Full 2010 Dodge Ram Pickup 3500 Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 has been fully redesigned. Highlights include a new Crew Cab model that replaces last year's Quad Cab, revised suspension tuning and updated styling.
News headlines for the domestic automakers were not particularly glowing in 2008 and '09. If it wasn't tanking sales of trucks and SUVs, it was, well, bankruptcy. But we're fairly confident that the redesigned 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 will be a bright spot. The truck has been fully redesigned for added comfort and quality, yet it keeps the tough-truck persona that its forebears were known for.
On the outside, you'll notice new exterior sheet metal that enhances the Ram's brawny, big-rig character while also tidying up the appearance. Unlike the tacked-on look of other dual-rear-wheel (dually) fenders, the new Ram 3500's rear quarters are seamless and integrated.
More significant changes can be found inside the cabin, as the interior has been updated with a sharper design and top-notch materials. This year also sees the replacement of the much-maligned Quad Cab with a much roomier Crew Cab version, which also can be ordered with a long bed. Comfort also sees marked improvements thanks to a retuned suspension and hydraulic cab-to-frame mounts.
But don't think for a second that the big bad Ram has gone soft. The Ram 3500 boasts a maximum towing capacity of 17,600 pounds, while payload tops out at 5,130 pounds when properly equipped. Making all of this heavy hauling possible is a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 that cranks out 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.
Flexibility also adds to the 2010 Ram 3500's allure. Buyers can choose between regular cab, Crew Cab and Mega Cab body styles as well as two- or four-wheel-drive configurations. A short bed (6-foot 4-inches) or an 8-foot long bed is available on regular and Crew Cab models, while the Mega Cab is only offered with the short bed. It should be noted that the short bed models may limit some fifth-wheel trailering applications, though.
When compared to the few 3500-series heavy-duty trucks in this class, the 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 is practically in a dead heat against the Ford F-350 and Chevy Silverado 3500. But the Dodge has the advantage when it comes to bold styling and an uncommonly upscale interior. All things considered, the 2010 Ram 3500 should easily satisfy anyone in need of a heavy-duty workhorse.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 heavy-duty pickup is available in three cab styles: regular, Crew Cab and Mega Cab (a jumbo crew cab). The regular cabs come with a long bed only, while the Crew Cab has either a short or long cargo bed. The Mega Cab rides on the same wheelbase as the Crew Cab long bed but pairs an even bigger cabin with the short bed. The regular cab comes in ST or SLT trims; the Crew Cab in ST, SLT or Laramie trims; and the Mega Cab is SLT or Laramie only. With the exception of Crew Cab short beds, all Ram 3500s have a dual-rear-wheel axle.
The Ram ST is the bare-bones trim level, offering little more than 17-inch steel wheels, vinyl upholstery and flooring, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player. Power windows are standard on Crew Cab models, while regular cabs have manual cranks. The SLT adds chrome exterior trim, chrome-clad wheels, heated side mirrors, a sliding rear window, cloth upholstery, full power accessories, keyless entry and satellite radio. SLT Crew Cab and Mega Cab Rams are eligible to upgrade to the Big Horn package (sold as the Lone Star package in Texas). This package includes a chrome grille, foglights, brighter quad headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal garage door opener and trailer brake control.
The luxurious Laramie gains polished alloy wheels, underbody skid plates (on 4x4 models), dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, a power driver seat with memory, power-adjustable pedals, auto-dimming mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and an upgraded nine-speaker surround-sound system with a 30 GB music server and iPod integration.
Options on the upper trims include a sunroof, remote start, power-adjustable pedals, front bucket seats, Bluetooth, a navigation system, satellite radio, an upgraded stereo and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Ram 3500 is available in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Dual rear wheels are standard, but buyers may choose a single rear wheel option. A 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 is standard and produces an impressive 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual with an option for a six-speed automatic. The Cummins comes with a big-rig-like exhaust brake, an unusual feature for a factory pickup, that provides additional stability and braking power when towing very heavy loads. Properly equipped, the Ram 3500 can tow up to 17,600 pounds.
Standard safety equipment for the 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 includes antilock disc brakes and side curtain airbags. Optional on the SLT and standard on the Laramie are power-adjustable pedals. Trailer brake control is available as an option on all trims.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 Ram 3500 takes a page out of the Ram 1500's playbook by offering the best interior among all pickups. On the higher trim levels, soft-touch materials and tasteful stitching are abundant throughout the cabin, while the plush seats and metallic accents in higher-trimmed Rams are almost too nice for work truck status. Interior storage is generous, with plenty of bins and pockets to supplement the dual gloveboxes.
The controls are within easy reach and user-friendly, except for the audio system when paired with the optional navigation. In this configuration, the absence of hard buttons and knobs needlessly complicates some of the most basic functions. Fortunately, the steering-wheel-mounted controls help to alleviate this problem.
Even though the 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 was built to tackle the most demanding of pickup duties, it remains comfortably composed in most situations. The ride is firmer than its smaller 1500 sibling (which features a trick coil-spring rear suspension), but the 3500's leaf spring rear is as good as it gets among heavy-duty trucks.
Further isolating the occupants from the outside world are hydraulic cab-to-frame mounts that are tuned to reduce the jolting ride that is typical for an unloaded heavy-duty truck. On the highway, road and wind noise are nicely quelled, with only a muted diesel clatter at full throttle.