Review: 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie

Oct. 09, 2014 By Scott Rousseau, Photos by Josh Burns
Ram’s 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 is a lot of truck for a lot of money, but if you make a living with your truck or spend a lot of time hauling heavy trailers up and down the road, its brawny Cummins turbodiesel and deluxe interior and exterior features will be more than worth its $67,875 MSRP.

If you put leather bucket seats and a full complement of creature comforts in an M1 Abrams tank and then added a custom paint job…it would still be an M1 Abrams tank.

Similarly, although the 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Edition boasts a head-spinning array of accessories that turn its durable ¾-ton platform into a veritable cowboy’s Chrysler 300C, there’s no hiding the fact that the Longhorn is still an industrial-grade heavy-duty pickup that is more than up to the rigors of extreme work use. It may not be able to drive right through a brick wall like the M1 can, but with its class-leading 17,870-pound towing capacity and 2,180-pound cargo capacity, the Longhorn would have no trouble hauling away the large quantities of rubble left behind by the tank.

The Ram’s optional wheel-to-wheel sidesteps make entering and exiting this big-boy truck much easier.

Then again, the two may have more in common than you’d think. Chrysler designed the M1 over 40 years ago, and it is still a frontline vehicle depended upon by our armed forces today. The Ram represents the fourth generation of a heavy-duty truck line that dates back to 1981 and has been an impact player in the market ever since. Even if you’re not a Mopar fan, it would be hard to argue that Ram clearly built a solid foundation when it redesigned the 2500 series in 2013, four years after Chrysler relaunched its truck division as a stand-alone brand, and it has continued to build on that foundation ever since, with changes and updates intended to put the 2500 at the top of the ¾-ton class.

Sitting in the cockpit of the Laramie Longhorn edition plants you firmly in the lap of luxury. Some may find its cattle tan interior to be a bit flashy, but they’ll probably forget all about that when they slide into the Ram’s heated/cooled premium leather seats and start to appreciate its functional interior.

The 2500’s stellar reputation has only been helped by Ram’s 25-year association with legendary diesel powertrain manufacturer Cummins, which supplies engines for about 85 percent of the Ram 2500s sold each year. Our Longhorn test unit was equipped accordingly with latest version of the Cummins 6.7-liter (408 cubic-inch) inline six-cylinder diesel instead of the standard 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) Hemi V8. While the gasoline-burning Hemi is a performance legend, the turbocharged, intercooled, direct fuel-injected, 24-valve Cummins is arguably the better option in the 2500 chassis. Rated at 370 peak horsepower, it may give up 25 horsepower to the Hemi, but it more than makes up for it with earth-rotating torque, 800 lb.-ft. at a mere 1600 rpm—barely above idle! Ram continues to make improvements to the big Cummins each year, too. For example, our test unit was equipped with the new-for-2014 Ram Active Air system, which draws cool air in from the front of the truck whenever the ECU senses extremely hot or extremely wet driving conditions. In any other condition, intake air is drawn from an inlet located in the inner fender.

The Cummins’ massive torque requires stout drivetrain components to back it up, and Ram offers diesel customers their choice of two heavy-duty units: a six-speed manual transmission (in front of which the engine must be downrated to 660 lb.-ft. of torque) or a six-speed automatic with overdrive, which feeds power to an 11.5-inch rear end. More beef can be found in the form of an industry-first five-link mounting system that locates the rear end and serves to fortify the Ram’s towing capabilities. In other words, you’re not going to jerk the rear end out from under this truck without a fight, no sir. The entire powertrain is backed by Ram’s 5-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

Our test unit’s optional 20-inch x 8.0-inch polished aluminum wheels look fantastic but wouldn’t be our first choice if we were going to spend a lot of time off-road. Even so, the LT285/60R20E Firestone Transforce AT tires offered a fair amount of grip in loose sand and slick hardpack despite their obvious street-oriented tread pattern.

Suspension performance is also a high priority for Ram, and its beefy, hydro-formed, ladder-type steel chassis rides on the aforementioned five-link mounting system out back. In a new twist, the 2500 rear end uses coil springs rather than leaf springs because Ram feels that they offer a superior ride. The coils also facilitate the use of an all-new air suspension option designed to level hefty payloads regardless of the terrain being traversed. The push-button system allows the driver to select from two smart ride height selections, Payload and Trailer, and the system will electronically adjust the rear suspension to maintain a level load. Air for the system is supplied via a frame-mounted compressor, tank and lines. Up front is a three-link coil-over suspension with a beefy sway bar. Ram engineers took care to reposition the front coil springs outward and used them to give the truck a smoother ride, especially with a heavy load trapped into its bed, which measures 8’ long in the regular cab version and 6’4” in the Crew Cab and Mega Cab versions.

The Ram 2500 boasts a spacious cabin and a lot of cargo storage. Large cargo bins are located underneath the floormats on each side of the truck as well as beneath the rear seats. 

The Ram 2500 is outwardly designed for work, but climbing into the cab of our Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 revealed a spacious cockpit that felt like a penthouse. Ram really sweated the details in the Longhorn edition, which boasts Cattle Tan-colored premium leather seats adorned in a western motif that some might find a tad garish. The Longhorn’s stitch work, wood grain dash and door trim definitely scream “Take me to the rodeo!” Even so, it’s clear that a lot of thought went into making the interior as utilitarian as the exterior. The center console is cavernous, and Ram increased the interior storage space not only by adding storage under the rear seats but also hidden compartments underneath the floor mats in the rear. You can pack a lot of gear inside the Longhorn.  

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