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2017 Ram 2500 Limited 4x4 Off-Road

Heavy-Hauling Hustler

Mar 15, 2017
Photographers: Robert Guio
Like last year’s Ram 1500 Rebel, we expected very little of the Ram 2500’s 4x4 Off-Road package. It seemed to us to be little more than some fancy tires and a warmed-over suspension setup. The package’s bargain-basement pricing of $445 was a double-edged sword in our testers’ minds—how good could an off-road package be if it costs so little? On the other hand, even a small improvement would justify its expense. The package also necessitates the selection of an anti-spin rear differential, which brings the total minimum premium for an Off-Road Ram to a still-reasonable $880 more than a comparable 2500.
Photo 2/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ram 2500 Off Road Side
That paltry sum nets the customer Bilstein front and rear performance-tuned shock absorbers, Firestone all-terrain tires, a transfer-case skidplate, and a few other cosmetic modifications. The Off-Road package is available on 2500-grade 4x4 crew cab or Mega Cab pickups with gas or diesel engines, in any trim level. Our tester was a crew cab with a 6 1/2-foot bed and the company’s RamBox storage system, in top-spec Limited trim.
Photo 3/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ram 2500 Off Road Engine
First impressions of the truck were split. As stated above, more than a few of us were cynical of the Ram’s off-road pretensions, and the Limited model’s ostentatious “RAM” lettering on the tailgate drew snickers and sarcastic jokes from each of our judges. “Hey, what kind of truck is this?
Photo 4/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ram 2500 Off Road Rear
Many of our negative comments went away once we stepped inside the big 2500. This generation of Ram pickup was last redesigned for the ’10 model year, but although the interior’s design is familiar, it still doesn’t feel dated. High-quality materials abound inside, and a few cosmetic and functional changes over the last seven model years have kept the Ram current and fresh. Indeed, many of us were surprised to find we found the Ram more appealing inside than most, if not all, the trucks in this year’s competition. We had a few complaints, such as the kitschy saddlebag-style seatback pockets and excessive embroidered scrolling, but overall, the Ram was a very comfortable place to spend time on the highway.
Surprises continued when we ventured off the beaten path. Although no Power Wagon, the Ram’s updated suspension (headlined by those monotube shock absorbers) keeps the big truck very well controlled over washboard roads, and the heavy-duty suspension provides a reasonable and acceptable amount of flex on tricky terrain. One editor came away impressed with the control the Ram Off-Road provided in dusty conditions, praising its ability to drift through corners like a Fast and Furious extra. Another appreciated the amount of traction and easy torque the 2500 offered after taking it on a tight, rock-strewn trail. “Just hold the throttle at one-quarter with four-wheel drive engaged and the Cummins engine just claws you forward,” he said.
Photo 5/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ram 2500 Off Road Front
That engine imbued the truck with superlative power and control while towing, as well. Hitched to a 12,745-pound trailer, it tackled grades with confidence, and its exhaust brake was very effective at maintaining a set speed on steep downhill stretches. Admittedly, its trailer rating was slightly lower (580 pounds) than that of the ’17 Ford F-250 we tested, but it felt every bit as stout and controlled as the Super Duty, leading some of us to prefer the Ram in the trailer test.
All was not roses for the Ram 2500 Off-Road, however. We touched briefly on the slightly overdone interior treatment and extroverted styling that result from checking the “Limited” box, another effect of which is the truck’s eye-watering price. At $74,740 as tested, the Limited was the second-most expensive truck in the group after the Super Duty, which (barely) justified its higher price by packing in features the Ram lacks, like a panoramic sunroof, power running boards, adaptive cruise control, LED lighting, and massaging seats. These features will no doubt be added to the brand at the next redesign, but as the truck sat during our test, the price was a hard pill to swallow.
Photo 6/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ram 2500 Off Road Interior
Compared against that big price, the Off-Road package’s premium seems even more reasonable, and we think it strikes a good balance between off-road capability and price for most customers. That you can get it on any Ram 2500 four-door makes it even more impressive, giving added capability to most Ram Heavy Duty customers. If it were our cash, we’d skip the Limited model’s black-tie filigree, opting instead for a more sensible SLT or Tradesman that would knock 20 grand off the price. Regardless, for its blend of impressive off-road chops and heavy-duty capability, the Ram 2500 Off-Road is a fine do-it-all truck.
WE LIKE: Cummins-easy power and torque, paired with surprising efficiency. Simple off-road upgrades at a budget price. High-luxury interior.
WE DON’T LIKE: Too much chrome, too much “RAM,” too much money.
Photo 7/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ram 2500 Off Road Wheel

2017 Ram 2500 Off-Road

Base Price: $57,095
Price As Tested: $74,740
Trim: Limited
EPA Fuel Econ (City/HWY/Comb): N/A
Engine: 6.7L Cummins I-6
Horsepower: 370 @ 2,800 rpm
Torque: 800 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Accel 0-60 MPH: 8.88 seconds
Quarter Mile: 16.88 seconds @ 85.33 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH: 133.37 ft
Accel 0-60 (Payload): 9.96 seconds
Quarter Mile (Payload): 17.50 seconds @ 81.15 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH (Payload): 135.21 ft
Accel 0-60 (Towing): 19.89 seconds
Quarter Mile (Towing): 22.44 seconds @ 63.95 mph
Weight: 7,851 lbs
Interior Decibel Level (at 60 MPH): 65.5
Tested Fuel Econ (Average/Best): 14.61/20.75
*2,100 pounds of payload **12,745-pound trailer weight

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