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Living the RV Life Requires a Truck to Handle Heavy Towing

A black 2020 Ram 2500 Big Horn Sport is parked on a dirt road with distant mountains after leaving a Ram dealer near me.

 

Are you planning to live the RV life? Ram trucks in 2020 are considered to have the best interior of any on the market today, and the exceptional capabilities of all the Ram heavy-duty trucks are highly acclaimed. With all of the options, Ram offers, choosing one can either feel like being a kid in a candy store or totally overwhelming. If you need a truck that can tow a large trailer, you may not need all the extras on the more expensive trims. In that case, the 2020 Big Horn 2500 may be a great choice to suit your needs. After you learn about this trim level, you may want to run a quick Google search for a “Ram dealer near me” to find this truck and get on the road.

Engine and Drivetrain

If you plan to tow a large trailer, it’s better to go with the diesel engine option. For the Big Horn trim, you can choose the 6.7L I6 Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine for an extra $9,100. This seems like a big price tag, but when towing large or heavy trailers, it’s worth the price to know the diesel will do a better job than a gas engine. Driving long distances will be cheaper in the gas tank if you fill up with diesel rather than gas, but do note that maintaining a diesel engine comes with a high price tag.

When you need to pony up for an oil change, replace filters, and have other work done on the diesel engine, it is far more expensive than a gas engine. In the end, the prices probably even out if you take into account how much more you dump into the gas tank when fueling up at the pump. For those traveling in the Western US, having the diesel engine may be better when you know the gas stations are long distances apart, and you can drive longer distances on your diesel tank.

Choosing the diesel engine will change the transmission to the six-speed automatic, and you’re going to want the engine heater option, too. This is to prevent the fuel from getting too cold when temperatures dip below freezing, but be aware this will require a place to plug in the heater. Again, for some, this may not be worth the trouble, but the towing power you gain from diesel is significant.

Towing

A white 2020 Ram 2500 is towing construction equipment.

With the diesel engine, the Ram 2500 size option chosen here is the crew cab and long box. This is keeping the traveler in mind, and RV life will mean you want the room inside your cab for things you want handy while on the road. The longer truck bed also provides extra space for supplies or equipment you will need while traveling. Depending on whether or not you need the gooseneck prep package, the extra space will be welcome for anything extra, like a toolbox, room for totes, sports equipment, or possibly skirting for your RV to stay warmer in cold weather months.

If you plan to tow a gooseneck trailer, this will take up a majority of the bed space. Instead of the gooseneck, towing a large camper can be accomplished by just adding a ball hitch to the back end, and Ram offers towing brakes and anti-sway as standard with this trim level. The trailer brakes work so well that even mountainous terrain won’t stand a chance against the technology of the Ram truck. With the power of the diesel engine, you won’t believe you have a trailer behind you because the truck is so responsive.

A towing capacity of 19,680 pounds should be plenty for any trailer you may already own or plan to buy. Note that the truck itself has a GVWR capacity of 10,000 pounds, which means that’s how much you can load into the truck itself, including people. Keep in mind that towing does require you to know hitch weight (which is the amount of pressure in pounds the trailer puts on the hitch) and maximum capacity of the trailer so you don’t overload the camper beyond its capacity.

With all this in mind, a larger trailer in the upper range of lengths (up to 38 feet) may have a weight of between 7,500-8,000 pounds dry (with no gear or supplies). Clearly, the towing capacity of the Ram 2500 will be more than enough, even after adding water to the onboard tanks and packing the trailer full.

Another consideration where towing is concerned is the need for the option of having four-wheel drive in case of muddy roads at campgrounds. This is a common issue, especially if you enjoy boondocking in less accessible places. Having four-wheel drive is smart when towing a large trailer of any kind to prevent getting stuck, and this feature can be turned off when not in use to save on gas.

If you’re new to the RV life, you may want to add the Towing Technology group to your truck. This option adds some tech assistance to help make life a little easier when towing, especially if you’re going solo. With this option, you gain powered towing mirrors that fold, a camera view of the truck bed, surround camera views to better see the trailer, trailer reverse guidance (this may be the most valuable of all the options, for those who have ever needed to back up a large trailer), and a blind-spot detection system for trailering.

Unfortunately, this package requires the addition of one of the equipment packages, which is a significant jump in price. You will gain a few nice interior options with those packages. However, if you are brave and willing to go without the extra trailering expenses, you can tow with just the equipment that comes with the truck. Plus, you already have towing mirrors with heating elements equipped, too.

Interior and Infotainment

When you’re on the road for hours, you need a few creature comforts. The infotainment touchscreen that comes standard is only five inches, but you do get voice command, Bluetooth, audio streaming, and a three-month trial of Sirius XM. For practical uses, this is plenty for most people, unless you intend to try streaming video. To add the next infotainment package, it will add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8.4-inch screen, and a year-long subscription to Sirius XM.

Other interior considerations are the steering wheel-mounted controls for cruise control and audio. There are cup holders integrated into the center console (which folds up to become a center seat on the standard model), rear folding seats, door pockets, lifting lid in center console for storage, and a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet. Drivers will also love the rear under-seat storage, center stack drawer, two USB ports, and manually adjustable seats.

The brown interior of a 2020 Ram 2500 Big Horn is shown.

Exterior

The Ram 2500 is a massive truck. If you aren’t very tall, you will want to add on the side steps so you can get into the truck without a ladder or stool. Though you may not want to pay the extra hundred for the wheel-to-wheel step, do it anyway. It’s worth having the extra-long step to be able to reach into the truck bed when you need access to anything back there, rather than having to crawl in through the tailgate. This does add to the overall price, but carrying around a step stool so you can get in and out of the truck is just too much work.

Other noteworthy features are the automatic halogen headlights, which are very bright. For those nights when you arrive at your wooded campground after dark, you’ll have plenty of light on the road. The towing mirrors have integrated signals, you’ll have push-button start, and a number of safety features that come standard. Roll mitigation, stability and traction control, hill start assist, a back-up camera, and tire pressure monitors will all make life easier on the road with your RV. Even in higher winds, this truck manages well.

Summary

When all is said and done, if you go with the diesel engine, the engine heater, and the side steps as the only additions, the price tag comes to around $57,000 before tax and fees of any kind. The other choices mentioned will obviously bring the price up closer to or over $60,000, which is an investment. Still, you won’t find used trucks worth purchasing for a much lower price. When towing a large trailer, you want a truck that makes the job easy. A 2020 Ram 2500 will offer both the comfort of the interior with the tech for trailering that can’t be beat.

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