2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie MegaCab
Marc K. Stengel, Wed, 28 Feb 2007 08:00:00 PDT
If GMC's Sierra represents a triumph of patient evolution, Dodge's new RamMegaCab is a mutant freak. It's monstrously huge; seats six; weighs almost6,100 pounds; yet is capable of hauling 2,100 pounds (i.e. up to sixpassengers and payload) even while towing 13,700 pounds more. That's becausethe "Laramie" version I tested incorporated a six-cylinder, 5.9-literturbo-diesel from Cummins. Output is mind-blowing: its 325 horsepower isdwarfed by its 610 foot-pounds. On a damp road, there's so much torque atthat you can almost spin the rear wheels at idle.
"Mega" says everything about this truck. It's mega-long at 21-feet. It'smega-pricey at $42,375 base, $54,250 as tested. (The Cummins is a $5,555option, by the way.) And it's mega-roomy inside the cabin. The front benchsplits 40/20/40 for up to three occupants; the rear bench splits 60/40 forthree folks more. There's so much space in back that there's room for therear seatbacks to recline substantially. The MegaCab's rear mega-doors openalmost 90 degrees, so there's mega-room to load that antique armoire intothe rear with nary a scratch.
The MegaCab Ram is so large it needn't post EPA fuel economy numbers, butyou can bet a combined city/highway average of 15 mpg would make a good day.Still, the powertrain is fantastic: the diesel pulls smoothly through afive-speed auto transmission, and it makes surprisingly little racket.Four-wheel ABS disc brakes are up to date, and optional side airbags forfront and rear are well worth $490.
But I had to supply my own skipper's hat to drive, or better yet, to pilotthe Ram 2500 Mega. You won't be long behind the wheel before you startanticipating buoys instead of stoplights, channel markers instead of lanestripes. A ladder frame as long as that underpinning the MegaCab is going toclatter over bumps no matter how stiff it is. DentuGrip, even for folks withtheir dentistry intact, should be a prerequisite for all backseat passengerswhen potholes are anticipated.
The MegaCab is an engineering marvel. Its cabin is the roomiest to be foundin a truck; and if not overtly luxurious, it's a well-equipped romper room.And the diesel powertrain is marvelously efficient for all the work thistruck can do. But if you have to ask, "What would I do with that muchtruck?" it's clear you really don't need one.
6-pass., 4-door; 4X4, 5.9-liter "Cummins" turbo-diesel 6-cyl., 5-sp. auto;325 hp/610 ft.-lbs.; 15 mpg combined avg. (est.) w/ diesel; payload: 2,098lbs.; tow: 13,700 lbs.; base price: $42,375; as-tested w/ 4-wheel ABS discbrakes, 17-in.wheels, optional side airbags, dual-zone auto HVAC, AM/FM/6CD,40/20/40 front & 60/40 rear seats, GPS navigation: $54,250