Sure, $53,750 isn’t cheap, but this heavy-duty Ram is a pretty good value in my book. Our long-term Ram 1500 is just $1520 cheaper than this Ram HD, which packs some serious extra punch when it comes to towing and hauling capabilities. Our test truck was rated to pull 12,600 pounds or carry 2330 pounds in the bed. The ride in this truck is rather harsh compared with the crossovers and cars we’re used to, but that’s the penalty you’ll have to pay for such utility.
In contrast, the interior gives away nothing to conventional people-haulers. The cabins of both this Heavy Duty and our long-term Ram are virtually identical, which is a very good thing. Control layout is excellent, as is craftsmanship. The heated steering wheel is a delight -- and a bit of a surprise to find since this isn’t a luxury vehicle. It’s also nice that the Heavy Duty includes two features our Four Seasons pickup is notably lacking -- the $200 rearview camera and a trailer-brake controller. It does seem a bit of an oversight, though, that stability control isn’t offered. I was caught off-guard as the rear end of the truck started to slide out as I was traveling in a straight line at 20 mph over a light dusting of snow. That’s the work of 650 lb-ft of torque. You could argue that this 6400-pound beast is firmly planted to the ground 90 percent of the time, but that’s not going to be good enough for the federal government when stability control is mandated in 2011. Possibly even more important than stability control, is the trailer sway management that commonly comes with it. With 10,000 pounds traveling at 70 mph just 10 feet behind me, I’d love to have a computer watching over me.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor