The RAM 2500 is now available in Australia following the same design, homologation, and manufacture processes that the recent RAM 1500 DT underwent including 50,000 hours of pre-build development, 80,000kms of rolling road testing, 50,000km of real-world road driving, and a 20,000km full vehicle durability test, all of which result in a very capable vehicle.
Power is provided by a 6.7-litre inline six-cylinder Cummins turbo diesel engine delivering 276kW at 2,800rpm and an impressive 1,152Nm of torque at just 1,700 rpm.
These ratings at first may seem excessive but provide for a maximum braked towing capacity of up to 8.0 tonnes as well as a payload of up to 835kgs in the 1.9-metre-long ute tub.
Of course, there are several prerequisites to be able to permit that level of towed weight under various state regulations including a gooseneck hitch and air brakes on the trailer.
This latest RAM 2500 projects a more integrated appearance than its predecessor with a much larger and more aggressive front grille opening and the front bumper is cut with larger openings, providing greater airflow to the largest turbo intercooler RAM has ever adapted to its heavy-duty pick-ups.
The front air dam helps mould the aerodynamics while full LED headlights make for a distinctive front end. Inside, the new instrument panel combines a strong, structurally interlocking appearance, pushing the central controls up and toward the driver providing improved overall access to various controls.
The centre dash features a 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen with tailor-made graphics and state-of-the-art connectivity.
Personalisation is made easy with the new split screen, allowing two different applications such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and the heater and air conditioner controls, or one application, such as navigation across the entire 12-inch touchscreen.
A 360-degree surround-view camera with trailer reverse guidance provides a single display view of both sides of a trailer to assist drivers in manoeuvring towing setups.
There is also a second rear-view camera integrated in the centre high-mount stop lamp (cargo-view camera) to monitor payload in the bed and can also be used to align trailers. The dash features a 7-inch, full-colour, 3D animation-capable driver information display, with reconfigurable function that enables RAM drivers to personalise information inside the instrument cluster.
The Alpine 10-Speaker Premium Audio System, including sub-woofer, will keep passengers entertained while an active noise cancellation system and acoustic glass reduce ambient cabin sounds by nearly 10 decibels from earlier models.
The new HVAC system features 30 per cent more air flow with lower noise levels, including larger front defroster vents for better performance. In-duct electric heating elements help speed cabin warm-up on cold days. The Cummins engine has undergone a number of upgrades including the cylinder block being cast from compacted graphite iron, and a new cast-iron cylinder head with revised exhaust valves, springs, and rocker arms.
Matched to the engine’s power is a significantly upgraded version of the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission and a BorgWarner electronic ‘shift on the fly’ transfer case, giving 2WD, 2WD High, Neutral and 4WD Low.
New front and rear axles have been engineered to improve durability, handle the payloads and towing capabilities, minimise noise, and take advantage of opportunities to optimise weight. Underpinning the RAM 2500 is a new steel frame with six separate cross members plus fully boxed rear rails for optimal strength and mass efficiency.
The use of lightweight materials in the frame, powertrain and the aluminium bonnet has reduced overall weight by up to 64kgs compared with the previous model.
The rear-axle structural cross member has provisions for gooseneck hitches and has been upgraded for 2021 to accommodate the increased towing capacity.
The fuel tank has a capacity of 117 litres. The RAM 2500 has Frequency Response Damping (FRD) shock absorbers for all four 18 -inch polished alloy wheels which assist in providing a smooth ride regardless of the weight of any load.
The valves of FRD shocks automatically adjust for the type of vertical wheel input, allowing the 2500 to have passenger car-like suspension for handling, and a supple suspension for rough terrain.
Progressive springs and upgraded bushings have been integrated into the suspension system, including a five-link coil suspension at the rear which delivers better load-carrying characteristics and improved articulation over obstacles when compared to a conventional leaf-spring system.
The upgraded braking system features changes to the callipers, booster and master cylinder which, combined with a larger-ratio pedal swing, provide a more confident and powerful braking performance with little effort from the driver to enable shorter stopping distances.
The RAM 2500’s multiple safety and security systems include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Trailer Sway Control, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path, and Trailer Detection.
The new RAM 2500 has a 3 year/100,000km warranty including roadside assistance and will be joined in Australia in the coming months by the next generation RAM 3500.