A well-rounded package that has no deal-breakers, but lacks a little in almost all the departments

Although Ram has been around the block for almost four decades, it was not until recently that the brand became a household name and a serious contender to the undisputed king of the industry, the Ford F-Series. Ram is essentially a by-product of Dodge and is a fully-owned subsidiary of the FCA since 2014. The name might be new, but the company has been building trucks since the 1970s under the name ’Fargo Trucks’ which was sold outside the United States..

The marque has essentially gone through a paradigm shift over the last decade and is consistently rising up the sales chart. In 2019, Ram sold over 630,000 examples; almost 60,000 more than the Chevy Silverado, to occupy the runner-up position. A lot of it can be credited to the fantastic engines in the lineup, and Ram’s constant effort to infuse luxury into its cargo-haulers. Not to mention, it has been paying a lot attention to safety as well. To top it all off, these trucks became an overnight sensation when Ram announced a 1,000 pound-feet of torque figure for the 3500 series. The Ram 2500 doesn’t boast of that, but it still has a lot going in its favor to be deemed as a potent threat to the Blue Oval and the Bowtie.

The model that arrived at the TopSpeed HQ was a black Ram 2500 HD Laramie. This is a mid-level trim that may not come with the best features that Ram has to offer, but it is one of the most practical trims to buy that covers all the basic essentials you would need on a daily basis. The truck came with a Cummins engine under the hood, a large touchscreen system on the inside, and a fairly wide, intimidating footprint that would shoo away all the smaller vehicles on the road with ease. But, when you pit it against the like-for-like trims of Ford and Chevy products on paper, it feels a little weak.

With that said, the Ram 2500 HD Laramie is still a strong contender and worthy of being shortlisted in your book if you’re in the market for a heavy-duty truck priced at around $50,000.

Ram 2500 HD Exterior

  • Gigantic Grille On The Face
  • LED Exterior Lighting
  • No Telescopic Mirrors Like the F-250s
  • 20-inch Wheels
  • Wrapped In Firestone Transforce AT Tires
  • Power Running Boards
  • Features RamBox Cargo Management System
  • Multifunction Gate Available Only On The 3500 Series
  • Shortest Wheelbase Amongst The Likes
2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
- image 881413
Fortunately for us, the example we drove came in black with the chrome and all other bling-y elements blacked out as well.

On other shades, however, there’s an overdose of chrome. Up front, the Ram 2500 features a gigantic grille that makes up for more than half of the whole face. One glance of this in the rearview mirror is enough for you to step aside and make way for this truck. This grille is what makes the Ram 2500 HD look so intimidating. Every trim in the 2500 lineup comes with a different grille design. The Ram 2500 Laramie’s grille consists of seven horizontal strips split into two, along with two strips on either side of the huge RAM logo in the center. There are thick chrome strips surrounding the grille and extending all the way to the headlamp clusters. The LED headlights are small and in line with the two slats that connect to the ’RAM’ logo.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
- image 881421
The bumper is also made up of chrome. In our truck, even this came with a black wrap.

The bumper features two slim fog lights on the extreme ends, sitting comfortably in a special housing. They are placed quite high and throw the light to a decent distance. Ram has neatly accommodated the front parking sensors here, along with a couple of them on the air dam in the middle. The air dam features a honeycomb grille design.

There are two tow hooks here as well. Under the bumper is a plastic piece extending from one end to the other to avoid slush splashes from getting into the underbody. The hood is well-sculpted and has a three-step shape to it that helps increase the visibility on the corners while driving.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
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The side profile of the Ram 2500 HD is rather sedate when compared to the face. There are not a lot of elements here, but it looks proportionate and simple.

The side of the hood features a “2500 Heavy Duty” badge. There’s a badge on the fender as well that reads “C Turbo Diesel”, referring to the Cummins mill under the hood. The doors are flat as a pancake and do not feature any cuts or creases. The wing mirrors feature the turn light indicators at the top. These are simple units and not telescopic or Powerscope like the ones seen on the F-Series. These are mirrors that can be extended outwards to help you view all the action happening in the back of the truck. They make life a lot easier if you hitch a trailer to your truck often.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
- image 881384
Although it is not the tallest one in the class, the Ram 2500 HD sure stands tall. Thanks to the flared wheel arches, even the 20-inch wheels look puny on it.

