Ok, it’s time to break out the kidney belt. I’ve gotten a little soft since the last macho truck I tested. This “bad boy” 1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD 4X4 Quad Cab ST with a Cummins 24 valve turbocharged diesel is a trucker’s truck. Argh, argh, argh as Tim Allen would say. In fact, along with the purchase price for this “man’s machine” you get automatic bonding with 18 wheel truckers. You sit nearly as high as they do which provides good eye contact, and I found myself reaching for the air horn rope over my left shoulder. I also like how they flash their lights to signal or acknowledge passing moves. You feel like you’re one of the boys. Rodney Dangerfield should buy one of these so he can finally get a some “Respect”.
Well, I believe Dodge has really pushed the truck segment of the market to respectable heights by creating the image of tough, no nonsense trucks to get the job done to “out-truck, out-hustle and out-muscle the competition. I believe they do just that. This Ram has it all, plus the power and torque to tow one of those 18-wheelers while carrying up to six passengers to boot. The Quad Cab (extended) has two small rear doors that provide reasonable access to the rear for those other four people.
Ram pickups are offered in 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions with rear or all-wheel drive equipped with short or long beds. A 3.9-liter V6 engine powers Ram 1500s, while 5.2- and 5.9-liter V8 engines are standard in other trims. This test vehicle was equipped with the turbocharged diesel option. And yet another option is an 8.0-liter gasoline V10 power plant for a whopping 310 horsepower. Transmission choices include a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic. I tested the 5-speed manual to build up my leg muscles for skiing.
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 $20,005 – $32,799, Ford F-250 $17,200 – $30,005, Ford F-250 Super Duty $19,275 – $28,840, GMC Sierra 2500 $20,605 – $29,790.
Great styling, tough image, solid feel, four-door extended cab, center section of the front seatback folds down to serve as a useful desk.
Poor gas mileage which explains the 34 gal tank, diesel is noisy, stepladder entry.
Air bags, power anti lock disc/drum brakes, power steering, 4X4 part time shift on the fly, 34 gal fuel tank, AM/FM Cassette, dual rear access doors with rear bench seat, tinted glass, 6-inch by 9-inch outside mirrors and intermittent wipers.
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