After having spent most of my recent diesel time in small cars such as the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, I found the Ram HD’s new Cummins turbo-diesel to be a bit noisier than I expected. Still, it's far, far quieter than those in the Heavy Duty Rams that I drove seven to ten years ago when I did endurance test-driving for Chrysler. This new leaf-sprung Ram HD rides notably harsher than the coil-sprung Ram 1500 -– not a surprise -- but it did feel quite tolerable on my commute, unlike those aforementioned Rams of yore. I’d expect that this new Ram is far more smooth riding when it’s weighted down with a load of cargo or a trailer.
I was a bit surprised to find a column shifter in the three-quarter-ton Ram, but I really wouldn't mind if the light-duty Ram had it, too. It frees up even more storage space in between the two front seats, and the Ram 1500, while extremely quick with the Hemi engine, is far from a sports car begging for a console shifter.
OK, so there’s a cryptic little button on the Ram HD’s dash (see photo), just below the radio, that looks like it might have something to do with controlling air in some way. “Oh!” I thought. “Perhaps it converts the truck’s standard beep-beep horn into a big-rig-style, shake-the-rafters MMEEEEEEPPP air horn!” How disappointed do you think I was when I discovered that the button controlled the Ram’s exhaust brake?
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor