by Kirk Bell
Source: MSN Autos Editorial
February 27, 2009

Dodge has received positive reviews for the 2009 redesign of its full-size Ram 1500 series pickups, which are far more refined than their predecessors. Today at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show, the automaker said it is applying the same keen eye to its heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 pickups, as well as its 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs.
"Over the past five years, Dodge has gained market share in the heavy-duty pickup segment, and to stay on that track, Dodge keeps innovating," said Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands.
The 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 HD pickups will use much of the body from the updated 1500 models, but they’ll have a larger grille opening, a taller hood with louvers on each side, a unique front bumper design, larger side mirrors and a different tailgate with an integrated spoiler. The chassis cabs will also get a new exterior design, including the larger grille and taller hood.
All Ram HDs will adopt the 2009 Ram 1500’s more refined interior design and many of its comfort and convenience features, including in-floor storage. An integrated trailer brake controller will be optional, and the chassis cabs will also have four integrated upfitter switches to control items such as dump beds, snowplows, winches, crane bodies or any other accessory a company might want to wire into its truck.
The 2010 Dodge Ram HD pickups will ride on a modified hydro-formed, fully boxed frame, while the chassis cabs will use the same upfit-friendly frame that the automaker launched in 2007. While the 1500 pickups made news for using a coil-spring rear suspension, the 2010 HDs will continue with a leaf-spring design to maintain heavy-duty towing and hauling capability. The pickups will, however, have different suspension tuning and improved damping thanks to new C-pillar hydro mounts.
In the HD pickup lineup, 2-door regular cab and 4-door Mega Cab body styles will return, but the Quad Cab, which had rear access doors, will be replaced by a Crew Cab with four regular doors. The Mega Cab adds cabin length and has rear seats that can recline up to 37 degrees. Regular cabs will come with 8-foot or 6-foot, 4-inch beds, while the other cab styles will offer only the 6-foot, 4-inch bed. Dually rear wheels will be offered on Ram 3500s.
Chassis cabs will be offered in regular cab and crew cab body styles, with single or dual rear wheels and four cab-axle lengths (60, 84, 108 and 120 inches). The crew cab adds six inches of rear legroom compared with the Quad Cab it replaces.
Five trim levels will be offered for the HD pickups: ST, SLT, TRX, luxurious Laramie and off-road-oriented Power Wagon. The Ram chassis cab will come in only ST, SLT and Laramie trim.
Power in all Ram HDs will come from two carryover engines: the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 383 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, and the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel. In the pickups, the diesel will produce 350 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. In the chassis cabs, it will make 305 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque and come with a standard exhaust brake. Dodge says 90 percent of HD pickup buyers choose the diesel engine.
In the pickups, the Hemi will come with a 5-speed automatic transmission, while the diesel will get a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. The chassis cabs will offer a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, both with Power Take Off capability.
Rear-wheel drive will be standard, and Dodge will offer a choice of two 4-wheel-drive systems. Four rear axle ratios will be available for the pickups, three ratios will be offered for the 3500 chassis cab, and three others will be available for the 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs.
The Ram HD pickups will be able to tow up to 18,500 pounds and haul a payload of up to 5,110 pounds. Dodge says that many of the gross vehicle weight ratings, gross combined weight ratings and front gross axle weight ratings for all Ram HDs will also be increased for 2010.
The 2010 Ram HDs are scheduled to go on sale this fall.
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