The Ram 2500HD surprisingly won't hit you too hard at the pumps.
As a bit of a pickup guy, I paid close attention to the launch of the redesigned Ram 1500 (reviewed here) last year. While the new styling didn’t exactly win me over right away, spending some time with one and putting it to work really did. This year, the Heavy Duty models got a similar update, so we set ourselves up with a 2019 Ram 2500 Laramie Long Horn, equipped with the infamous Cummins 6.7L Diesel. The objective is to see if the new Heavy Duty trucks would impress as much as the 1500 did.
While I didn’t love the new styling on the 1500 right out of the gate, it was love at first sight on the larger 2500. Whether it’s time making the overall look grow on me, or the fact that the wall of chrome front fascia just looks right on a truck with the sheer mass of the 2500HD. It just looks ready to work hard. Our tester came finished in a slightly boring Billet Metallic Grey but sporting the optional 20-inch polished wheels ($950) and roof clearance lighting ($100), the truck is definitely not shy of road presence and caught a lot of looks from fellow pickup truck drivers.
The exterior may be nice, but the interior is where the Ram 2500 really impresses. Similar to the 1500, the new 2500HD’s interior benefits immensely from an upgrade to overall interior quality including materials, ergonomics, storage and comfort. Our tester came with the larger of the two cabs, called the Mega Cab with additional cab space. This makes for a rear seating area large enough for three large adults to sprawl out in comfort on the reclining rear seats, or more secure and weather-tight cargo space. Our tester, being a Lararmie Long Horn was decked out in full Texas rancher spec with acres of soft leather and barnboard style wood.
This truck also gets the Cattle Tan and Black two-tone interior treatment, and while some might call the various textures of leather, western inspired designs and gold-leaf treatment accents everywhere a bit excessive, I think it’s perfectly fitting for a truck as in your face and luxurious as this. Even the clasps to close the real leather storage pockets on the back of the front seats are made to look like old saddle buckles. In all honesty, the level of detail and luxury in this heavy-duty work truck could rival just about any European luxury SUV. The only distraction from an otherwise extremely high-quality and luxurious interior happens to be the column mounted gear selector which feels light and sloppy.
From a functionality and comfort standpoint, the Ram’s interior delivers in spades. The heated and ventilated front seats wrapped in soft premium leather are fantastically comfortable. You couldn’t want for more space in any seating position in the truck, and there are a seemingly endless number of hidden cubbies and storage bins for your things. I am particularly fond of the center console arrangement with its sliding trays, laptop-sized center armrest storage and built in phone holder with wireless charging.
The high tech gauge cluster is a work of art and can be configured to display just about anything you want to know about your drive or the truck quickly and effectively. Infotainment is run through the well-sorted Chrysler Uconnect system on a massive 12-inch touchscreen. It looks really impactful and its shear size makes it easy to navigate. I still don’t like having to use the touchscreen for controls such as the heated/ventilated seats and heated steering wheel, but at least the major climate control functions can be managed through real buttons to the left of the screen. For those who like a little music while they work, the 2500HD is available with an incredible 750W Harman-Kardon 17-speaker sound system.
A fantastic interior and good looks are not going to get a truck far in the heavy duty truck world unless it’s backed up by some serious capability. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the Ram 2500 delivers here too. The standard 6.4L HEMI offers best in class horsepower, but if you really, really need to tow or haul some serious weight, the optional 6.7L in-line six cylinder Cummins diesel equipped here is the way to go.
The infamous Cummins puts out 370 horsepower and a massive 850 lb-ft. of torque at 1,700RPM, helping to give the 2500 its best in class tow rating of 19,780-pounds (8,972 kilograms). As expected, the big diesel pulls like a freight train and will out-accelerate many sporty cars on the road. The diesel is also surprisingly refined and hardly makes itself known inside of the cab, though it hasn’t lost its signature Cummins rattle from the outside, which admittedly is part of the engine’s charm.
Of course, being a heavy-duty pickup, the Ram has the suspension to match. Up front, there’s a three-link coil spring setup, which can be paired with a class-exclusive multi-link coil spring suspension in the rear, or optional auto-leveling rear air suspension. Both rear setups are a large departure from the traditional leaf spring arrangement that’s typical in HD trucks, but the idea is to improve ride quality without making sacrifices to capability. The question will be how it holds up over years and years of hard work, and that only time will tell.
The truth about any HD truck out there is that unless you’re actually going to use the extra capability, and there are plenty of people who do need it, you’re much better off in a half ton. The 2500HD, even in the latest and most improved form, still rides much rougher than a comparable 1500 model. It also doesn’t fit anywhere in the city and handles vaguely. The bottom line is, when you need it to get the job done, it’s the absolute best vehicle out there, but if you’re spending the majority of the time operating under the truck’s capacity, you’re giving up a lot when it comes to the driving experience.
One saving grace though is that unloaded, the Ram 2500HD surprisingly won’t hit you too hard at the pumps. I spent a week making my rush hour commute, and averaged a very impressive 12.9L/100km. That’s a significant improvement over what I get making the same trip in a V8 gas half ton truck, or even Ford’s 3.5L EcoBoost (reviewed here), and speaks volumes to just how good a modern diesel like this Cummins really is.
By now you’ve probably guessed that this is not a cheap truck by any stretch of the imagination. Like most trucks, pricing is complicated due to the massive amount of configurations and options available. The most basic Ram 2500 you can get, with the 6.4L gas engine starts at $44,745 and you can option a top of the line Limited with the Cummins Diesel up over $100,000 if you try. Our tester, which is near the top end of the range, came in with an as-tested price of $90,830. The base price on a Laramie Long Horn with the shorter 6’4” box is a palatable $75,240 –a lot of truck for the money.
Our tester added $9,450 for the awesome Cummins diesel engine and another $2,900 for the Long Horn equipment package which gives you a lot of the nice luxury touches such as power running boards, the 12-inch touch screen, 750W sound system and much more. Add to that a few thousand for the tow package, sunroof and auto-leveling rear suspension and you’re quickly looking at a six-figure truck.
The fact is that if you’re interested in a truck like this, you’re just looking for the best one there is. Folks will argue the numbers all day long on which HD truck can do more, and the Ram 2500, particularly with the Cummins, definitely makes a strong case for itself on that front. Where I think where the truck really shines is on the inside with its plush and luxurious interior that honestly puts any other HD truck to shame. If you want a truck that’s going to keep you in the lap of luxury after hours and hours on the job, the Ram 2500 Laramie is the benchmark.