2006 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT Mega Cab 4X4Long Term UpdateWhen I got my turn behind the wheel of our Cummins-powered 4x4 Mega Cab 2500, it still smelled new...sort of. I've put enough miles on both the diesel- and gas-powered Mega Cabs to build an allegiance, and right now I'm leaning towards the diesel. Besides the obvious powertrain differences, our 2500 Mega Cab differs from our 1500 mostly in terms of the interior, with the 2500's Lariat package upping the ante with leather seating and dual-zone climate controls. The leather seats are the highlight, and despite the lack of obvious bolsters, they still provide enough lateral support for the kind of lateral G's you're likely to see in a truck this size. As for the climate control, I experimented with how much contrast I could get from the dual-zone climate control. The difference in output was enough so that the A/C on the driver side was obliterated by the heat from the passenger side. Advantage: heater.

Power from the diesel was surprising. Turbo lag is evident, which is probably a good thing, because if all of the power came in much earlier, there wouldn't be much tread left on the rear tires. From a stop, the Mega Cab rumbles off the line at a steady pace until the engine hits around 2,500 rpm, after which it seems like an exponential increase in power causes it to surge up to speed. At highway speed, the truck pulls strongly, but it does take a second for the transmission to ick down a gear to get up to passing speed.

Ride quality is still that of a truck (and a sturdy, heavy-duty one at that), with uneven pavement and potholes jarring their way right into the cabin, which is where those firm leather seats are really appreciated. Granted, on freeways that aren't almost demolished the long wheelbase and wide track do a decent job of evening things out. At slow speeds on rutted dirt roads the long wheelbase really shines. The height of the truck and its bulging hood and fenders narrow visibility at close quarters, making tight maneuvering a tricky series of judgement calls, which convinced my amazed (or frightened) passengers that parallel parking was going to result in me leaving a note on someone's windshield. After a few days of practice using the convex portion of the side mirrors, parking was less of a problem. And now that I've got the seat moved just the way I like it and the navigation system settings just right, it's time to swap into the Hemi-powered Mega Cab again.

This is the second installment of our long-term coverage of the Dodge Ram Mega Cab 2500. Miles to date are 8,941. The overall MPG for this period was 12.47.