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2016 Ram 3500 Overview
In the escalating battle for best towing power among full-size heavy-duty pickup truck manufacturers, the 2016 Ram 3500 is slated to win again--by just 10 pounds. Contributing to this added muscle are a few tweaks to the Cummins turbodiesel’s torque numbers (up to a jaw-dropping 900 lb-ft) and a number of added bolts on the rear axle ring gear on those trims fitted with the 11.8-inch rear axle. But don’t worry! This behemoth returns for the upcoming year with both its traditional complement of posh and its admirable exterior appearance.
Offered in 3 trim levels--the base Tradesman, the up-featured SLT, and the top-shelf Laramie--the 2016 3500 separates further into the SLT-based Big Horn (Long Horn in Texas), the Laramie-based Longhorn, and the ultra-posh Laramie Limited, which remains the flagship trim level.
The upcoming model year will see the return of 3 cab configurations for the 3500: the 3-passenger, 2-door Regular Cab, the spacious 6-passenger, 4-door Crew Cab, and the even roomier 6-passenger, 4-door Mega Cab. Regular cab trim levels will return with the 8-foot bed only, while the Crew Cab iterations will again sport either the 8-foot bed or the standard 6-foot, 4-inch bed, and Mega Cab variations will tote only the standard bed. And depending on the trim selected, the 3500 is again slated to offer either standard single rear wheels (SRW) or heavy-duty dual rear wheels (DRW). All trim levels will return with either standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) or part-time shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive (4WD). The Tradesman and SLT will each sport a manually shifted 2-speed 4WD transfer case, while the Laramie will include an electrical-shift case.
The 2016 3500 lineup is again scheduled to pack a standard 5.7-liter V8 mated with a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Look for 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque from this combination, with towing capacity maxed out at 13,910 pounds. The 3500 also remains eligible for a normally aspirated 6.4-liter V8 powerplant that mates with the 6-speed shiftable automatic for 410 hp (370-hp in Mega cab versions) and 429 lb-ft of torque. Towing capactiy with this up-powered V8 maxes out at 16,370 pounds.
Also available for the upcoming year’s 3500 stable is the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel mill, offered with 3 different transmissions: the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic, an available 6-speed manual gearbox, and an extra-torque Aisin heavy-duty automatic transmission. Expect 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque in 6-speed-automatic-toting versions of the diesel-packing 3500, 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque from manually equipped editions, and 385 hp and that unreal 900 lb-ft of torque when it packs the heavy-duty Aisin automatic shifter. Towing capacity for the 900 lb-ft/torque Cummins-carrying version is a maximum of 31,210 pounds, just beating out Ford’s F-450 and its 31,200 pound tow ceiling. As usual, no EPA fuel-efficiency estimates are available for any of the 3500s.
The entry-level 3500 Tradesman and its SLT sibling will continue to feature 18-inch wheels on its SRW editions, with DRW variants riding on 17-inch rims. Look for a standard limited-slip rear differential aboard all trim levels, a trailer hitch and wiring, and a locking tailgate. The SLT and Laramie boast an integrated trailer brake controller, a sliding rear window (power-sliding in the Laramie), and standard alloy wheels, while the Laramie adds standard power-folding auto-dimming outside mirrors.
Depending on the trim level chosen, look for vinyl, cloth, or leather upholstery, full power accessories (in Crew and Mega Cabs only at the Tradesman level), cruise control, a driver information display, and tilt-wheel steering. Lower trim levels include manual air conditioning, while the top-shelf Laramie sports standard dual-zone automatic climate control. The Laramie is also slated to return with additional features like memory for driver's settings, a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
The Tradesman is again expected to come with a standard AM/FM radio and 4 (Regular cab) or 6 speakers (Crew and Mega Cabs), plus an auxiliary audio input. The SLT adds standard Bluetooth calling, basic Uconnect 5.0 (5-inch color display) infotainment, and standard satellite radio. The Laramie, meanwhile, boasts standard Uconnect 8.4A telematics with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, smartphone apps with WiFi capability, and a 10-speaker audio upgrade.
The various available sub-trims--Big Horn/Lone Star, Longhorn, or Limited--offer packages with high-end features like upgraded and upsized alloy wheels, a spray-in bedliner, GPS navigation, the RamBox cargo management system, power-adjustable pedals, heated rear seats, and remote engine start. Stand-alone options are scheduled to include a power sunroof, a choice of several rear axle ratios, and dashboard-mounted auxiliary switches.
Standard safety equipment expected for the 2016 Ram 3500 (aside from their sheer size), includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, and front (also rear in the Crew and Mega Cabs) head protection airbags. Turn-signal-integrated mirrors and a post-collision safety system also return standard across the lineup, with a security alarm system, cargo-bed camera, and front fog/driving lights available for the higher trim levels. As usual, neither the government nor the insurance industry carries out safety testing on these super-sized trucks.
Drivers of the current Ram 3500 editions are impressed with their towing and payload capacities, and with the posh content found in the higher trim levels. The added towing capacity slated for 2016 should only increase the respect the 3500 receives from those who have to get a big load from here to there, regardless of weather or terrain.
Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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