Our example came wrapped in Firestone Transforce AT LT285/60 R20 tires. The eight-spoke, eight-lug wheels look simple and will offend none. The truck also comes with running boards that extend out when you need them and sit back flush when not in use. Ram has utilized the side of the truck bed as a storage space and calls it the RamBox Cargo Management System. It’s more than just a toolbox. It is secure, durable, lit (quite literally), and includes a drainable storage system incorporated into the side rails of the truck bed. There’s a 115V AC socket here as well to plug in your pressure water pump or an air compressor. The RamBox runs the length of the truck bed that is anyway unusable due to the wheel well intrusion. You can use this space to hold a set of golf clubs, helmets, toolboxes, kayak paddles, and so on. Nifty touch there.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
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The rear of the Ram 2500 HD Laramie is not very exciting either.

The truck can be had either with a 6’4’’ box, or an eight-feet box. There are enough lights to keep the bed well-illuminated even in pitch dark conditions. There’s a bright light on the back of the cab, and one on each of the sidewalls. The taillights are vertically stacked and do their job; nothing fancy here. The simple tailgate wears the Ram badge, which adds a certain character to an otherwise simple derriere. It’s quite shocking that Ram decided to skip the Multifunction Tailgate in the 2500 Series. For a truck that is in the ballpark of $50,000, Ram should have offered it.

To brief you about the Multifunction tailgate, it is a 60:40 split-type door gate that can open like a regular door, or be flipped down like a conventional tailgate. The 60:40 split makes it more practical than a 50:50 setup would have. Interestingly, the MultiFunction Tailgate doesn’t have a deployable stepper. Instead, the stepper kicks out from under the bumper. This tailgate itself can haul about 2,000 pounds. If you really need one, there are companies like Elongator that offer tailgates with ramp functionality and many other features.

How Big Is The Ram 2500 HD Laramie?

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
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When viewed from the front, the Ram 2500 HD Laramie looks intimidating because of its wide stance and the big face. It is the widest of the lot at 83.5 inches.

The F-250, in comparison, measures 80 inches, whereas the Silverado stands at 81.85 inches in width. On the flip side, the Ram truck is the shortest in terms of length. A 238.8-inch length results in the shortest wheelbase, thus directly impacting the legroom in the cabin. The Ford and the Chevy trucks are almost 11 inches longer. In terms of height, the 2500 HD measures 80.2 inches, compared to 81.5 and 79.82 inches of the F-250 and Silverado, respectively.

The biggest gripe here is the wheelbase, which is the shortest of the lot. At 149 inches, the Ram 2500 HD is almost 10 and 11 inches shorter than the Chevy and the Ford. We have seen automakers do wonders with an increased wheelbase; point in case – the new Chevy Suburban. The company increased the overall length by 1.3 inches, but the wheelbase by 4.1 inches and that saw a massive improvement in the legroom and cargo space. Hopefully, the next Ram 2500 HD model will see an improvement in this area.

Ram 2500 HD Interior Design

  • Overall Fit and Finesse Are Exemplary
  • Generous Use Of Leather All-Around
  • Plenty Of Storage Spaces
  • Cabin Feels Too Cluttered
  • 12-inch UConnect Touchscreen System
  • Supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Interior
- image 881303
For a mid-trim 2500 HD, Ram has offered quite a lot of features inside the cabin. As is with all the Ram trucks these days, the cabin looks plush and rich, fitting enough to be even in a luxurious sedan.

It is arguably one of the best cabins in the segment today. Just like the exterior, even the cabin follows a black theme and looks absolutely fantastic. I’m of the opinion that a truck should wear only dark colors on the inside. You wouldn’t want dirty footprints or fingerprint marks on a light-colored dash. If you are someone who likes a neat and clean cabin and prefers touch stuff to buttons, this cabin won’t please you.

At the onset, the whole cabin looks cluttered and is filled with buttons and knobs all around.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Interior
- image 881327
The steering wheel itself has 15 buttons plus the horn pad!

The multifunction steering wheel is perfectly sized, but it’s not meaty enough and the thumb contours are conspicuous by their absence. The instrument cluster features the tachometer on the left and the speedometer on the right. The MID screen is in the middle and is extensively detailed. The cowl at the top of the cluster is wrapped in leather and looks quite premium. All the lighting switches are on the left of the steering wheel. Ram has also offered an adjustable pedal switch on the side of the steering rack, near the tilt adjustment lever. Thanks to this adjustable pedal switch, you can move the brake and accelerator pedals away or closer to provide an improved position with the steering wheel. This proves immensely helpful on long journeys.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Interior
- image 881314
The center console, just like the cockpit, looks very busy. Ram has used a combination of touch screens, buttons, and knobs for convenience.

The Ram 2500 Laramie features a 12-inch vertically-slated UConnect touchscreen infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The HVAC controls are on either side of this touchscreen. At the bottom of the center console, Ram has used flip switches to give some retro vibes. These are related to towing and parking sensors.

