-capability flagship sails behind a potent 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel inline-six, whomping up enough torque to pull the planet’s skin a little tighter: 800 lb-ft at 1600 rpm. (That’s with the automatic transmission; it makes only 660 lb-ft with a six-speed manual.)

Read Also >>  2019 Dodge RAM 1500

Manners Versus Muscle

Formidable though it may be, the Cummins six doesn’t score as well as some turbo-diesels on the civilization scale. It has big-job muscle but is too much like a semi-truck powerplant for commuting or grocery runs. The gasoline-fueled V-8 is more pleasant to live with and more likely to provoke envy rather than a neighborhood protest when you fire it up at 5:30 a.m. (Getting an early start is likely SOP for the contractors and skilled-trades workers most likely to buy something this rugged.)

2019 Ram 2500 First Drive, Price, Performance and Review

The Hemi-powered 2500HD’s work ethic is a long way from wimpy. Its claimed payload is 3300 pounds, and with a 4.10:1 rear axle (our test truck was so equipped; add $570, which includes a limited-slip rear differential) and the crew-cab body and the short bed, it’s rated to tow up to 15,630 pounds.

25 Photos of the 2019 Dodge Ram 2500 First Drive

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