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First Look The New Rams

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on September 10, 2013
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The year was 1994, and the Dodge Ram made the move to number designations: 1500, 2500, and 3500. The latter two were the heavy-duty models, while the 1500 represented the light-duty pickup. Ten years later, in 2004, the Power Wagon rejoined the Dodge Ram family after an almost 25-year hiatus.

Cut to the 2014 model year, when a lot sure has changed, most notably the absence of Dodge. It’s now the Ram brand, just Ram, although the four aforementioned models are still kicking. And there’s a lot of ground to cover with regard to these trucks for the new model year, so let’s get started.

First, let’s mention the big news about the 1500. You may have already heard it will be getting a diesel; the 3.0L EcoDiesel will make 240 horses and 420 lb-ft of torque and will be connected to an eight-speed TorqueFlite auto transmission. This is a huge deal—you try to easily find another late-model half-ton with a downsize diesel engine.

Now, let’s move on to the 2500 and 3500 models. While the standard engine will remain the 345ci 5.7L Hemi, there’s now an available 392ci 6.4L Hemi as well as the carried-over 408ci 6.7L Cummins.

Because these are heavy-duty trucks, the suspension was built with heavy-duty payloads in mind. That meant ripping off the 1500 somewhat—a new five-link coil rear. The 2500 has an available rear airbag suspension, meaning airbag rather than coil spring, while the 3500 will maintain the Hotchkiss leaf-spring setup out back, but with an available supplemental airbag suspension. Rams have a three-link front suspension. And two part-time T-cases are available, both BorgWarners: The BW 44-46 is an electric-shift, while the BW 44-47 is manual, each with 2.64:1 low range. The 3500 maintains its front-axle disconnect, while the 2500 managed to inherit it as well for 2014.

A new thing for the 2500 is gooseneck or fifth-wheel capability, which follows in the footsteps of the 3500’s offering of both and a factory-installed seven-pin trailer tow connector in the bed. A Class 5 receiver hitch with four- or seven-pin connector on the bumper is another similarity. And for Rams seeing higher electrical demand, know that the Cummins will have dual 220-amp alternators, while the new Hemi engine will have a dual-alternator system combining 220- and 160-amp alternators.

Ram is leaning hard on the phrase “best in class” for just about every aspect of HD performance, from towing to ride. We’ll soon have a chance to try that out the updated trucks for ourselves and will let you know whether they live up to those goals or need to go to the back of the class.

Ram By the Numbers
5.7L Hemi: 383hp, 400 lb-ft of torque
6.4L Hemi: 410hp, 429 lb-ft of torque
6.7L Cummins: 350hp, 660 lb-ft of torque (six-speed manual); 370hp, 800 lb-ft of torque (68RFE six speed-auto); and 385hp, 850 lb-ft of torque (AS69RC six-speed auto)
Ram 2500: Towing, up to 17,940 pounds
Ram 3500: Towing, up to 30,000 pounds

“Heavy-duty trucks are not always known for their ride and handling characteristics, but the ’14 Ram 2500 and 3500 offer new front and rear suspension systems that are surprisingly comfortable, building on our innovation while improving capability—up to 30,000 pounds of towing capacity. In addition, the new 6.4L HEMI V-8 holds a best-in-class power title. We’re keeping our foot to the floor at Ram Truck.” —Bob Hegbloom , Director, Ram Truck , to Four Wheeler

Six Things To Know About the 2014 Power Wagon

  • It also will have the new 6.4L Hemi, standard.
  • It’ll look different from the previous model, thanks to new graphics.
  • Up front is a three-link that has been tweaked for more flexibility.
  • Ram explains why the Power Wagon won’t have an airbag suspension: “Heavy-duty air suspension is a rear-only system, which would not lend itself to an off-road truck. You need a four-corner system like the 1500 and Grand Cherokee to be able to offer off-road ride-height choices. We went with rear only on the HDs because the overwhelming customer need is for load leveling and trailer towing stability, and a rear-only system is very effective for these goals.”
  • It’ll have a more robust rear axle, borrowed from the diesel side. Watch for 4.10 gears.
  • It’ll be available early 2014.

What the Ram HD Costs:
The 2500 starts at $29,600.

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