Test Drive: Ram Big Horn heavy-duty truck is a real load

Test Drive: Ram Big Horn heavy-duty truck is a real load

May 31st, 2019 by Mark Kennedy in Business Around the Region

The 2019 Ram 3500 Big Horn can tow up to 16,480 pounds.

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.

The 2019 Ram 3500 has loads of creature comforts.

The 2019 Ram 3500 has loads of creature...

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.

For the first couple of days after it arrived, I just gazed at the gigantic 2019 Ram 3500 Big Horn Crew Cab in our driveway with a sense of amusement.

It was so big that it relegated a couple of our personal cars to the street. Before I even drove the behemoth six-wheeler, I had to mentally calculate where I could, and couldn't, safely take it.

The W road down Walden's Ridge was out. Maybe a skilled heavy duty truck driver could negotiate the switchbacks, but not me. I wasn't willing to risk scratching the Del Monica Red Pearl paint. Even driving it down the front of Signal Mountain, where the shoulder ranges from slim to none, was an adventure. I was at constant risk of dropping half of the rear axle off into a ditch.


* Model: 2019 Ram 3500 Big Horn Crew Cab

* Exterior color: Delmonico Red Pearl

* Interior color: Black

* Engine: 6.4-liter heavy-duty V8

* Horsepower: 410

* Transmission: 8-speed automatic

* Fuel economy: N/A

* Local Dealer: Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, 2120 Chapman Road

* Price (as tested): $57,065

The Ram 350 with the dual-rear-wheel set-up is about a foot wider in the hips that a regular Ram. That doesn't sound like much, but when you are mentally mapping the truck's dimensions it stays on your mind.

I even had to do some mental calculus before taking the Ram 3500 Big Horn Crew cab over the Market Street Bridge. Would it swallow up two lanes, I wondered? The answer: yes it does. Or at least it intimidates other drivers enough that they hang back.

All this is to say, if you're thinking about a Ram 3500 Big Horn dually as family transportation, please think it through. On the other hand if you frequently haul heavy loads over long distances, this might be the truck of your dreams.

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Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat, at 2120 Chapman Road, is your local source for Ram trucks. A scan of the store's digital inventory late this week listed 23 Ram 3500 trucks, including a selection of Big Horn dually versions such as our tester.


View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy

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The Ram 3500 Big Horn is a heavy duty truck with a 6.4-liter, eight-cylinder engine that makes 410 horsepower. It's also available with a turbo-diesel engine that can pull up to 31,210 pounds.


Our tester, with a host of options, rings up at $57,065, which sounds like a lot. But if you think of it as being priced by the pound, like hamburger meat, it's really not that much. Seriously, it's a bargain for those with very specific — and aggressive — towing needs.


Throughout its one-week stay, we kept a log-book of impressions. Among the things on our "like list" are its intimidating fascia, oversized side mirrors, quiet ride, padded cabin surfaces, abundant USB ports (even in the back seat) and large, second-row seats.


Some of the drawbacks of the RAM 3500 are its cloth seats, rotary gear shifter, lack of running boards, two-wheel-drive set-up and short middle seat in the back.


If it weren't for parking and maneuvering in tight spaces, the Ram 3500 would be a breeze to drive. The drivetrain is quiet and responsive. The interior has much of the same quiet isolation found in the smaller Ram 1500 trucks, which we find irresistible.


For people with big checkbooks and big loads to haul, the Ram 3500 Big Horn is a stalwart choice. For those of us with more modest hauling needs, smaller Rams are more appropriate.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.