- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

Dodge enhances its Ram Heavy Duty truck portfolio with the 2010 “New Crew” fresh-design 2500 and 3500 pickups.

“Our new 2010 Ram Heavy Duty is available for the first time as a crew cab, providing Dodge with a formidable entry into this high-volume pickup segment,” said Frank Klegon, Chrysler’s executive vice president of product development.

“Since crew cabs account for about 50 percent of the heavy-duty market, this new pickup represents a great opportunity for Dodge,” Mr. Klegon said.

This new Crew Cab (offered with a 6-foot-4-inch or 8-foot cargo box) replaces the Quad Cab extended-cab Dodge introduced in 1998. It joins regular and Mega Cab 2500 and 3500 pickups in the lineup.

“The Crew Cab’s design is distinctive from light-duty trucks,” Mr. Klegon said. “Its big-rig styling is like a Ram 1500 on steroids. It’s bolder, more powerful and more capable.”

Offered in ST, SLT, TRX Laramie and Power Wagon trim levels, the new Heavy Duty wears a larger, more-aggressive grille and hood, as well as stamped-steel, aerodynamic rear dual fender flares. The amplified grille mates with a taller hood, which incorporates louvers on each side. Along with pumping up macho, the restyled grille and hood provide better engine cooling.

Increased cooling is particularly beneficial to the potent 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel I-6 engine. This diesel is the most popular power plant among the capability-focused Heavy Duty Ram buyers, with a whopping 90 percent take rate.

The 6.7-liter unleashes 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and, more importantly, peak torque is 650 lb.-ft. at 1,500 rpm.

“Torque is great, but you don’t do anything with just high torque numbers. It’s true power you need,” said Don Altermatt, Chrysler’s senior manager for diesel engine engineering. “So torque at rpm is what’s critical.”

The lower engineers can get the rpm torque, the more low-end power the pickup has to do work, he said.

“From 1,500 to 2,800 rpm, it has a flat torque curve,” said a Cummins engineer. “It produces more torque over a broader range than competitors.”

The bottom line for the serious trucker is that there’s more torque available to launch, and to do it quickly. The 6.7-liter diesel comes only with six-speed automatic, which is designed to handle torque demands beyond the engine’s 650 lb.-ft., and helps the engine deliver improved fuel economy and performance.

The maximum 2500 and 3500 Crew Cab towing rating for the powertrain (2WD short bed with 4.10 axle ratio and single rear wheels) is 13,250 and 17,250 pounds. Payload capacity is 2,380/3,490 pounds. A 3500 dually long-bed Crew Cab pushes the trailering max to 18,050 pounds and payload capacity to 4,300 pounds.

Diesel-equipped models come with the segment’s only standard exhaust brake, which reduces brake fade, enhances brake life and boosts confidence when toting heavy loads downhill. An integrated trailer brake control is optional.

Also offered with the 2500 is a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which generates 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Redesigned for the 2009 model year, the 5.7-liter’s power is optimized with variable valve timing, increased compression ratio, active intake manifold, improved cylinder head port flow efficiency and reduced-restriction exhaust.

Partnered with a heavy-duty five-speed automatic transmission, a 2WD Crew Cab with the 4.10 axle ratio has a towing max of 11,100 pounds and a 3,040-pound towing capacity.

Along with enhanced cargo-hauling, Ram Heavy Duty pickups also tote passengers more efficiently. Dodge reports shake is reduced and ride quality is improved via finer suspension tuning and the use of new-design C-pillar hydro mounts.

Inside, the Ram features upgraded styling and materials, and two-tone upholstery. It’s offered with upscale features such as rear park assist, adjustable pedals with memory, ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, Sirius back-seat TV and 10-speaker surround-sound system.

Practicality is upped with more interior storage compartments, including a new-for-2010 optional center console with an upper bin that can accommodate a laptop computer and a lower compartment, which can hold hanging files.

The driver also is offered added convenience with larger, new-design trailer-tow mirrors, standard on 3500 models. Measuring 7-by-11 inches and fitted with larger convex glass surfaces, these mirrors flip up and out in a vertical configuration for a better view around the hefty trailer Dodge’s Heavy Duty workhorses commonly tow.

The 2010 New Crew will be available in fall 2009. Pricing has not been released.

• Tim Spell is automotive editor of the Houston Chronicle InMotion section.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide