Without question, Ram has a lot to talk about for the 2014 model year. The 1500 and 2500/3500 platforms are carried over from 2013, but have seen significant engine and suspension changes, including a new Ram 1500EcoDiesel -- the first new half-ton diesel truck the United States has seen in many years. Body styling has remained much the same, but little and big additions have made these Ram trucks the most capable to date, with the most power, the best fuel economy, and the highest tow rating.
While the 5.7L Hemi V-8 (395hp, 410lb-ft of torque) and 3.6L V-6 Pentastar (305hp, 269lb-ft of torque) still remain viable powerplant options, the big news is the new EcoDiesel 3.0L V-6 engine. The new EcoDiesel puts out 240hp and 420lb-ft of torque to a new ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission (also available in select Hemi trucks) that helps even a 4x4 Quad cab truck achieve a rated 25mpg (though, we saw more than 26mpg on windy canyon roads).
The suspension consists of an A-arm front and rear five-link solid live axle rear that was carried over from the prior year. Buyers can opt to trade steel springs for electronically controlled air bags if so desired.
And for the first time ever, a front park assist system is available on a Ram fullsize truck, just in case you can’t park the truck by yourself. Things have certainly changed since Dodge turned the truck world on its head in 1994.
Ram Heavy Duty
The Heavy Duty line’s new features may take a backseat to the news of a new half-ton diesel, but these features are quite significant to the off-road world. First, the five-link on the front of the Ram is gone (as of the ’13 model). It’s been exchanged for a radius arm design that improves tow capacity. And for the first time on any 2500 4x4, a five-link-and-coil-spring rear suspension give unparalleled control and a smooth ride.
In the 3500 platform, it has achieved a 30,000-pound maximum towing capacity thanks to the new three-link front, the tried-and-true rear Hotchkiss leaf spring rear, an improved frame, and powertrain beefing.
The Cummins diesel engine is back with 850lb-ft of torque to continue its reign as the ultimate tow monster. But the Hemi has grown and now comes in a 6.4L size that puts out 410hp and 430lb-ft of torque, making it best-in-class powerhouse among gasoline-powered trucks.