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2015 Ram 2500 REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/5/2017

Con: Diesel's lower output with the manual transmission.

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Interior: The Ram 2500 offers the nicest interior in the heavy-duty full-size pickup kingdom. On the higher trim levels, soft-touch materials and tasteful stitching are abundant throughout the cabin, while the plush seats and metallic accents are almost too nice for work truck status.

As is typical in full-size trucks, there's plenty of room for passengers of all sizes; however, if you make regular use of the rear seats (and don't need a long cargo bed), you'll find that the Mega Cab is particularly accommodating in the legroom department. Interior storage is generous, with plenty of bins and pockets to supplement the dual gloveboxes. The unique RamBox feature places a pair of lockable compartments over the rear fenders adjacent to the truck bed.

Cabin controls are within easy reach and user-friendly, especially in trucks with the 8.4-inch touchscreen interface. With large, logically located virtual buttons, reasonably quick response times and ample functionality for smartphone users, this is one of the best executions of a touchscreen in any vehicle. When equipped with the optional cargo-view and rearview back-up cameras, the cargo camera displays on the 8.4-inch screen, while the conventional back-up camera displays on a smaller screen in the rearview mirror. It's nice to have both cameras onboard, but in practice, it can be hard to see the back-up camera display.

Body: The 2015 Ram 2500 heavy-duty pickup is available in three cab styles: two-door regular cab, four-door crew cab and a four-door jumbo crew cab ("Mega Cab"). The regular cabs come with an 8-foot bed only, while the crew cab has either the long bed or a 6-foot-4 short bed. The Mega Cab rides on the same wheelbase as the crew cab long bed, but it combines an even bigger cabin with the short bed.

Three main trim levels are offered: Tradesman, SLT and Laramie. A number of sub-trims add various features and equipment packages. The Power Wagon is an off-road-ready Ram 2500 with similar trim level choices (Tradesman, standard and Laramie).

The Tradesman (regular cab and crew cab) is the most basic Ram 2500 and comes with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, black grille/bumpers, a locking tailgate, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with USB/iPod integration and an auxiliary audio input. Vinyl upholstery and flooring are standard, but a cloth bench seat is a no-cost option. Power windows and locks (including the locking tailgate) are standard on crew cab models, as are power heated mirrors, while regular cabs have manual controls and non-heated mirrors by default. Available for the Tradesman and geared toward commercial users is "Work Grade" heavy-duty vinyl upholstery.

The SLT (all three cabs) adds chrome exterior trim, 18-inch steel wheels, an integrated trailer brake controller, heated mirrors, a power sliding rear window (except on regular cab), keyless entry, an overhead console, cloth upholstery, carpeted floors, full power accessories, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5-inch touchscreen interface and satellite radio.

SLT Crew Cab and Mega Cab Rams offer a Big Horn sub-trim (Lone Star for shoppers in Texas) that includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, chrome grille slats, foglights, a 115-volt power outlet, a 10-way power driver seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls).

For four-wheel-drive SLT crew cabs, there is also an Outdoorsman sub-trim, which is similar to the Big Horn but adds tow hooks, a transfer case skid plate, a two-tone exterior (with black lower body cladding), fender flares, a body-color grille frame and auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors. This package also includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment interface with satellite radio and an SD card slot, an upgraded instrument cluster with a 7-inch color driver information center, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Uconnect Access, a subscription-based smartphone app that provides WiFi, voice-to-text messaging and emergency assistance.

Next up is the Laramie (crew cab and Mega Cab), which features all of the above convenience and technology upgrades as standard, adding 18-inch alloy wheels, two-tone paint, more chrome trim (including the bumpers), projector headlights, LED taillights, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, driver memory settings, a six-way power front passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.

The Laramie's Longhorn sub-trim adds color-keyed bumpers, a spray-in bedliner, remote ignition, front bucket seats (with a full center console), upgraded leather upholstery, wood steering wheel trim, power-adjustable pedals (with memory settings), heated rear seats, a navigation system and HD radio. The Limited sub-trim adds monotone paint, 20-inch wheels, automatic high-beam headlight control, automatic wipers, the RamBox cargo management system (includes bedside storage compartments, an adjustable bed divider and tie-downs), keyless entry and ignition and special black leather upholstery.

Finally, the off-road-themed Power Wagon (available only in crew cab 4WD with the short bed and 6.4-liter V8) features unique 17-inch wheels, tow hooks, skid plates, all-terrain tires, a manual transfer case, a 4.10 axle ratio with electronically locking differentials, hill descent control, a power winch rated at 12,000 pounds of capacity and a front antiroll bar that can be disconnected electronically to improve wheel articulation off-road. The Power Wagon's three trim levels (Tradesman, standard and Laramie) mirror those of the regular truck, with the standard trim approximating the SLT's feature content.

Many of the upper trims' features are available on lower trim levels as options. Other option highlights include a load-leveling rear air suspension, a cargo-view camera, fifth-wheel trailer preparation and a sunroof.

