2014 3500 New Car Test Drive
OverviewThe 2014 Ram Heavy Duty models boast some of the highest tow ratings among pickups. Ram HDs offer five engine power ratings and a range of interiors from commercial-friendly to luxury.
The three-quarter ton Ram 2500 series receives the bulk of the changes for the 2014 model year. The 2014 Ram 2500 gets a new front suspension and a unique rear suspension. Ram 2500 offers rear air suspension while Ram 3500 offers rear air assist. Also new for 2014, a second Hemi gasoline V8 joins the lineup. Fleet and plow operators will appreciate the expansion of gasoline-power availability. The current-generation Ram Heavy Duty pickups began with the 2003 model year. 2010 brought revised styling and more refinement throughout. For 2013, headlamps and tail lamps were updated, chrome and power folding mirrors were added.
Maximum towing for the 2014 Ram 2500 is nearly 18,000 pounds and for the 2014 Ram 3500 it is 30,000 pounds; top payload approaches 4000 pounds for a Ram 2500 and is 7320 pounds on Ram 3500. Like all full-size pickup trucks, the maximum tow rating and maximum load rating apply to different trucks and not simultaneously. While Ram's payload numbers are fully competitive, the 3500's towing ability is literally tons better than the challengers. (Most HD pickups pulling a trailer rated for anything near their maximum load capacity may require some sort of driver's license beyond the norm or an endorsement.)
Chrysler's 383-hp Hemi 5.7-liter V8 with 6-speed automatic is the standard setup; a CNG version has limited availability. The new 6.4-liter 410-hp Hemi is designed for regular unleaded fuel and has cylinder deactivation for lower light-load fuel consumption. Most models offer at least two powertrain choices, though Longhorns are automatic only and Power Wagons are gas engine only.
The 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel comes in three variants: 350-hp, 660 lb-ft with 6-speed manual; 370 hp, 800 lb-ft with 6-speed automatic; 385-hp, 850 lb-ft with 6-speed automatic on the MaxTow package.
Ram HD rides well and cruises quietly by heavy-duty pickup standards but you can't compare the ride to a car, nor noise from six tires, lots of airflow and trailer hardware. We found the rear-air suspended Ram 2500 rode quite comfortably empty or towing, while four-door Ram 3500s towed comfortably into the 28,000-pound range. As with most full-size pickups, four-door cabs' better body mounts and a longer wheelbase help ride quality and isolation.
Equipment levels vary from the Ram Tradesman's rubber-vinyl coverings and crank windows to Ram Laramie's heated steering wheel and rear seats, heated/ventilated front seats, driver memory system, configurable instrument cluster and text-to-voice infotainment systems. All cabs are roomy but the Ram MegaCab offers more cabin lounging space than any HD pickup.
(The 2014 Ram Power Wagon will be a late introduction. Expect the new suspension design to be taller than a standard 2014 but just as flexible as the previous Power Wagon. We're expecting gas-engine only.)
Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty models compete with Ford Super Duty, Chevrolet Silverado HD, and GMC Sierra HD pickups. Ram HD shares many interior elements and styling cues with Ram 1500 models, though they are not identical.
Ram HDs remain a compelling choice for anyone in need of a heavy-duty pickup truck. Ram Heavy Duty models are an excellent choice for anyone pulling big travel trailers, multi-car race trailers, big boats or a stable of horses. They are a good choice for anyone who has work to do, be it hauling construction tools and materials or substituting for a medium-duty when a primary business rig is on downtime.
The 2014 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 Heavy Duty pickups come in Tradesman, SLT, Outdoorsman, Power Wagon, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn trim levels, plus regional SLT+ packages such as the Big Horn and Lone Star. Three cab configurations are available: Regular, Crew Cab, Mega Cab. Two bed lengths (6-foot, 4-inch and 8-foot) are offered, along with a choice of four wheelbases. Ram 3500 models are available with single or dual rear wheels (SRW or DRW). The Power Wagon is 2500 4WD, Crew Cab, gasoline only; Ram HD regular cab is Tradesman or SLT trim only; Mega Cabs come only with the short bed.
Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 come standard with the 5.7-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic; no manual is offered for the V8. A factory-built CNG (natural gas) unit is available on a few 2500 Crew Cab long box. The 6.4 Hemi is available on most trims, and for the first time in decades, on a dual-rear wheel 3500. The optional Cummins 6.7-liter turbodiesel is available in three power levels with three corresponding transmissions. On most Ram HD models, part-time 4WD (manual or electric-shift) adds about $3,000.
