Vehicle Overview from Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com 2009 Dodge Ram Pickup 2500 Overview
Nothing represents America as much as a full-size, heavy-duty pickup. Big, brash and powerful, these beasts could just about tow Yankee Stadium or even pull the perennially pathetic Pirates out of last place. In the case of the 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 lineup, they also boast big-rig styling and, in Mega Cab guise, rear-seat room and comfort that rival a limousine's. Although the current Ram 2500 is entering the twilight of its life (the Ram 1500 was redesigned for '09 and the heavy-duty Rams usually get their makeover the following year), it is by no means outdated. An interior redesign from a few years ago retains the truck's freshness, while the available 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel gives the Ram 2500 massive towing and hauling potential. Packing 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the big six-cylinder diesel gives the Ram 2500 a maximum towing capacity of 13,350 pounds. For those planning off-road excursions, Dodge offers the Ram Power Wagon. This brute is outfitted with hardware normally found in aftermarket catalogs. The Power Wagon comes with driver-controlled, electrically locking front and rear differentials, an electronically disconnecting front antiroll bar, 33-inch off-road tires, a 12,000-pound winch and unique suspension tuning. Pitted against the Ford F-250 Super Duty and Chevy Silverado 2500, the 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 makes a respectable case for itself. It boasts strong work capacities, the roomiest crew cab available and ruggedly handsome styling. However, bed capacity is one area where the Ram suffers. The standard bed is shorter than expected, while the Mega Cab's truncated bed could potentially limit fifth-wheel trailering applications. Other than that, the 2009 Ram 2500 should meet the needs of anyone looking for a heavy-duty hauler.
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 heavy-duty pickup is available in three cab styles: regular, Quad Cab (crew cab) and Mega Cab (jumbo crew cab). The regular cabs come with a long bed only, while the Quad Cab has either a short or long cargo bed. The Mega Cab rides on the same wheelbase as the Quad Cab long bed but pairs an even bigger cabin with the short bed. The regular cab comes in ST or SLT trims; the Quad Cab in ST, SLT or Laramie trims; and the Mega Cab in SLT or Laramie only. The Ram ST is pretty bare bones, offering little more than17-inch wheels, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40 front bench seat, air-conditioning and a CD player. The SLT adds alloy wheels, cruise control, cloth upholstery, full power accessories and keyless entry. The SLT is equipped similarly but comes only with the Mega Cab. The luxurious Laramie comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, a power driver seat, upgraded speakers and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Major options on the upper trims include a sunroof, remote start (diesel engine only), power-adjustable pedals, front bucket seats, Bluetooth, a navigation system, satellite radio, an upgraded stereo and a rear-seat entertainment system. For four-wheel-drive Quad Cabs, Dodge also offers the Power Wagon trim. This Ram is highly specialized for off-road duty with its raised suspension, front and rear differential locks, electronically disengaging front stabilizer bar, 33-inch tires, 12,000-pound winch and full skid plates.
Powertrains and Performance:
The Ram 2500 is available with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive (electronically controlled on all but the lowest trim level). The 4WD version has a solid front axle and recirculating-ball steering setup, while the 2WD model gets an independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. All come standard with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that, with this year's revisions, makes 355 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7 comes paired solely with a five-speed automatic. Most buyers, however, go for the optional Cummins 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-6 that produces 350 hp and a whopping 650 lb-ft of torque. The diesel can be paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. For the diesel, Dodge also includes an exhaust brake. Typically seen only on big rigs, an exhaust brake provides additional stability and braking power when towing very heavy loads. Properly equipped, the Ram 2500 can tow up to 13,350 pounds.
Antilock disc brakes are standard, and side curtain airbags are optional. Optional on the SLT and standard on the Laramie are power-adjustable pedals. No crash tests have been performed yet on the 2009 Dodge Ram 2500, but the lighter Ram 1500 earned five out of five stars in government crash tests for its protection of front occupants in head-on collisions. Frontal-offset collision testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety similarly resulted in a top rating of "Good."
Interior Design and Special Features:
The 2009 Ram's cabin features white-faced gauges, simple twist-knob climate controls and a huge center armrest/bin. Although it is a straightforward, user-friendly design, materials quality could be a bit better. Crew cabs can seat up to six people, and the rear seats fold up to reveal a flat load floor for carrying large items inside. Unfortunately, rear seating in Quad Cabs is noticeably more cramped than in rivals' crew-cab trucks. The Mega Cab more than compensates by expanding legroom by nearly a foot and offering a comfy, reclining backseat. If carrying passengers in comfort is a priority equal to pickup utility, it's hard to beat the Mega Cab model.
Although it's built to take on the most demanding tasks, the 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 is still a surprisingly comfortable truck for daily use. Its steering is light and its turning circle is smaller than that of other heavy-duty trucks. Ride quality is also relatively compliant and nearly as comfortable as that of most half-tons. The V8 is a competent all-around engine, but for serious towing and hauling (plus decent fuel economy), the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel is essential.