Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: March 21, 2017
There’s a war going on in the Heavy Duty pick-up world that many of us daily commuters and economy worry-bugs might not be aware of. Like the space race of the early 60s, American pick-up truck manufacturers are racing to see who can tow the most weight. It has become so ridiculous now that if you wanted to tow a trailer that gets close to the max towing capacity, you’ll need to get a license that is usually reserved for truckers that drive 18-wheelers.
The first to strike blood in this war was the 2016 Dodge RAM 3500 when it was revealed that it could tow a staggering 14,156 kg (31,210 lbs) all from its 6.7-Litre inline-6 turbo diesel Cummins motor mated to a heavy duty 6-speed Aisin transmission. For 2017, the Ram 3500 remains largely unchanged to the 2016 version.
Like the 1500 and the 2500, the Ram 3500 is available in several different configurations involving cabin, powertrain and box length choices.
With the configuration I tested, the RAM 3500 claims a 2nd-best in class towing and payload capacity, (14,156 kg & 7,390 kg respectively) only behind the Ford F-450, which can pull and carry several hundred kilograms more.
On paper, the Ram’s Heavy Duty numbers are mighty impressive, but in the real world (unless your profession calls for it) how often will you find yourself waking up, putting on your work boots and then telling yourself “okay, time to go and pull the weight of two Howitzer cannons, or one Subway train car”. The answer? Not often at all. Could you say the RAM 3500 is overkill for the average commuter? Absolutely. Is it bad-ass? Hell yes.
Firing up the Cummins is synonymous with turning the key on a diesel-powered army tank. You immediately feel as though you’ve just become the king of the road. The Cummins boasts 900 lb-ft. of Earth moving torque, and 385 horsepower. To get the highest possible towing capacity, prospective buyers should opt for the 4.10:1 rear axle ratio.
During my test week, and due to my current license status, I did not tow anything remotely near the amount that this big heavy hauler can handle. So I cannot comment on how the truck handles with all of the weight attached, but with the optional dual rear wheels, rear auto-leveling suspension (no competitors have this feature), and exhaust braking make it easy to haul big cargo with confidence and comfort.
The Ram 3500 DRW (dual rear wheels, or dually) diesel shines in braking and handling. I was a bit let down by the over-boosted steering, which was a bit of a surprise because the last Ram 1500 I tested had sharper steering. It still went where I pointed it; it just required much wheel turning to get there, due in part to the long wheelbase. The truck’s optional dual rear wheels gave the Ram great stability through corners, and the stiff suspension exhibited little body lean. As expected, some mid corner bumps will upset the rear because of the non-independent suspension.
Perhaps the best part of this huge mammoth throughout the test week was that a huge snowstorm hit town. Even without winter tires, the 4x4 system plowed through the road without raising any cause for alarm. The off-road system is better used for roads that are covered in snow, or muddy farm work – don’t expect to tackle any kind of real rock-climbing activity that a Jeep might participate in, however.
You can’t expect a truck with this much towing capacity to drive like a crossover SUV. But the Ram is perhaps one of the smoothest-riding pickups in the heavy-duty segment. Aided by the comfy and supportive front seats, you can take this Ram on long overnight hauls without tiring. The cabin is supremely quiet as well, blocking out that noisy turbodiesel motor most of the time.
Interior wise, the Ram’s modern styling with user-friendly controls including the fantastic UConnect system, leaving users sitting in a happy place. The cabin is open and airy and easy to see out of. Even though it doesn’t sit too high up from the ground, being able to tower over traffic and the plethora of cameras can give even the most novice drivers the confidence to drive this Ram in downtown traffic.
There are generously sized pockets in all four doors plus handy storage wells hidden under the rear floor mats. The Ram gives you plenty of bins and pockets to supplement the huge dual gloveboxes. The door pockets are narrow but long with two bottleholders each. The 3500 has a sliding front bin, a large armrest bin with USB, an auxiliary input, a 12-volt charger and SD card slot, and a conventional AC power socket.
The 2017 Ram 3500 is a top pick for a heavy-duty truck thanks to its refined interior, class-leading ride comfort, and tremendous towing and hauling capabilities. If the baby brother 2500 can’t meet your towing or hauling needs, the Ram 3500 is the workhorse that can deliver the additional muscle with equal refinement.
With an as tested price that is just under $90,000, the Ram 3500 is a serious investment. Thankfully, it’s been well documented that these turbodiesel Cummins motors have been known to travel well in excess of 500,000 kilometres on the odometer with ease, plus you only need to change the oil every 24,000 kilometres.
型号 Model: 2017 RAM 3500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4
顏色 Paint Type: Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $65,995
試車售價 Price as Tested: $86,810
引擎 Engine: 6.7-litre Cummins inline-six turbodiesel
最大馬力 Horsepower: 385 hp @ 2,800 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 900 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed AISIN heavy duty automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4X4
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 18.0