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July 8, 2011

Driving the Longhorn Ram

Wanna make a statement? Get one of these: the Ram 3500 Crew Cab, Laramie Longhorn Edition. It’s big, it’s brawny, and at the curb it says this trucker has style and can afford to pay for it. At just a few dollars shy of $60,000, it’s an expensive vehicle. But however you measure it – by weight, by area on the parking lot, by acreage of tooled leather, by bragging rights – this is something of a bargain.

That sticker price buys you a Cummins ISB diesel, a dually rear axle with sexy fender curves that are a delight to look upon in the rear-view mirrors. It buys a generous crew cab that, by the way, could handle a mounting block to get up into, but an interior that looks and smells like the Wild West.

Let me rephrase that, like the genteel parts of the Wild West: leather, fine carpets, rear seat video, superb stereo, all kinds of personal music options, navigation, and an unbelievable amount of space to stretch out and enjoy the comfort.

This is a big cab ‒ four doors, legroom that doesn’t quit. You could put the Duke back in the rear seats and never hear a word of protest. And you could put all the tack in the bed with acres to spare. This Longhorn is one big truck.

In fact, if it has a drawback, it’s that it’s just so big in the wheelbase that it’s tough to park in a shopping mall. It’s also so tall on its rugged suspension that there are parking structures that will challenge your entry. So this is the pickup for the wide, open spaces.

But if you’re towing a boat or a fifth wheel out there in those wide open spaces, then this is the one for you. The suspension – especially at the rear – is a little lively with no payload. I suspect putting a ton on the rear axle will see things in an entirely different light. And that’s why you want the Cummins diesel under the hood.

It’s a six cylinder 6.6-liter diesel engine of impeccable heavy-duty heritage that just doesn’t know how to quit. Over in Europe and down into Turkey, this engine pulls tractor-trailer rigs around at the same weights that North American truckers use the ISX at 15 liters. And not only is the little Cummins an engine that will pull a big boat, huge camper or multi-horse trailer, it’ll do it for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of miles.

But you gotta keep your foot out of it. At speeds up to 65 mph, it’s relatively economical – if your relative owns an oil well. If you push it along at 70+ mph as we did to and from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it’ll reward you with about the same mileage as a big gasoline V8 – in the Ram’s case, a Hemi – under the same conditions: 14 mpg. But give it a break and the mileage will quickly climb into the high teens.

The Longhorn Ram – notice it’s no longer a Dodge – is not about initial price or fuel mileage. It’s about work to be done. The deliverable is that it gets it done with a style and comfort that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere, You can bring the team on board, let them relax in the lap of luxury, then set them to work on the ranch.

Or on Rodeo Drive.

The Longhorn is equally at ease in either situation.


  1. Any task is easily handles with the Laramie Longhorn, even I am looking for one of these to have it, most probably the next year I am getting it.

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