I was told about a test-drive of the new Ram Laramie Longhorn just a few days before the beast was delivered. This vehicle is not shy about its looks, its abilities, or its cowboy make-up. I was definitely excited.
Some might call the aesthetics, accents, and western theme styling a bit excessive or even 'over-the-top.' When you live in an area that derives much of its income from cattle and horses, this truck is considered more of an everyday work truck that just happens to have a bit more excessive luxury features. There is not question that this Ram 3500 is a brute, but highly capable to perform its mission assignments.
The test-drive model was a 2013 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4. That is a mouthful, but fairly well explains and describes this pickup truck. This is no ordinary pickup but one that immediately lets you know it is designed to appeal to the modern-day cowboy who tows and hauls cattle trailers, work trailers, boats, or other large and heavy items. The dual rear wheels were 17 inch by 6 inch Premium Aluminum with 80R17 All-Season Tires. The box, rear fender, and cab featured additional clearance lamps.
As you first approach the Ram 3500, you notice the wide running board step railings that allow you to have sure footing when you swing open one of the four heavy doors. As you slide into one of the seats, you smell the premium brown leather seats that is trimmed with the Longhorn logo and some contrasting stitching. It reminds you a fancy cowboy boots. The storage containers located on the backs of the front seat are not just the typical storage spot to stick folded maps or loose papers. These are made to look like flattened saddle bags with a fold-over and buckled-look cover.
As much as you might like to just sit and enjoy the interior atmosphere, it's what's under the hood that counts the most points. My test-drive model was equipped with a 6.7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine and matched with a heavy duty 6-speed automatic transmission. This is not a V-8 configuration but only has 6 cylinders in a line. That did not prevent its ability to perform, but more than likely helped with the mileage improvement.
The 4x4 system was easy to use, especially if you are on a cattle barn sales lot on a rainy day. Attempting to pull a large trailer with cows or horses, while navigating a muddy parking lot usually presents some problems, but not with this big boy. All I had to do was turn a knob located on the dashboard. Moving it from 2WD to the 4WD or 4WD LOW, sent more power to the rear wheels as well as to the front wheels. The extra traction was needed for the extra heavy load as I slowly pulled out of that muddy parking lot. Once I had cleared the bad area, I switched the knob back to 2WD and I was on my way.
In spite of all the luxury touches and western-cowboy themed inspirations on the inside, this is still a large, heavy-duty truck. It bounces. It tossed me around a little. Items on the seat next to me were thrown to the floorboard. Yet, in spite of that, the chassis felt solid and secure. The steering responded easily and securely.
There is a Uconnect system, complete with a touch screen. Unfortunately, the screen is only reachable by a small person sitting in the middle between the two front seats. I would have preferred the old style with buttons and switches on the steering wheel, which would have allowed me to work the Uconnect without having to stop the truck, unhook my seat-belt, and lean forward to reach the screen.
My test-drive model had an MSRP of $52,990, but it also had a lot of extra options and features. With those and the destination charges added, the bottom sticker price came to $69,485. The window sticker did not list a fuel economy rating. I know other journalists have averaged 13, 14, and even as much as 16 mpg. For my week, ended up at 14.2, but that included about 50 percent highway driving and below the posted limit.
Obviously, I loved this truck. I appreciated the heavy-duty abilities, four-wheel drive capabilities, and western-cowboy theme. The 3500 is the most capable, toughest, and largest of all the pickup trucks offered under the Ram brand name.