Ram 1500 pickups have changed considerably for the 2006 model year. A new frame, suspension and body mounts are used, and new headlamps provide 22 percent more light intensity. Newly available features include a power-sliding rear window, bucket seats, a full-screen navigation radio and a DVD entertainment system. Four-wheel-drive models have a standard electronic transfer case. Hemi-equipped Rams are the first pickup trucks equipped with fuel-saving cylinder deactivation: the Multi-Displacement System.
Dodge's Ram is available in 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions, which translates to half- , three-quarter- and one-ton ratings, respectively. While the heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 models are intended for serious work, an offshoot of the light-duty 1500 — the 500-horsepower Ram SRT10 — is designed for serious play.
Ram pickups come in regular-cab and four-door Quad Cab body styles. Light-duty Rams can have V-6, V-8 or V-10 power, while heavy-duty models can have V-8 or diesel power. A sunroof is available on Quad Cab models, and Sirius Satellite Radio is offered.
Called "the most capable offroad pickup ever on the planet," the 2500 Power Wagon edition holds a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that cranks out 345 hp and 375 pounds-feet of torque. Either a six-speed-manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic can be installed. Special features include locking front and rear differentials, an electronically disconnecting front sway bar and a custom-built 12,000-pound winch. Polished forged-aluminum 17-inch wheels hold 33-inch BFGoodrich tires.
Regular 2500 pickups are available with a diesel engine or the Hemi V-8. The optional Cummins 5.9-liter turbo-diesel inline-six-cylinder develops 325 hp and 610 pounds-feet of torque. Three transmissions — a six-speed manual and two automatics — are offered.
Ram 2500 pickups with the regular cab have an 8-foot cargo bed, ride a 140.5-inch wheelbase and measure 229.7 inches long overall. Quad Cab models come with either a 6.3- or 8-foot cargo bed and ride a 140.5- or 160.5-inch wheelbase. All heavy-duty Ram models have a Sweptline (slab-sided) cargo bed.
A Ram 2500 with the Hemi V-8 sounds and feels like a muscle car when pushed, though it settles down quietly for ordinary use. Performance is this Ram's strong point, but it's accompanied by a seriously lumpy ride over uneven pavement. Steering is confident for a full-size pickup, but the back wheels spin easily on wet pavement when the bed is empty.
Long seat bottoms in the Ram 2500 offer an easy-chair experience. Interior space is plentiful, especially in the Quad Cab. Overall, the Ram 2500 doesn't feel much like a typical heavy-duty pickup.