A monster 6.4-liter V-8 joins the Ram Heavy Duty ranks for 2014 along with two new air suspension designs for the rear ends of the 2500HD and 3500HD. Big motors and soft rides make sense at some of these hefty entry prices.
In bottom Tradesman trim, the 2500HD is a capable hauler with new fifth-wheel towing abilities but a stripped interior. In top trims, the Ram 3500HD Cummins diesel can do all the dirty work and heavy lifting. The goal of the both 2014 Ram HD series models is to do all this with new levels of cabin tech, quietness and ride comfort.
There are typically big trade-offs when moving from the half-ton class upwards. The new Ram HD line aims to literally smooth some of the edges from one of its most distinctive vehicles and make it an easy – but pricey – transition to a real work truck.
Paired with the big purchase price comes some of the most capable and sophisticated technology ever to grace one of these full-size middleweights.
Where Ram Trucks loses points for the generic Ram HD name, it regains face with 2014’s new intake design called… Ram Active Air – or just Ram Air for short.
How do the Ram HD trucks carve out appeal beyond bragging rights for best-in-class towing and cargo loads? Is the evolutionary look too cautious in the face of the Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 and the Ford F-250 SuperDuty ?
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ram 2500HD and 3500 HD pick-up trucks with details on all the latest changes and updates.
Updated 10/23/2013: This article has been updated with the latest specs, photos and even full 2500HC and 3500HD Tow Charts, in downloadable PDF form from Ram Trucks.
New-for-2014 Laramie Limited and Outdoorsman trims also join the Ram Heavy Duty line, with high-res images of both new trucks after the jump.
The exterior of the Ram HD models now falls in line with the recently-refreshed Ram 1500. This means largely carryover looks aside from new projector-beam headlights with LED indicators on some higher-priced models.
The other changes are mainly trim and color refinements across the numerous different trim levels.
Design-wise, the Ram HD is still very imposing on the road with a very tall ride height and imposing wheel wells. The latest refresh slimmed the headlights slightly versus the wide-eyed appearance of the 2003 facelift.
The Ram HD also includes LED taillights for the first time and a variety of available exterior mirrors that include blinker repeaters and puddle lights for the first time.
The other major change for the style of the Ram HD is a new 3500 option that includes fold-down sides of the pick-up bed for a flat and configurable load surface.
2014 Ram HD Cargo Dimensions:
|Ram HD - Cargo Bed Sizes||6 ft. 4 in (Crew or Mega)||8 ft. (Regular or Crew)|
|SAE Volume (cubic-feet)||57.5||74.7|
|Length At Floor, Tailgate Closed (in.)||76.3||98.3|
|Cargo Width (in.)||66.4||66.4|
|Width Between Wheelhouses (in.)||51||51|
|Tailgate Opening Width (in.)||60.4||60.4|
2014 Ram 2500HD Exterior Dimensions:
|Ram 2500HD 4x2 Models||REGULAR CAB 140.5"WB 8’ 0" BOX SRW||CREW CAB 149.5"WB 6’ 4" BOX SRW||CREW CAB 169.5"WB 8’ 0" BOX SRW||MEGA CAB 160.5"WB 6’ 4" BOX SRW|
|Height (in.)||73.3 (4x4: 75.7)||73.7 (4x4: 77.7)||73.5 (4x4: 77.6)||73.3 (4x4: 75.7)|
|Track - Front (in.)||68.6||68.6||68.6||68.6|
|Track - Rear (in.)||68.2||68.2||68.2||68.2|
|Weight (Pounds)||6,343 (Gas) / 7,442 (Diesel), Est||6,389 (Gas) / 7,488 (Diesel), Est||6,389 (Gas) / 7,488 (Diesel), Est||6,389 (Gas) / 7,488 (Diesel), Est|
2014 Ram 3500HD Exterior Dimensions:
|Ram 3500HD 4x2 Models||REGULAR CAB 140.5"WB 8’ 0" BOX SRW||CREW CAB 149.5"WB 6’ 4" BOX SRW||CREW CAB 169.5"WB 8’ 0" BOX SRW||CREW CAB 169.5"WB 8’ 0" BOX DRW||MEGA CAB 160.5"WB 6’ 4" BOX SRW|
|Height (in.)||76.9 (4x4: 78.5)||78.4 (4x4: 79.8)||78.2 (4x4: 79.6)||77.4 (4x4: 78.9)||78.3 (4x4: 79.7)|
|Track - Front (in.)||68.6||67.7||67.7||68.6||67.7|
|Track - Rear (in.)||75.8||67.1||67.1||75.8||67.1|
|Weight (Pounds)||6,743 (Gas) / 7,942 (Diesel), Est||6,799 (Gas) / 7,999 (Diesel), Est||6,799 (Gas) / 7,999 (Diesel), Est||6,799 (Gas) / 7,999 (Diesel), Est||6,799 (Gas) / 7,999 (Diesel), Est|
The interior of the HD is a similar story and includes the serious design and refinement updates from the 2013 1500 models. This basically brings to the HD models above even loaded 1500 editions with redesigned seats and a class-leading infotainment solutions available.
