Face it, America – we’re known for taking more than we need. It’s a reputation we’ve built after decades of walking away from half-finished plates at the Chinese buffet, living alone in three-bedroom houses, and driving full-size SUVs when we have one child and think of podiatrists when anyone mentions tow ratings.
Like it or not, this characterization applies to many of us, but not so much with the typical buyer of a Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup. For these folks, most of whom also consider the Ford F-Series Super Duty and Chevrolet Silverado HD, payload capacity translates to what they can move to the job site and deliver to the family’s weekend vacation spot, and off-road can literally mean sans road. With these people in mind, Dodge has designed the more comfortable and immensely capable 2010 Ram HD.
Photos courtesy of Dodge
#10. See ya, Quad Cab.
There was a day when anything more than two doors and a bench seat on a work truck was considered luxury, including the added space and access that came with the Extra Cab truck, or in Dodge Ram vernacular, the Quad Cab. Those days are gone, as is the Ram Heavy Duty (HD) Quad Cab, replaced by a Crew Cab variant with four full-size doors borrowed from the RAM 1500. Of course, buyers who don’t need the extra room and versatility can opt for the 2010 Dodge Ram HD Regular Cab, and those who want maximum interior space can still opt for the Ram HD Mega Cab.
Cab style is just one choice when selecting a Ram HD; you’ll also need to decide between 2500 or 3500 series; ST, SLT, TRX, Power Wagon, or Laramie trims; single rear wheels (SRW) or dual rear wheels (DRW); a 5.7-liter Hemi or 6.7-liter Cummins diesel; and, of course, rear or four-wheel drive, plus lots more.
#9. Want a heavy-duty, hard-core off-roader? Think Power Wagon.
When it comes to heavy-duty full-size pickup trucks, thoughts of hauling or towing pretty much any moveable object come to mind, but we sometimes forget about the hard-core off-roader that is the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon. More than just some love-‘em-or-hate-‘em graphics, this rock-crawling Ram variant packs a number of unique features. These include a fuel tank skid plate (in addition to a transfer case skid plate shared with other four-wheel-drive Ram HDs), a heavy-duty alternator, a manual transfer case (other Ram HDs have an electronic shift-on-the-fly system), locking front and rear differentials, a 4.56 axle ratio (others have up to 4.10), a front winch with a 12,000-lb. capacity, a disconnecting front sway bar, and aggressive all-terrain 17-inch tires. Buyers of the Power Wagon can choose between the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, packing 383 horses and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, or the 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder diesel, which is good for 350 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque.
#8. Ram HD Laramie. It’s like a Clydesdale in a tux.
Borrowing heavily from the recently redesigned light-duty Ram, the 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty offers an attractive cabin, one that borders on luxurious after getting the Laramie treatment. You can buy a basic Ram HD ST with lots of hard interior surfaces and hand-crank windows, but select the Laramie and you’ll enjoy soft materials on the dash and door sills, complete with stitching that gives an upscale look. There’s also leather upholstery and a full selection of power features, though you might be surprised to find heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.
#7. Dodge’s HD pick ‘em up is emissions-compliant without the use of urea.
In an effort to meet stringent 50-state air-quality standards set for 2010, most new diesel-powered SUVs and trucks are using not only federally-mandated ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel and particulate filters, but also urea injection systems (urea is injected into the exhaust to limit noxious tailpipe emissions). The urea is stored in a tank and requires refilling periodically. The 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty’s 6.7-liter Cummins engine meets the standards without using the urea system, and instead depends on an exhaust filter working in concert with an absorber catalyst. Without a urea tank to fill, the Ram HD owner has one less maintenance issue to think about.
#6. Exhaust braking helps the four-ton Ram HD slow its roll.
Ok, we exaggerated. The Ram Heavy Duty technically weighs in between two-and-a-half and just-under-four tons, roughly. But the fact remains that diesel-powered 2010 Ram HDs include a new exhaust braking feature that works well and sounds very cool.
Once activated with the push of a button on the dash, the system closes off part of the exhaust system and uses the resulting pressure to slow the truck. We tested the technology, used in partnership with a tow/haul mode and an electronic range selector that limits the six-speed automatic transmission to a gear of the driver’s choosing, and a few seconds after lifting off the accelerator we could hear and feel the system working to scrub speed. This was with more than 16,000 pounds of trailer and cargo hooked to the back of our test truck.
#5. Ram HD appears more menacing than the light-duty 1500, and for good reason.
We’re guessing all but true Dodge Ram aficionados will be unaware of the fact that previous Ram and Ram Heavy Duty trucks have shared virtually all exterior styling. Shocking, but it’s true, or it least it has been. The 2010 Ram HD breaks from tradition, but it’s not entirely a case of trying to look stronger and bolder than its relatively diminutive sibling. Take a gander at the face of a new Heavy Duty Dodge and you might notice the taller hood, the massive grille, and the oversized bumper. We think it’s a safe bet that each has been added for effect, to some degree, but the taller grille and hood provide necessary space for the diesel engine’s cooling module, and that bumper was designed to accommodate the Power Wagon’s winch.
#4. Liquid-filled cab mounts serve to improve the Ram HD’s ride.
While waiting in an airport recently, we randomly struck up a conversation with a logger from Oregon who, as fate would have it, had some personal experience to relay about everyday life with a heavy-duty, diesel-powered work truck. His specific preferences didn’t surprise us, though his shopping criteria did. Aside from reliability, one of his primary concerns was comfort, which makes sense for a guy who spends countless hours behind the wheel on less than desirable roads. For our logger and drivers like him, Dodge has built the 2010 Ram HD with a new hydromount cab. Positioned between the rear corner of the cab and the frame, liquid-filled mounts work to lessen interior vibration and improve overall ride quality. After several miles of testing, we found the hardware to be effective, though you won’t be confusing the Ram HD with any pillowy luxury sedans.
#3. You could tow two Cessnas. And 2,000 bricks. With 1,400 lbs. to spare.
More or less, not including the trailer. But you get the idea – with a tow capacity of 17,600 lbs. and a maximum payload of 5,130 lbs., chances are the 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty will transport most everything you need without requiring multiple trips. For times when you can’t squeeze everything into the multiple interior compartments and the cargo box, which ranges from 6 ft. 3 in. to 8 ft. long depending on cab style, a trailer brake controller located on the left side of the dash helps manage a towed load.
#2. For 2010, the Ram HD is improved and less expensive.
Despite being treated to a redesign that includes new styling, more comfort and features, and capability aplenty, the 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty will be priced lower than the 2009 model it replaces. A rear-wheel-drive Ram HD Regular Cab ST 2500 will come in at $28,165 (including a $950 destination charge), or $1,970 less than its predecessor. Crew Cab models start at $31,415, while the 2500 Mega Cab is priced from $36,865.
#1. Updated competition for the 2010 Dodge Ram HD is just around the corner.
You might wonder why there’s little mention elsewhere in this article about the 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty’s competitors, including the Ford F-Series Super Duty and the Chevrolet Silverado HD (and GMC Sierra HD). We did drive current examples of each during our test of the Ram HD, but with redesigned versions of the Ford and GM twins arriving within a matter of months, comparisons to the outgoing models doesn’t make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, few specs on those new-for-2011 trucks are available, though we do know that the Super Duty’s current diesel engine (with the same power as Dodge’s Cummins) will be replaced by a larger Power Stroke, that a new 6.2-liter V8 replaces both the 5.4-liter V8 and 6.8-liter V10, and that the innovative Work Solutions system will continue to be offered. For the Silverado/Sierra HD, reports suggest that a new Duramax will deliver greater power than the Cummins.