If you need 1,000 ft.-lb. of torque at your disposal, your options are pretty limited. Actually, you don’t have options. You have to get the Ram 3500 with the 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel.
Other heavy-duty pickups have broken the 900 lb.-ft. barrier, but only Ram can claim its torque ratings include four numbers. But exactly 1,000? That’s pretty on the nose. So, either Ram engineers squeezed out every last bit of torque to get to quadruple figures, or the marketing team decided to just round up — 998 is close enough, you know.
Either way, it is an eye-opening figure that bears others; the 3500’s max towing capability of 35,100 pounds to go along with a 7,680-pound payload capacity.
Another significant number is the amount of Rams purchased in 2019, which surpassed Chevy sales for the first time. From behind the wheel of the Ram, you can begin to see why.
Heavy duty trucks often suffer from poor ride quality. After all, a suspension must be rigid to accommodate towing tons of weight. While passengers will not mistake the Ram for a Rolls Royce, the 3500’s ride is relaxed compared to its competition with Frequency Response Damping and the optional rear air suspension.
The Ram’s steering feel, brake feel and the responsiveness of its engine is impressive for a heavy-duty truck. Those characteristics gives the 3500 the feel of a much smaller, half-ton pickup from behind the wheel. Well, at least in feel. Make no mistake, the dually is one big boy, and the 360-degree camera is a must (there is also a camera which can display the bed to monitor payload or to be used to align gooseneck trailers).
Another strong selling point for the Ram is its opulent interior in the top, Limited trim.
While you can still get hand-crank windows in Tradesman trim, the Limited excels with quality materials and features that rival luxury cars.
As standard, Limited models offer wireless charging, 8-way adjustable, heated and cooling front seats, heated second row seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, dual zone climate control and an 8.4-inch infotainment screen.
Add the optional Limited Level 1 Equipment Group ($2,995) and the stereo is updated to a 17-speaker Harman Kardon system and the infotainment screen swells to a massive 12 inches. The package also includes adaptive cruise control with stop function, full-speed forward collision warning and the must-have (at least for inept dually drivers like me) surround view camera.
The Ram’s interior is mostly filled with high-caliber materials that are pleasing to the touch. There are some cheaper plastics, but they are mostly kept on the lower side of the dash. The grey wood trim fits the cabin well, but it also feels faux and I found its use on the top of the steering wheel to be somewhat slippery, and therefore, annoying.
Passengers certainly have room to stretch in the crew cab model I tested, making the even bigger Mega Cab seem like a heavy-duty limo.
There is also enough storage space in the cabin to allow a hoarder to appear to be a minimalist. The center console can be configured in a number of ways to hold everything from loose papers to a 12-pack. All doors have loads of cubby space, and there is also a convenient stowaway on the passenger side of the dash.
Despite its superior interior, no one is shelling out for a 3500 just to haul groceries, and the Ram delivers as a worker’s tool.
There are other engine options for 2500/3500 models — the standard 6.4-liter V8 or the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel with standard output — but if you need to move mountains, and you want to say you have 1,000 torques at your disposal, you need the high output, 6.7-liter turbo diesel ($11,795).
Unsurprising given its torque figure, the Cummins power plant has serious grunt and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The optional Max Tow Package gives the Ram a 4.10 axle ration, 5th wheel/gooseneck towing prep package and a 5th wheel hitch from Mopar. The grouping also includes the air suspension which comes with three operation modes.
In normal/payload mode, the suspension increases air pressure until the Ram reaches a normal ride height, while trailer mode can lower the suspension by 1-inch to level the truck and trailer. As its name suggests, bed lowering mode lowers the suspension for hooking up to a trailer, and users can then raise the Ram for easier coupling. The Ram also comes with trailer reverse guidance system.
The 3500 is not subject to fuel economy testing, but the Ram’s readout said I averaged 15 mpg during my week of mostly city driving, which seemed accurate.
Now, I do not have the time, nor print space, to outline how you can build or spec a 3500. That is because there is a staggering 28 options when you consider four trims, three cabin sizes, two- or four-wheel drive and short or long wheelbases.
That said, prices start just under $35,000 and swell up to $67,000.
My 4x4 crew cab tester in Limited trim comes with a starting price of $65,500, with the optional high-output diesel, maximum tow package, sunroof, deployable bed step and other options raising the cost to just over $88,000.
If you need 1,000 torques, the Ram 3500 with the high-output turbo diesel may be your only choice, but along with it you get a capable work truck that has a more agreeable ride quality than its competitors, and dishing out funds for higher trims nets you a lux interior and plenty of tech.