Ram 1500 or Ram 2500: Which Is Right for You?

2014 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty

Truck shopping can be intimidating, especially for first-time buyers. There’s a tangle of specifications to wade through, but often the issue can be boiled down to one question: Will a Ram 1500 meet all your needs, or do you need to step up to a heavy-duty (HD) truck like the Ram 2500?

To help answer this question, first we need to dispel some old misinformation. Conventional, standard-duty pickups like the Ram 1500 are traditionally called “half-ton” trucks, but that’s an obsolete way of talking about truck capabilities. In fact, the 2014 Ram 1500’s hauling and towing capacities are far beyond a half ton. For example, a basic Ram 1500 Tradesman has a maximum payload of 1,930 lbs. (nearly a ton, note) and a towing capacity of 10,450 lbs.—which are more than sufficient for the vast majority of civilian trucking tasks.

Similar old truck designations such as “three-quarter-ton” and “one-ton” are equally misleading. HD trucks like the Ram 2500 and 3500 have far greater capabilities than these terms suggest. For example, the Ram Tradesman 2500 has a max payload of 3,170 lbs. and a towing capacity of 18,350 lbs. So if you’re pulling a large boat or, say, a heavy-duty construction trailer, the 2500 may be great fit for your needs.

Another important difference between the 1500 and 2500 is in their available engine and drivetrain packages. The Ram 1500 is offered with a choice of 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, 5.7-liter HEMI®, and 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engines, which offer a good balance of performance and economy for typical light commercial and consumer use. In contrast, engine choices in the HD Ram 2500 include the 5.7-liter HEMI, 6.4-liter HEMI, and 6.7-liter Cummins® Turbo Diesel, packages designed to run near maximum loads for hours on end in years of service. They’re extremely rugged but with somewhat higher fuel and service costs to match.

Summing up: A solid understanding of the weights you will be hauling and pulling is the key to selecting the right Ram Truck for your needs. And if you have questions, you can simply consult the towing guide at RamTrucks.com or visit with the truck experts at your neighborhood Ram Trucks dealer. They’ve dealt with these issues countless times, and they’re knowledgeable authorities on Ram Truck capabilities, too.

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  • Alex Spach

    The 2500 6.7 is better for me