It has hardly been a year since I last reviewed the Ram Heavy Duty pickup models, and at that time I spoke of the never-ending competition between the big three truck makers. This year nothing has changed as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ram have upped the ante yet again with the 2014 Ram lineup of 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups.
As a little refresher, Ram was the first truck manufacturer to forego tradition by replacing the rear leafs with coil springs in light duty 1500 trucks a few years back. For 2014, Ram has once again “tilted at the windmill of the truck gods” by introducing a coil spring suspension underneath the rear of its 2500 trucks while at the same time offering new factory air ride suspensions under both 2500 and 3500 models.
Heresy? Perhaps not, as Ram now offers one of the smoothest rides on the road across all pickup models while still leading competitors in the towing (30,000 lbs. max.) and payload (7,320 lbs. max.) categories. That was, of course, against its 2014 model year rivals as GM now boasts its trucks can do better but as I said, the competition is never-ending.
Ram also offered a larger gasoline engine for 2014 Heavy Duty models in the form of the 6.4-liter V-8 HEMI that cranks out 410hp and 429 lb. ft. of torque, but of course the workhorse powertrain is the Cummins turbodiesel whose 6.7-liters generate some 385hp and a whopping, stump-pulling, barn-burning 850 lb. ft. of torque.
Recently we spent time with a 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4×4 model and a 3500 Lone Star Crew Cab 4×2 Long Box. The 2500 came outfitted with that big new gas engine as well as the reworked Laramie Longhorn trim package while the 3500 arrived in dual rear wheel fashion with the Cummins motor.
I gotta tell ya, I liked them both. Of course the 3500 dually requires a bit more driver attention as those rear fenders can easily “reach out and touch someone” but with a little skill and practice they are both a dream to drive. One of the great things about living in the Lone Star State is the fact that we have roads and infrastructure that can accommodate vehicles of this stature.
These trucks need to work, that is what they are built for. Riding around town in an unladen model (which is how I spent most of my time) does not do them justice in determining full functionality or capability. They ride at full suspension when occupied by only one or two people and because of that they will exhibit some rough ride qualities. Rarely will just the driver be able to get the suspension to compress even a little in these big beasts.
They do ride very stable and on a smooth road they are almost yacht-like. The first hiccups in road surface conditions will remind you this is a work truck and not a limo, though. Despite their respective size and weight, they have little problem with reaching posted speed limits, even on the highway, and they seem to prefer operating at those higher speeds.
As these are big, heavy trucks, fuel economy is on the low side, but with each new engine version it has improved and when comparing both the big HEMI and the Cummins against previous models, the 2014 gets a few “miles per” better both around town and on the highway. This of course is good news as fuel is a little more expensive these days as well.
I really liked the new Longhorn Laramie package as the interior elements in design and tones are tuned a bit more for the cattle rancher crowd where the previous version was a bit fancier and probably appealed more to the show horse stock. The 2014 package will compete more directly with Ford’s King Ranch tack and trimmings.
OK, pricing. The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty models begin at $29,600 for a base 2500. Our tester started at $52,440 and arrived at $58,715 after the engine upgrade and few towing package goodies amongst other things. The 3500 tester came with a base MSRP at $39,580 that climbed to a tick over 60 grand when it landed in our test driveway – nearly $11,000 of that coming just from the engine/transmission upgrade. Each was loaded with all the latest technology including Uconnect infotainment system with 8.4-inch display.
The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty trucks are heavy hitters. They love to work, and they love to play. They feature rugged good looks, and they fit right in be it your ranch or residence.