Looking to get a new truck this year? Need something big and powerful that can do more than just get the job done? Then you might want to turn your attention to the 2021 Ram 3500. This heavy-duty beast has an optional Cummins diesel engine that now generates a massive 1075 lb-ft of torque. Yeah, you read that right. And its max towing capacity? Why, that has reached the 37,000-pound mark with a gooseneck hitch attached. Just check out everything that the Ram 3500 has going for it and see if perhaps this might be the right heavy-duty pick-up truck for you.
What's New for 2021?
As we already mentioned above, tweaks have been made to enhance the 2021 Ram 3500's performance. Its Cummins diesel engine now generates an insane 1075 lb-ft of torque, and this thing can tow up to 37,000 pounds. On top of all that, Ram has added an available rear-view mirror that shows video feed from a rear-facing camera. Other than that, everything else carries over from the 2020 line-up.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Ram 3500 – The Pros
1. Multiple Configurations
With the 2021 Ram 3500, you get a lot of configuration options. There are three cab styles, two bed lengths, rear- or four-wheel drive, and five trim levels: the base Tradesman (which is essentially the Ram 3500's work truck), Big Horn, Laramie, Longhorn and the line-topping Limited, which comes with an array of luxury-oriented features. You can opt for the standard V8 engine or get the Cummins 6-cylinder diesel engine, which also has a higher output variant that gets that 1075 lb-ft of torque. You essentially get to make the Ram 3500 what you need it to be.
2. The Cummins Diesel Engine
We really have to shine the light on the Cummins diesel engine option here. It is a stand-out performer. Moving a massive truck like this ain't easy, but the 6-cylinder diesel does so with sheer resilience and smooth power delivery. Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, power gets sent to the wheels with unprecedented delivery. That 1075 lb-ft of torque is something you cannot find in any other truck, and it sets the bar extremely high for Ram's competitors. The V8 is respectable enough, but we recommend opting for the diesel instead.
3. Easy Maneuvering
A vehicle as large as the 2021 Ram 3500 should drive more like a small boat. But the 3500? It cruises along with ease. You will likely be surprised at how responsive the steering system is to your inputs and how easy it makes maneuvering this vehicle through tight spaces. Not too many full-size trucks have this nimble feel to them.
4. A Quiet Ride
For the most part, the 2021 Ram 3500 has a cabin that remains tranquil. You can even take her up to speed on the highway and not have to crank your music up just to hear it. The cabin is well insulated from engine, road, and wind noise, and whatever does get in is only minimal. Nothing comes off as being invasive.
5. A Smooth Ride Quality
The Ram 3500's standard suspension provides plenty of ride comfort. Opting up for the load-leveling adaptive air suspension really boosts the Ram 3500's ride quality to an unparalleled comfort level. Even without it equipped, you get one smooth, cozy ride quality from the standard, rather compliant suspension. But the load-leveling suspension really hammers it home.
6. A Refined Interior
It used to be that pick-up trucks were meant for pure practicality, not creature comforts. Oh, how the times have changed! The higher up in trim levels you go, the fancier things get inside of the 2021 Ram 3500. Upgrading a few trims to the Laramie snags you leather upholstery (which is both gorgeous and breathable, by the way), as well as a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and a 10-speaker sound system. Refined? Oh yeah, we think so. Ram is definitely keeping up with the times.
7. Easy-to-use Controls
We know that the 3500 is tech-heavy, but the controls are all laid out in a logical manner along the dash. Everything you need is placed within your grasp with many controls being mounted onto the steering wheel for easier access. The labels are all obvious, and nothing looks cluttered or awkward. Everything works as it is supposed to, too. You don't have to be a tech wiz to understand the innards of this cabin. Just spend a few minutes getting yourself acquainted, and you will have it down.
8. A Spacious Cabin
Fore and aft, all occupants inside of the 3500 get a lot of space to themselves. Heads, knees, and feet all fit comfortably inside of the Ram 3500's two rows. Two full-size adults can easily get in and out and sit comfortably for hours in the rear seats. Bonus points if you get those seats with heating! Your passengers will thank you for it. If you have to load child safety seats back there, the LATCH system is super easy to use with obviously placed anchors. With enough space to go around, putting bulky rear-facing seats in the rear is not a hassle.