Ram Tradesman models are commercial-grade: black bumpers, grille and mirrors, crank windows on regular cab (power windows and locks on others), vinyl 40/20/40 seat, steel wheels and a manual-shift transfer case on 4WD. Vinyl floor covering is standard and can be ordered in place of carpet on all but Laramie models. Ram Tradesman comes standard with an automatic transmission, air conditioning, Class V hitch with 4/7-pin plugs, AM/FM Uconnect 3.0 stereo, cruise control, locking tailgate and tilt steering wheel. Options for Ram ST are plentiful, including a diesel engine (which adds front tow hooks and cruise control), power heated and towing mirrors, integrated trailer brake controller, sliding rear window, spray in bedliner, floor mats, cloth upholstery, DVD/HDD and Sirius audio, limited-slip differential, skid plates, RamBox or fifth-wheel/gooseneck prep, various option groups, and choices for wheels, tires and axle ratios.
Ram SLT adds power mirrors, remote keyless entry, power windows (including rear windows on four-doors), carpeting, cloth upholstery, electric-switched transfer case, chrome wheels, sliding rear window, in-dash tire-pressure display (2500 only) and the integrated trailer brake controller. Some notable SLT options are fog lamps, CHMSL rear camera, heated power towing mirrors, forged aluminum wheels, bucket seats and console, power seats, adjustable pedals and driver memory system, moonroof, navigation, Uconnect phone, remote start, back-up camera, security system, and rear park assist.
Ram Outdoorsman is a package for Ram 2500 and 3500 Crew cabs based on an SLT luxury package with some additional extras. Standards include gray painted bumpers and fender flares, two-tone paint, body-color grille/black insert, fog lights, power folding/heated mirrors with signals, HomeLink, mud/slush floor mats, 115-VAC outlet, power split-bench seat, leather-wrapped wheel, LT265/70R17E on/off-road tires on forged aluminum wheels, 7-inch TFT info display, Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen AM/FM/sat/Bluetooth/voice nav-ready audio, security system, limited-slip differential, tow hooks, and remote start. Primary options are a moonroof, engines, navigation and park sensors.
Ram Big Horn and Ram Lone Star (Texas only) editions are packages based on a Ram SLT with some Outdoorsman parts and Uconnect 5.0 touchscreen audio with Bluetooth and satellite radio.
Power Wagon models come only as 2500 Crew Cab. Power Wagons get electric locking front and rear differentials, a front antiroll bar disconnect, specific suspension with Bilstein shocks, 32-inch BFGoodrich off-road tires, a 12,000-lb Warn winch, full skid plates, 4.10:1 gears, more lighting and two-tone paint and graphics. Three trim levels parallel the Tradesman, SLT and Laramie trim (and most options) of other HD Rams.
Ram Laramie adds more chrome, power adjustable pedals and heated mirrors on driver memory system, dual-zone climate control, 115-VAC outlet, universal door opener, 10-way/6-way power heated leather seats, heated leather steering wheel, nine-speaker DVD/HDD surround-sound audio, rear park sense, and security system. Laramie upgrades are generally limited to chrome packages, towing mirrors, skid plates, rear window defroster, heated/ventilated power bucket seats with floor console, moonroof, navigation, rearview camera and wheel and axle ratio choices.
Laramie Longhorn is automatic only. Four-door cab only, it adds to a Laramie with filigree leather upholstery, leather on the dash and door panels, wood trim, Berber floor mats, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, leather-wrapped shift knob, navigation with Sirius Travel Link, remote start, unique instrument graphics, polished aluminum wheels and spray in bed liner. Options are few: skidplates, axle ratio, limited-slip differential, smart beam headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, alternate wheel finishes and rear seat entertainment system.
Laramie Limited is the top-line, four-door cab only. Relative Longhorn it gets body-color bumpers, standard RamBox, piped Natura Plus black leather interior, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, keyless entry/start, smart-beam headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, and logo floormats.
Safety features on all HD Rams include dual front multi-stage airbags, side curtain airbags, front side airbags, adjustable height front belts, LATCH child-seat anchors, child-protection rear door locks, stability and trailer sway control, anti-lock brakes on all wheels, hill-start assist and tire-pressure monitors (2500 only).