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Even though this is the last year for this generation Ram pickup, the attractive 2500 is still worth a look from those seeking a real workhorse.
User-friendly cab, competent handling on- and off-road, powerful V10 and diesel options.
Dated design, Quad Cab lacks rear-seat room when compared to GM full-size trucks.
Three new colors: Atlantic Blue and Light Almond Pearls and Graphite metallic are added for 2002. Although the Ram 1500 was completely revamped this year, the heavier-duty 2500 Ram pickup must wait one more year for its update.
Even though its little brother, the Ram 1500 was redesigned this year, the brawny 2500 is not exactly lagging behind. With a variety of handsome body styles and power options to choose from, the 2500 can still handle any job assignment, be it ranch duty or snowplowing.
The heavy-duty Ram 2500 comes in Regular, Club and Quad Cab three-quarter- and one-ton configurations. A 5.9-liter V8 with 245 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque is the standard powerplant. Optional is an 8.0-liter V10, good for 310 horsepower (305 for California) and 450 pound-feet of torque (440 for California).
And the macho 5.9-liter 24-valve inline six turbodiesel that makes huge power (235 horsepower, 460 lb-ft) is available if you envision some serious hauling duties and have an extra 5 grand to spend.
Speaking of hauling, a properly equipped Ram 2500 can handle up to 3,730 pounds of payload and pull a trailer weighing up to 14,150 pounds.
Regular Cab models have bench seating for three, while the Club Cab can cram up to six inside, although access to the rear for seating (and storage) is difficult. With the Quad Cab, rear-access doors on both sides make that easier, yet they're not separate full-size doors like on the new Ram 1500 Quad Cab. Inside, the Ram features sound ergonomics with large controls that are properly placed and functional even if the operator is wearing gloves.
Underway, automatic transmission shifts are firm, but not harsh, and the column-mounted shifter operates easily. The manual transmissions are simple to shift, with well-spaced gates. The five-speed manual tranny has a granny-low first gear for getting going while hauling a heavy load. And mated to the Cummings turbodiesel is a six-speed manual transmission. Of course, a four-speed automatic is available across the board.
Although it's a bulky vehicle, the Ram is surprisingly agile and reasonably surefooted, but think twice before making any quick maneuvers. Ride and handling are so competent you almost forget you're in a full-size pickup, except if it's unloaded, in which case, you'll be reminded over every bump in the road. Beefy disc brakes with standard antilock technology are standard. And just as it's capable on pavement, the Ram does extremely well on trails and during other off-road excursions, able to clamber through technical sections with the best of 'em. Just keep in mind the Ram's size when negotiating the off-pavement stuff.
Even as it awaits next year's rebirth, the Ram 2500 pickup is ready to serve those who actually need a heavy-duty rig to manage big loads or travel off the beaten path.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.