Below these switches are the connectivity-related slots. Surprisingly, there’s a CD/DVD slot on the left side with an eject button, and two USB ports on the right side. A subtle, neat integration, to say the least. Auxiliary port finds itself between the ports. On the right of the steering wheel, Ram has installed the engine start-stop button and the 4x4 setting switches.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Interior
- image 881304
Other than the parking sensors, the company says the Ram trucks come with over 100 safety and security features.

Some of them include Blindspot Monitoring System, Forward Collision Warning, and Automatic Emergency Braking. Unlike the Sierra’s much-hyped 15-camera setup, Ram has introduced a new 360-degree surround-view camera with trailer reverse guidance that provides a single display-screen view of both sides of a trailer to assist you in maneuvering towing setups. But unfortunately, that does not make its way in here.

Ram 2500 Storage Space

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Interior
- image 881293

The passenger side comes with a decently-sized glovebox, although it could have been placed slightly higher for better usability. The dash panel is slapped with a ‘Laramie’ badge, whereas the armrest has the Ram’s logo embossed on it. Since the gear lever sticks out on the right of the steering wheel, there is a lot of space available between the seats.

Ram has utilized this to the core and has paid a lot of attention to the storage space inside the cabin. Ram says there are 12 different storage spaces around the cabin, including one that can house a 15-inch laptop safely, away from prying eyes. This is perhaps the largest storage space that we’ve seen in a truck’s center console. The automaker has offered the Ram 2500 Laramie with five USB ports, including USB C-type ports, and a three-position sliding cup holder tray that can be stowed under the center armrest.

How Big Is The Ram 2500 HD’s Interior?

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Interior
- image 881277
Since the Ram 2500 HD Laramie is a sufficiently wide and tall vehicle, there is ample shoulder room and headroom available to all the occupants.

The headroom at the front is rated at 40.9 inches, which is on par with the F-250 but about 2.13 inches lesser than the Silverado’s. Legroom is fairly decent, too, but could’ve been better if not for the short wheelbase. It is also rated at 40.9 inches; however, the competition offers better numbers. The Ford F-250 has 43.9 inches of legroom at the front, whereas the Silverado takes the cake with 44.53 inches.

It’s the same story even in the back. Another nifty feature: Ram has placed foldable sheets under the rear seats that can be folded out to make a flat loading floor inside the cab. The front and the rear seats are comfortable overall. They offer decent under-thigh support and have sufficient bolstering on the sides. Ram has offered AC vents for the rear occupants as well. While the rear bench is wide enough to accommodate three people, the middle person will struggle with the high and wide transmission tunnel.

Drivetrain

  • 6.4-liter, V-8 HEMI mill
  • 410 Horsepower and 429 Pound-feet of Torque
  • Six-speed Automatic Transmission
  • 6.7-liter, Cummins Six-Cylinder Engine
  • 370 Horsepower and 850 Pound-feet of Torque
  • Eight Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity of up to 19,180 Pounds
  • Payload Rating of 3,530 Pounds
2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Drivetrain
- image 881352
Ram made the headlines when it announced a mammoth 1,000 pound-feet of torque figure in the Ram HD.

The automaker breached the four-digit torque figure and became an overnight sensation. This was previously unheard of in a truck, and it benefits greatly as you have more grunt available at your disposal at lower speeds. It helps even more when you’re towing heavy cargo and need a lot of twist to move from a standstill and also to conquer unknown surfaces and inclines. Unfortunately, it does not feature in the 2500 Series.

The Ram 2500 Laramie is offered with two engine options – the first one is a standard 6.4-liter, V-8 HEMI that develops 410 horses and 429 pound-feet of twist. Ram has mated it to an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, but you choose a six-speed automatic transmission as well at no extra cost. If you are not looking to haul a lot of luggage on a daily basis, this engine should suffice your needs. Our truck came with the mighty Cummins engine that’s found under the hood of the Ram HD, albeit in a different state of tune. Ram charges $9,100 extra for it.

2020 Ram 2500 HD Specifications
Engine 6.4-LITER HEMI® V-8 6.7-LITER CUMMINS TURBO DIESEL I-6
Type And Description  90-degree gasoline V-8 with variable cam timing Inline six cylinder, turbocharged, intercooled diesel
Displacement  392 cu. in. (6,417 cu. cm) 408 cu. in. (6,690 cu. cm)
Bore X Stroke  4.09 X 3.72 (103.9 X 94.6) 4.21 X 4.88 (107 X 124)
Compression Ratio  10.0:1 19.0:1
Power  410 hp @ 5,600 RPM 370 hp @ 2,800 RPM
Torque  429 lb.-ft. at 4,000 RPM 850 lb.-ft. @ 1,152 RPM
2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Drivetrain
- image 881350
This is a 6.7-liter, six-cylinder engine that Ram has developed along with Cummins. It churns out 370 ponies and 850 pound-feet of torque.

