Tow test: Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie 4x4 Crew-Cab video
Not quite a truck, the Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie 4x4 Crew-Cab still has amazing pulling power.
4x4 reviews and tow vehicle tests for boats are one thing, but real hard-core and genuine tow-tests are another and in fact few and far between, especially when it comes to hauling oversized and heavy trailer-boats around the country. For once we nailed it, with Dodge Ram dealers (Cricks Mount Gravatt) supplying us with one of the new Dodge Ram 2500s to tow a behemoth 4345kg Mako 284 centre console rig from the Gold Coast to Hervey Bay for a weekend comradery and fish slaying.
Dodge Ram tow vehicle
Yank big-boys toys like the Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie 4x4 Crew-Cab really appeal to me and in fact I’ve always envisaged myself being the boss of the road in one, or something similar. Well, when hen she pulled up in my driveway for the trip that was it, my morals were gone and the new affair with the 2500 was on – it’s a damn good looking truck and most certainly one that will catch the attention of everyone on the road.
Having no idea on how the Goliath-sized Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie would handle the tow, we set off in the early hours to collect the Mako 284 from the Gold Coast for yet another Hervey Bay / Fraser Island fishing adventure, and of course ideal vehicle/boat review. Knowing fair and well that as the dedicated reviewer and driver, I had the dreaded 6am Brisbane traffic to contend with as we couldn’t leave earlier due to the Mako being oversized with its 3m beam. One thing I will admit is that being responsible for around $420k worth of vehicle and boat gear on the busy roads, definitely pumped up the nerves and adrenalin before climbing behind the wheel.
Regardless, upon arriving on the Gold Coast to collect the Mako 284, it was a matter of triple checking that the signage was correct for the oversize load before going anywhere, as well as hitching up and checking everything was 100 per cent before tackling the roads and motorways.
Quite obviously before going anywhere the tow-ratings had to suit the Mako 284 which weighed in at a hefty 4345kg. The Ram 2500’s ratings are variable with a braked 3.5 tonne on a 50mm ball, 4.5 tonne on a 70mm ball, and a whopping 6989kg when using a pintle hitch system. So you are already scoring nearly double the tow-rating of a standard 4x4 vehicle in Australia.
Video: see the Mako 284 CC that we towed from the Gold Coast to Hervey Bay.
First up, reversing and hitching up was an absolute breeze as the trailer can be viewed from the tailgate camera or tray camera through the 8.4" digital vehicle information centre. Next was a matter of checking lights and setting up the electronic braking system to suit the trailer and boat weight. This is a really cool digital feature and can be done and saved to a number of different trailers.
Once hooked up and ready to go, it was a matter of catching a serious wake up as the Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 is far longer than the standard dual-cab Ute and the trailer and boat package of just under 4.5 tonne is longer and heavier than standard trailer-able boats. It definitely meant that I was going to be taking corners a whole lot wider, as well as having to make sure that I had enough clearance. I also had to consider the thousands of maniac rush hour traffic junkies on the Pacific motorway.
Traffic conditions from the Gold Coast to just past Brisbane were slow and steady and to be honest I did not even consider how the RAM was performing, it was just a matter of maintaining my position in the lanes and keeping a good distance between vehicles - and simply praying not to cause a pile up. An hour later just north of Brisbane was the first stop to check wheel-bearings, the trailer and recompose my thoughts and nerves with a triple hit of coffee.
The next part of the leg towing right through to Harvey Bay was where I realised just how good the RAM was in every conceivable area, especially when it came to its towing capabilities.
Cummins diesel power
Sporting a 6.7L, in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel Cummins motor, was my first surprise – I would have expected it to have at least a V8. This baby pumps out a generous 276kW at 2800rpm and a healthy 1084Nm of gutsy torque at 1600rpm. There’s unquestionably no issue when it comes to the low-down grunt when jamming the pedal down and getting up her up to speed with just less than 4.5 tonnes of braked-weight behind you. At idle and low revs, the Cummins purrs in the background, but put your foot down and get her up to revs where the turbo kicks in and it growls and shunts the Dodge Ram 2500 along like a real man’s truck.
