2020 Ram 2500

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
August 31, 2019

Buying tip

If you tow a lot of weight frequently, the Ram Heavy Duty’s adjustable rear air suspension is worth a look.

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty reset the bar for HD pickup trucks with plenty of power, capability, and luxury.

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty are more luxurious, bigger, and more capable than ever, setting a new bar for the HD pickup truck class. The family of trucks gets an overall rating of 6.5 out of 10 for its combination of massive capacities, premium features, and serene comfort, even though safety and fuel economy aren’t measured in any official way. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Available in six trims, three body styles, two chassis configurations, single or dual rear axles, two bed lengths, three engines, and two drivetrains, there may be a Ram Heavy Duty for all buyers, ranging from durably trimmed work trucks to luxuriously equipped barges.

For 2020, the Ram HD gains a Night Edition that includes blacked-out styling elements such as 20-inch wheels. Active lane control is now available on all trim levels as well as blind-spot monitors, and a new tire pressure monitoring system for trailers is included. There are also two new paint colors, and a 50-gallon fuel tank is now standard on crew-cab models with the longer 8-foot bed.

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Echoing the smaller Ram 1500, the Heavy Duty dons a 39-inch-wide grille that is massive any way you look at it. Base Tradesman models make heavy use of plastic and steel, while top-grade Limited trucks get a heavy chrome treatment. The overall look is less overwhelming than in years past but is impossible to miss on the road.

Thankfully, the interior is borrowed right from the 1500, making it instantly our favorite of the bunch. Fine materials like semi-aniline leather, real wood, and metal trim are available, as is an impressive 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Utilizing a Hemi V-8 as standard, the Ram HD is plenty powerful with 410 horsepower and a smooth 8-speed transmission. For those looking for more torque, a pair of Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 engines are available, one with 850 pound-feet of torque and another with a massive 1,000 lb-ft. That’s right, one thousand.

No safety or fuel economy data is available as the federal government doesn’t consider heavy-duty pickups to be in the same bracket as cars and light-duty trucks. If you’re considering the Ram HD, take a minute to step back and ponder the myriad of trims and options. You may find the 1500’s nearly 13,000-pound maximum towing capacity to be more than enough.

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2020 Ram 2500

Styling

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty blend muscle and class.

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty smooths out its big rig looks with better results than the smaller 1500. It’s the right balance of muscular and sophisticated in the right trim. We give it 6 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Nearly every trim level of the Ram Heavy Duty looks like a completely different truck, from the plastic-and-steel-trimmed Tradesman to the chrome-heavy Limited model. The venerable Power Wagon takes styling cues from the less capable Rebel 1500, with its big plastic grille, body cladding, and two-tone paint jobs.

Inside, the big Ram HD is nearly indistinguishable from the smaller 1500, and that’s a great thing. This is hands-down our favorite truck interior, and features some expensive-looking trim at the top of the range, including semi-aniline leather and real wood and metal accents. There are plenty of buttons and knobs for various functions despite which touchscreen you choose, but technophiles will want the massive 12.0-inch screen that works with gloves on.

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2020 Ram 2500

Performance

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty are all about power, from the 1,000 lb-ft diesel engine to the Power Wagon trail basher.

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 HD is in a new torque stratosphere, even for heavy duty pickups. We give it 7 out of 10 for its off-road beast of a Power Wagon and 1,000 pound-foot diesel engine. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

As standard, the Ram HD gets a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Cylinder deactivation allows this big powerplant to shut down four cylinders under light loads to save fuel. Rear-wheel drive is standard, four-wheel drive is optional, and all gas Ram HDs come with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.

Buyers have the option of choosing two different Cummins 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-6 engines, the less powerful of which makes 370 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque. That’s some serious grunt, but an upgraded engine pushes those numbers to 400 hp and a full 1,000 lb-ft. Both diesels use 6-speed automatic transmissions, the more powerful engine getting a beefier gearbox.

Gas or diesel, the Ram HD is plenty capable of handling heavy loads, but the truck’s 35,100-pound maximum tow rating applies only to the high-output engine and a specific cab, bed, and drivetrain setup. That’s enough weight to require a commercial driver’s license, mind you.