Ram has mated this capable engine to a six-speed, Aisin-sourced automatic gearbox, but it can be had with the eight-speed transmission from the V-8 mill as well. This new-gen mill is 60 pounds lighter than its predecessor and uses a new cast-iron cylinder head and cylinder block along with lighter and stronger pistons. When observed individually, the specs are quite decent. But, both, the Chevy and Ford mills beat it in both the aspects. Chevrolet’s 6.6-liter, V-8 Duramax engine makes 445 horses and 10 pound-feet of torque. Ford’s 6.7-liter, V-8 Power Stroke steals the limelight by producing 475 horses and 1,050 pound-feet of torque.

You can configure the engine specs as per your needs. Being an FCA marque, Ram benefits from the Mopar bible of accessories. There are a lot of packages available as well, quite similar to the ones seen on the Jeep Gladiator. But, there are a few that deserve a mention.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
- image 881416

Both the transmissions come with a 3.73 axle ratio, but can be pumped to a 4.10 axle ratio at the cost of $145. An anti-spin rear differential can also be had for $445. You can also opt for the rear air suspension for $1,705 if you tend to haul a lot in the truck bed or hitch a trailer often.

How Much Can the Ram 2500 HD Tow?

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
- image 881406

As for the towing and payload ratings, the Ram 2500 HD doesn’t disappoint. However, it isn’t segment-leading as well.

The Ram 2500 Laramie comes with a maximum towing capacity of 19,180 pounds.

This is not the best figure when compared to its rivals, but it is not the worst either. The Ford F-250 leads the way with a mind-blowing towing capacity of 24,200 pounds, whereas the GMC Sierra HD takes the bottom place with a capacity to tow a meager 18,500 pounds.

In terms of payload capacity, the Ram 2500 Laramie can haul up to 3,530 pounds. The Ford F-250 and the GMC Sierra HD come with a rating of 7,850 pounds and 3,563 pounds, respectively.

The Ram 2500 HD also has the least Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 10,000 pounds. The F-250 is rated at 14,000 pounds and the Silverado at 11,350 pounds.

Ram 2500 HD Fuel Economy and Warranty

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
- image 881379
Despite being a six-cylinder mill, the Cummins engine offers the worst fuel economy compared to Chevy’s 6.6-liter, V-8 Duramax, and Ford’s 6.7-liter, V-8 Power Stroke.

The Chevy engine delivers 16.6 miles to the gallon, then the Ford with 14.6 miles per gallon, and finally the Ram with 13.8 miles per gallon. To make things worse, Ram comes with a 31-gallon tank, which is the smallest one. The Bowtie’s truck drinks 36 gallons and the Blue Oval’s gulps 34 gallons. So, be prepared for frequent petrol bunk halts with this one.

Ram also provides a 5-year/100,000 miles Roadside Assistance, and a 5-year/100,000 miles limited warranty on the diesel powertrain on its trucks. Chevrolet also offers the exact same warranty and roadside assistance on its HD range of trucks. Ford, on the other hand, provides a 5-year/60,000 miles Roadside Assistance and powertrain warranty on the super duty trucks. The 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine, however, comes with a 5-year/100,000 mile warranty.

Driving Impressions

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Interior
- image 881334
The Cummins mill and the Ram 2500 HD feel like a match made in heaven. Despite having a diesel mill under the hood, the truck drives rather quietly even at high speeds.

There is no diesel clatter when driven with a light foot. The NVH levels are well contained and only a ‘hum’ can be heard inside the cabin when cruising around 70 mph. All this can be credited to the addition of an active noise cancellation system and the new mounts on the chassis. The company says the noise is down by 10 decibels when compared to its predecessor. Even if you hitch a trailer to the truck, you won’t feel the engine struggle or lose breath because of the high torque. It even moves from a standstill effortlessly.

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Drivetrain
- image 881370
The suspension is well-tuned and the ride is comfortable even at the back. But, if you have a trailer hitched, things can get bouncy for the rear occupants, especially.

That is where the rear air suspension comes into play. If you have a trailer hitched to your ride often, we’d recommend you to spend that extra $1,705 that will ensure your ride is smooth irrespective of what you tow and haul. From the driver’s seat, things are comfortable as well. The visibility is good and features like front parking sensors make things a breeze in city conditions. Ram has even offered an adjustment pedal switch with which you can control the aft and fore movement of the pedals to get that perfect sweet spot for a comfortable drive. Overall, the Ram 2500 HD with the Cummins engine drives extremely well and we have no complaints on that front whatsoever.

