2017 Ram 2500

2017 Ram 2500 Regular Cab Review

Is the 2017 Ram 2500 a heavy-duty workhorse? A luxury heavy hauler? A dutiful daily driver? Yes.
4.5 / 5
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2017 Ram 2500 is a top pick for a heavy-duty truck thanks to its refined interior, class-leading ride comfort, and tremendous towing and hauling capabilities. If a regular light-duty 1500 series truck can't meet your towing or hauling needs, the Ram 2500 is a heavy-duty workhorse than can deliver the additional muscle — and refinement.

Like the 1500, the Ram 2500 is available in several different configurations involving cabin, powertrain and box length choices but offers superior towing and hauling abilities. Ram also offers the Power Wagon, a specialized version of the 2500 meant to tackle mountain trails with ease.

There are few competitors in this segment, but none have one of the Ram's best features: a coil spring rear suspension. Whether you're towing or driving around with the bed empty, the coil spring provides a more compliant ride compared to the leaf-spring setup used by its rivals.



What's new for 2017

For 2017, Ram updates the Power Wagon's styling, offers a new four-wheel-drive off-road package, makes the 6.4-liter V8 engine standard on Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited trims, and slightly upgrades the suspension on Laramie Longhorn and Limited 4x4 models.

We recommend

Given the multiple ways to configure a Ram 2500, it's impossible to recommend any single trim. Need a dependable daily truck that doesn't require much fuss? The Tradesman with a split bench seat and power accessories. Need something comfortable to take clients to job sites or pull the toy hauler in style? The Laramie Longhorn or Limited with the 5th Wheel/Towing Prep pack will do. Zombie apocalypse bug-out tank? The Power Wagon will scale mountains. A daily driver that can do weekend dirty work? The SLT Crew Cab with a short bed. Whatever your needs, there's likely a Ram 2500 to suit it.




Trim levels & features

Like many heavy-duty pickups, the 2017 Ram 2500 is available in multiple configurations. There are three cab styles, two bed lengths, three engines, two transmissions and seven trim levels: Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, Limited and Power Wagon. At one end of the spectrum is the Tradesman, a minimal-frills workhorse. At the other, the Limited, which widens the boundaries of big-truck luxury.

Cab styles include a two-door regular cab, a four-door crew cab, and a four-door jumbo crew cab called Mega Cab. The regular cab comes with an 8-foot bed only, while the crew cab has either the long bed or a short bed (6 feet 4 inches). The Mega Cab rides on the same wheelbase as the crew-cab long bed but combines an even bigger cabin with the short bed.

Most 2500s come with a 5.7-liter V8 gasoline engine (383 horsepower, 400 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A modified version of this engine runs on compressed natural gas and produces identical power figures to the gasoline version.

The 2500 is available with either rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive, except the Power Wagon, which is available in 4WD form only.

There are two optional engines: A 6.4-liter V8 (410 hp, 429 lb-ft of torque) paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and a turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel six-cylinder. The latter makes 350 hp and 660 lb-ft when matched to a six-speed manual transmission. When paired with a reinforced six-speed automatic, those numbers are 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. 

Tradesman and SLT trims are available with all three cabs, while the Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited versions can only be ordered with a crew cab or a Mega Cab. The off-road Power Wagon variant (crew cab, short bed only) can be ordered in Tradesman, standard or Laramie forms.

The Tradesman is the most basic trim and comes with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, black grille and bumpers, a locking tailgate, a 40/20/40-split front bench, a tilt-only steering wheel, and a six-speaker stereo with a USB port and an auxiliary audio input. Vinyl upholstery and flooring are standard, but a cloth bench seat is a no-cost option. Power windows and locks (including the locking tailgate) are standard on crew-cab models, as are power-adjustable, heated mirrors. Regular cabs have manual controls and non-heated mirrors by default. Available for the Tradesman and geared toward commercial users is Work Grade heavy-duty vinyl upholstery.

