New Heavy-Duty Dodge Rams

When a truck dealer offers you a test drive, you're smart to take him up on it, even if it's just for a short spin around the neighborhood. But when you get an opportunity to really wring out that all-new pickup under a variety of test-track and off-road conditions, you should jump at the chance.

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That's what we did when Dodge Trucks invited Tools of the Trade out to its Chelsea Proving Grounds near Ypsilanti, Mich., in October to evaluate its new-to-market 2010 Heavy-Duty Ram pickups. The relaunch of the 2500 and 3500 Series HDs follows last year's top-to-bottom overhaul of the Ram 1500 pickups, a stunning makeover that has earned praise throughout the automotive industry.

The new HD Rams are powered by a buyer's choice of 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gas-fueled or 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engines. A first-ever HD Crew Cab is also available for 2010, which matches up with industry research that shows crew cabs now making up 50 percent of the overall pickup market.

Behind the grille, the Ram HDs sport awesome towing and hauling attributes. Among them are fully integrated brake controls that provide critical real-time information on a dashboard display screen and a factory-installed exhaust brake – just like those available on big highway trucks – to help slow the vehicle engine, save brake wear, and improve heavy-load handling and safety. At the Proving Grounds, we were able to evaluate these features first-hand by hauling test loads up to 17,000 pounds on a variety of road surfaces, grades, and straightaways. We came away impressed.

For more information on the new Ram HDs – and on the return of Dodge's iconic Power Wagon – see the Truck Report in this issue.