These seats are much-improved, high-back buckets that buyers can opt to include:
- Power-operated 10-way adjustments for driver’s seat
- Power-operated 6-way adjustment for the passenger seat
- Ventilated and heated seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Adjustable-height seatbelt anchors
As before, all models can be equipped with a sculpted bench seat with center flip-down console or pure buckets. In all but the standard cab, the bucket seats option is far more comfortable and includes a great big center console and large storage areas within the armrest box.
Some new options include a high-mounted backup camera that simplifies trailer hitch procedures dramatically. The camera is mounted in the top brake light for the best possible view of the total surroundings.
This is paired with the optional rearview mirrors that include a microphone to better hear those around you when reversing or attaching a trailer. This beats yelling over the Cummins turbo diesel’s clatter with the windows open.
The Ram HD is one of the last Chrysler models to benefit from the firm’s new focus on refinement and noise/vibration/harshness ratings. Quelling the big engines in here needs a full firewall and center tunnel that is rubber-insulated, a noise-absorbing blanket under the dash, and much thicker insulation and door seals all around.
Other comfort enhancements get top billing and leverage Ram’s experience with full-size truck air suspensions from the rear design of the 1500 model. The 2500HD and 3500HD are now slightly more comfortable in the cabin via two new rear air suspension designs, which we’ll elaborate on more later.
Towing Tech Features
These are still not comfortable or nimble vehicles, particularly the 4x4 models. Another consideration when selecting a specific Ram HD configuration is a huge range of turning radii. Some models get close to a 42-foot turning circle while others are in the mid 50-foot range.
The well-liked Chrysler UConnect 8.4 is now available in the Ram HD models as an option. It packs a huge new touchscreen that is easy to use and includes updated graphics for the navigation and other functions. The system also offers available subscription-based 3G connectivity that can turn the truck into a work-zone wifi hotspot.
The only interior dimension change between the Crew Car and the Mega Cab is an increase in rear legroom by just 3 inches.
2014 Ram HD - Interior Dimensions:
|2014 Ram HD||Regular Cab||Crew Cab||Mega Cab|
|Front Seating Capacity||2, 3 With Bench||2, 3 With Bench||2, 3 With Bench|
|Rear Seating Capacity||NA||3||3|
|Headroom - Front (in.)||39.9||41||41|
|Headroom - Rear (in.)||NA||39.9||40.3|
|Legroom - Front (in.)||41||41||41|
|Legroom - Rear (in.)||NA||40.3||43.3|
|Shoulder Room - Front (in.)||66||66||66|
|Shoulder Room - Rear (in.)||NA||65.7||65.7|
|Hip Room - Front (in.)||62.9||63.2||63.2|
|Hip Room - Rear (in.)||NA||63.2||63.2|
These are the big mechanical changes for 2014. A new 6.4-liter HEMI gasoline V-8 joins the options list and is a modest $1,500 upgrade over the standard 5.7-liter V-8 model.
Both gasoline V-8s run though a standard six-speed automatic for projected 9.5 and 9.1 second 0-to-60 mph times for the 5.7 and 6.4, respectively. The upgraded engine adds 27 extra horsepower and 29 pound-feet more torque for totals of 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque.
The 6.4 is mainly available as a middle ground before the very power but very expensive diesel engine options that can add $10,000 to the price and 1,000 pounds to the curb weight.
The Cummins 6.7-liter in-line-six is a turbo diesel with particulate filters and common-rail injection. The setup is extremely unrefined but makes astounding torque right above idle. The larger engines also barely dent estimated fuel consumption.
The diesel comes in three states of tune with three unique transmissions. The base 2500HD diesel puts 350 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque through the heavy-duty six-speed manual box. This is slower than the upgraded 370-horsepower version that packs 800 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic.
The King Kong of the group is the 3500HD with the diesel power pack and a unique six-speed automatic with extreme levels of towing performance. This is the set-up that achieves the best-in-class 30,000-pound tow rating.
Changing the automatic was required because some automatic transmissions have a hard time up-shifting under heavy loads. The engine computer says up-shift, but on hills there can be too much load for the weaker automatics to deliver a gear-change without stalling the engine.
