First Drive: 2010 Chromed Ram 2500 Crew Cab

The Truck Guy's Supercar

Kirill OugarovJan 13, 2010
Every once in a while, a vehicle shows up for evaluation that defies convention and makes little-to-no sense on a rational level. Dodge's monstrous Chromed Ram 2500 Crew Cab SEMA Special is one such vehicle -- a truck so huge it wouldn't even fit in our Truck Trend garage.
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Featuring a Mopar two-inch lift kit and 35-inch Toyo Open Country tires, what was once a garden-variety heavy-duty Ram stops fitting neatly into more than just garages. In addition, this Ram is equipped with $1180 worth of chrome trim, and a $1290 hard tonneau cover. The Ram crew also threw in a $1625 rear entertainment system with a screen in each headrest and $1199 black-and-blue Katzkin Leather seats -- show truck style touches befitting its SEMA Show origins. Combined with more conventional options like a navigation system and the beastly 350-hp, 650 lb-ft 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six diesel, the final product is around $60,000 worth of truck that dwarfs most vehicles around it -- particularly smaller vehicles like, say, a Lotus Elise. As you can see from the photos, the lightweight sports car fits within the wheelbase of the truck and the roof is level with the top of the Ram's wheel well.
Though a standard Ram HD is fairly easy to maneuver around town, it's no smart car and, obviously, has problems fitting into tighter spots. Add the off-road tires and extra height to the mix, and this truck not only feels wider, but steering precision is reduced to the point that recently benched Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell's errant passes look perfectly placed by comparison. The result is an uneasy peace between it and anything nearby, be it a k-rail on the shoulder of a freeway or poorly-parked squad car. The extra-high seating position makes it more difficult to see other vehicles, especially motorcycles, so greater care is required when making lane changes and other maneuvers. It's shaky and bouncy at speed and there's a lot of noise from the tires, but there's almost no freeway hop and the big truck's overall ride is fairly predictable for a vehicle of this type. There's a fuel-economy hit too, but it's hard to say how big since the EPA doesn't rate heavy duty trucks.
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Despite the heavy duty chassis, the SEMA Special is obviously more show truck than workhorse. The tonneau cover rules out most large loads and the high floor means loading/unloading anything heavy will be physically taxing. Towing a trailer requires a drop hitch and the experience would not likely be pleasant. Dodge's towing mirrors, which are located to the side of the main mirrors, aren't great either. The two are too close together and the eye has trouble focusing on one or the other. The vertically stacked design of the towing mirrors on our F-150 long-termer is arguably a better setup.
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Then there's the parking issue. Because it won't fit in any garage not designed for an RV, a truck this big has to be parked on the street unless you have a monster garage. Yet, despite its shortcomings, Dodge knows there are thousands of similar trucks out there, and its SEMA Special was designed to let Ram HD owners know if you want to go big and shiny, it has the goods they need. Who said truck guys can't have their own supercar...err, supertruck.

2010 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 Laramie Crew Cab
Base price $43,400
Vehicle layout Front-engine, 4WD, 5-passenger, 4-door truck
Engine 6.7L/350-hp/650-lb-ft turobocharged diesel 24-valve OHV I-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase 148.9 in
Length x width 237.4 x 79.1 in
EPA city/hwy fuel econ N/A

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