TESTED | RAM 2500 LARAMIE | From The Vault | Tested
We look back at a test we did on the 2018 Ram 2500 Laramie to see if it can tow your ATv or SXS and dirtbike without a problem
I had the opportunity to drive this product from the Dodge stable on open highways, down small country lanes, over hipsters in city backstreets and across four-wheel-drive tracks while flattening roos. Quality time with this tough Yank did nothing but satisfy my curious taste buds.
American pick-ups have always come with large engines and the Ram2500 Laramie is no different. A big engine means big towing capacity. This thing is not designed for school drop offs, it’s built to haul loads.
With a braked towing capacity (electric brakes are fitted as standard and are digitally adjustable from the cab) of 6.9 tonnes on the Pintle hitch, the 6.7-litre Cummins turbo diesel is an impressive tugboat, producing 1084Nm of torque while pumping out 276kW. That’s more than double the braked towing capacity of most conventional dual-cab SUVs available in Australia.
You may be thinking, ‘that’s impressive but who’s towing 6.9 tonnes?’ Most of us towing our SXS will tip the scales at 2-3 tonnes, which means an SUV could tow it. But have you ever tried towing earthmoving machinery or more than one SXS in a Mitsubishi Triton? It’s a long haul.
While the monstrous towing capacity isn’t a necessity for most agricultural SXS on a small trailer, the ease with which it does it is unparalleled. We loaded up two dirtbikes, a quad, a bunch of swags and camping gear into a four-wheel-drive trailer (our SXS had a busted A-arm the car trailer we tow it with was being used) and the Ram 2500 towed it all with such ease that I needed a blast of the horn from a fellow motorist to remind me I was dragging over 1.5 tonnes when I tried to change lanes and nearly parked the trailer in their passenger seat.
Towing anything from enclosed bike trailers to horse floats, car trailers and earthmoving machinery is a breeze when you’ve got 1084Nm. The Ram’s not the quickest off the line, but you’ll be no slower with a trailer hocked up. The coil-spring front and rear suspension is a little firm, especially without a load, but a comfortable interior eradicates that problem.
Ram’s Active Air system takes care of the cooling and we never encountered any issues of overheating. While the indestructible Cummins engine hauls a huge load, the sound deadening is impressive. Even when going up and down gears in the six-speed gearbox with the cruise control on you could hardly hear the engine. It doesn’t lurch when changing gears and the engine is so smooth you’ll feel like you’re driving a hatchback.
While it’s handy to have an engine that can tow nearly seven tonnes, stopping a mothership like this will take some effort. As discussed earlier, the 2500 Laramie has electric trailer brakes fitted as standard, which can be adjusted via a clever gauge on the dash. The power of the electric brakes appears on the screen in front of the driver as you tune them in and out. But that’s not the coolest feature.
The 2500 Laramie also comes with an exhaust brake, that has a full-power mode for the mega load and an auto power mode for smaller ones. For those of you who have never driven a big rig (don’t worry I haven’t either) the exhaust brakes basically force exhaust back into the engine, causing the motor to run more slowly.
While travelling out to Lithgow from Sydney on the Bells Line of Road we were able to rely on the exhaust brake to slow our machine rather than the traditional braking system, saving the brake pads from overheating and improving safety. Relying solely on the exhaust brake can be a little dangerous as a following motorist will not see any brake lights. If it works too well, your trailer might jack knife, so you need to cover the brake pedal and tap the trailer brake if needed to straighten your load. Best part is that the exhaust brake sounds cool, making the noise you made as a kid playing in the sandbox.
How’s the fuel economy I hear you ask? Big engine, big loads and big dimensions mean big fuel bills right? Wrong. To our surprise, we were able to keep the 2500 Laramie to around 15L/100km while cruising through Sydney and down to 12.9L/100km while cruising the freeway with a trailer and bikes loaded. That’s marginally worse than our Mitsubishi Triton dual cab, which averages 10L/100km on the freeway and about 13L/100km in the city but the Triton isn’t in the same league as the Ram 2500 for toy hauling.
Based on towing capacity, engine size and road presence, the 2500 Laramie is closer to the V8 diesel Toyota LandCruiser series, and the Laramie 2500 uses roughly the same amount of fuel as those. While towing the fuel economy didn’t change much and the big 117L petrol tank gave nearly 1000km of highway kilometres.
While the fuel economy is impressive for a car that weighs 3.5 tonnes and can tow a small house, the RRP brings you back to earth. At $139,000 the Ram is an expensive piece of kit. You could buy two Hiluxes for that, but it isn’t that much more than a 200 Series Cruiser.
For that price you get a machine loaded with features and, if you’re in the mood to tow, there is none better.