Competes agasint FX4 and Z71 packages

The pickup market is arguably the most competitive auto segment in the U.S., but even then, there’s a clear hierarchy among the top three models. The model that rules the roost is the Ford F-Series, which still holds the title as the best-selling pickup in the States. The consensus second placer is the Chevrolet Silverado, followed by the Ram Truck. Sales figures from January 2016 provides the perfect indication of this hierarchy with the F-Series accounting for 51,540 sold units for the month. That’s followed by the Silverado with 37,863 units and the Ram Truck with 29,938.

So yes, there’s some truth to the perception that the Ram Truck is the perennial third-placer in this three-pickup race. Even when it comes to something as simple as off-road packages, the Ram has been left behind by Ford and Chevrolet and their respective off-road packages, the FX4 and the Z71. But that’s about to change because Ram is finally getting in on the fun with the introduction of its new 4x4 Off-Road Package.

The package will be offered on the 2500 model and will have no restrictions other than the cab size. Ram 2500 owners who opt for the package must have a Crew or Mega Cab to get it. But other than that, the 4x4 Off-Road Package will be available on the 2500 regardless of its engine, trim, or bed length. The package itself isn’t going to be too different from the ones that are used on the F-Series and the Silverado. It’ll have the usual array of mechanical changes to go along with some cosmetic additions, all designed to give the 2500 a fresher look and a more pronounced off-roading capability.

It’s nice to see Ram get in on this game, even if it does feel like it acted a little too slowly to understand the needs of the market. Then again, better late than never, right? Who knows, maybe this package is exactly what Ram needed to close the gap between the F-Series and the Silverado.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ram 2500 Off-Road Package.

What makes the Ram 2500 Off-Road Package special

This isn’t really about the Ram 2500 4x4 Off-Road Package being special in the strictest sense. It’s about how the 4x4 Off-Road Package is special when you line it up against the FX4 and Z71 packages from Ford and Chevrolet, respectively.

Ram Debuts 4x4 Off-Road Package for 2500 HD Trucks High Resolution Exterior
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Answering that can be a little tricky because by and large, the 4x4 Off-Road Package isn’t all that different from the FX4 and the Z71. It comes with Bilstein monotube shocks that are not only tuned specifically for the weight of the Ram 2500, but more importantly, it helps absorb those nasty bumps and distribute excessive heat when the pickup is driving in less than ideal road conditions for longer than it should be. Obviously, an off-road package wouldn’t be complete without a set of all-terrain tires that are specifically designed for such conditions. Ram addressed that by including a choice of Firestone LT 275/70R 18E OWL or 285/60R 20E OWL on/off-road tires.

Anybody who’s ever gone off the beaten path knows how unpredictable and oftentimes unforgiving the environment can be. That’s precisely why Ram included a transfer case skid plate in the package. This can help prevent or, in the case of the extreme adventurer, at least minimize damages that could happen in certain parts of the pickup where the sun doesn’t shine. Hill-decent Control and rear anti-spin differential are two other features that Ram included in the 4x4 Off-Road Package. Hill-decent is a function that comes in handy anytime the pickup is traversing down steep grades while the the differential helps improve the pickup’s traction, especially in times when on loose surfaces.

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Ram made no mention of any interior upgrades that are included in the 4x4 Off-Road package. Given the nature of the package, don’t expect it to have anything. Likewise, Ram’s new 4x4 Off-Road package also doesn’t come with any engine modifications so its two Hemi offerings and the venerable Cummins turbodiesel will remain unchanged.

As for pricing, Ram has yet to give out a specific amount for the package, opting only to say that it’s going to be a “value-price option.” Basing it on the higher price points of the FX4 – $295 on the F-250 – and as much as $620 for the Z71 package, depending on the trim of the Silverado HD – I don’t foresee the 4x4 Off-Road package straying too far away from those prices. Given how Ram has the most to gain with this package, I’d be very surprised if it ends up being the most expensive of the lot.

Ram 2500

2014 Ram Heavy Duty High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Ram heavy Duty here.

Press Release

Ram Truck capitalizes on a core piece of the ¾-ton segment with new Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package, which includes a list of must-have upgrades for the occasional off-roader.

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Designed for all manner of activity, it’s no secret pickup trucks spend a disproportionate amount of time in the dirt, mud and snow when compared to other vehicles in the automotive industry. Up to 35 percent of pickup owners operate their vehicle in off-road environments for work and/or play. The new Off-road Component Package provides the functional enhancements to deliver owner confidence off the beaten path.

"Truck customers require a wide range of off-road capability options and Ram trucks are designed and engineered for the full spectrum," said Bob Hegbloom, Head of Ram Truck Brand, FCA - North America. "Anyone who spends most days on the outskirts of a job site or the weekend on the shore of a favorite fishing hole will benefit from the standard features on our new Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package."

The Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package is a value-priced option with a long list of content that customers have requested.

Joining the Ram Rebel and Power Wagon, the 4x4 Off-road Package rounds out the brand’s enthusiast lineup and reinforces its claim to being the "Off-road Truck Leader."

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Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package
A pickup truck has a lot of unforeseen duties. Large front tow hooks add an untold amount of versatility and allow the Ram 2500 to become a solid anchor point or rescue rig. Larger fender flares in Black or body-color help prevent whatever slings off the tires from covering the side of the truck with debris.

To handle the rough roads, Bilstein monotube shock absorbers soak up the bumps at all four corners and distribute excessive heat that can be generated when driving rough sections for extended periods of time. The performance shocks are tuned specifically for the weight of the truck and take advantage of the exclusive five-link coil rear suspension system, adding further control to the axle.

The improved suspension is coupled with all-terrain tires. The Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package includes Firestone LT 275/70R 18E OWL on/off-road tires for added traction. Some models wear Firestone LT 285/60R 20E OWL on/off-road tires. The tires clean themselves better than on-road tires by allowing whatever finds itself in the tread to break free under rotation, keeping the tread clear to grip again.

Many trails, tall grass and mud holes hide unforeseen impediments. These obstacles generally reveal themselves during breakover maneuvers. To prevent underbody strike damage, the Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package includes a transfer case skid plate to address the lowest mid-point of the truck.

The new offering also includes standard Hill-decent Control, borrowed from the Power Wagon. Hill-descent Control allows drivers to control speed down steep, rugged grades with the buttons on the column shifter – without the need for throttle or brake pedals.

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For added traction, the 4x4 Off-road Package comes standard with a rear anti-spin differential, which turns both rear wheels in tandem when increased torque is applied. The design automatically unlocks the differential for normal on-road driving, allowing the wheels to spin independently for improved drivability.

Finishing off the truck is a large "4X4 OFF ROAD" decal placed on the rear corner of the bed on both sides of the truck.

The Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package is available in Crew Cab and Mega Cab, gas and diesel powertrains and short- and long-wheelbase models. It is available on all Ram trim levels, including Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn/Lone Star, Outdoorsman, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited.

The Ram 2500 4x4 Off-road Package will be available in the third quarter of 2016.

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