The SLT adds chrome exterior trim, 18-inch steel wheels, an integrated trailer brake controller, power heated mirrors, a power-sliding rear window (manual on regular cabs), keyless entry, an overhead console, cloth upholstery, carpeted floors, full power accessories, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5-inch touchscreen interface and satellite radio.

The Big Horn (Lone Star for shoppers in Texas) adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, chrome grille slats, foglights, remote ignition, a 115-volt power outlet, a 10-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), premium cloth upholstery, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

The Laramie builds off the Big Horn /Lone Star and adds a standard 6.4-liter V8, two-tone paint, more chrome trim (including the bumpers), projector headlights, LED taillights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings, a six-way power front passenger seat (with power lumbar adjustment), heated and ventilated front bucket seats, a heated steering wheel and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system. The limited-slip differential is dropped as standard equipment but is available as an option.

The Laramie Longhorn adds to the Laramie's substantial features list by including a chrome mesh grille, cream-colored bumpers, running boards, a spray-in bedliner, remote ignition, a full center console, upgraded leather upholstery, wood interior and steering wheel trim, power-adjustable pedals (with memory settings), heated rear seats, a navigation system and HD radio.

The Limited trim adds monotone paint, color-keyed bumpers, 20-inch wheels, additional chrome exterior trim, automatic high-beams, automatic wipers, the RamBox cargo management system (includes bedside storage compartments, an adjustable bed divider and tie-downs), keyless entry and ignition, and special black leather upholstery.

Finally, there's the off-road-themed Power Wagon, which is available only in crew-cab 4WD with the short bed and the 6.4-liter V8. It stands apart with a unique grille and tailgate, a blacked-out bumper, blacked-out dual-projection headlights, LED taillights, black fender flares and unique graphics. Inside it's almost identical to an SLT, but with tire tread indentations pressed into its cloth seats. But it's the extensive mechanical upgrades that make a Power Wagon, and these include unique 17-inch wheels shod with aggressive all-terrain tires, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, tow hooks, skid plates, a manual transfer case, electronically locking front and rear differentials with a 4.10 axle ratio, hill descent control, an integrated front winch, and a front anti-roll bar than can be disconnected electronically to improve wheel articulation off-road.

Interestingly, the Power Wagon isn't just a trim level. It's also an option package you can add to a crew-cab Tradesman 4x4 with a 6.4-liter Hemi engine. Here you'll get all of the Power Wagon mechanical bits, including the fender flares, but without any other bodywork styling cues or graphics. It's a stealthy working man's Power Wagon at a lower price.

For 2017, those who aren't looking for the extreme capability of the Power Wagon can select a new 4x4 Off-Road package that is available on 2500 crew-cab and Mega Cab 4x4 models. This package is available with any engine and includes hill descent control, tow hooks, a transfer case skid plate, Bilstein shocks, a limited-slip differential, and 18- or 20-inch on-/off-road tires.

Many upper trim features are available on lower trim levels as options. Other option highlights include a load-leveling suspension, a cargo-view camera, fifth-wheel trailer preparation, off-road tires, a CD player and a sunroof.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 (6.7L inline-6 diesel; 6-speed automatic). NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Ram 2500 has received minor revisions. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Ram 2500.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5

Driving

4.5 / 5

Acceleration4.5 / 5
Braking4.0 / 5
Steering4.5 / 5
Handling5.0 / 5
Drivability4.5 / 5

Comfort

4.5 / 5

Seat comfort4.5 / 5
Ride comfort4.5 / 5
Noise & vibration3.5 / 5

Interior

4.5 / 5

Ease of use5.0 / 5
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5
Roominess5.0 / 5
Visibility3.0 / 5

Driving4.5

The 6.7-liter Cummins diesel's strong suit is torque, so this powertrain really comes into its own when climbing, towing or hauling. And though this is one massive truck, it's a snap to maneuver thanks to reassuring steering and secure handling.

Acceleration4.5

At 8.7 seconds to 60 mph, this Cummins diesel-powered Ram 2500 was slightly quicker than the lighter Ram 1500 diesel. But the 800 pound-feet of torque is what's important for towing, hauling or climbing grades.

