Unfortunately we weren’t able to test the Ram’s towing ability. No load was provided and we didn’t take any ballast with us to the conference. Next time we’ll keep a spare couple of tons within arms reach, or you can read our 2007 Heavy Duty Shootout. However, the truck we drove did come with the new six-speed auto which proved to be very smooth shifting on city streets and the freeway. Getting up to speed was effortless and fast. The Ram also used a blend of B20 biodiesel, making for a little bit greener ride.
The Ram Mega Cab is humongous. It fits up to five adults no problem. But the Ram’s instrument panel and interior surface are looking very dated next to the newly revised and handsome Ford Super Duty IP and all new dash and instrument clusters in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD pickups.
Even with the extra large four-door cab, the Ram arrives with a choice of 6.25 or 8-ft bed. Put the tailgate down on the 8-ft box and you’d have no problem hauling a fully loaded 2,178-lb, 5.11-ft wide x 8.8-ft long Smart Fortwo within the Ram 2500 Mega Cab’s healthy 2,200-lb payload limits and in between the width of its 5.53-ft spaced bed rails. Of course that would also increase the Ram’s passenger capacity to seven adults. Another seven Smarts could be carried on a trailer behind the Ram, increasing the population to 21 people! Maybe call it the Ram 2500 Mother Ship at that point.
A Ram 2500 4x4 Mega Cab in top of the line Laramie trim starts at $43,000, a little less than twice the cost of the Brabus dressed Fortwo CDI.
You’re probably wondering about the Ram’s mileage and CO2 emissions numbers. On an absolute basis they’re not anywhere near as good as the Smart’s stratospheric figures but examined relatively it’s a different story.
Let’s get the calculator out.
The Smart Fortwo CDI has an empty curb weight of 1,609-lbs and gets a combined mileage rating of 56-mpg (51 city / 64 highway) using a European driving cycle, according to Bosch. The U.S. EPA doesn’t report fuel economy for vehicles with a fully burdened or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 8,500-lbs, but 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 owners are reporting real world numbers of 15 to 16-mpg in the city and 17 to 18-mpg on the highway with an unloaded truck. This would give a combined rating of 16.4-mpg using an EPA weighted average of 55-percent city and 45-percent highway driving. But for argument's sake, let's say it's only 16-mpg. The empty curb weight of a Ram 2500 Mega Cab 4x4 with an auto tranny is 6,875-lbs. At 4.27 times the weight of the Smart, pound for pound the Ram is over 20% more efficient. If their powertrains and weights could be scaled down or up equivalently, the Ram could get 68.3-mpg and the Fortwo could get 13.1-mpg.
Ram’s CO2 output is in the neighborhood of about 500-g/mile or the same weight as about 15.6 Oreo cookies. By the way, from now on we’re only measuring CO2 emissions in terms of Oreo cookies. It'll help make the bad news taste better. Relative to the Fortwo, Ram CO2 emissions are also about 20% less per pound.
No matter what you do, though, the Smart will always have the Ram beat when it comes to parallel parking. Try to park snout first with a Dodge and you’ll only succeed in blocking the street.
So there you have it. Like a Great Dane and a Chihuahua the Smart Fortwo CDI and Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Heavy Duty are two of a kind when it comes to their oil burning powertrains. But when it comes to measures of absolute and relative capability, this isn’t a comparison between two diesel hounds as much as it's a contest between Godzilla and Bambi.
We’ll let you guess who’s who.