The most notable change for the 2012 Ram Heavy Duty lineup is the availability of a six-speed automatic transmission for trucks equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine. What does that mean to an owner? Less gear hunting while towing heavy loads, which is always a plus. The transmission also performs automatic downshifts when decelerating. As it did last year, the Ram offers buyers a 6.7-liter turbo-diesel in-line six-cylinder engine that produces 650 lb-ft of torque with the standard six-speed manual transmission and 800 lb-ft with the optional six-speed automatic. The manual transmission has an ultra-low first-gear ratio, which makes hauling a breeze. Another benefit of diesel models is standard exhaust brake, which reduces brake fade and prolongs brake life. The Ram Heavy Duty pickup can be distinguished from its light-duty sibling by its larger grille and taller, louvered hood. The front fenders and the headlights are still shared with the 1500, as is the refined and technology-laden interior. To dampen some of the jostle that's inherent in big pickups, the HD Ram gets a pair of liquid-filled mounts between the rear of the cab and the frame. The off-road-ready Power Wagon has additional ground clearance, electric-locking front and rear differentials, electronic disconnecting sway bar, Bilstein shocks, 33-inch BFGoodrich off-road tires, underbody skid plate protection, a 4.56 axle ratio for hill climbing, and a custom-built 12,000-pound winch.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: ST, SLT, Outdoorsman, Power Wagon, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn
Body style: Pickup, 2-to-6-passenger
Engines: 5.7L V-8, 383 hp, 400 lb-ft
6.7L turbo-diesel I-6, 350 hp, 650/800 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Capacities: Towing 9200-22,750 lb; payload 1750-5280 lb
There's a new six-speed automatic transmission for 5.7-liter HD models. Electronic stability control is standard on all single-rear-wheel models, and the electronic trailer-brake controller is standard on SLT, Outdoorsman, Power Wagon, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn. All Ram HDs have a new steering wheel. The ST has a black grille and black front and rear bumpers.
Front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability control; enhanced accident response; hill-start assist; interior head-impact protection; rear park assist; power-adjustable pedals; tire-pressure monitoring; and trailer-sway control are standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Available in a myriad of configurations
- Prodigious towing capacity
You Won't Like
- Inherent on-road jostle
- Big and bulky
Heavy Duty isn't some marketing gimmick.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Silverado HD
- Ford F-series Super Duty
- GMC Sierra HD