2014 Ram 3500 HD Laramie Longhorn First Test
Can't Touch This
Thirty-thousand pounds. That's how much weight the 2014 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn dualie can tow when properly equipped. To put it in perspective, that's the equivalent of about nine SRT Vipers, or two loaded U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters. Still not impressed? Well that's also about the weight of Big Ben or, if the Internet is to be believed, about 96,000 pickles. That's a ton (well, 15 tons) of weight, and yet the new Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn does it with ease, and with its occupants bathed in Texas-style luxury.
The ultra-capable 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn is able to tow that much weight for quite a few reasons, but with its beefed-up for 2013 frame, new 11.8-inch rear axle, and Hotchkiss leaf spring rear suspension chief among them. While beefing up the 3500 HD is welcome, it doesn't do anyone any good if it's not capable of safely moving the weight. Ram, with the help of the guys at Cummins, delivers there, too.
The Ram 3500's Cummins 6.7-liter turbodiesel I-6 is revised to make 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque when equipped with the manual (up 50-lb-ft versus 2012) and 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque with Ram's six-speed automatic. And then there's the beast under the hood of our 2014 3500 Laramie Longhorn dualie, a Cummins turbodiesel that churns out 385 hp and a frankly quite ridiculous 850 lb-ft of torque, putting the power down via a heavy-duty Aisin-sourced six-speed automatic.
That power revision helps the 2014 Ram 3500 HD Laramie Longhorn impress at the test track. Accelerating from zero to 60 mph takes 9.4 seconds, and the quarter mile comes in 17.1 seconds at 81.9 mph. Slam on the brakes at 60 mph, and it'll take the 3500 HD 154 feet to bring its 8768 pounds to a halt. The dualie managed to average 0.63 g on the skidpad.
Compared with its rivals, the Ram is outperformed at the test track. The last comparable GM truck we tested, a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD dualie equipped with a Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 making 327 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque went 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds flat and completed the quarter mile in 15.4 seconds at a trap speed of 87.9 mph. The last-generation Silverado HD needed 137 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph and pulled 0.70 g average on the skidpad. Though Ford's Super Duty is also outperformed by the Chevy, it still put up better test track numbers than the Ram. The 2011 Ford F-350 dualie, equipped with the Powerstroke 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 making 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque, needs 8.3 seconds to accelerate 0-60 mph. The F-350 tackles the quarter mile in 16.4 seconds at 85.3 mph, and averages 0.70 g on the skidpad. The 60-0-mph stop took 143 feet in the Ford.
While the Ram 3500 HD Laramie Longhorn may be outperformed at the test track (other than in tow capacity, of course), it was held in high esteem by many staffers. "Terrific engine and transmission," wrote executive editor/Truck Trend Allyson Harwood. "Squeeze the throttle, and there is what seems like endless torque. This truck feels like it can tow much more than we put on the back of it." Editor-in-chief Ed Loh agrees with Harwood's assessment, "For a big truck, it's surprisingly easy to drive, even while towing a 22,000-pound trailer. Still can't wrap my brain around 850 lb-ft of torque -- and it effortlessly leaves with that fifth wheel."
In fact, the two comments that appeared most in the logbook were how easily the Cummins-equipped Ram handled heavy loads and how shockingly easy it was to drive. "This big rig is a dream machine for anyone who tows for a living," wrote Detroit editor Scott Burgess, "The 3500 with more than 22,000 pounds hardly shuddered when I took off with that heavy load. It even handled braking without trailer brakes." Associate editor Mike Febbo also weighed in on how easy the 3500 HD Laramie Longhorn was to drive, "It doesn't feel as long and wide as it is, which is probably dangerous. I would bounce this thing off the walls in a Del Taco drive-through." Road test editor Scott Mortara would even put his money where his mouth is, "My dream garage would have one of these in it," he wrote.
While the logbook was filled with positive feedback, the 2014 Ram 3500 HD did have a few drawbacks, its (expected) rough unladen ride being one of them. A few other editors also commented that the truck felt like it could use more confidence-inspiring brakes and less-syrupy steering.
Our 2014 Ram 3500 HD Laramie Longhorn tester's price tag was reflective of its near-top trim level status. Its $54,385 base price easily ballooned to $70,165, thanks to the $10,790 Cummins turbodiesel/Aisin automatic combo, the dual-rear wheel option ($1200), and a few other choice trim pieces.
While the 2014 Ram 3500 HD Laramie Longhorn may ultimately be outperformed at the test track, its superlative towing performance is something that the rest of Detroit can't yet touch -- and besides, if they did, they might have to answer to the AH-64 Apaches it has in tow. We'd steer clear, too.
|2014 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$70,165|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck|
|ENGINE||6.7L/385-hp/850-lb-ft turbodiesel OHV 24-valve I-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||8768 lb (59/41%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||259.3 x 79.1 x 78.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||9.4 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||17.1 sec @ 81.9 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||154 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.63 g (avg)|