The Dodge Ram changed the truck world in 1994 when it showed that full-size pickups could be made to resemble something other than a cinder block. Like its half-ton brother, the heavy-duty 3/4-ton Dodge Ram 2500 boasted a muscular, rugged look that took heavy inspiration from big rigs -- specifically their "shouldered" fender design and prominent grille. This new look clearly resonated with America's truck-buying public, because Ram sales immediately doubled with the new model and would eventually double once again by 1999.
The most-recent-generation Ram had an even more muscular body and engine lineup, plus a versatile selection of cab styles. In addition to the regular cab, there was a four-door Crew Cab (replacing the long-running Quad Cab) and a Mega Cab that easily lived up to its prefix. Note that although the Dodge Ram technically ceased to be after the 2010 model year, it lives on as the founding member of Chrysler Group's new Ram brand: the Ram 2500.
Most Recent Dodge Ram 2500
The most-recent, fourth-generation Dodge Ram 2500 debuted for 2010. Compared to the previous Ram 2500, the most recent generation got revised styling, a more upscale interior, a retuned suspension and the new Crew Cab, which replaced the previous generation's Quad Cab body style.
This Dodge Ram 2500 heavy-duty pickup was available with two-wheel or four-wheel drive and came in a variety of body styles and trim configurations. A regular cab, Crew Cab (replacing the previous model's Quad Cab) and Mega Cab (really big crew cab) comprised the body styles. The Mega Cab was only available with the short bed, while the regular cab was only equipped with the long bed. The Crew Cab was offered with either.
Trim levels consisted of the basic ST, the volume-selling SLT and the luxurious Laramie. Higher trim levels offered standard and optional niceties like dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, Bluetooth and a hard-drive-based navigation system. Off-road-ready packages include the TRX and the Quad-Cab-only Power Wagon.
Standard on all Ram 2500 trucks was a 5.7-liter V8 that made 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. This hefty power plant came with a five-speed automatic transmission. For enhanced towing capability, there was a 6.7-liter inline six-cylinder Cummins turbodiesel that produced 350 horses and 650 lb-ft of torque. It was paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
In reviews of this Dodge Ram 2500, we found it to be a very capable heavy-duty pickup truck. We are fond of its powerful engine lineup, wide range of body styles and compliant highway ride. We also appreciated the new Crew Cab model, which was an improvement on the relatively cramped Quad Cab from the previous-generation truck. This Ram's interior was a standout among trucks, with a design and materials that were uncommonly praiseworthy.
Past Dodge Ram 2500 Models
The third-generation Ram 2500 debuted for the 2003 model year. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 was the standard engine from the get-go, although it made slightly less power (345 hp) until a bump for 2009 (355 hp). Transmission choices initially included a five-speed manual, a four-speed automatic and a five-speed automatic. A 305-hp 8.0-liter V10 was optional in 2003 only. Originally, the diesel engine option was a 5.9-liter Cummins, but this was replaced by the updated 6.7-liter Cummins (350 hp, 650 lb-ft) later in 2007. The V8 lost its manual transmission for 2009.
Only the regular and Quad Cab (a smaller version of the current Crew Cab) body styles were available at the start, with the Mega Cab squeezed into the lineup in 2006. The Mega Cab was only available with the short bed, while the regular cab was only equipped with the long bed; the Quad Cab was offered with either. Model-year 2006 was also when Dodge restyled the heavy-duty Ram's interior, added higher-end convenience features and a cylinder-deactivation feature to the Hemi V8 (power was unaffected), and freshened the front-end styling. The off-road-ready, Quad-Cab-only Power Wagon debuted for the 2005 model year.
In reviews, we noted that the third-generation Ram 2500 had more power, increased towing capacity, better handling and updated styling compared to the second-generation model. In fact, it's close enough to the current model in terms of all-around abilities that we'd definitely recommend taking a look at used models from this generation -- you're bound to save a bundle, and you'll still be getting an extremely capable truck.
The previous second-generation Dodge Ram 2500 was produced from 1994-2002. The base engine was a 5.2-liter V8 engine, with an 8.0-liter V10 and 5.9-liter Cummins turbodiesel optional. In 1998, the Quad Cab was introduced with twin rear-hinged doors and larger backseat. The interior was also redesigned that year, including the addition of a standard passenger side airbag with a cutoff switch. In 2000, the Club Cab was eliminated from the Ram 2500, and improvements were made to the steering and suspension. Finally, a high-output Cummins turbodiesel joined the lesser oil-burner in 2001.
At the time, we commented favorably about the truck's user-friendly cab, competent handling and powerful V10 and diesel engines. One downside was that rear-seat room in the Quad Cab was cramped when compared to the space available in competing trucks.
The original generation of Dodge's 3/4-ton Ram was actually known as the Ram 250 and was produced from 1981-'93.