First Look: 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty Pickups

2010 Dodge Ram 2500

Chrysler is firing the first shot in what’s certain to be a brutal battle pitting three-quarter and one-ton truck manufacturers against each other: It’s introducing the new 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups at the 2009 Chicago auto show.

The 2010 model year will be a challenging one for several reasons: The U.S. economy is expected to still be sputtering, with new-truck buyers likely sitting on the sidelines until the housing market starts to recover or the government’s fiscal stimulus plan spurs spending on new trucks as part of a national infrastructure overhaul. The price of diesel fuel (the lifeblood of heavy-duty pickups) shows no sign of losing its 20 percent price premium over gas. Most important of all, though, Ford and GM are also expected to launch updated heavy-duty pickups with new diesel powertrains designed to meet stringent 2010 federal emissions standards that go into effect Jan. 1. The regulations will ratchet down NOx levels to the lowest on the planet – more than 90 percent lower than 2006 levels. NOx is a major air pollutant that contributes to smog, asthma, and respiratory and heart diseases. It's a byproduct of high combustion temperatures.

Chrysler has strategically prepared for 2010 over the past two years. In 2007, it introduced for its heavy-duty pickups an enhanced and innovative 350-horsepower, 650-pounds-feet-of-torque, 6.7-liter six-cylinder Cummins diesel, based on the previous 5.9-liter Cummins engine. The new diesel added a segment-exclusive exhaust brake, like over-the-road trucks use. The 6.7-liter motor not only met new 2007 EPA limits on soot emissions, but it reached 2010 NOx emissions requirements three years early. It featured a diesel particulate filter meant to catch and burn off soot, plus special “adsorber” catalyst material to soak up and break down NOx molecules before they leave the tailpipe. The move drew some smack talk from Ford and GM, who pointed to the expensive, rare precious metals needed to perform this feat of chemical engineering; at the time, commodity prices were rapidly rising in world markets. Ford and GM also launched new diesels in 2007 in order to meet the reduced soot emissions levels, but they didn’t have 2010-ready NOx traps (please see our 2007 Heavy Duty Shootout for an in-depth comparison of these trucks).

Now forced to play catch-up for 2010, Ford’s and GM’s NOx solutions are expected to come in the form of urea selective catalytic reduction. Urea SCR will use canisters (which will need to be replaced or refilled periodically) of the diesel emissions fluid that will be shot into the exhaust stream to lower NOx. While Ford and GM spend time and money to develop these new engines, Chrysler is sticking with its proven Cummins 6.7-liter for its 2010 heavy-duty pickups. It’s being carried over from the 2007-09 models without any changes.

2010 Dodge Ram 3500

On the gas-engine front, Chrysler replaced the Ram heavy-duty’s legacy Hemi V-8 last year with the updated 383-hp, 400-pounds-feet-of-torque, variable-valve-timing version that debuted in the 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500. That Hemi is also carried over unchanged for 2010.

Good news for rock crawlers and wheelers: The Hemi-powered Power Wagon off-road version of the Ram also continues next year. It's the only Ram HD with a 4.56 rear axle and locking front and rear differentials.

What has changed for 2010 is almost everything above the Ram heavy-duty’s carryover frame. The exterior has all-new sheet metal, and the interior is taken directly from the Dodge Ram 1500 half-ton. The front axle and suspension have also been improved.

“This isn’t an all-new truck,” said Scott Kunselman, Chrysler’s vice-president for the Jeep and Truck Product Team. “The 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 are the next steps to improve our heavy-duty pickups. All of the great things in the light-duty (Ram) are here. The driving and towing experience will be much nicer. Our owners will enjoy it more.”

Though they share the aerodynamic styling first seen in the 2009 Ram 1500, the heavy-duty trucks have taller, more-prominent front ends. It’s a case of form following their primary function of towing big loads.

“The light-duty and heavy-duty Rams are significantly separated visually for performance and aesthetic reasons, and for better cooling,” said Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s vice president of design. “The cooling we’ve gained for the heavy-duty we didn’t have to do for the light-duty, which is why the grille is smaller on the light duty.”

2010 Dodge Ram 3500

The Ram heavy-duty shares its headlamps and fenders with the 1500. The hood is differentiated to make room for the Cummins diesel. The front bumper has very aggressive stamping. It’s a single-piece chrome bumper that wraps around the front fenders to give it a modern look and help aerodynamics.