With such a large load, cruise control is not an option, so be alert to your speeds as the beast is powerful enough to pull a load easily over the speed limit on the motorway. Tackling the hills, the Dodge Ram 2500 is once again an impressive haul vehicle and having 6-speed auto-transmission, speeds are easily maintained when dropping a few gears. Another highlight to towing would be the exhaust brake system - very handy when engaged and does make a massive difference to your slowing and stopping power.
Dodge Ram fuel economy
Naturally, one would expect a fairly high fuel consumption considering the vehicles size and the towing weight of the Mako. Well, no need to stress about frequenting the bowser over short distances, the Dodge Ram 2500’s economy is brilliant. Towing the Mako with a light tailwind, the Dodge Ram 2500 chewed on average between 19 and 21 litres per hundred of diesel, and on the return into a headwind of around 15 to 20 knots she chewed 23 to 24 litres per hundred – and that in my opinion is bloody good considering the weight and resistance of the boat being towed. Let’s face it, a Cruiser, Discovery or Patrol is going to chew similar amounts when towing 3 tonnes or more.
Without the tow load, the Dodge Ram 2500 is just as impressive and on the motorway at an average of 100 km/h the economy dropped down to a mere nine litres per hundred, and increased to around the 12 litres per hundred with mixed town driving included - very impressive and equally as good as your standard 4x4 vehicles.
Besides boasting really impressive and comfortable driving capabilities, the Dodge Ram 2500 is no doubt an amazing looking vehicle, it’s spacious and, as standard, has numerous accessories and features that really make it something quite special. Yes, it is a sizeable vehicle in true Yank-style and you most certainly own the road, but continuous or daily city driving would probably get the better of you as they do take up more than your average parking space.
As for internals, well the 2500 smashes its competitors, having the extra sixth seat between the driver and passenger thanks to a column-shaft gear selector at the wheel that eliminates a centred gear console. When not in use as a seat, the backrest folds forward and serve as drink and storage unit. Heated seating then takes care of the winter blues and at the wheel you have clear vision of the 7’ multi-view cluster and 8.4" touchscreen display with voice control. It definitely feels like more of a luxury SUV than a truck to drive.
Rear seating then comprises of 60/40 split folding seat and has a rear under-seat storage compartment. Again, it’s a big Ute with far more notable space than a standard dual cab 4x4.
Internally, well the convenience features are endless and a few that really appealed to me were: standard 240V inverter with Ozzy plug, 12V auxiliary power outlet, rear power sliding window, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with microphone, heated steering, power adjustable pedals and rear-view day/night mirror, to mention but a few.
Something else that's really interesting with the Australian Dodge Rams are the re-manufacturing of this vehicle, it is not a simple make-it-work-style conversion, which can look pretty substandard.
Walkinshaw Automotive Group are the dedicated company to the remanufacturing process of the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500, which starts from stripping the vehicle down completely to its chassis and rebuilding the vehicle to a full Australian standard compliant right-hand drive. Do yourself the favour and watch the video on the ramtrucks.com.au website, it’s literally a full strip down with a full rebuild to get it as close to the original as possible. It’s pretty insane what they do and how they get the vehicle to such a precision finished and engineered right-hand drive.
The Trade-a-Boat verdict
The Dodge Ram 2500 is 100% compliant in Australia and has some pretty awesome features finishes and performance figures. Anyone looking to tow some big gear in style, comfort and with ease - whether it be boats, horse floats or any other type of heavy duty trailer systems - the Dodge Ram 2500 is definitely the way forward and a force to be reckoned with on and off the road.
Dodge Ram 2500 price
Priced up at $145,000 it's by no means a cheap vehicle, but having up to 6.9 tonne towing capacity, numerous high-end features as standard, full three-year/100,000km warranty makes it realistically priced when you compare it to the F-Trucks, top of the range Cruisers, Patrols and Land / Range Rovers.
Fiat Chrysler Group U.S.A
Walkinshaw Automotive Group
Cricks Mount Gravatt
1323 Logan Road, Mt Gravatt QLD 4122
Phone (07) 3434 1500
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