2012 Ram 3500 Review
2012 Ram 3500 Review
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- High-quality cabin
- massive rear seat room in Mega Cab
- quiet highway ride.
- Fussy audio system controls (with navigation)
- firmer ride than rivals.
For 2012, the Ram 3500 gets the option of the RamBox bed side compartments for the 6-foot-4-inch bed.
The 2012 Ram 3500 is a top pick for a heavy-duty truck thanks to its top-notch interior, respectable ride quality and impressive towing and hauling capabilities.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 Ram 3500 ST 2dr Regular Cab LB DRW (6.7L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of N/A undefined in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Not Available for 3500 ST
Avg. Large Truck
The heavy-duty pickup battle is so fierce that you'd half expect these vehicular equivalents of the World's Strongest Man rivals to be sporting lifting belts around their beds and chalk powder all over their tires. All three of the combatants are rugged rigs that can move pretty much anything short of a mountain. The 2012 Ram 3500 manages to set itself apart from its formidable foes via its sharp styling and handsome interior.
The Ram's cabin is especially notable for its high-quality look and feel and offers enough luxury features to keep the most spoiled occupant happy. The burly Ram also provides its occupants with a firm but still fairly comfortable ride, thanks to a relatively forgiving suspension, hydraulic cab-to-frame mounts and low levels of road and wind noise.
The Ram 3500 comes packing a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 that churns out 350 horsepower and a best-in-class 800 pound-feet of torque when equipped with an automatic transmission. As such, the Ram 3500 more than earns its "heavy-duty" status. Properly equipped, it can tow up to 22,750 pounds (depending on body style and powertrain choice), while maximum payload capacity is equally astounding at 5,130 pounds.
In a heavy-duty truck comparison test we recently conducted, the Ram 3500 finished behind its GMC Sierra 3500 (a twin to the Chevy Silverado 3500) and Ford F-350 rivals, mostly because of its comparative lack of power. In fairness, this test was conducted just before the Cummins turbodiesel (matched to the automatic transmission) received a big power boost that brought the torque output up to 800 lb-ft. But even if we're talking about "just" the 650 lb-ft version, the turbodiesel is still plenty strong for everybody short of Paul Bunyan, and the Ram has the advantage when it comes to bold styling and an uncommonly upscale interior. All things considered, the 2012 Ram 3500 should easily satisfy anyone in need of a heavy-duty workhorse.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Ram 3500 is available in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Dual rear wheels are standard, but buyers may choose single rear wheels as an option.
A turbocharged 6.7-liter Cummins inline-6 diesel is standard and produces a stout 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque with the standard six-speed manual transmission. Output rises to an impressive 350 hp and 800 lb-ft when paired with the optional 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 22,750 pounds.
Standard safety equipment for the 2012 Ram 3500 includes antilock disc brakes and side curtain airbags. Optional on the SLT and standard on the Laramie are power-adjustable pedals.
Even though the 2012 Ram 3500 was built to tackle the most demanding of pickup duties, it remains comfortably composed in most situations. The steering is responsive and the truck tracks through turns in a composed manner. Though not harsh, the Ram's ride isn't quite as compliant over the bumps as its Ford and GM competitors.
On the highway, road and wind noise are nicely quelled, with only a muted diesel clatter at full throttle. The diesel engine is strong and provides plenty of power for towing and hauling heavy loads. We recommend picking the six-speed automatic transmission, as its 150 extra lb-ft of torque over the diesel with the manual gearbox makes a noticeable difference in towing ability.
The 2012 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.
2012 Ram 3500 models
The 2012 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, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn; and the Mega Cab in SLT, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn 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 that comes with 17-inch steel wheels, vinyl upholstery and flooring, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, air-conditioning, an electronic vehicle information display, a tire-pressure monitor, a tilt steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. Power windows and door locks are standard on Crew Cab models, while regular cabs have manual controls.
The SLT adds chrome exterior trim, chrome-clad wheels, electronic trailer brake control, power-folding/heated side mirrors, a sliding rear window, cloth upholstery, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control 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 includes a chrome grille, foglights, brighter quad headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a universal garage door opener.
There is also the Outdoorsman package for the SLT that adds a limited-slip rear differential, tow hooks, polished alloy wheels (with white-letter tires), two-tone paint, wheel flares, a body-color grille frame, foglights, remote starting, auto-dimming mirrors, an overhead console, a 115-volt power point, illuminated vanity mirrors, power driver (10-way) and passenger (six-way) seats (with power lumbar supports) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
On the other end of the spectrum is the luxurious Laramie, which features polished alloy wheels, 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 audio system with digital music storage and iPod integration. The Laramie Longhorn adds color-keyed bumpers, remote start, rear park assist with rearview camera, bucket seats/console, ventilated front seats and a navigation system.
