If GMC's Sierra represents a triumph of patient evolution, Dodge's new Ram
MegaCab is a mutant freak. It's monstrously huge; seats six; weighs almost
6,100 pounds; yet is capable of hauling 2,100 pounds (i.e. up to six
passengers and payload) even while towing 13,700 pounds more. That's because
the "Laramie" version I tested incorporated a six-cylinder, 5.9-liter
turbo-diesel from Cummins. Output is mind-blowing: its 325 horsepower is
dwarfed by its 610 foot-pounds. On a damp road, there's so much torque at
that you can almost spin the rear wheels at idle.
"Mega" says everything about this truck. It's mega-long at 21-feet. It's
mega-pricey at $42,375 base, $54,250 as tested. (The Cummins is a $5,555
option, by the way.) And it's mega-roomy inside the cabin. The front bench
splits 40/20/40 for up to three occupants; the rear bench splits 60/40 for
three folks more. There's so much space in back that there's room for the
rear seatbacks to recline substantially. The MegaCab's rear mega-doors open
almost 90 degrees, so there's mega-room to load that antique armoire into
the rear with nary a scratch.
The MegaCab Ram is so large it needn't post EPA fuel economy numbers, but
you 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 a
five-speed auto transmission, and it makes surprisingly little racket.
Four-wheel ABS disc brakes are up to date, and optional side airbags for
front and rear are well worth $490.
But I had to supply my own skipper's hat to drive, or better yet, to pilot
the Ram 2500 Mega. You won't be long behind the wheel before you start
anticipating buoys instead of stoplights, channel markers instead of lane
stripes. A ladder frame as long as that underpinning the MegaCab is going to
clatter over bumps no matter how stiff it is. DentuGrip, even for folks with
their dentistry intact, should be a prerequisite for all backseat passengers
when potholes are anticipated.
The MegaCab is an engineering marvel. Its cabin is the roomiest to be found
in 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 this
truck can do. But if you have to ask, "What would I do with that much
truck?" 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: 2,098
lbs.; tow: 13,700 lbs.; base price: $42,375; as-tested w/ 4-wheel ABS disc
brakes, 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