9. Towing Capacity
Obviously, we have to discuss the 3500's towing capacity. With the ability to tow up to 37,000 pounds now, the 2500 is at the head of the pack. Just last year, the diesel could only tow up to 35,100 pounds. With some tweaks, what a difference a year has made. You will be hard-pressed to find a more capable tower in this segment. The diesel gets it done without losing steam.
10. The Optional 12-inch Uconnect Touchscreen System
Go straight for the 12-inch Uconnect infotainment system. We are serious; it is one of the best systems out there. Its system is one of the most rapid in terms of input responses, as well as being the most accurate and non-glitchy. Its graphics are sharp and clear, and the whole system itself has an incredibly short learning curve.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Ram 3500 – The Cons
1. The Fuel Economy
We're just going to get this out of the way right now. You aren't buying a truck like this because you want to save money at the pump. And, quite honestly, the 3500 doesn't do a terrible job. Real-world tests peg it at 16 mpg combined. That does, however, put it below competitors like the Chevy Silverado 3500HD, which can slot about 2 mpg combined above it. We would say that the 3500 is just breaking average here, which is merely okay. But we certainly do not think there is anything impressive about it, and we cannot consider it as a highlight for the Ram 3500.
2. A Busy Ride Quality When Unladen
You probably know the drill already. When the bed is unladen, you're going to get a busy ride quality. That's par for the course with this segment, and the 3500 is no exception to the rule. Make sure you've got something loaded up back there if you want things smoothed out a little bit. Otherwise, the suspension is going to have a hard time smoothing things out when there is zero payload. This is a truck that is meant to be a workhorse.
3. No Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance
Well, this stinks. While some automakers choose to include complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first few years or x-number of miles, Ram does not. At all. When you need an oil change, you've got to foot the bill for it with your mechanic. New filter? That's on you. Radiator? On your tab. We know, it doesn't make much sense, but this isn't a bandwagon every automaker has jumped on yet.
4. Larger Models Get Cumbersome in Heavy Traffic
Some of the 3500s with heavier curb weights can be cumbersome when you are stuck in heavy traffic flows. The engine options don't do much to help since their abilities to accelerate aren't exactly superb. You might feel like you have to force the 3500 to get going and maneuver through denser traffic, almost as if the truck is not built for that kind of driving scenario.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Ram 3500 vs. 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
The 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500HD is debuting a new gasoline engine that puts forth an amazing amount of torque - enough to rival the Ram 3500. And the diesel engine is stronger than you might surmise just by looking at the numbers it pulls for its horsepower and torque. Towing and payload capacities are high for this vehicle, and there is also a super cool 15-way camera system that helps you get a good view of our trailer. However, this truck has a tall hood on it, which makes forward visibility less than it should be. Also, some of the interior materials seem dated and a bit on the the cheap side of things.
2021 Ram 3500 vs. 2021 Ford F-350 Super Duty
The 2021 Ford F-350 Super Duty is a strong performer for the model year, powered by an optional diesel V8 that is able to muster up a tremendous amount of torque and horsepower. It also puts forth a solid showing when it comes to towing and payload capacity maximums. The cabin is cavernous and, of course, decked out in a lot of high-tech gadgets to keep you both safe and entertained. The truck is also more aerodynamic and lightweight due to its aluminum body material design. On the downside, the F-350 Super Duty can get insanely expensive as you go up in trim levels and tack on options.
The 2021 Ram 3500 runs at the top of the pack this model year thanks to the impressive performance from its Cummins diesel engine. While the V8 puts in a decent effort, it just does not stack up to the diesel. And, in a segment that is all about competition, you have to compete within your own line-up. The 3500 offers a lot of great configurations, but whichever you choose, we recommend powering it with the diesel engine.
• Why buy a 2020 Ram 3500? w/ pros vs cons