Various fuel management systems aim to lessen consumption. Ram does not publish fuel economy stats for its large vehicles, making direct comparisons difficult. They all get terrible real-world fuel economy, however.
Ram Active Air is a new feature for 2014 that is basically an adaptive intake with three settings to maximize power even when running in extreme heat, cold, altitude or weather. A variable vane can close or open based on ambient conditions and can even direct the engine to breathe from dry, shielded areas in extreme rain or snow.
This Ram Air system is pretty cool and distinct from the optional grille shutters on 1500 models. It would be even better with a remote-operated exhaust on the Power Wagon, such as the ones Hennessey uses on the VelociRaptor .
Another important update versus the previous Ram HD is the towing package. The 2500HD can now tow gooseneck fifth-wheel trailers. Previously, the 3500HD was the main model for fifth-wheel towing needs.
2014 Ram HD – Mechanical Details:
|Trim Level||5.7L Gasoline||6.4L Gasoline||6.7-liter Diesel||6.7-liter Diesel||6.7-liter Diesel|
|Availability||2500 and 3500||2500 and 3500||2500 and 3500||2500 and 3500||3500|
|Engine Size and Type||5.7-liter 16-valve V-8 With VVT||6.4-liter 16-valve V-8 With VVT||6.7-liter Turbocharged 24-valve I-6||6.7-liter Turbocharged 24-valve I-6||6.7-liter Turbocharged 24-valve I-6|
|Peak power||383 horsepower||410 horsepower, est||350 horsepower||370 horsepower||385 horsepower|
|Peak torque||400 pound-feet||429 pound-feet||660 pound-feet||800 pound-feet||850 pound-feet|
|Transmission||6-Speed Automatic||6-Speed Automatic||6-Speed Manual||6-Speed Automatic (68RFE)||6-Speed Automatic (AS69RC)|
|0-to-60 mph||9.5 seconds, est||9.1 seconds, est||9.7 seconds, est||8.6 seconds, est||8.5 seconds, est|
|Top Speed||99-mph, est||99-mph, est||99-mph, est||99-mph, est||99-mph, est|
Suspension and Brakes
The Ram 1500 has taken real steps recently to increase comfort via new suspension designs front and back. The 2500HD builds on the new coil-spring rear suspension design with optional air-ride springs. These have needed serious up-fitting to accommodate the increased payloads and fifth-wheel trailer use. The new design offers increased payloads, load-leveling and of course, dramatically improved comfort with an empty pickup bed.
The 3500HD uses an even tougher configuration but maintains the load-leveling and some comfort benefits. The 3500HD’s optional rear air suspension pairs typical leaf suspension with air-pressurized bump stops. This allows the 3500HD model to run softer-than-normal suspension settings out back. The Ram HD can easily firm things up for maximum control when hauling or towing.
There are big differences in the designs of the whole suspension package in 2WD versus 4WD models so drive both before deciding. And think hard about your 4WD needs as it also jacks up the ride and sinks highway mileage dramatically.
The Ram 2500 Power Wagon gets a special front and rear suspension for 2014 to increased off-road performance.
Ram Tow Charts 2500
Ram Tow Charts 3500
Note: The full tow charts PDF are available to the right of this article, or in the photo gallery below.
These big trucks are exempt from crash testing standards as well as the requirement for ABS, EBD and ESC stability control that applies to all cars and lighter trucks.
Thankfully, Ram includes stability control and ABS as standard. These work with the also-standard trailer brake control and towing modes within the transmission to ensure safe braking and cornering even with heavy trailers out back.
As with the Chevrolet and the Ford , these trucks are a mixed bag when it comes to overall safety. They do well in crashes versus other cars or trucks. They do extremely poorly when crashed into a wall (like a normal NHTSA crash test).
Full-size pick-up trucks are also unsafe for most young children due to limited child-seat compatibility and chronic problems with single-vehicle rollovers. These devastating accidents are often from over-corrections on the highway and can occur rapidly with few possible survivors. Highway braking lengths and stability are also dismal.
2014 Ram HD – Safety Features:
- Security Alarm
- Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System
- ABS, ESC, Trailer Brake Control
- Advanced Multistage Front Air Bags
- Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
- Supplemental Side-Curtain Airbags
- Supplemental Side-Curtain Front and Rear Airbags
The Ram HD line starts just below $30,000 and extends into the mid-$50,000 range for heavily equipped models.
Cruise over to the Ram Trucks configurator to get the latest pricing info.
These trucks are a festival of stats best compared via mechanical tables, such as the one seen above from Ram’s Competitive Compare web site feature.