Like last year’s heavy-duty Ram, 2010 buyers will have three cab options, but the middle configuration has been changed. A two-door regular cab model remains, while a new four-door Crew Cab, with bigger back doors and more rear passenger space, replaces the previous, smaller four-door Quad Cab. A new 8-foot cargo box option (a 6-foot, 4-inch bed is standard) should make the Crew Cab Ram HD an attractive choice for fifth-wheel towers.

“The Crew Cab has replaced the Quad Cab in the lineup,” Kunselman said. “It gets an 8-foot box -- a key part of the market we weren’t participating in.”

Though Dodge eliminated the Mega Cab option for its half-ton Ram, it’s keeping the Mega Cab heavy-duty model with best-in-class interior space.

The inside features all the high-quality materials and ergonomic and infotainment options the Ram 1500 has, plus it adds a new integrated trailer-brake controller like Ford and GM offer in their HD pickups. The brake controller eliminates the need for an aftermarket kit to control a trailer’s electric brakes for improved towing control.

“The (trailer-brake control) display is the message center, so drivers won’t need to take their eyes off the road to see what’s going on,” Kunselman said.

One objection, though, is the controller's placement. Like GM's trucks, Chrysler has put it on the left side of the driver, near the knee. We think it's more intuitive to place integrated brake controllers on the driver's right side, like Ford does.


The external rearview mirrors have also been revised to better facilitate towing. They can be pivoted horizontally or vertically depending on trailer size, and they have larger convex mirrors for better visibility. Turn signals are integrated.

According to preliminary towing and hauling figures, Dodge has raised the front gross axle weight rating from 5,200 pounds to 5,500 pounds on diesel 4x4 pickups, and from 4,700 pounds to 5,000 pounds on diesel 4x2 pickups. Gross combined weight ratings have been improved from 23,000 pounds to as much as 25,400 pounds on some 3500 models. Accompanying the increase in GCWR, max towing has also improved.

For example, a 2010 Ram 3500 regular cab 2WD long-bed 6.7-liter diesel with a 4.10 rear axle has increased its max towing from 16,200 pounds (goose neck or fifth wheel) in the 2009 model to 18,500 pounds (goose neck or fifth wheel) in the 2010 truck. GCWR also increased from 23,000 pounds to 25,400. However, there is a slight cargo box payload penalty because the truck’s weight has increased. Max payload for 2010 in this configuration is 4,770 pounds, down from 5,070 pounds in the 2009 model.

Conventional trailer towing maxes out at 10,000 pounds.

Also contributing to the improved GCWR are re-tuned suspension components and new fluid-filled hydro-mounts under the cab that help reduce beaming and bounce over rough highways.

The sum of all these changes is a new Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickup that has evolved to better meet the needs of Chrysler’s existing customers, and to take competitive advantage of gains already made meeting 2010’s stricter and more expensive emissions standards. We expect both GM’s and Ford’s responses for 2010 to have significantly more power than the Ram HDs, but they’ll also likely come with higher initial purchase costs relative to the new Ram than their current trucks are to today’s Ram HDs.

2010 Dodge Ram 3500 Mega Cab

The question is: Will next year's heavy-duty buyers want more power or lower up-front cost?

“The new Dodge trucks should allow Chrysler to price them as a lower-cost alternative to the new Ford and GM trucks next year,” said Kent Sundling, owner and editor of “Dodge has always played to the lower-cost side of the market, and carrying over the diesel powertrain could enable them to be an even better value.”

The new 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2009.

2010 Ram HD Quick Specs


Ordered my 2010 Ram 2500!!! Cant wait to get it. My biggest complaint is that we are outsourcing our companies to other countries. My truck was built in Mexico and then sent by train over here....AMERICAN DESIGNED, HECHO EN MEXICO!!! hahaha. WTF?????

Overall I love these new trucks and with all of the options it seems like the best buy. Besides the fact that Chevy sucks (remember this is just in my opinion) and the new ford is as ugly as Sara Jessica Parker's face. Why do they need to put all that extra chrome going up the hood from the grill. And as if we didnt already know it was a suoer-duty the write SUPER DUTY in big ass letters accross the hood and tail gate. Freakin power joke engines!


i have a 96 dodge cummins 3500 dually and the new 2010 dodge cummins 3500 dually are the best

Like the looks of 2010 so will get one now when price is down as new models come out soon. Had an 03, then an 06 and hauled
32' livestock trailer for 400,000 with 03 and hitting 390,00 on 06 and going strong. only time o3 got close to hot was in Nevada wit temp outside around 120 F so cut back speed and ran fine.
Mighty tough fine trucks without all the hoopla ford spouts out!!
If you can't dodge it just Ram it !!!

