The redesign of the 2500 and 3500, Dodge's two heavy-duty models, comes at the right time. Since 1996, the heavy-duty pickup market has grown 34 percent, with the Rams now taking a 31 percent share of the segment, as well as a third of all Ram sales. This upward trend in heavy-duty purchases could give this DaimlerChrysler division a much-needed boost.
The big news in this new flock, however, is the return of the Chrysler Group's legendary HEMI motor. First introduced in 1953, the V-8 HEMI motor out-accelerated and out-towed the competition. In its current iteration, a 5.7-liter V-8 called the HEMI Magnum, this powerplant delivers 345 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. Like its predecessor, it also beats competitors off the line and delivers more horsepower than similar V-8 gasoline engines.
I drove a number of the new models recently at a press introduction in southern California. What was notable on first impression was the length of the lineup--there are many models to choose from-- and the big and brawny sheetmetal was eye-candy for a truck-loving automotive journalist.