Half-ton pickups (those with "150" or "1500" in the model name) may seem big and burly, but there are some jobs they just can't do. If you have serious loads to haul, you'll need to step up to a heavy-duty pickup. We consider the Ram 2500 to be a top pick because it bundles tremendous towing and hauling abilities with best-in-class ride comfort.
What sets the Ram 2500 apart from the competition is its coil-spring rear suspension. It stands in stark contrast to the leaf springs that have been used in trucks since Henry Ford first put a pickup bed on a Model T. Coils provide a more comfortable ride — though such things must be considered in their context; any truck built to haul this much weight is going to ride firmly — and they also maintain better control of the rear axle, which means that bumps and ripples don't send the rear end skittering around as much as a leaf-spring-equipped truck. The Ram's steering is heavy yet accurate, and it tracks through the corners very nicely considering its bulk. A roomy well-finished cabin with easy-to-use controls rounds out this likable truck.
The base engine in the Ram 2500 is a 5.7-liter gasoline-fueled V8 (also available in a natural-gas-fueled version) that delivers 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet. An optional 6.4-liter V8 puts out 410 hp and 429 lb-ft, and both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. But the Ram 2500 is arguably most famous for its 6.7-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel built by big-rig diesel manufacturer Cummins. Ram is also the only manufacturer offering a heavy-duty pickup with a manual transmission; it comes paired to a 350-hp, 660 lb-ft version of the Cummins. If you want to unleash the diesel's full potential, however, you'll need to opt for an automatic. So equipped, output rises to 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. Because of the truck's weight capacity, Ram is not required to provide EPA fuel economy estimates.
Speed is not the diesel Ram's mission in life, but we still clocked it to 60 mph in a respectable 8.7 seconds. This is a workhorse, and work it does: Properly equipped, the Ram 2500 can haul up to 3,990 pounds in the bed and tow up to 17,980 pounds.
The Ram 2500 is offered with three cab styles (regular, extended and crew); two bed lengths; and seven trim levels: Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn (sold in Texas as the Lone Star), Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, Limited and Power Wagon. The Tradesman is a stripped-down work truck designed to deliver lots of ability at a low price point, while the Limited has bells and whistles we'd expect from a luxury car. The Power Wagon is an off-road themed version with a manual transfer case and other off-road-specific features, many of which are available in other models as part of a new-for-2017 Off-Road package. Whichever suits you best, Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Ram 2500 for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.