Driving: Even though the 2015 Ram 2500 is built for serious towing and hauling jobs, it's fairly civilized in everyday driving, and wind and tire noise are nicely quelled. The coil spring rear suspension makes the heavy-duty Ram's ride smoother and more comfortable than you might expect. Mind you, there's no getting around a firm ride quality in a truck built to tow and haul this much, but that suspension certainly makes the ride less bumpy and skittish. The Power Wagon feels stiffer on pavement, but its modified front suspension, hill descent control, electronically disconnecting sway bar and locking differentials significantly increase off-road performance.

All three of the Ram's engines provide solid performance, but if you're regularly towing and hauling very heavy loads, there's no doubt that the turbodiesel engine paired with the automatic transmission packs the biggest punch. The diesel does emit a signature diesel growl when accelerating, but it quiets down at cruising speeds.

What’s New: For 2015, the Ram 2500 adds optional heavy-duty vinyl upholstery for the Tradesman trim level, standard hill descent control for the Power Wagon and available power-folding mirrors.

Standard on most versions of the 2015 Ram 2500 is a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The 5.7 is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2500 is available with either rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive. Tradesman models feature a manually engaged transfer case for the 4WD system; an electronic transfer case is optional on the Tradesman and standard on all other Rams.

There are two optional engines for the 2500: a 6.4-liter V8 and a 6.7-liter turbocharged, diesel-fueled inline six-cylinder. The gasoline 6.4-liter V8 produces 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque and is backed by a six-speed automatic. The turbodiesel produces 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque when matched with the available six-speed manual transmission, or 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque with a beefed-up six-speed automatic.

In Edmunds testing, a 4WD Ram 2500 crew cab with the 6.4-liter V8 went from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. Equipped with the 6.7-liter turbodiesel, another 4WD crew cab accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds.

Depending on body style and rear axle ratio, the Ram 2500 is rated to tow up to 13,870 pounds with the 5.7-liter V8, 16,300 pounds with the 6.4-liter V8, 16,900 for the manual-equipped diesel and 17,970 with the automatic and diesel engine (Ram stipulates that any trailer over 17,000 pounds requires a fifth-wheel hitch). Properly equipped, the maximum payload for the 5.7-liter is 3,040 pounds, rising to 3,970 pounds for the 6.4-liter engine but falling back to 3,170 pounds for the diesel.

Safety: Standard safety equipment for the 2015 Ram 2500 includes antilock disc brakes, front seat and side curtain airbags, stability and traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. Power-adjustable pedals are available on all models except the Tradesman. A rearview camera is available across the lineup.

In Edmunds testing, various versions of the Ram 2500 came to a stop from 60 mph in 136-144 feet, depending on equipment. This is average for the segment.

Pro: Monumental torque with diesel and automatic powertrain; high-quality cabin; Mega Cab's roomy rear seat; highly off-road-capable Power Wagon version; quiet, comfortable ride.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Ram 2500 is a top pick for a heavy-duty truck thanks to its refined interior, forgiving ride and impressive towing and hauling capabilities.

Introduction: If you're shopping in the heavy-duty pickup segment, you probably plan to do some serious towing and hauling (or at least you like the idea of it). With a maximum tow rating approaching 18,000 pounds and a maximum payload of nearly 4,000 pounds, the 2015 Ram 2500 is certainly well qualified on both fronts. The heavy-duty Ram 2500 also offers a variety of body styles and equipment packages, ranging from a no-frills work truck with vinyl upholstery to a luxurious "Mega Cab" (an extra-large crew cab) fitted with premium leather upholstery and heated front and rear seats. With such diversity, there's bound to be a Ram 2500 that suits your specific wants and needs.

In addition, the Ram 2500 is distinguished by its coil spring rear suspension, a notable departure from the leaf spring norm. The coil spring design provides a more compliant ride, whether you're pulling a heavy load or driving around with the bed empty. If you're choosing between Ram's 2500 and 3500 models, note that the 3500 uses the leaf spring rear suspension, so it won't be as smooth as the 2500. The Ram 2500 also offers an appealing intermediate engine option, a strong 6.4-liter gasoline V8, that slots between the standard 5.7-liter V8 and the more capable -- but more expensive -- turbocharged inline-6 diesel.

In this specialized segment, the 2015 Ram 2500 has only a couple of rivals: the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD (and its GMC Sierra sibling) and the 2015 Ford F-250. They all offer strong engine and suspension packages, and they're pretty close in terms of tow ratings, too. Where the Ram 2500 takes the lead is inside the cabin. More than just utilitarian, the 2500's interior is plush and inviting. It makes the truck eminently livable outside of work duty, and the relatively supple ride only enhances that quality. The 2015 Ram 2500's Edmunds "A" rating and its placement in our 2015 Truck Buying Guide reflect its top standing in this class.

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