The 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie Crew Cab is a case study in first impressions. There's wow, as in this is one monster truck for the road. The 4x4 is a brute with a stump-pulling 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel, and our tester had more features than an optioned-out minivan. And there's ouch, as in it broke down, stranding Lyra on I-4.
Appearance: Everything about this truck says heavy duty. It's towering, sitting on 35-inch-tall knobby tires. Our tester had the top-level Laramie trim package topped off with Mopar Group chrome and interior accessories. It's an impressive package, dominated by the Ram's chrome, quad grille, front bumper and two-tone exterior. We both liked the Deep Water Pearl Coat paint. Our tester also came with blue suede seats, chrome mirrors and running boards, and a custom tonneau cover.
Performance: The Cummins Turbo Diesel is relatively quiet and delivers power when needed. Passing? No problem. The pickup is substantial, with low-end torque of 650 pound-feet at 1,500 rpm. Net result: It's perfect for hauling and towing. Lyra pulled the race trailer for her son's quarter-midget cars and it was as if it wasn't there. Our tester had a Class IV receiver hitch and was capable of handling a load of up to 9,600 pounds. There is a tow/haul mode for better fuel mileage, plus an electric brake setting. There is a shift-on-the-fly transfer case for the four-wheel drive. The fuel tank is huge — 34 gallons. Lyra drove from Tampa to New Smyrna Beach and back without a fill-up (or she would have, if the truck's fuel pump hadn't failed).
Interior: It's loaded, including a rear entertainment center that might be a little difficult for kids to operate. The black leather seats with blue insets were really sharp. One nit: The door-lock button on the armrest is easy to push when climbing out. Best have your keys, otherwise you might lock yourself out. The park assist and camera made it easy for Lyra to hook up the trailer. We both liked that the truck had lots of hidden storage: under the front bench seat and in the floor in the second-row heated seats. The mirrors tilt down when backing up, which is annoying when you're backing up with a trailer.
Bad news: The truck died on I-4 at 2:30 a.m. in Lakeland when Lyra and her family were driving home after a race. Lyra got to test the Chrysler roadside assistance. She got through easily, but the person on the phone got some location information wrong. A tow truck showed up almost three hours later, which took the disabled Ram to the nearest dealership. When we got the truck back a week later, we found out the horn didn't work.
Our 3 favorites
Mopar bling: These accessories really give the truck a custom look.
Rugged: I like the front end of Ram trucks, which resemble an 18-wheeler.
Interior: The sporty seats would be at home in a Challenger.
Step it up: The retractable step in the back made it easy to access the truck bed.
Power: This truck was made for towing with 650 pound-feet of torque, and towing mode.
Pedal adjusters: Even short folks like me can reach.
The bottom line: The 2500 is definitely "Ram Tough" in both appearance and performance. The question we were left to ask: Is it also reliable?