A spray-in bedliner is available across the board while many of the upper trims' standard features are available as options in lower ones. Other option highlights include the RamBox cargo management system (which includes bed-side storage compartments and adjustable bed divider and tie-downs), a sunroof, an upgraded stereo and a rear-seat entertainment system.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.38 out of 5 stars
Pretty darn nice
2012 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Limited Edition 4dr Crew Cab LB DRW (6.7L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A)
After being a power-stroke guy for many years I made the switch to ram. Very glad I did. I have the Laramie package and it is pure luxury...truck or not. Uconnect works excellent, I have the 730n. High quality leather, great sound system, quite ride, more power than I will probably ever need...and I pull heavy equipment. Lumbar support is outstanding. M.P.G,s are not horrible for a 1 ton … with this much power, I can get it down to about 14 if I drive hard, normal driving gets me about 18-19. Towing 14000# gets about 10. Call quality on Bluetooth is excellent. Took about 3 minutes to pair my iPhone and download the phone book. Absolutely no buyers remorse...love it. Would do it again!!
4.63 out of 5 stars
2011 Ram 3500 Laramie Lnghrn 4dr Mega Cab 4WD SB DRW (6.7L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A)
We bought a 2011 used with about 40k miles on it already. I use it to pull my horse trailer and you can hardly even tell it is back there. I have loaded 2 full tons of haycubes in the bed and although it squated a little it handled it just fine. The only issue we have had with it so far is one day the key fob would not unlock the door. I made the mistake of using the manual key and … everything went haywire. We had to disconnect the battery and let it reset. Also a couple of times while using the hands free device for the phone, even after the call was ended and the keys were out of the truck, the display stayed on. Again had to disconnect battery and reset. That happened 2 times.
5 out of 5 stars
Ronald Coburn Jr., 08/04/2018
2012 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Limited Edition 4dr Mega Cab 4WD SB DRW (6.7L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A)
Update: 6 February 2019 Still running strong!! Had the dealer perform a detailed cleaning and waxing and the vehicle looked like new!! Minor rock chips but to be expected with a nearly 7 year old truck. Mechanical: even in -26 degree weather during the Polar Vortex, the truck started right up and the 4wd got me through some heavy snow!! Bottomline, one emmision issue since my last … posting. The O2 wiring harness popped a code and was replaced, which is not cheap!! Then the O2 Sensor popped a trouble code and was replaced, again, not cheap. Funny part, Ram redesigned the wiring harness and location which makes me suspicious that this was a design issue. For me, this solved the fault codes and I even saw an improvement in my gas mileage!! Then came winter, winter fuel and the drop in mpg!! Interior: holding up nicely. The only drawback has been the information center screen. Once you see the 2019/2020 center dash infotainment, control screen you have to be envious. But let's face it, that is a minor cosmetic issue and my baby is paid for with zero issues!! What more can you ask for!! Runs great, starts every time, for its size great fuel economy, interior isn't falling apart, no water leaks, brakes hold up better now compared to early models, hauls and pulls anything, and still looks great!! Then you look at the resale value it has held onto and I can't complain!! Looking forward to upgrading to the new 2020 Ram 3500 Longhorn Larime Megacab again, basically what I have but updated. Just waiting to see some mpg data and a test drive before i pull the trigger!! But again, paid for and runs/looks great, it is going to have to blow my socks off in order for me to give up this truck!! Prior assessment: Well constructed, minimal repairs in 6 years, body and finish are rock solid, amazing engine, 4wd gets where you need to go, rides like a Cadillac for a truck, minimal road noise at highway speeds! 17.7 mpg highway, 17 city; great value for your money!! This is my 5th Ram diesel since 1994 and they have only improved with each new revisions!
5 out of 5 stars
2012 Ram 3500 Mega cab
2012 Ram 3500 Laramie 4dr Mega Cab SB DRW (6.7L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6M)
Best truck that I've ever owned.. Drives like a Cadillac on the Highway.. Really Bad gas mileage ( diesel fuel),, but,, I kinda knew that would be the result of a truck weighing 8000 lbs! Comfortable on long trips. I took it to Las Vegas pulling a 7000lb racecar trailer down Route 66 and it got around 9 to 10 Miles per Gallon... Diesel fuel is Cheaper than gasoling for the first time in … 4 years,,, So,, I'm enjoying a little reprieve.. I change the oil and filter every 3000 miles with Mobil Delvac and Genuine Mopar filters... Hopefully it will last a while... Had trouble with my 2009 2500 Blowing black smoke around 80,000 miles,, So I traded it in for this 2012 Duallie.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2012 Ram 3500, so we've included reviews for other years of the 3500 since its last redesign.
2012 3500 Highlights
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||17,050 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|