The Super Duty leads this segment with a wide variety of configurations and nearly equal towing stats when comparing like models. The Ford is also very expensive and can be loaded up with a huge diesel engine as well. The Ford stands out quite a bit versus the F-150 models via major styling differences like that complex chrome grille.
Ford trucks took a big step forward with the introduction of the Coyote 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 option. This engine is much more powerful and has more torque than the weak Triton modular engine series that came in 4.6 and 5.4-liter sizes.
The new Silverado HD is undergoing final testing ahead of a projected launch in spring 2014. The current model lags well behind the group in terms of interior accommodation and available luxury packages.
The next Chevrolet Silverado HD is expected to include a deeper styling upgrade versus half-ton models than previous generations. Note, these images are the new 2014 Silverado 1500.
Gallery Chevrolet Silverado
These trucks are extremely capable and offer a real step up in towing, hauling and machismo versus the lesser half-ton variants. They also offer a real step down in comfort, performance, style, price and efficiency.
The 2014 Ram HD series tries to lessen some of these trade-offs and get more buyers to jump up a size and price class. The goal is to replicate the everyday driveability of the 1500 models.
This might make sense for die-hard truck guys, particularly among owners who have suffered the bucking ride and single-digit economy of the previous 2500 and 3500 Ram HD models. The new models do innovate via that air suspension and will be smoother and much quieter than previous editions.
The modifications from Ram for the HD series are a step in the right direction to increase sales of lucrative upgrades, like the big Cummins turbo diesel. They do make sense in large open spaces like Texas and can serve as a person’s only vehicle in those rural areas. This makes them affordable via business accounting and or tax write-offs.
Overall, these behemoths are hopeless in terms of driver satisfaction, passenger comfort and all measures of performance versus 1500 models, but they are worthwhile for the most difficult of jobs.
|Driving||B-||Rear Air Suspensions Help Unladen Ride Quality But 4x4’s Still Very Harsh|
|Performance||B||Pretty Slow Versus 1500 Models|
|Look||B-||Looking Very Old Versus Ford Super Duty|
|Value||B||Good economy in diesel upgrade|
|Overall||C+||Still a big HD Price Upgrade / Comfort Downgrade|
- Can make sense among rural owners with regular hauling and towing needs
- New interior features like NVH blankets help lessen cabin noise
- Power Wagon looks awesome and gets 6.4-liter as standard
- Looks too similar to previous generations as well as to 1500 models
- Impressive capabilities mostly just bragging rights on paper
- Confusing trim packs and configurations mean it can be tough to find the one you want on the lot
Gallery Ram Heavy Duty
2014 Ram Heavy Duty — The King of Capability Offers Exclusive Air Suspension and an All-new Best-in-class V-8 Engine
- 2014 Ram Heavy Duty retains the highest level of capability with best-in-class towing, best-in-class payload and best-in-class Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
- Largest displacement V-8 in the segment, all-new 6.4-liter HEMI® delivers best-in-class power
- 2014 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty starts at $29,600, plus $1,095 destination; 6.4-liter HEMI option priced $1,495 greater than similarly equipped 5.7-liter HEMI-powered Ram
- New engine offering opens the door to additional customers who are looking for a large gasoline powertrain at a great value
- Two gas-powered options, plus manual and automatic transmission-equipped diesel powertrains offer customers a wide range of choices to meet their needs
- Available 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 delivers best-in-class 410 horsepower (306 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 429 lb.-ft. of torque (582 N•m) at 4,000 rpm, and features VVT with Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation
- Standard 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 delivers 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, and features variable-valve timing for greater efficiency and performance
- Available 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel produces 385 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and best-in-class 850 lb.-ft. of torque
- Ram engineering continues to lead Heavy Duty segment innovation with Ram 2500 link coil rear suspension to deliver best-in-class ride
- Exclusive factory rear air suspension for Ram 2500 and exclusive factory supplemental air suspension system for Ram 3500
- New gooseneck/fifth wheel capability for Ram 2500
- Ram PowerWagon increases capability with all-new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine and new suspension
- New best-in-class dual alternator systems up to 440 amps
- New 18- and 20-inch wheel packages
- Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles – and best-in-class 15,000-mile oil change interval on the Cummins diesel engine
- Towing – Up to 30,000 pounds with Ram 3500
- Towing – Up to 17,940 pounds with Ram 2500
- Payload – Up to 7,320 pounds with Ram 3500
- Power – 850 lb.-ft. of torque with 6.7-liter Cummins
- Power – 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque with all-new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8
- Capacity – Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 37,600 pounds with Ram 3500