Part 1: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
[Intro] [Truck Specs] [Dodge] [General Motors] [Ford] [Squat Test]

Part 2: Quarter-Mile Drags
[Intro] [3/4-Ton Unloaded] [3/4-Ton Loaded] [1-Ton Unloaded] [1-Ton Loaded] [F-450] [Diesel v Gas Comparison]

Part 3: Hill Climbs
[Intro] [3/4-Ton 7% Grade] [1-Ton 7% Grade] [Diesel v Gas Comparison 7% Grade]
[3/4-Ton 15% Grade] [1-Ton 15% Grade] [Diesel v Gas Comparison 15% Grade]

[F-450 All Grades] [Summary]

2007 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT Quad Cab 4x4

There aren’t many changes this year for the 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT Quad Cab we tested.

The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 it came with is the standard engine for Dodge’s three-quarter-ton pickup. In this truck it’s rated at 345-horsepower but in the 3500 it’s slightly detuned to 330-hp in the Regular and Quad Cab models. The HEMI had the least horsepower of the gas group, but at 1-horsepower per cubic-inch, it was the most powerful in proportion to engine volume. Like the Ford F-350, it had a five-speed automatic transmission, one gear less than the GMC’s new heavy duty six-speed.

We’re hoping the next generation Ram HD turns up in 2009 when the new light duty Ram debuts. One of the items Chrysler Group VP Ralph Gilles has said he’d like to see improved is the interior and we can’t disagree. Relative to the Super Duty and GM Heavy Duty trucks, the Ram’s innards are very dated and in dire need of a boost in material quality and an ergonomic revamp.

Our truck came with an optional $2,620 DVD-based GPS navigation, CD, radio, and seven-speaker Infinity speaker audio system. Its confusing mix of buttons and lack of touch screen controls were much more difficult to use than the more functional $1,875 navi-CD-DVD-stereo combo in the Ford F-350 we drove.

Neither Ram offers integrated electronic trailer brake controllers, like the GM and Ford trucks do. Ford’s had them since 2005 and they’re new this year for GM. You’ll have to choose an aftermarket solution for the Ram if you want to have any control over the gain (brake pressure) applied to help stop the trailer.Of all the trucks we tested, we felt the two Rams offered the most precise steering feel, required the least effort to control, and tracked best under load.

2007 Dodge Ram 3500 SLT Quad Cab 4x4

Our dually Ram 3500 had the all new 6.7-liter Cummins I6 diesel under its hood, but the entire truck only cost $3775 more than the SRW Ram 2500. The lack of optional navigation accounts for a large portion of the lower than expected price difference. Given the value for the dollar – we emphatically recommend putting your hard earned money into ordering the Cummins in either the 2500 or 3500 without ever thinking about the navigation system.

Even though the Cummins I6 has two less cylinders than the Ford and Chevrolet V8 diesels, it has a larger displacement than either of those engines. It has the same torque as the Ford and only ten lb-ft less than the Chevy. Peak torque is available in the lowest rpm range of the three pickups. When we started it up, the Ram visibly shivered from all of the torque as the Cummins cranked over.

Like the Allison equipped Chevrolet Silverado we drove, the Dodge Ram 3500 also came with a six-speed transmission. But this is a ‘modified’ version of the five-speed transmission found in the HEMI powered 2500 pickup. It’s not the more highly regarded Aisin Seiki-sourced six-speed that’s mated to the Cummins in the new Ram 3500 chassis cab.

Like the GM pickups, there's a new toggle switch on the shift stem to manually upshift or downshift the transmission, so drivers can manage the automatic gearbox like a manual.

The Dodge Ram 3500 also has two unique advantages over the Ford and Chevy trucks.

First, not only do the Cummins’ soot output levels meet and exceed 2010 Tier 2 Bin 5 particulate emission standards, but so do its NOX emissions. While Ford and GM are still trying to figure out how they’ll use urea selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to lower NOX, Chrysler is using Cummins’ urea-free “adsorber” catalyst which soaks up stray NOX molecules without any regular maintenance or refills. The adsorber catalyst uses some very rare metals to do its job, so there’s a risk that the price for the Cummins could go up with the cost of these metals if they rise in the market.

Second, the Ram is the only heavy duty pickup that offers an integrated exhaust brake, similar to the engine brakes commercial big rigs have. Activated with the push of a button, this feature saves on brake and transmission wear by closing down the engine’s turbo vanes to restrict airflow to engine brake the truck. It also reduces the potential for brake fade during long descents, increasing downhill safety while towing. Medium Duty C4500/5500 GM trucks also offer factory exhaust brakes, so perhaps we’ll see this feature show up next on the HD Sierra and Silverado. The HD power contest may turn into a stopping contest, because with trucks able to tow larger trailers with ease comes the responsibility to stop more weight safely.

Part 1: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]