The 2010 Ram Heavy-Duty line has received a major facelift along with refinements throughout. Cabs are larger on the midsized 2010 models, also. It is one of those cases where mixing proven parts has a synergistic effect and results in what amounts to a new truck.
Ram Heavy-Duty models encompass the 2500 and 3500-series pickups. (And soon, the 2011 commercial-grade cab-and-chassis 4500/5500 series. You can add an aftermarket pickup bed to a 4500/5500-series if you need the maximum towing capacity for a really large fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer, but the commercial market is specialized and not part of this review.)
As is common in pickups heavy-duty series pickups, the Ram was restyled for 2010 to go with the 2009 Ram 1500 light-duty. The HD is not identical to the light-duty trucks, but many parts are the same. The regular and crew-cab interiors are also very similar. Last year's Quad Cab model has given way to a new-for-HD Crew Cab and the monstrous Mega Cab returns.
Most of the parts and technology on the 2010 models have been proven in earlier Rams. The new cabin was tested in the 2009 Ram 1500, and the engines, transmissions and brakes were tested in the 2009 heavy-duty models. The standard and only gasoline engine Hemi is the most powerful base engine in big pickups and the Cummins turbodiesel met 2010 emissions requirements years ago. Both Ford and GM's 2010 diesel pickup engines are new designs for 2010, and both of them require a fuel additive the Dodge diesel pickup does not. Only the Ram offers a choice of transmissions and a standard exhaust brake with the diesel.
Much attention has been devoted to ride comfort and quiet on the 2010 Ram HD, and it is noticeable. The feature lists, both standard and available continue to grow, as pickups become ever-more car-like inside: heated/ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, Sirius Backseat TV and so on. But don't confuse this with a car because it is substantially larger and will not ride softly even if you load it up.
The most capable Ram HD pickups will carry more than 5,000 pounds or tow more than 17,500 pounds. A new option is an integrated trailer brake controller. Other pickups may better these tow ratings, whether or not they actually tow any better. And trailers that heavy require a different driver's license in some states. If you need more there are always the 4500 and 5500 versions.
The Ram Heavy Duty models will work for anyone who has work to do, be it hauling construction tools and materials, plowing driveways or dragging around big trailers. They remain a compelling choice for anyone in need of a heavy-duty pickup truck, and on balance are priced very similarly to 2009 models.
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