Coil springs are standard on the 2500 at all four corners, while leaf springs are included in the rear on the 3500 for more towing capacity. Ride quality is better than average, and an optional rear air suspension helps fitting trailers easier. Handling is, of course, nothing remotely like a passenger car, so don’t trade that Camry until you’ve spent some time re-learning how to drive.

The off-road-oriented Power Wagon is the real deal, using 33-inch tires, raised off-road suspension, and other trail-bashing goodies to yield go-anywhere capability. It looks awesome, too.

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2020 Ram 2500

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty are plenty spacious, comfortable, and filled with storage options inside and out.

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty is quiet, refined, and massive. What more do you want from a pickup in terms of comfort? We give it 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Ram HD lineup comes in three cab configurations and with two bed lengths. Regular cab models include an 8-foot bed, four-door crew-cab models can be had with either that bed or a shorter 6-foot-4-inch bed, and the massive “Mega Cab” with a bigger back seat comes only with the shorter bed.

Passenger space is cavernous, especially in enormous Mega Cab form, but even the crew-cab model offers plenty of rear seat room. Strangely, the adjustable steering wheel does not telescope, but optional power-adjustable pedals are a welcome addition.

In the cabin, active noise cancellation and sound deadening materials make for a quieter atmosphere, even at full acceleration and with a big trailer out back. Even in base Tradesman form, the Ram impresses in terms of fit and finish, and top-tier Laramie Longhorn and Limited models feature fine materials like semi-aniline leather, real wood, and genuine metal accents that wouldn’t look out of place on a luxury car.

In terms of bed access, Ram provides a deployable step mounted under the truck’s rear that swings out, but it isn’t nearly as useful or innovative as solutions offered on rival models. LED lighting, a spray-in liner, and the trademark Rambox fender storage system do make the bed more useful, if you can access it at least.

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2020 Ram 2500

Safety

The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty lineup isn’t rated for crashworthiness but does offer optional active safety tech.

The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty lineup is not rated for crash tests but does offer some active safety features as options. As such, we can’t assign it a score here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With six airbags, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and a rearview camera as standard, the Ram HD lineup doesn’t push the envelope in terms of included safety tech. However, desirable passive and active safety features such as a cargo and a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitors, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, and active lane control are all available across the range or on upper trims exclusively.

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2020 Ram 2500

Features

The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty Lineup ranges from rugged work trucks to those ready for a night at the Opry.

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty offer too many options to count in a variety of trims and configurations. However, things get expensive quickly, especially for the options you really want. That warrants 6 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Available in six trims – Tradesman, Big Horn (Lone Star in Texas), Power Wagon, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited – the Ram Heavy Duty lineup ranges from hose-down work truck to luxury barge and everything in between.

Tradesman models feature a vinyl floor, manual windows and locks, cloth upholstery, keyless ignition, air conditioning, steel wheels, a trailer hitch, and a 5.0-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth, and that’s about it.

The Big Horn model (dubbed Lone Star in Texas only, don’t ask us why) adds power towing mirrors, a towing brake controller, 18-inch chrome wheels, chrome bumpers and door handles. An 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available, and it’s the one we’d have. Many packages are available, including a new Night Edition trim that blacks out nearly everything on the truck that was originally chrome.

Power Wagon models are for serious off-roaders only, and feature 17-inch aluminum wheels with 33-inch tires, LED lights, a Warn winch built into the bumper, electronic locking front and rear differentials, Bilstein shocks, flashy graphics, and powder-coated metal bumpers.

Laramie models offer luxury looks and features at the middle of the range, with 18-inch wheels, leather, and the bigger infotainment screen as standard. Laramie Longhorn models add softer leather with steer-branded hides and real wood trim, while the Limited trim adds nearly every option in the book, including an impressive 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that controls nearly everything on the truck and can be operated with work gloves.

Up to five USB ports are available inside, as well as household-style 115-volt outlets and cellular-based wi-fi for a mobile office if needed.

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2020 Ram 2500

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty lineup is not rated for fuel economy.

Like all heavy-duty trucks, the 2020 Ram Heavy Duty lineup is not rated for fuel economy. We can’t give it a rating here but gently suggest if you don’t regularly push this truck to its limits, perhaps you’re better off with a more efficient Ram 1500. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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6.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 6
Fuel Economy N/A
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