2017 Ram 2500 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.
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.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
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.