RAM 2500 vs. RAM 3500

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - June 9, 2020

Some pickups are designed for helping a friend move; others can handle towing the occasional boat or two. Then there are heavy-duty titans like the Ram 2500 and the Ram 3500. These are work trucks through and through, designed for consistent abuse and the heaviest loads.

Is there such thing as too much capability? We put the two head-to-head to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Ram 2500 & the Ram 3500 »

What the Ram 2500 Gets Right

The price gap between these trucks isn’t huge, but the Ram 2500 offers much of the grunt at a lower price. Both trucks start with the same 6.4-liter V8 engine, and both have the option of a 6.7-liter turbodiesel with 850 pound-feet of torque – an upgrade that comes $200 cheaper on the Ram 2500.

Much of the interior is shared as well, but because the Ram 2500 doesn’t have to be rated for such a massive payload, it gets a softer suspension. This means it rides better around town and is a more livable everyday vehicle.

The Ram 2500’s ace is the Power Wagon trim, which the Ram 3500 doesn’t share. The Power Wagon adds 33-inch tires and an upgraded suspension to make the Ram 2500 a true trail-basher.

What the Ram 3500 Gets Right

The Ram 2500 is already a considerable truck, but the Ram 3500 is the top of the line for payload and towing capacity. Where the payload of the Ram 2500 maxes out at around 4,000 pounds, the Ram 3500 can handle up to 7,680 pounds.

The Ram 3500 gets a third engine option as well. It’s another large turbodiesel, but this one makes a whopping 1,000 lb-ft of torque. That’s good for 35,100 pounds of towing capacity – enough to require a commercial license. To get that max towing capacity, buyers will need to add dual rear wheels, another option the Ram 2500 doesn’t share.

Although designed for maximum hauling power, the Ram 3500 remains a pleasant truck on the inside. Upper trims get beautiful leather and wood trim, making the Ram 3500 as capable of luxury as it is utility.

The Right Tool for the Job

Both of these heavy-duty trucks are specialized models. Many buyers won’t need to tow 20,000 pounds, let alone 30,000. For those who truly need the capability, the Ram 3500 is a mighty workhorse. Only the Ford F-350 can claim more torque and towing capacity. For consumers who only need to tow boats and RVs, the Ram 2500 is more livable day-to-day.

Our Verdict: Ram 2500

It’s difficult to declare a winner when these trucks are designed for different duties, but the Ram 2500 impresses with its versatility. From the workhorse Tradesman to the mud-bound Power Wagon to the luxurious Laramie, it offers an excellent blend of capability and livability.

Take a closer look at the Ram 2500 »

Take a closer look at the Ram 3500 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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