Ram 2500 and 3500 (1/2-Ton Trucks)

By: Scott Burgess

We Like: Incredible amounts of power are available at low rpm.

We Don't Like: The stiff ride when the bed is empty.

Absolute power tows absolutely. It's an adage well-known by people who have to do heavy hauling. The 2014 Ram 2500 and 3500 dualie certainly arrive with no shortage of power, allowing editors to tow the most in this showdown: 21,000 pounds.

The two trucks gave us a look at two different engines from Ram. The 2500 had the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 under its sculpted hood, and the 3500 dualie, which could barely squeeze through a tunnel leading to the test track, was powered by a 6.7-liter inline-six Cummins diesel. Both provided excellent power, with the Hemi creating 410 hp and the Cummins kicking out 850 lb-ft of torque.

"It isn't crazy fast with the trailer (why would it be?)" said Harwood, "but this truck feels like it can tow much more than we put on the back of it."

It can, as its top tow rating is 30,000 pounds, but the operator would be required to have a commercial driver's license to tow that much.

The heavy-duty trucks also featured a new five-link coil rear suspension that smoothed out its still slightly harsh ride, something that did not surprise us. "Hits to the suspension thud harder and return more rebound," said Loh, "but it's still quite civilized."

Editors were impressed with the interior packaging of the Ram heavy-duty rigs, which share much of the smaller 1500's interior. The shifter to the six-speed transmission is mounted on the column instead of the dash, but it remains out of the way. The Ram UConnect system provides easy Bluetooth connectivity for a driver's phone, and can work different apps from the phone directly on the large screen at the top of the center stack.

The Rams have bold -- but not too bold -- exterior looks. There's lots of chrome and a grille so large that as it barrels down on small cars, they will whimper onto the side of the road and begin to leak oil.

  2014 Ram 2500 Laramie Ltd. 2014 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn
Base Price $53,580 $54,385
Price As Tested$59,250$70,165
Power (SAE net) 410 hp @ 5600 rpm 385 hp @ 2800 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 429 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm 850 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
Accel 0-60, mph 8.7 sec; 20.0 sec* 9.4 sec; 31.2 sec**
Quarter Mile 16.5 sec @ 85.9 mph 17.1 sec @ 81.9 mph
Quarter Mile (towing) 22.5 sec @ 64.2 mph* 26.0 sec @ 54.5 mph**
Braking 60-0, mph 139 ft 154 ft
Lateral Accel 0.71 g (avg) 0.63 g (avg)
EPA Econ (city/hwy) Not rated Not rated
Real MPG (city/hwy) 11/17 mpg 14/18 mpg
* with 9316-lb trailer
** with 21,531-lb trailer