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2010 Ram Heavy Duty First Drive

Posted in Features on February 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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2010 Ram Heavy Duty First Drive
Photographers: Brandan Gillogly

I'm guessing you can find all the technical specifications on the new HD Rams that you'd ever want after spending 30 seconds on an Internet search engine. Therefore, I'm giving you some frank opinions that I made after spending a day with the new HD Rams in Texas.

Dodge had a number of HD Rams parked on site for us to peruse over. For the first time ever (for Dodge), the body styling was split between the 1500s and the 2500 and 3500s. The new HD Rams share a cab design with the 1500s, but the front grille, hood, and bumper are unique to the HD trucks. Also, back after a 17-year hiatus is a true crew cab (Dodge discontinued the crew cab with the introduction of the '94-to-'01 model, and has only had the single cab, the Quad cab-the Dodge extended cab-and the Mega cab since then). But I was immediately drawn to the single cab versions and really loved seeing that the cab design was, again, back to a shape that looked absolutely great as a single cab (the '03-to-'09 Dodge was designed as a Quad cab, and I always felt the single cab version looked like a triangle). It also made me wonder if this is a foretelling of the future: Dodge designed the '03-to-'09 truck the way they did because extended cab and crew cab trucks became the biggest sellers. Do Dodge analysts think that the single cab is going to once more rein king? I can only hope.

There were some other notable body changes: the hood is more bulbous, and has a "power" bulge in the middle of the HD hood. The front bumper is also a bit larger than the HD Ram's half-ton brethren. And perhaps one of the biggest changes: the new one-piece dually beds. On top of that, there is a new short (6-foot, 4-inch) one-piece dually bed (not some fender flare bolted onto a short bed).

Good lookin' truck, huh? I can't wait to see what it looks like with some 37s or 38s on it! The Powerwagon is still available in the new body style, and Dodge tells us there is going to be more of a push behind this new Powerwagon. It still comes with front and rear lockers, a disconnecting sway bar, and a Warn winch. And no, you still can't get the Powerwagon with the diesel. The reason: the Powerwagon's winch sits where the diesel's intercooler goes.

As far as the driving impressions...well, it felt great-much like the truck before it. The new seats were more comfortable to sit, the steering wheel was more comfortable to hold onto, and I felt like I had more percieved visibility than in some new trucks today. Many of the great frame, suspension, axle, and powertain attributes were carried over (from the previousl model) to this new generation of HD Rams, but with some refinements and improvements like an increased payload, a new cab, interior, and new hydro body mounts that stop vibrations transmitting from chassis to cab.

There is also a new six-speed automatic transmission available with the 6.7L Cummins engine-something that will make the shifting between gears smoother as (gear) ratios are closer.

Overall, I think you're really going to like this new truck. It's even cheaper than the one before it. That's right-every model. Don't believe me? Check it out on Dodge's website, www.dodge.com

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