A Tale Of Two Trucks - Part 1
The 2016 RAM 3500 Limited & 2016 RAM 2500 Longhorn
With pickup trucks seeing a resurgence in both popularity and sales these days due to low fuel prices, many automakers are revamping their long term sales strategies to try and meet this newfound demand. FCA and their Ram brand are no exception, and are doubling down on their efforts to steal the sales crown away from both Ford and General Motors thanks to offerings such as the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as well as recent shifts in production capacity. I wanted to find out for myself whether their lineup had the chops to take on this challenge, so I got behind the wheel of two of their heavy duty models, and put them through their paces to find out.
2016 Ram 3500 Limited Dually
Serving as the proverbial chairman of the Ram heavy duty lineup, my $76,065 Ram 3500 Limited tester is aimed at wealthy buyers that want world class capability, but also want to be pampered with equal amounts of luxury. On that particular front the Limited stood out from the rest thanks to features such as a heated steering wheel, supple heated and cooled leather seats, as well as copious amounts of wood trim. In addition, this capable rig also came equipped with FCA’s 8.4 inch Uconnect infotainment system. The display was crisp and clear with various functions laid out in a logical manner. Unfortunately, the screen’s position in the center console did require a long reach to access many functions, but thankfully the built in voice recognition system did alleviate this frustrating quirk to a certain degree. The fore-mentioned leather seats are plush and comfortable, but lack lower back support with only minimal side bolstering keeping occupants from sliding around during turns.
Performance for the 3500 comes from three different engines (a trait also shared with the 2500), but our test truck came equipped with the optional 6.7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine. Good for a healthy 385 horsepower and 865 lb-ft of torque, this potent combo allows the diesel to be a perfect companion out on the job site while also leading its class at the same time in both towing and cargo capacity. While this engine is geared more towards towing versus outright performance, acceleration was strong, and shifts from the six speed AISIN automatic transmission were smooth and precise. Unfortunately, the rest of the driving experience was a mixed bag with the rear air suspension having a bouncy feel when going over bumps and dips (a trait that is eliminated when fully loaded.) Furthermore, being a dually, its massive size also made some driving maneuvers (such as parking) a challenge. This would be highlighted later in its stay with me when it managed to get penned in my cul-de sac thanks to a neighbor’s army of landscapers blocking the only way in and out. This didn’t leave enough clearance for the rear wheel flares to safely pass through, and required the fore-mentioned landscapers to move a vehicle to let it out of the cul-de-sac. Once the big dually was freed from its unexpected predicament, it managed to redeem itself thanks to its bold exterior styling which features copious amounts of chrome trim, and a big RAM badge on the tailgate. This made the truck an attention grabber, and it certainly did a good job turning heads both parked and when out on the road.
Chairmen are sometimes required to represent their brand worldwide. With the big cheese needed elsewhere, we turn to the second half of our tale....
Model: 2016 Ram 3500 Limited 4x4
Engine: 6.7 L Cummins Turbo Diesel I6
EPA: Exempt from government testing
- Limited Package $3,085
- Wood/Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel $400
- AISIN 6-Speed Automatic Transmission $2,595
- Dual Rear Wheels $1,200
- 7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel $8,995
- Auto Level Air Suspension $1,595
Price as Tested: $76,065 with $1,195 destination charge