The Ram 2500 is ready to butt heads for Australian toil.
Story Bruce McMahon
The Ram 2500 is another of those large, sometimes formidable pick-ups favoured across North America. Over there, oversized utes from the likes of Chrysler, Ford and Chevrolet are commonplace from freeways to farm paddocks. Over here, it’s more a niche market for these pick-ups; yet no matter how small there is healthy competition for utes, in particular twin-cab vehicles, which can tow and carry more than a Ford Ranger or Toyota HiLux.
A Ram Laramie 2500, with pintle hitch, boasts towing capacity of close on 7 tonnes plus a 900-kilogram payload. Ford’s Ranger is limited to towing 3.5 tonnes. So, four-wheel drive trucks such as the Ram find favour here with a range of customers. There are cashed-up travellers looking to tow big caravans, horse lovers who need to shift floats, farmers moving loads of machinery and tradespeople carting tools and hardware.
These are not the best vehicles for suburban streets – or car parks – for all are machines more suited to American freeways and Australian country roads. And out in wider, more open, spaces these pick-ups are surprisingly easy to handle and perform well, loaded or not.
There is little escaping the large, heavy-duty chassis and suspension down below, so care and consideration are needed if hunting down a rough bush track with or without a load. The stiffness and strength of these big utes can mean a less than smooth ride at times. However, the Ram is one of the better riding of these American machines and, as with most rivals in this class, a plush cabin helps mask truck-like underpinnings. And the Ram has another advantage over its rivals, for this four-door ute, converted in Victoria to right-hand drive, has the backing of Fiat-Chrysler’s Detroit factory plus an Australia-wide dealer network. That, plus a three-year, 100,000-kilometre warranty, will sit well with many prospective customers.
Also appreciated will be the Ram’s road manners, for the 3.5-tonne machine offers quite positive and responsive steering, along with fair road-holding for a leaf-sprung rear axle. Again, the Ram’s ride comfort and relatively quiet cabin are appreciated on most road surfaces – including well-formed gravel or dirt roads – but without a load the big ute and its heavy-duty springs and shock absorbers may not be quite so smooth on ragged bitumen or rough tracks.
Another plus with the Ram 2500 is the ever-willing diesel engine under that never-ending bonnet. This is a huge six-cylinder Cummins at 6.7 litres, turbocharged to help produce 276kW at 2800rpm plus a tractor-pulling 1084Nm from a low 1600rpm, and then mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination is surprisingly smooth and always ready for work, whether moving off from a standstill or dropping back a gear to overtake out on the highway.
At just over six metres long and 2m wide, the Ram 2500 is not unmanageable around town, but does take some care. Helping out with confidence levels is a well organised and very complete cabin – right down to a 240-volt outlet – with swags of comfort and convenient features from Bluetooth connectivity to reversing camera, dual-zone air-conditioning and power-adjustable pedals for accelerator and brake. The transmission is controlled by a steering column shifter and the park brake is operated by foot.
Driver and up-front passengers sit high in big seats, with about 1.6m between them, while back-seat room is more than adequate for full-sized Australians.
Helping out on the highway are ABS brakes and electronic stability control. Helping out in the rough are a two-speed transfer case and limited slip rear differential, plus 188 millimetres of ground clearance. The Ram – limited by size, weight and road-biased 18-inch (457mm) Michelin tyres – will not go everywhere, but its 4WD ability is a handy attribute, from farm paddocks to boat ramps.
The tray measures 1295mm between the wheel arches and is 1687mm deep.
These are not light duty, or inexpensive utes yet the Ram 2500 will find favour with those Australians looking for a big workhorse of widespread capabilities and comforts for the wide, open spaces.
Ram Laramie 2500 from $139,500. For more information go to www.ramtrucks.com.au.
This story excerpt is from Issue #117
Outback Magazine: February/March 2018