We got the chance to get some seat time in the newly redesigned 2010 Ram Heavy Duty at their media event in San Antonio and Tarpley, Texas, and all signs point to the newest Ram truck being as successful as the Ram 1500 that debuted last year. To sum it up, the Ram 2500 and 3500 incorporated everything that we love about the 1500 into a beefier package that has proven mechanicals.
You'll recognize the styling as somewhat of a carryover from the sleek '09 Ram 1500, as the bodywork from the A-pillar back, along with the headlights, are shared throughout the Ram lineup. However, the Heavy Duty, and especially the 6.7L Cummins, necessitated a taller grille for the added cooling capacity. A new hood, with stamped simulated louvers and a bulge in the center, is another dead giveaway for the HD, along with a bumper that's slotted to accommodate a winch, more on that later.
Cummins fans will be glad to hear that the 6.7L, along with much of the 2009 Ram Heavy Duty chassis and drivetrain, is a carryover. The 6.7L met 2010's stringent emissions standards since its launch in model year 2008, so no emission updates were necessary. It still packs 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque to remain competitive in the horsepower and torque wars. One feature that’s sure to steer shoppers in the Ram's direction is a standard engine brake that's built into the Cummins variable turbo.
Big news for off-road fans, the Power Wagon is back with an all-new look. The Power Wagon packages includes skid plates, front and rear locking differential, manual-shift transfer case, electronically disconnecting sway bar, 4.56 gears, LT285/70R17D BFG Radial A/T tires, a 180-amp alternator, and a 12,000-pound Warn winch that's tucked away behind the bumper. As was the case of the previous generation Power Wagon, the position of the winch won’t allow for the Cummins intercooler, meaning the only engine available is the 5.7L Hemi and its 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. We drove the Power Wagon through a course that involved dirt hillclimbs, some twisty articulation, and mud, and found that the truck is at the top of the heap as far as fullsize trail vehicles go. We had just missed a storm that had hit the previous wave of journalists and while some of the initial runs in the first wave needed the Tru-Lock differentials to keep the truck pulling up the muddy hillside, our slightly drier conditions didn't provide any hiccups.
The biggest news for the HD, literally, is the MegaCab. We loved the original MegaCab and the 2010 is still the largest cab on the market, boasting segment-leading rear legroom, interior cargo volume, largest fold-flat load area, most volume behind the rear seats, and the widest opening rear door. Like before, the Mega Cab gets its own bed, but this time around the dual rear wheel models get unique bedsides that flare out smoothly, rather than sporting a tacked-on looking plastic flare like the first generation Mega Cabs.
An integrated trailer brake controller is new for 2010.
The new hood includes stamped simulated louvers that add strength to the large panel.
Quad Cab models are gone for the HD lineup, with the HDs getting their first Crew Cab model for '10. So while '09 had a gap in the lineup with no traditional Crew Cab, offering regular, quad, and Mega cabs, the '10 HDs will not offer the Quad Cab that is available on the 1500s.
The ride in the new Heavy Duty trucks benefits from new shock tuning and fluid-filled body mounts at the rear of the cab. We spent more than 100 miles in the most basic of work trucks, no carpet, no power accessories, bench seat, etc, and the ride was surprisingly smooth and quiet. Some of the credit has to go to the new suspension tuning and body mounts, but the door design and seals that were new for the '09 1500 that carried over also help keep wind noise down. The biggest surprise for the base Ram HD was the price. Our base regular cab, longbed Hemi 2500 listed for $28,165, which is, according to Dodge, $1,970 cheaper than the model it replaces. The lower price trend continues with the new Crew Cab models priced slightly less than the smaller Quad Cab model it replaces. Even the Mega Cabs are cheaper than the '09 models.