How Much Does The Ram 2500 HD Cost?

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
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The Ram 2500 HD Laramie is sold with a starting sticker price of $49,350

. Opt for the Cummins engine and the price increases to $58,450. If you compare it to the competition, it feels slightly overpriced. But the extra moolah gets you a luxurious cabin with smart storage spaces and nifty features. With the add-ons and optional accessories, the price could go up to $65,000.

Ram 2500 HD Competition

Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty STX
- image 823522

In terms of price and features, the Ram 2500 HD Laramie goes up against the Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat. This truck comes with looks that will please and offend none. The cabin is simple, yet utilitarian. It comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, and power-adjustable pedals, to name a few.

Under the hood, the Ford F-250 features a 6.2 liter, V-8 engine as standard. The bigger 6.7-liter, turbodiesel V-8 Power Stroke mill produces 475 ponies and 1,050 pound-feet of twist. This is the engine that has enough grunt to beat the Ram’s 6.7-liter engine. Both the engines come mated with a six-speed automatic transmission system, either in the two-wheel-drive system or four-wheel-drive configuration. This truck also tops the chart for the best towing and payload capacities, rated at 24,200 pounds for the former and 7,850 pounds for the latter. Although the F-250 Lariat starts at $46,140, Ford trucks are not known to be cheap. Customize it with their list of desirable products and the price could soar well above $70,000.

Read our full review on the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat

Chevy Silverado LTZ

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 819887

The 2020 Chevy Silverado looks vastly different from the model it replaces. Just like the Ram 2500, every Silverado 2500 trim also features a different grille design. As is the segment norm, Chevy has been generous with chrome on the LTZ trim. On the outside, the Silverado 2500 LTZ comes with LED daytime running lights, headlights, taillights, and fog lamps. On the inside, it is mighty spacious and feels quite premium as well.

The Silverado 2500 comes with a 6.6-liter, Duramax V-8 engine under the hood that makes 445 horses and 910 pound-feet of torque. Although less than Ford’s power outputs, it is still fairly ahead of the Ram’s. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, but you can opt for the Allison 10-speed auto box as well. The Silverado 2500 HD can tow up to 18,500 pounds and haul up to 3,563 pounds. The truck can be had in two-wheel or four-wheel drive configurations. The truck starts at $61,130, making it the most expensive offering of the three. The price could go up all the more if you opt for additional accessories.

Read our full review on the 2020 Chevy Silverado LTZ

GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT

2020 GMC Sierra HD Exterior
- image 817264

Most of the people opting for a GM truck choose the Silverado over the Sierra. Both the cousins are mechanically the same, but the Sierra is generally seen as the inferior cousin. With that said, the GMC Sierra has a turnaround story of sorts and has moved up the ranks in all the departments. On the outside, the GMC Sierra 2500 HD does not carry a garish face as the Ram 2500. The styling cues are comparatively subtle. On the inside, it is not as well-loaded as the Ford or the Ram, but all necessary creature comforts like the touchscreen infotainment system, heated and power-adjustable seats, and so on are present.

GMC has not equipped this trim with the 15-camera setup with a trailering system that makes backing up easy with a trailer hitched on your ride. Even the MultiPro Tailgate is missing here. But, we can’t blame GMC for it as it has only three trims in its lineup as compared to the six trims each in Ford and Ram’s portfolio. GMC offers the Sierra 2500 HD with a 6.0-liter, V-8 engine that churns out 360 horses and 380 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The GMC Sierra HD can tow up to 15,400 pounds and is offered with a maximum payload of 3,276 pounds. The Sierra 2500 HD SLT comes with a starting price of $51,000. However, you could even look at the Denali trim which starts at $61,300 and offers all the bells and whistles you can ask for in a truck.

Read our full review on the GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT

Final Thoughts

2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven Exterior
- image 881420

The Ram 2500 HD is a potent pickup truck that checks all the boxes. However, it lacks in almost all the departments when compared to the Ford F-250 and the Chevy Silverado.

The truck boasts shorter length and wheelbase, has the lowest power output, not the best towing and payload ratings, and isn’t the cheapest either. However, none of them are deal-breakers and you still get a well-spec’d package. If you see it without any comparisons, the Ram 2500 HD doesn’t feel underwhelming in any aspect. So, unless you are trying to extract the best bang for your buck, the Ram 2500 HD should fit your bill well.

  • Leave it
    • Overdose of chrome inserts
    • It’s beaten by competition in almost every department
    • Not the cheapest truck out there
Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read More
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