First Look: 2010 Dodge Ram 2500/3500

Dodge kicked off its current truck design last January when the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 was revealed at the North American International Auto Show. Now the wraps have come off the biggest Rams of them all: the 2010 Dodge Ram 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500 pickups and chassis cabs.

Externally, the Dodge Ram 2500 and 2500 trucks look quite similar to the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. Much of the sheetmetal and interior content is identical to the half-ton truck, although the heavy-duty trucks receive a unique grille, hood, and bumpers. Chassis-cab models look similar from the front bumper to the end of the cab, but there isn't a bed aft of the cab. Bare frame rails and accessible wiring harnesses allow third-party companies to install commercial bodies of all sorts.

Power comes from the familiar 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which received improvements in the 2009 model year to boost power. In heavy-duty guise, it's rated for 383 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque. If diesel's more your style, opt for the 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel I-6, which is rated at 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Dodge equips about 90 percent of its heavy-duty trucks with the Cummins engine, and we'd imagine that statistic will hold: diesel 3500 pickups can tow as much as 18,500 pounds with a gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch.

We're most happy to see the revisions inside. With the 2009 Ram 1500, Dodge moved from a penalty box interior to one that was arguably class-leading, and the same can be said for the new 2500 and 3500. Luxuries like Sirius Backseat TV, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio package are now available in the heavy duty trucks. We've already sampled this interior during a drive of the 2009 half-ton truck and found it to be quite comfortable and very functional. One nifty feature for the heavy-duty trucks is an available integrated trailer brake controller: it's a first for Dodge, but competitors have already offered it in this segment.

Although a regular two-door cab is standard, truckers with large families will appreciate the choice of either a true crew cab or the enormous Mega Cab configurations. The shorter Quad Cab won't be offered on the 2500 or 3500 Rams. Those with tons of cargo may want to look at pairing the crew cab with the lengthy eight-foot bed, a combination that's new to Dodge's portfolio.

Those shopping for a capable and comfortable vehicle that's also capable of towing more than nine tons should certainly take a look at the new Ram. With a legendary Cummins diesel engine under the hood, it may prove tough to beat a 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500.

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