So no comments how the 2011 ford with the "UREA" additive LOL that basically will stop the truck when empty .Regardless of how much diesel is in the tank . Just dont let it spill in your cab. Plus an uplift in MSRP of 4-5 K higher than dodge.

Hey you guys are great, to read those comments that you left, made me make up my mind. Being in the market for a new 2500, I have made up my mind on what to buy. And that will be dodge 2500 diesel. I have test drove them all myself, and was down to two and the dodge won hands down. For power and ride pulling my construction trailer, dodge will give me everything I need and more. Thanks again guys for confirming my decision.

ok, never owned a diesel? I own a ram 1500 04, 4.7 L. got k&m exhaust and intake with no chip, in 2006, since then have been getting roughly 20 miles to gallon, not bad from 17-18 drive it everyday to work tow my trailer on weekends and seems to be fine going uphill in 120 degrees, trailer weight around 8,000 lbs. average with the bed loaded with firewood quad ice chest and yatta, yatta, yatta. live in ca. so get the chance to really get good speed before a bad hill, but have to say im happy to own this truck, yeah hind site would have got the 2500 cummins What i do is keep up service and keep checking tires, oh gave myself a deeper trans pan for 4 qrts more. temp on tranny gets at worst 220 deg. in summer. just for every bodies info not braggen bout nothing. my question is is there a difference between a 1500 tranny and a 2500 or 3500 tranny and rear end?

dude this truck is amazing! dodge ram. ha ha im not old enough to drive but by the time i am hopefully its cheap cause i want it bad!(:

but ill admit it needs bigger tires an sweeter rims!

I have owned an 01 and 05 Dodge with the cummins 5.7 and just picked up the new 2010 4x4 crew cab with the new cummins 6.7 with the 373 gear which I also had on my 05. I loved my 05, but the difference is incredible in the 2010. It drives and pulls like a dream and I love all the new features. My trucks work! I pull a 38' 5th wheel and it never breaks a sweat. I can't imagine ever switching. What I also like is the incredible resale value the 3500 have with the cummins in them. Makes buying a new truck alot less painfull. Way to go Dodge.

do you have a 1998 dodge diesel 3500 for sale

I think that i would want a Dodge 2500 2006-2008! What do u people think i should get? I love Dodge and i really like the look of dodge trucks

I have a 99 dodge 2500 cummings w/ 3.55 rear axle this truck has all the pwr. you could ask for ... until you want to tow anything, it downshifts and overheats just pulling a 14x5 quad trailer w/ 1 quad, 3 spd auto tranny w/ 70,000 miles truck has been this way since new. You must take it out of overdrive and slow way down to climb even a small grade if towing 1 quad. I doubt if i could tow a 27 ft. trailer or 5th wheel Any ideas why, or how to remedy this?

Here is one sick lifted 3500.

I have 2006 3500, diesel with 117000 miles. it's a work trk. I'm on my way back for the 3rd trans. problem. tork convertor ...Dodge dealer working on trans. does any one have the same problems..I don't think it's ever been right !

I had a 03 dodge 6speed it pull like champ felt like it was nothen back there got to get me another one

I have been driving Dodges for year's, and will all ways drive them, I have a use 2005 Cummings with 150.000 miles on it gets 21 mile to the gallon,pulls like a bull, a 1998 Dodge durango 120000 miles still running great,2003 Dodge Dakota v6 110000 miles still running great, Let me tell you about the dealer and small repair shop's, They hire anybody that claimes to be a good truck or car repair man. I have worked at hese dealership's and have seen the student's that are comming out of these trade shcool's, most are dum as hell when it comes to repairing anything,and will cost you a lot of money.I have seen many cusomers would bring their Dodge's in for service and these dum asse's could not figure out the problem, they where book shart but when it came down to repairs, had no clue how to repair the problem, and shart replacing parts just to make their boss happy.

I have had a ford before and now have a 98 dodge dually there is no comparison. Have been pulled across DOT scales with GVW in excess of 7200KG and I have the ticket to prove it. That was just from a load I had in the box no trailer involved. Ford or chev would have broke under the strain. Dodge all the way.

