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August 24, 2010 > Auto Review: Ram 3500 pickup truck

Auto Review: Ram 3500 pickup truck

By Dick Ryan

The Dodge Ram Pickup is Chrysler's entry in the traditional American, full-size, heavy duty pickup truck market. Our test vehicle was a 3500, 4X4, SLT, dully crew cab, long bed, probably the largest vehicle that I have ever driven (other than a semi). It no longer carries the Dodge nameplate as one of the changes brought on by the reorganization of Chrysler is that the Dodge brand is now assigned to passenger cars and trucks are under the Ram brand name. So, from now on it is just "Ram."

This big brother is not cheap; its final sticker is $53,860. The base model of $46,630 includes quite a bit. Motivating force comes from a 6.3-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine coupled to a six-speed Allison automatic transmission and limited slip differential. Power door locks, speed control, air bags, air conditioning, Sirius radio, and a great sound system are just a few of the things included.

In case you didn't know, dully means that the rear axle has two wheels on each side. This is one reason this truck has such a large carrying/towing capacity. It also means that rear fenders of the truck are about a foot wider than the front, so I was very careful when driving this monster. I made sure I was in the very center of the freeway lane, and gave myself plenty of room on turns. That is, until I turned into our parking lot at work.

We have a card reader with an entrance gate at work to keep out all the riff-raff. For one tiny second I forgot what I was driving that morning, and cut the turn too sharply. The front end cleared the entrance gate but the huge dully fenders didn't and I put a big scrape on the left rear fender. Sorry, Mr. Ram.

Other than that boo-boo, the Ram was very easy to drive and control. The interior was well equipped with a gigantic center console that could probably double as a tomb if necessary. The reason that it was so big was that the Ram engineers wanted to give 3500's owner/operator plenty of space to put his/her laptop and files in between jobs. The driving position was very good and the fully adjustable rear view mirrors mounted on the doors gave you a great view to the sides and rear.

The rear seat had more room than a small suite at Motel 6. It came with the $1,565 rear seat entertainment center and navigation system, which were easy to understand and use.

It did have a very rough ride when the bed was empty or you weren't towing a big trailer with a race car.

The RamBox Cargo Management System, available only on the Crew Cab, includes a cargo box with rectangular interior and no wheel-well intrusions. It measures 49 inches wide inside, so it can accommodate the ubiquitous 4x8 sheets of building material flat on the floor. Side rails with cleats secure the cargo, and a bed divider that locks into place segments the bed into smaller areas or can be flipped over and used as a bed extender with the tailgate down.

Moving the interior walls inward results in sidewalls with much thicker sections, and within the top of each side of the RamBox are two locking bins, capable of holding 120 standard 12-ounce cans on the left side (where the fuel fill is located) and 130 on the right - or anything else of that same volume, such as dirty clothes, tools, golf bags and so forth. These boxes have locking lids, drains, lights and 90-degree opening lids; together the volume exceeds that of a 55-gallon drum. You can fill them with ice and beverages for tailgate parties, camping or the end of the work day.

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