From a functionality and comfort standpoint, the Ram delivers in spades.
Few new vehicles on the road today have as much persona as the infamous all-black Ram. It’s easy to see why; Ram hit a home run with the styling of the current generation. There’s a configuration available for just about any need and budget, and black is by-far the most popular choice to compliment the brutish good looks. We figured it was due time we experienced the phenomena and booked ourselves the biggest blackest Ram on the fleet, a 2021 Ram 2500 Limited Night Edition.
The Ram 2500 certainly looks the part, and the Night Edition package adds black tow mirrors, blacks out the fancy western style Limited grille and swaps the base alloys for a set of 20-inch black wheels. There is nothing conservative about this look; the 2500’s sheer mass is exaggerated but the blackness and the truck looks like a tough work horse. As noted, the Ram’s styling is just right for a truck like this, big blocky lines, but just the right amount of curves and details to separate it from competitors that look more like they were drawn by a 12-year old.
The power running boards hide away nicely to keep the lines clean, and they work quickly making ingress and egress easy, though one has to wonder how well the electrics will hold up to a few years of hard work in the Canadian climate. Of course, the only thing on the exterior of our test truck that isn’t black is the red Cummins Diesel badging which really pops, making sure there is no way to mistake this beast for the “lesser” gasoline-powered model.
The infamous inline six-cylinder 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel 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.
If you can swing the additional cost of $9,450, the Cummins is the engine to have here. Even if you don’t need the diesel, its benefits will certainly translate into a higher resale value when it comes time to replace the old work horse with a new one.
It also pays big dividends at the pumps, I took the Ram 2500 Cummins on a 400-kilometer round trip, mostly highway driving, and it returned extremely impressive fuel consumption of 12.1L/100km. That’s as good for better than I’d expect from most V8 gas-powered half ton (1500 series) trucks, or even from some of the boosted V6s out there like the Ford F-150 EcoBoost.
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 massive departure from the traditional leaf spring arrangement that’s typical in heavy duty trucks, but the idea is to improve ride quality without making sacrifices to capability.
Our tester came with the optional ($1,595) air leveling suspension in the rear, but unfortunately, I never had more than about 300-pounds in the bed during my test week, which doesn’t even flinch a truck like this. However, the system does allow for a fairly soft spring rate in the rear, which helps to prevent the backend from bouncing around when driving with no load.
I did get to spend some time with the truck on rural dirt and gravel farm roads, and that is where the truck’s suspension shines. It’s at home and does a great job isolating the driver from rutted or loose roads off the beaten path. On the highway or in the city though you quickly realize some of the sacrifices made to achieve the Ram 2500’s incredible capacities. Handling is vague at best, especially the on-center position, which makes for a lot of necessary steering input while cruising on the highway.
The front end takes potholes and expansion gaps hard and forget trying to park conveniently in the city. This is why we frequently advise readers not to over-buy their truck. Those who don’t often need the extra capabilities of a heavy-duty truck like this will likely enjoy the driving experience of a half-ton truck much more. That said, if you need a 2500 series (or bigger) heavy duty truck, the Ram is about as comfortable as they get.
In fact, the interior may be where the Ram 2500 impresses the most. The 2019 redesign brought huge upgrades to the Ram’s interior quality including materials, ergonomics, storage and comfort and set new standards for trucks. Our tester came with the larger of the two cabs, 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 as the seats can be folded into a flat raised loading floor. This Limited also packs acres of fine black leather, Western inspired stitching, and a list of luxury features.
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 is a seemingly endless number of hidden cubbies and storage bins. 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 can be configured to display just about anything 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 impactful and its sheer 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 major climate control functions can be managed through real buttons to the left of the screen.
Heavy Duty trucks are not cheap, and opting for a top of the line Limited like this one with the optional Cummins diesel brings the price up into the six-figures! That said, if you’re careful in your selections you can get a really well equipped Laramie with the Cummins for around $90,000. Of course, if you’re fine with the HEMI gasoline engine and more basic trim levels you can get into a Ram 2500 for a starting price of $50,915 up into the high-70s for a Limited with no optional content.
Our Limited test truck came decked out with just about everything. This includes the optional Cummins diesel ($9,450), Night Edition appearance package ($1,995), six-speed automatic ($2,155), power sunroof ($1,425), air-leveling suspension ($1,595) and more. It also came with the Limited Level 1 Equipment Group with safety features such as the digital (camera) rear view mirror, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning with active braking, adaptive cruise control, surround view camera, trailer reverse guidance and the awesome 17-speaker Harman-Kardon sound system.
The 2021 Ram 2500 Limited Night Editionis not a truck for the faint of heart. It’s costly, massive, and hugely capable, all while offering a truly luxurious and plush interior. The Night Edition appearance package really adds to that attitude, so if you’ve got to have the biggest, baddest heavy-duty truck on the road, look no further.