ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thinking about buying a fifth-wheel camper for family vacations this summer? Then this could be the truck for you.
The 2018 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4×4 Long Box (whew!) exemplifies the very definition of heavy-duty when it comes to pickup trucks. It’s huge, long and wide. And strong. Really strong.
Particularly when equipped with the optional ($8,700) 6.7-liter Cummings Turbo Diesel inline six-cylinder engine. Ram can claim the highest torque rating in its class, a monstrous 930 pound-feet. That’s enough pulling power to handle up to 30,000 pounds of fifth-wheel home-away-from-home. Paired with the available AISIN six-speed automatic transmission, all that grunt comes on low in the rev range, where it’s most needed for hauling and towing.
The turbo diesel even includes a two-mode diesel exhaust brake to help control the vehicle’s speed when going downhill, just like the interstate-clogging tractor-trailer rigs.
Adding more muscle to our tester’s capabilities was its optional ($3,695) Max Tow Package featuring an upgraded 30K hitch, fifth-wheel/gooseneck prep and a Rear Auto Level Air Suspension. The driver can select between two ride heights to assure level running no matter the load or terrain.
Four-wheel drive and dual rear wheels add confidence that you’ll get to wherever it is you’re headed, whether with or without bringing along overnight accommodations.
In the interior, there is plenty of stretch-out space for five. In Laramie guise, the big 3500 brings a heaping helping of comfort, with well-padded, supportive seating front and rear. All the modern safety, entertainment and tech features, including a full array of gauges, make an appearance.
And speaking of appearances, a somewhat jarring selection of clashing trims, textures and surfaces tends to detract from the cabin’s coherence.
The hulking truck is a bear to drive in town, given its length-and-breadth dimensions, particularly with its dually rear wheels. Without a load, the leviathan’s ride, even with the air suspension, is pretty darn jarring on all but smooth surfaces.
On the highway, though, the 3500 lopes along casually, the big diesel thumping quietly in the background, as the miles drift past.
The Ram Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4×4 Long Box, whose name is nearly as long as the truck itself, is built to work. And how.