Braking4.0

The Ram 2500 4x4 Crew Cab is a huge truck, and its 144-foot panic-stop distance reflects that. The pedal was never abrupt, a good trait when dealing with heavy loads. Easy to modulate on dirt and gravel roads, too.

Steering4.5

Predictable response with good feedback. Goes arrow-straight down the highway, too. Effort is a tad high, but reassuringly so. There's zero kickback when driving on rocky forest service roads.

Handling5.0

The 2500 tracks confidently through corners, belying its size. Midcorner ripples and bumps don't throw it off line because of the class-exclusive coil spring rear suspension.

Drivability4.5

Shifting is smooth and confident through the six-speed automatic. The diesel's exhaust brake controls speed well on descents. Our one gripe: the clumsy location of the manual downshift switch on the column lever.

Off-road4.5

Good gearing and a remarkably tight turning circle. The diesel exhaust brake combines well with low range to control the descent speed. The coil spring rear suspension is quite flexible in frame-twist situations.

Comfort4.5

There's no getting around having a firm ride in a 2500 series truck built to tow and haul this much. But the Ram's cabin is comfy and quiet, and its coil spring suspension really takes the edge off and makes the ride less skittish.

Seat comfort4.5

We never tired of the supportive and well-shaped seats even after extended periods. This applied pretty much equally to the rear seats, too.

Ride comfort4.5

It's a 2500 series truck, so the unladen ride feels firm. But the Ram's unique coil spring suspension removes the usual pickup skittishness, really taking the edge off compared to the competition.

Noise & vibration3.5

Road and wind noise is admirably restrained. The diesel does emit a bit of signature noise when accelerating, but it quiets down when cruising at steady speeds.

Interior4.5

Expect excellent ergonomics and front cabin airiness from the 2017 Ram 2500. The capable Uconnect infotainment system practically explains itself. The crew cab provides excellent rear seat space, more than enough for full-grown adults to settle in for long trips.

Ease of use5.0

The climate switchgear and touchscreen radio controls are as good as anything, and the driving position is comfy. The steering wheel buttons are oddly laid out, but they conjure up an amazing array of data.

Getting in/getting out3.0

Access to the front seat is good with handy grab handles. The wide-opening rear doors offer similar handles. The only real issue is the cab height, but competing 2500 series trucks are just as tall.

Roominess5.0

The front cabin is open, and the styling makes the dash feel airy, not monolithic. The crew cab's rear seat offers no-compromise, full-size accommodations. Everyone's a winner here. The Mega Cab is particularly accommodating thanks to expanded legroom and reclining seatbacks.

Visibility3.0

Visibility is quite good to the sides and the front, plus the mirrors are large. The sheer height of the bed makes for blind-spot issues. The optional backup camera is a must, but the display should use the nav screen instead of a dinky mirror inset.

Quality

The exterior gaps and paint quality are good. Inside, solid material and design choices give off a premium vibe. The quietness suggests there's no scrimping in unseen places.

Utility

The 2017 Ram 2500 is all about towing, hauling and bed capacity. There's nothing dramatic — just either a massive 8-foot long bed or the more convenient 6-foot-4-inch short bed.

Small-item storage

All four doors have generous pockets. Handy storage wells are hidden under the rear floor mats. The Ram gives you plenty of bins and pockets to supplement the dual gloveboxes.

Cargo space4.5

The rear seat bottoms fold up, and there are foldout platforms if a flat surface is desired. The unique RamBox feature places a pair of lockable compartments over the rear fenders adjacent to the truck bed.

Towing5.0

This is a pretty unstoppable combination. The trailer brake controller is built-in and integrated into the information screen. The optional built-in fifth-wheel and gooseneck hinge sockets are a bargain. Properly equipped, a Ram 2500 can tow up to 17,980 pounds.

Hauling

Properly equipped, a Ram 2500 can haul up to 3,990 pounds in the bed.

Technology

Large, logically located virtual buttons, reasonably quick response times and ample functionality for smartphone users make the Ram 2500's touchscreen one of the best in almost any vehicle.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.