A heavy duty truck is all about work. It does not have to be a construction site. The task could be as fun as delivering your boat to your next family weekend adventure. The 2014 Ram 2500 HD has high claims of the most powerful gasoline engine and highest payload/towing ratings in the class. Does it deliver on all the promises?
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2014 Ram 2500 HD 6.4L HEMI||$41,330||$49,755||410 / 429|
|EPA Rating MPG||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||N / A||14.8|
Ram’s 6.4L HEMI V8 is not only the largest displacement engine in the current 3/4 ton gasoline powered truck segment. It is also the highest rated at 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. It is backed up by a 6-speed automatic transmission with a column mounted shifter and has available fuel-saving Multi Displacement System (MDS). It means that the truck automatically switches into four cylinder mode under light load. Unlike the Chevy light-duty trucks, the Ram has no gauge or graphic to let you know that it’s shutting down cylinders. However, there is a slight but noticeable vibration under very light throttle application. It goes away immediately if you come off throttle or dip into it. This can be because the engine is firing on four cylinders and it’s not quiet as smooth as all eight.
There is a trend in the light duty pickup truck segment that is spreading to the heavy duties. The trend is about making the trucks ever more quiet and more civilized. The big 6.4L HEMI suffers from being hushed as perceived by the driver inside the cabin or an outside observer. The truck does not sound as beefy or as mean as it could be. Of course, a free-flowing performance exhaust system would fix this right up.
The good news is this heavy and powerful truck can actually get relatively good fuel mileage. I averaged 14.8 MPG after a week of mixed driving. Other heavy duty gassers average in the 11-12 MPG range. This big motor can actually climb into the 18 MPG range on highway stints when running empty.
The truck nails all other areas with one exception (to be discussed later). The crew cab cabin is big and comfortable. Although, make sure you order a side-step or running boards for this beast. The truck sits higher than some others in this segment, and the step will be appreciated. The six person configuration is very useful and designed well. The large center console flips up to reveal the third spot up front. There are storage trays under the middle seat and inside the console.
The rear seat bottoms flip up to reveal small cargo organizers and fold out shelfs that make for a flat loading floor. This is a little too complicated. It would be easier if the floor itself was more flat. Of course, you still get Ram’s signature in-floor storage compartments. These can hold a few soda cans or other small items. They are hard plastic liners that you can easily take out, dump, and clean.
You can order the 2500 HD with the unique Ram Box feature. These side mounted water tight compartments are very handy for hard work or fun at your next tailgate party. The Ram Box and the tailgate itself are centrally lockable via your key fob. It will keep your valuables nice and safe. It does take away some bed space, but you can still carry items that are 4’3” wide.
There is one strange thing going on with this Ram Heavy Duty. It’s employing a segment exclusive coil (or air) spring rear suspension. The test truck was equipped with coils. It’s supposed to allow for a better ride, while the three-link and track bar rear axle setup puts the power efficiently to the ground. Yes, the power is delivered well, but the empty ride comfort is not up to where you might think. This is one exception to an otherwise very good package. The truck has that bouncy ride typical of older HD pickups. The 2015 Chevy HD rides a little smoother than this. Perhaps Ram had to make the coils stiffer to allow for more payload capacity? The Ram’s specifications are best in class (see table below). I would recommend going for the air suspension to get a cushier ride (like in the Ram 3500 HD we tested earlier).
|Starting Retail Price||Payload / Towing Lbs||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2015 Chevy Silverado 2500 Crew LT 6.0L||$43,750||3,152 / 13,000||360 / 380|
|2015 Ford F-250 SuperCrew XLT 6.2L||$41,965||3,150 / 12,500||385 / 405|
|2014 Ram 2500 Crew Big Horn 6.4L||$41,330||3,170 / 15,500||410 / 429|
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2014 Ram 2500 HD CrewCab 4×4 6.4L HEMI a Buy It! This rating was a difficult decision as I nearly gave it a Lease It. The overly quiet exhaust note and the bouncy empty ride gave me pause. The ride is OK if you are using it for pure work. Load it up or hitch it up and the ride smooths out nice. An aftermarket exhaust system should wake up the big HEMI for those who crave a deep V8 rumble.
Check out this video of the 2014 Ram 2500 HD Power Wagon off-roading.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011.