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Per Car and Driver:
For most people, the initials "HD" have everything to do with the fidelity of their television sets and nothing to do with automobiles. But to a huge portion of full-size-pickup buyers in the country-those two letters represent a term that separates the men from the boys in the pickup world: heavy duty.
The big Ram Heavy Duty is Chrysler's first official new product launch in a year-the last one being the light-duty Ram, incidentally-and the first since Fiat took the helm earlier in 2009. What we found was not just the Heaviest Dutiest Rammiest Ram ever, but also the quietest and most comfortable HD truck we can remember.
The primary goal of the HD this go-round, according to Chrysler, was to become the "ultimate tow vehicle." Thus, it is built on a de rigueur fully boxed ladder frame with coil springs up front, but in place of the coil-spring rear end found on the light-duty Ram 1500 are heartier, more conventional leaf springs. Engines are none too wimpy. A 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque is standard, and for the truly serious, the Cummins 6.7-liter inline-six turbo-diesel returns with 350 hp and a monstrous 650 lb-ft of torque, the latter being offered with the choice of a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. Axle ratios come in 3.42:1, 3.73:1, and 4.10:1 flavors to make the most of all that torque. The results are payload capacities of 1890 pounds to 5110 pounds, depending on engine and body style; towing capacity ranges from 8150 pounds to a houselike 18,500 pounds.
The engines are predictably gutsy yet remarkably quiet. The 2500's Hemi V-8 is downright silent in operation when you're not mashing the gas, and it emits a delicious but still-subdued growl when floored. The Cummins-sourced turbo-diesel that comes with all Ram 3500s, on the other hand, is less than silent, yet is one of the quietest diesels we've ever heard from behind the wheel of a pickup.
Credit should go to the interior team, which not only paid the Ram Heavy Duty the same sort of attention it paid to the 1500 in terms of sound insulation but also gave it all the upscale storage and comfort amenities, including an options list as long as a freight train. Two-tone leather seats, top-stitched dash and seat trim, and faux wood dress up the interior in a way that few hard-working HD drivers have ever experienced.
Even more useful for working types are the gabillions of storage cubbies found throughout the huge cabin, including a two-tier glove box and center console, as well as bins under the rear-seat floor. A crew cab replaces last year's shorter Quad Cab, finally giving Dodge a four-door truck with real rear legroom in addition to the still-available and even-larger Mega Cab.
December, 2009... Dodge Ram team reviews the new 2010 Ram HD Truck.