I recently had the chance to drive the new heavy-duty Ram, which was just redesigned for the 2019 model year. The one I drove was a 2500 model, with an $85,000 sticker price. There’s also an even more capable — and expensive — 3500 model, which can be ordered with up to 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Yes, you read that right: 1,000 lb-ft of torque.
What do you do with 1,000 lb-ft of torque? Well, you tow with it, of course. The most capable version of the Ram 3500 HD can tow up to 35,000 pounds, which is an absolutely absurd number. For reference, a fully-loaded semi-trailer is about 45,000 pounds, which means we’re not really that far away from being able to tow a fully-loaded 18-wheeler trailer with a commercially available pickup truck that you can just head on down to your local Chrysler dealership and buy.
Unfortunately, I didn’t drive the 1,000 lb-ft version, but instead I had to settle for merely using the 850 lb-ft version, which was also kind of overkill, considering I wasn’t towing anything. Then again, I was hauling around the truck’s massive size, so 850 lb-ft is kind of nice, largely because the truck is huge: the front end comes up to my neck. The rear seats have enough room that you could basically lie down. The whole thing is something like 22 feet long.
But if you’re like me, you know big trucks are big, and you know they’re capable, and you’re more curious how they could possibly justify an $85,000 sticker price, no matter how big or how capable. This is an excellent question until you climb inside the truck, and you realize you’re not really in a truck, but rather a luxury car with a massive ride height and a big bed. This truck has everything, including a huge vertical Tesla-style touchscreen, heated and cooled seats, every infotainment app you could possibly think of, heated rear seats, a 17-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, a power-opening tailgate, and blah blah blah, you could really go for days. If luxury cars have it, then so does the Ram 2500 HD. It’s crazy.
But then you get it out on the road, and any thoughts you had that this was a usual luxury vehicle completely go out the window. It isn’t. It’s a hulking, massive, gigantic vehicle that makes a Chevrolet Suburban feel "car like," and I truly mean that. The Ram 2500 HD is just so huge and so excessively gigantic that it’s really starting to feel like you’re piloting a commercial vehicle, which I think some people could make a very good argument that, indeed, you actually are. You’re many feet from the road in any direction, you’re towering over normal cars, and you’re just doing it all in a cocoon of luxury and opulence.
Amazingly, acceleration is strong — though, as is typical with diesel powerplants, it’s only especially strong at the low end of the rev range. Once you get moving, things tail off a bit, which seems to make sense for a vehicle this size. Steering and handling is hardly worth describing. Imagine steering a bus, or a cherry picker, or a dump truck, and that’s about where you are — it’s exceptionally light and easy, but considerable movement of the steering wheel has little effect on the actual direction of the truck, and the thing is so big that you’re basically guessing where you put it anyway, so it’s all a very floaty experience marked by a lot of guesswork.
Really, though, that’s normal for a truck like this, and it didn’t negatively affect the experience, largely because I was expecting it — and that’s also true for pretty much anyone who buys a full-size, heavy-duty pickup. And now, when you buy a heavy-duty truck, you also expect a lot more: luxury, technology, equipment and immense capabilities. The new heavy-duty Ram has all of it, and it’s a very impressive pickup — probably the most impressive in a segment full of some truly serious pickups. Find a Ram 2500 for sale