Ram’s 2500 is this Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand’s entry-level player in the lucrative heavy-duty pickup market.
Already available in a staggering range of configurations, for 2017 the 2500 model gains an optional Off Road option package that does much to augment this truck’s significant macho tendencies, with items like Bilstein shocks, 18- or 20-inch wheels and tires, black fender flares, limited-slip differential, off-road badging, transfer case skid plate, hill descent control and tow hooks.
Also new for 2017 is an updated Power Wagon model with a new interior, grille, wheels and graphics.
And Laramie Longhorn and Limited models gain improved ride quality thanks to Bilstein monotube shocks.
Ram’s heavy duty trucks continue to count among the most intimidating-looking pickups on the market, with styling centred around the big rig-style front end first used in 1994, when these trucks were still marketed as Dodge models.
True to market demands, the Ram 2500 comes is a wide range of trims that begins with the basic ST and culminates in a Laramie Limited model that comes standard with the kinds of upscale features we’ve come to expect in pickups.
And you don’t succeed in this segment without offering big power, so Ram 2500’s engine offerings begin with a Hemi 5.7L V8 that makes 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, and it’s followed by a 6.4L Hemi good for 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. Finally, there are a pair of Cummins diesel six-cylinders, both measuring 6.7L in displacement. Opt for the six-speed manual(!) transmission and you get 350 hp and 660 lb-ft at 1,400 rpm, and choosing an optional six-speed automatic bumps horsepower nominally to 370 but brings a big torque boost to 800 lb-ft.
You won’t find fuel consumption estimates for these trucks, because Natural Resources Canada doesn’t mandate testing for heavy-duty vehicles, which it deems commercial.
ST models are offered in regular and crew cab configurations. Standard features include a 3.5-inch vehicle information centre, 12-volt power outlet, air conditioning, cruise control, vinyl 40/20/40 front bench seat, front armrest with cupholders and storage (deleted with manual transmission), media hub with USB and auxiliary inputs, radio with multimedia centre 3.0 and six speakers, power locks and front windows, halogen headlights, black door handles, 6x9-inch black side mirrors, bumpers and grille, 17-inch steel wheels and heavy duty shock absorbers, Class V trailer hitch and manual shift-on-the-fly transfer case (4x4 models). Crew Cab models add rear in-floor storage and an underseat compartment.
SLT trim adds carpeted floors, overhead console, cloth front seating, floor mats, satellite radio, bright bumpers and grille, sliding rear window (power in Crew and Mega Cab), outside temperature display and compass, chrome-clad 18-inch steel wheels, keyless entry and electronic transfer case shifting (4x4 models).
Outdoorsman trim is augmented with lower two-tone paint, body-colour grille, gof lights, aluminum 18-inch wheels, off-road tires, 4.10 rear axle ratio, tow hooks, anti-spin rear differential and transfer case skid plate.
Power wagon trim is where you’ll find the first evidence of the modern conveniences expected in most new vehicles. Here, there’s a seven-inch full-colour customizable in-cluster display, Bluetooth with streaming audio, and a Uconnect infotainment system. It shares some of the Outdoorsman’s off-road treats, but uses unique 17-inch wheels, manual transfer case, winch, extra skid plating, disconnecting front stabilizer bar, locking front and rear differentials and an electronic trailer brake controller with hill descent control.
A trio of Laramie trims bring upscale trappings. The first gets dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed seating with heat and ventilation functions up front, 10-speaker stereo, 8.4-inch infotainment display, garage door opener, 10-way driver and six-way front passenger seats with two-way lumbar, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, bright exterior trim, LED taillights, front and rear park assist and a backup camera.
The next one, Laramie Longhorn, gains wood and leather dash trim, heated rear seats, navigation, two-tone paint, box lighting and power-adjustable pedals.
Finally, Laramie Limited makes the boldest statement, with 20-inch wheels, a huge chrome “RAM” badge on the tailgate and other chrome trim, cargo management system, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers and passive keyless entry.
Pricing ranges from $38,945 to $63,045.