2015 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4X4 Review
by Randy Stern
As the truckmaster of Why This Ride?, it is my duty to present as many of these workhorses to you, as possible.
My duty is to test these babies as intended. They have to be dirty, filthy and take on dirt and gravel roads as some of my neighbors do – out in the exurbs. If it means taking doing crazy stunts, such as towing, hauling bales of hay, pulling tree stumps…
OK…here is the reality. I live in an inner-ring suburb of Minneapolis. It is a safe neighborhood. My neighbors are actually contractors or own pickups to trailer their boats to the lake. To bring in a pickup almost seems normal around where I live. Even when it snows, a pickup has plenty of tasks to do – from plowing to getting through unplowed roads just to go to the grocery store.
Not me. I go do some shopping, attend car meets, and work remotely. I’m more suited for a car than a truck.
Yet, I have a job to do. I review vehicles as they are truly intended. If you ask retail customers how they use their trucks, they either work in construction or in an industrial job and use them to get to the job site. On the weekends, they use them to pick up supplies for the home or to go do something recreational. For the most part, I have pretty much “touched them all.”
There is a truck to review here. It is big, red, full of “cowboy luxury,” and is considered one of the best in the business. The 2015 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4 is definitely all of the above. But, is it a truck one could live with – even if they did not work in an industry that calls for one, or has any need for it?
Well…let me earn my “truckmaster” label and tell you about this big Ram.
The story of Ram’s Heavy Duty trucks starts with a distinctive and aggressive design – both in the 1500 and the Heavy Duty. The “big rig” front end is amplified on the Heavy Duty by giving it a blunt appearance that says “get out of my way.” Because of its enlarged height, one must get side rails for better access to the cabin, unless you are strong and can climb without assistance. Otherwise, there are grab handles on the A-pillars to leverage access.
This configuration – a Crew Cab with a six-foot-four-inch box – is plenty big. It has quite the presence on the side. On each side of the bed is a RamBox, which makes storing tools, fishing poles, camping chairs and other things conveniently. The RamBoxes are individually lockable, and controlled by the remote locking fob.
This truck sported the desirable Laramie Longhorn trim – the “cowboy luxury” trim seen in our Ram 1500 tester from this winter. The seats are big – exactly as in the Ram 1500. The leather is tough for jeans-wearing folks and more sophisticated dress. The center console is wide, but there is a huge cubby where a shifter would be in place. This Heavy Duty model has a column shifter instead. There is not even a knob, as in the 1500, but a switch for the four-wheel drive system in its place. In the Crew Cab, there is plenty of leg and head room for rear passengers. There are some amenities, but enough to keep everyone comfortable in the back seat.
In the 2500, these improvements were relative to the task at hand. The new TFT screen in the instrument binnacle, the 8.4-inch UConnect Touch screen and UConnect Assist telematics program are welcome additions to the larger pickup’s cabin. They add to a high quality and extremely useful cab that make everything easier to manage – even when you are not towing or hauling anything in the back.
A couple of things to note, Alpine provided exceptional sound from its eight speakers and subwoofer – a welcomed noise in just about every Ram pickup I have driven. There is also a rearview camera on the Ram 2500 – on the mirror. It may be a small screen, but very useful, indeed!
Recently, Ram added a truck-tuned version of the 6.4liter HEMI V8. In a car (or a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT), it is known as a “392” and drives like a beast! On this three-quarter ton truck, it serves a different purpose. For the Heavy Duty pickups, the 6.4liter HEMI is tuned down to 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. While I miss the monstrous power from the SRT version of this engine, the power is well-matched for the Ram 2500. There is that wiliness to motivate at higher speeds, while managing loads as possible. If one needs more power, there is always the Cummins 6.7liter turbocharged diesel engine. For reference, the Cummins lays down 800 pound-feet of torque. Enough said.
Chrysler’s six-speed automatic was connected to the big HEMI “gasser,” along with a two-speed four-wheel drive system. The combination of all three is great on any surface. It does help that the Firestone Transforce AT tires were shod on twenty-inch alloy wheels – good, solid tires for a lot of situations and various surfaces.
As for capacity, this Ram 2500 has a maximum payload rating of 2,090 pounds. The maximum towing rating for this pickup is 17,010 pounds, though the standard rating is 10,920 pounds. These are what one should expect from a three-quarter ton pickup truck.
The four-wheel drive system does solve a lot of traction issues. Turning when all four wheels are driving is a task with plenty of bucking on tight maneuvers. When in two-wheel drive, the steering system is actually quite good in dealing with u-turns and tight spots. Brakes are OK since it does take some pre-braking and plenty of distance to get the Ram 2500 to stop safely. One must understand that heavy-duty pickups take more care when doing routine tasks than their half-ton brethren.
Unlike its half-ton brother, the Ram 2500 offers strong and absorbent shocks with a five-link front suspension up front and leaf springs in the rear. Heavy duty shocks try their best to smooth out the ride, even when the tarmac is uneven. Though there was plenty of feedback from those not-so-good pieces of road. Handling is definitely soft with plenty of controlled dives into the corners. However, one must remember that this is a three-quarter ton pickup and not anything else when piloting the Ram 2500.
Though the 6.4Liter HEMI offers great performance for a “gasser,” there is one sacrifice one makes with one – fuel economy. The Ram 2500 turned an average of 13.0MPG. As a comparison, I drove a Cummins-powered Ram 2500 a year-and-a-half ago and turned 15.7MPG. Just a though…
Pricing for the three-quarter ton Ram starts off at over $30,000 for a standard cab, Tradesman with rear-wheel drive, an eight-foot box and the 5.7liter HEMI V8. The Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab model with four-wheel drive and the 6.4lier HEMI V8 rang the sticker up to $60,465. If you need the absolute power from the famed Cummins diesel, that will cost you extra to the tune of $8,000.
Why This Ride?
– With every truck I review, I will continue you to ask you some questions to consider. What are you actually doing with this truck? What are anticipating using the truck for? What do you have to tow? Do the numbers add up for you? By numbers, I mean maximum weight of items to put into the bed, length of items you normally carry in the bed, the weight of what you tow and anticipated fuel economy by using gasoline or diesel fuel.
– If you answered every question pointing to a heavy-duty pickup truck, then you are limited by four choices. Let me cut to the chase – the Ram Heavy Duty is a solid machine. The 2500 is all the truck you need, unless you are towing a fifth wheel trailer or something within the incredible towing capacity a 3500 Heavy Duty dual rear-wheel truck has to offer. Still, the Ram is tough, strong and does the job with all of its might. You do this, while chilling out in the best cabin in the truck business.
– Though substantial, powerful and luxurious, this Ram 2500 Heavy Duty is not a truck to mess with. However, if you really want a Ram Heavy Duty pickup and want to get the most out of it – whether being a 2500 or 3500 – spend the $8,000 and get the Cummins diesel. That would be my only advice.
Photos by Randy Stern