Well how about checking out how these things are in comparison with a real diesel truck? For some reason or other small diesel engines just don't measure up to their big brothers in the longevity/endurance department.

And I can compare them to the last two rigs I ever drove before retirement. The first would be a 89 Freightliner (FLD cab), with a 60 series Detroit and a 9 speed Eaton transmission. The 60 series Detroit Diesel came stock with an HP rating of 375 HP not using cruise control and 525 HP when using cruise control. Horsepower sound low? I'd like to see how these pickups perform pulling 80,000 pounds. So everybody who's complaining about Ford/GM specs? STFU! None of these guys are being dishonest. There's a ton of ways for a Dyno to compute power, that's all.

But nobody ever sticks with the stock chip programming on a modern big rig. The best setup for a 60 series Detroit seems to be 420 HP not using cruise control and 575 HP using cruise control. With a nine speed transmission that will deliver about 8 MPG loaded and 9-10 MPG empty. However, if you install a 13 speed Road Ranger with high geared rear ends, you can top 11MPG loaded down with 80,000 pounds! But there is a catch. With your computer set for that much economy, your rig becomes a slug.

As for comfort, with the prices these three are charging there is one comfort option big rigs use that they could afford to hand out. Air suspension with more air ride under the cab and more yet under the seats. Settings for all three controlled from the driver's seat no less. Even in a big rig, your ride is smooth as silk. Plus these things are good for about 1 1/2 million miles if you keep up on the maintenance. Small diesels won't do that. Not even commercial models.

But I'm not posting to brag about big rigs. Rather to point out that they could do far better than they are. There isn't that much of a price difference.

Now I'm in the market for one of these rigs too, and I'm very partial to Mopar's Cummins Diesel setup. Ford and GM specs are correct, but the engine is inferior by far in my opinion.

And I do have one question. The local Chrysler Dealer went out of business here, and I can't find a satisfactory answer. Manual transmission options? Do they exist and what are they? Or do they choose not to trust JQ Public with diesel engine operation?

Hey guys I thought I had decided on a 2010 diesel 3500 to pull my 6500 dry bumper pull. I know it is more than enough truck, but I just found some stuff online about a class action law suit against Dodge. Any thoughts on this and if this is a common problem? Please reply to my email.


I run a 2006, 3500 Dodge diesel big horn.doing craftshows all
over the carries a 4000 lb camper and pulls a 8000 lb
trailer total weight 21000 plus ,avg 26000 miles per year.
truck empty 19.5 mph===with camper 13.5 mpg. ===with total load 10.5 mpg . in the wind worst case 8.4 mpg. I see more crafters switching to dodge. however many run the simular truck in a ford.
Traveling to many of the same places. I have run with some fords and at 65 mph and notice on many grades the ford are blowing black smoke and falling back. To stay close I have to kick off my cruise control.In the wind the ford dropped to 5 mpg and could not hold 50 mph.
I know one crafter with a simular set up to mine only using a GMC. diesel. he loved his truck until his frame broke in half.
Last time I saw him he had a new ford 450 diesel. I think ford has the largest frame.
So far other than reg. maintance I have replace a fuel pump and a heater fan control current miles 154000.
My ford buddies seem to experiance injector problems and low mpg.
I have run many fords and still have my 94 bronco but this cummins diesel has been a great ride.

This model is way cooler than the latest edition of CX-5. All the specs amounts to a powerful integration resulting to enviable performance. Great post!

I own a 2010 ram 2500 4x4 crew with a cummins., it's got 35k miles and no deletes; purchased it a year ago with 27k miles and thus far it's been great; I haul heavy green wood and some dry, handles the load nicely and pull a 28 foot camper trailer around 8k lbs and handles the tow great Especially with the exhaust brake on. City mileage empty is approx 8-14 mpg and highway is about 15-21 mpg empty. Towing on the highway is about 8-14 mpg. No issues thus far and take it on the highway for about 10-15 miles(which I dont mind)to regen/clean out exhaust every 2-500 miles depending on city driving: "The Best Looking Truck " out there

These trucks are so awesome! I really love all the new models that are coming out. My husband is a full out truck man and I love all the new trucks he is always getting. The truck body is always changing and becoming new and exciting designs. Thanks for sharing these pictures and information!

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