2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty First Look

Undoubtedly Following the Big-Rig Design

Carlos LagoFeb 18, 2009
Revealed at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show, the 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty lineup continues its trend toward greater comfort and improved towing prowess -- punctuated by an expressive, big-rig design. Hoping to build upon the momentum generated by its well-received light-duty Ram late last year, Dodge has added a crew cab option to the HD lineup for the first time, and boasts of improved overall capability and interior upgrades.
With a 90% take-rate, the 6.7L Cummins diesel is clearly the 2500/3500 Ram HD's most popular engine choice. As such, the Cummins hasn't received any changes and still pumps out an extra stout 650 lb-ft of torque at 1500 rpm and a peak 350 hp at maximum high-idle speed of 3000 rpm. In an effort to further clean up emissions, a particulate filter has been added to the exhaust system that Dodge claims drops NOx emissions by 90%. The 50-state-legal diesel meets 2010.5 emissions standards and requires oil change intervals at 7500 miles. Major overhauls can wait until the odo hits 350,000 miles.
Photo 2/13   |   3500 Laramie Mega Cab
Also available is the 5.7L HEMI V-8. Updated in 2009, it produces 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm, thanks to an increased compression ratio, active intake manifold, and variable valve timing.
Those opting for the diesel can choose between the G56 six-speed manual and a 68RFE six-speed automatic. A heavy-duty 545RFE five-speed automatic is the sole transmission option on the V-8. Five- and six-speed automatics include an Electronic Range Select, which allows the driver to limit the highest gear and manual up- and down-shifts.
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For four-wheeling duties, purchasers get their choice of two transfer cases: a manual operable NV271 unit for the ST and Power Wagon and an electric, shift-on-the-fly NV273 case on SLT and Laramie models. Available axle ratios consist of 3.42, 3.73, 4.10, or 4.56.
With the right equipment pairing (say, a diesel, automatic 3500 dually using the 4.10 rear axle), the Ram offers a Gross Combined Weight Rating of 25,400 lb. Its towing capability stands at 18,500 lb thanks, in part, to a hydroformed box frame that rides on a coil-spring suspension in the front and a multileaf-spring design in the rear.
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Trim lines include the standard ST, SLT, TRX, Laramie, and Power Wagon levels. The last offers electric-locking differentials, an electric disconnecting anti-roll bar, Bilstein shocks, 32-in. BF Goodrich tires, underbody protection, a 4.56 axle ratio, and a Warn 12,000-lb winch.
The Heavy Duty Ram employs aesthetic alterations to differentiate it from the light-duty 1500. The grille opening grows larger to feed cool air into the engine, and on ST, SLT, and Power Wagon models, it features a chrome surround with black center bullets. The other models receive chrome center bullets. While the hood differs with louvers on each side, the fenders and lights are shared with the light-duty Ram. For stronger aerodynamic results, Dodge sculpts the sideview mirrors (flipping trailer-tow mirrors are now standard on the 3500) and incorporates a spoiler into the tailgate--there's room for an optional backup camera, too.
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The light-duty Ram lends interior styling to the HD, with plentiful use of soft-touch materials. Front seats offer heat and ventilation while the rears make due with heat. Other options include a heated steering wheel, integrated trailer brake controller, SIRIUS Backseat TV and uconnect internet with a 30-gig hard drive, and 10-speaker sound system.
Passenger space comes in three flavors, but first the regular and crew cab. Storage space abounds in each, from front and rear door panels, to seatbacks and even the floor. A redesigned center console is now large enough, Dodge claims, to store a laptop and provides a power outlet. A lower bin allows for hanging files. Combined, the gloveboxes offer 800 cu in. of storage space. And then there's the Mega Cab, which claims the greatest interior space, length, and size of anything in class. The cargo volume stands at 72.2 cu ft; the cab stretches 111.1-in. in length; the rear-door openings are larger; and the rear seats even recline.
Offered safety features include multistage airbag, electronic brake force distribution, an audible park assist system, seatbelt pretensioners, side-curtain airbags, a tire-pressure-monitoring system, and Bluetooth via Dodge's uconnect phone system.
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