Much of what is so impressive about the heavy-duty Ram is not only how easily it does all the tasks it's built for, but also how easy it is on the driver. During Truck of the Year testing, we took all the contenders through a driving loop, empty and with a full payload (bags of rock salt); our test crew also measured acceleration and braking data with each truck outfitted both ways. Testers noted that performance was excellent with or without a heavy load and, as expected, ride improves with a load in the bed. There were rave reviews for the Cummins engine, which not only provides gobs of power, but is surprisingly quiet doing it. Driving loops with the salt or without, the truck handled basically the same. That's how the Rams were throughout the week-they did everything asked of them without effort, and drove like much smaller trucks than they are.
Maximum towing capacity for the Ram 3500 is 17,500 pounds, significantly higher than the F-350's 16,000 or the Silverado/Sierra 3500HD's 13,000. And as the testers at this year's Truck of the Year discovered, towing a large boat is very easy with the Ram. As Ed Loh says, "I never thought I'd tow a trailer as long or as heavy as this 28-foot Chaparral, but a minute into the climb up Templin Highway, it was really no big deal. All the towing gizmos made it easy, and of course, so did the monster motor." The gizmos, in this case, are a diesel exhaust brake and Class IV receiver hitch with a four-pin/seven-pin harness plug. Our 3500 also had the integrated electronic trailer brake controller, plus it came with ingenious towing side mirrors that are normally vertical, but flip 90 degrees to make it easier to see around a trailer.
Judges noted that the interior materials and design are much nicer than in the past and that improvement makes this cabin the best in its class. The strategically added sound deadening makes it incredibly quiet too. You basically have to stand outside the truck while it's running, to hear the diesel.
The Ram is quieter and more comfortable and people-friendly than before without sacrificing its considerable capability. Several configurations even have lower MSRPs than they did in 2009. As Mark Williams explains, "Timing is everything. What a great break that, in the midst of all of this economic turmoil, the new Ram HD gets out ahead of its other two competitors-so much so, in fact, that Ford was forced to pull its project ahead, introducing the Super Duty almost 12 months before it goes on sale." The Ram Heavy Duty is so good, it's caused the other manufacturers to change their plans. So good that, when it came time to vote, we unanimously chose it as this year's Truck of the Year.