Ram Commercial Truck recently put its entire lineup to the towing test. Photo: Chris Wolski
Over the past year, one of the recurring themes for Ram’s commercial products has been “capability.” This is particularly the case when company officials have talked about towing. The automaker recently put its claims about its products’ towing ability to the test during a heavy hauling event at the Chrysler Proving Grounds.
And, it’s no claim. Putting its entire commercial product line from the ProMaster City to the 5500 Chassis Cab on the line, each truck delivered.
Loads ranged from a 2,000-pound trailer hauled by a 2016 Ram ProMaster City to a 31,135-pound loaded trailer hauled by a 2016 Ram 3500 SLT Regular Cab Long Box.
No matter the vehicle or the load, the results were the same, an easy drive around the proving ground. In every case, I almost forgot I was hauling thousands of pounds behind me.
For the heaviest load, the diesel engine in the Ram 3500 had to work a bit to get the 31,000-pounds moving, but once it got up to speed, it purred along, handling the closed road course as if it was unencumbered. Most surprising for me was the capability of the Ram ProMaster City. I wouldn’t have even thought of towing anything with it, but the fact that it did so with ease, shows what it could do if a service provider needed to haul additional equipment to a job in a pinch.
Not all of the vehicles were tested pulling a trailer, several of the vehicles, including a Ram 3500 SLT Regular Cab 4X4 and the Ram 5500 Chassis Regular Cab (with a dump bed upfit), carried heavy loads in their beds. Again, they functioned as well as if they had no cargo in them.
While many of these loads would have required the driver to have a CDL to operate the vehicle on a public highway, one of the things that impressed me most about all of the Ram Commercial vehicles was how easy they were to drive while loaded or attached to a trailer. This isn’t to say that I’d have the confidence or skill required to drive in a “live” highway situation, but what it demonstrates on the capability front is how easy it would be for a skilled, CDL driver to sit behind the wheel and operate the vehicle and get the job done, putting a fleet manager or risk manager’s mind at ease and contributing to the bottom line.
In terms of fleets, what the event clearly demonstrated was how far pickups have come (it didn’t hurt that we had the opportunity to drive pickups from the 1940s and 1960s as a kind of evolutionary comparison). These are capable vehicles in every way and shows that fleet managers have options across the board when needing to spec a vehicle that may have function as a service vehicle most days, but has to occasionally carry or tow a heavy load.