A grey 2021 Ram 2500 is parked on a dirt road in the mountains after reviewing a Ram buyers guide.

2021 Ram 2500 and 3500 Buyers Guide

Serious work requires serious tools, and the 2021 Ram 2500 and 3500 models bring serious capability and more. This Ram buyers guide will help you better understand the wide range of options available for the heavy-duty Ram models and the impressive capabilities of both vehicles. The heavy-duty Ram trucks are impressively capable in terms of towing and payload capacity, but they are also highly comfortable and productive places to be. The modern heavy-duty Rams have a litany of available amenities, including a 17 speaker premium audio system, a surround-view camera system viewed through the enormous 12-inch interior touchscreen display, power-adjustable pedals, and more.

Maximum Towing

Every heavy-duty Ram can tow several tons of trailered weight without breaking a sweat, but there exist many different options to choose from to get the perfect mix of capabilities for your needs. Lightweight two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive to maximize grip on loose surfaces, tall or short axle ratios to either multiply torque or efficiency, and even completely different rear suspension systems to either boost weight capacity or increase cost-effectiveness.

The Ram 2500, in particular, offers two class-exclusive rear suspension types, including air suspension and a five-link coil spring system. The 3500 uses a Hotchkis Leaf system which is supplemented by an available air suspension system. Overall, the Ram heavy-duty models can be optioned to perfectly suit any towing application, including loads up to 37,100 pounds with the Ram 3500 and up to 19,790 pounds with the Ram 2500.

Easily able to move just about anything that’s mobile, the Ram 3500 can effectively act like a more efficient and lighter-weight semi-truck. The Ram 2500 is lighter and more efficient still and will easily handle almost anything non-commercial on can hook up to it. Every heavy-duty Ram can do serious work, but yours can be perfectly specified to your application.

A maroon 2021 Ram 3500 is parked on a dirt field in the afternoon.

Incredible Payload

The towing capabilities of the Ram 2500 and 3500 are quite something, but their payload capability is just as staggering. Trucks of this type are normally used for towing, but they are more than capable of moving huge amounts of weight in their beds as well. So much weight, in fact, that the vast majority of payloads that would come close to maxing out the truck’s abilities are far larger than the expansive pickup beds themselves.

For example, the Ram 2500 is capable of carrying up to 4,480 pounds of payload, which is more than the curb weight of many current midsize pickup trucks. Even if you opt for the heavier diesel engine, the Ram 2500 can handle up to 3,160 pounds. The Ram 3500 goes even further, with an enormous 7,680 pounds of maximum payload capacity for the gasoline version and 6,840 pounds for the diesel version.

Even for professional applications, this massive amount of capability provides a suitably large buffer to ensure that your tools are never a bottleneck for your productivity. The heavy-duty Ram pickups stand ready to handle any task in any situation. Ram pickups are dramatically overbuilt, ensuring that their frames and beds will last the test of time and be able to deliver that overachieving level of capability for decades to come.

Powerful Engines

The engines that power the heavy-duty Ram pickups are the most stout in the industry, balancing high power, tenacious reliability, and monstrous torque. There are three available engine options, all of which offer this balance of required traits.

These three options are the 6.4 Liter Hemi V8, the 6.7 Liter Cummins Turbo Diesel inline-six, and the more heavily boosted 6.7 Liter Cummins Turbo Diesel High Output. Each engine is specialized to fit a different set of priorities, ranging from efficiency and up-front cost-effectiveness to maximum performance and extreme capability.

The conveniently gasoline-fueled and already tremendously powerful 6.4 Liter Hemi comes standard, and its large displacement and 410 horsepower output provide more than enough power for most operators. The Hemi’s 429 pound-feet of torque is likewise quite capable of towing the loads a non-commercial operator would expect to carry, and also many professional-size loads as well.

For dedicated towing rigs, the Standard Output Turbo Diesel has everything covered. This large 6.7 Liter Cummins combines luxurious smoothness with the tree-uprooting grunt of 850 pound-feet of torque. This is frankly far more torque than even most professionals will ever truly need in the field, which is why it is the perfect amount. Similar to the overbuilding involved in Ram’s heavy-duty structure, this overabundance of torque ensures that the operator is never limited by their tools. The best way to deal with limits is to effectively not have them at all.

Sitting at the top of the Ram engine range, the High Output Turbo Diesel takes the standard 6.7 Liter inline-six and turns up the boost of its turbochargers. Supporting improvements to the engine are included to reliably sustain a maximum of 1,075 pound-feet of torque and 400 horsepower. These figures are frankly extreme, so extreme that they even surpass some entry-level semi-truck engines. The vast majority of heavy-duty Ram operators will never come close to using even a large fraction of this much torque, but for those few who need that level of power, Ram has gone above and beyond. Power is not a problem with the Ram 2500 and 3500.

A white 2021 Ram 2500 is driving through a dusty desert.

Drivetrain Options

Every Ram has the available option of a four-wheel drive system, including the Ram 2500 and 3500. A four-wheel drive system dramatically increases the grip available to propel the vehicle forward. A system such as this is normally not very useful on solid dry pavement, but on loose terrain, having another axle of powered tires can mean the difference between getting a job done easily or potentially having it go horribly wrong. For serious off-road performance, the Ram 2500 Power Wagon combines an improved four-wheel drive system with other off-road modifications.

While there is no off-road version of the Ram 3500, the one-ton truck is offered with the option of a “dually” setup boasting four wheels on the rear axle. When combined with the available 4.10 rear axle ratio for higher torque, this truck will be ready to tackle any job you might have. The optional automatic-leveling rear air-suspension further helps make towing safer and more pleasant.

Interior Amenities

The long hours on the road are made relaxing and even entertaining thanks to the huge variety of interior options available on the heavy-duty Ram pickups. The massive 12-inch multi-functional center display manages vehicle systems and infotainment devices, while Bluetooth can be used to wirelessly and seamlessly connect phones to the audio system. The audio system itself has multiple available upgrades, including 10 and 17 speaker premium audio setups.

While every heavy-duty truck now offers a comfortable four-door crew cab option, Ram goes further with its unique Mega Cab. This option adds even more rear legroom and one-of-a-kind reclining rear seats to keep everyone comfortable on the road. A power-operated sunroof is available, as are heated front and rear seats and a wireless charging pad. Towing items long distance doesn’t have to be draining when you’re in the cozy interior of a heavy-duty Ram.

Go Find Your Ram

The Ram 2500 and 3500 provide far more capability than most will ever need. Which, as most operators would attest, is the right amount of capability. Overkill ensures that no job is too great and no task too large to accomplish with a heavy-duty Ram optioned for the mission. Whether said mission is to tow heavy loads, carry massive payloads, or a combination of both, the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 will deliver every time. Even better, with all the options available, you can build the perfect Ram for your needs.