2010 Dodge Ram HD Performance

$12,519 - $23,214

2010 Dodge Ram HD Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Dodge Ram HD was new.


Performance: 8.8

Reviewers like the Ram 2500 and 3500's performance. They are almost unanimous in preferring the diesel engine over the gasoline HEMI V8. And while the Ram HD trucks aren't sharp handlers, they do all right for large trucks. Reviewers are also happy with how these trucks tow and especially like the available exhaust brake system, which helps prevent brake fade when towing. It's something that other trucks in the class don't offer.

  • "The primary goal of the HD this go-around, according to Chrysler, was to become the 'ultimate tow vehicle.' Thus, it is built on a de rigueur fully boxed ladder frame with coil springs up front, but in place of the coil-spring rear end found on the light-duty Ram 1500 are heartier, more conventional leaf springs." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Ram HD trucks are available with two engines. The 2500 comes standard with a 383-horespower 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine that makes 400 pound-feet of torque. Standard on the 3500 and optional on the 2500 is a 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine. The diesel makes 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of tourque.  The diesel comes standard with a six-speed manual, though an automatic with tow/haul mode is available. A five-speed automatic is standard with the HEMI.

Since these are heavy duty trucks, most reviewers recommend the diesel engine, both because it's powerful, but also because it's quiet, clean and efficient. Though diesels sometimes get panned for lacking the horsepower for passing maneuvers on the highway, most reviewers say that it's the case with the diesel in the Ram HD trucks.

Because of their size and weight, the Ram 2500 and 3500 are exempt from EPA fuel economy estimates.

  • "Making all of this heavy hauling possible is an optional 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 that cranks out 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. The standard 5.7-liter V8, rated at 355 hp and 395 lb-ft, is no slouch either, but to fully live up to the truck's heavy-duty classification, you'll want to go with the diesel." -- Edmunds
  • "The trucks come with one of two proven powerful engines, the 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi or the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel, a beef cake of a six-cylinder engine that produces 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. … There's very little with this diesel that feels diesel-ish. It provides excellent pickup onto the highway and enough power to tow a small village. The engines, while not new to the 2500 and 3500, have been tweaked and tuned to provide even more power." -- Detroit News
  • "The engines are predictably gutsy, yet remarkably quiet. The 2500's Hemi V-8 is downright silent in operation when you're not mashing the gas and emits a delicious but still-subdued growl when floored. The Cummins-sourced turbo-diesel that comes with all Ram 3500s, on the other hand, is less than silent, yet is one of the quietest diesels we've ever heard from behind the wheel of a pickup." -- Car and Driver
  • "The turbodiesel 6.7-liter 6-cylinder has good power at any speed. The automatic transmission is quick to downshift. " -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

While they aren't nimble by any means, the Ram 2500 and 3500 get high marks for their ride and handling. Even without a load in the back, most reviewers say that the ride is smooth and that handling is decent for a big truck. The 2500 and 3500 are available with two- or four-wheel drive, which some reviewers tested on snow with good results.

  • "It rolled problem-free through snow and mud. It also behaved well in long-distance, high-speed highway traffic in terms of acceleration and flat-road ride comfort.  But its factory weight -- weight minus occupants and cargo -- is 6,340 pounds. Included in that mass is a traditional truck suspension -- solid live axles front and rear with a front stabilizer bar -- that eagerly transfers the unhappiness of every struck bump and deep pothole to the bottoms and backs of the truck's occupants." -- Washington Post
  • "Even though the 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 was built to tackle demanding pickup duties, it remains comfortably composed in most situations. The ride is firmer than that of its smaller 1500 sibling (which features a trick coil-spring rear suspension), but the 2500's leaf spring rear is as good as it gets among heavy-duty trucks." -- Edmunds
  • "Steering, however, is just as dull and unresponsive right off center as in the 1500, requiring up to 15 degrees of steering-wheel rotation to get those front wheels to bite into a turn (at which point they do abruptly). Brakes are respectable in feel and response, though, considering the mass they are charged with halting." -- Car and Driver
  • "Despite the big engines and leaf spring suspension, the ride was surprisingly smooth and quiet. It still feels big, but it should. It may not be the easiest vehicle to park at a Meijer parking lot, but it can pull a horse trailer across the country. Different cars, different jobs." -- Detroit News
  • "The ride is comfortable over all surfaces. The 2500 rides nearly as well as Ram's light-duty 1500 models. The ride is stiffer in 3500 models, but still comfortable. As with the 1500s, Ram is far too large to be called nimble, but car-like is not a stretch. Body lean is modest in turns. Steering is well-weighted and offers good road feel. Brakes have excellent stopping control and pedal feel is confidently firm." -- Consumer Guide

Towing and Hauling

Both the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 are competent tow and haul vehicles.  If you get one with a diesel engine, you also get an exhaust brake, which can combat brake fade -- a major safety concern when dealing with heavy loads. And available trailer brake control also adds a measure of safety as the driver can use it to control the brakes of the trailer being towed.

The Ram HD trucks have a maximum payload capacity of 5,110 pounds (on the Ram 3500) and a maximum towing capacity of 18,500 pounds. That's just slightly more than the Ford F-350 can handle for towing, but it’s a slightly lower hauling capacity.

  • "The gasoline-powered Ram 2500 TRX4 driven for this column acquitted itself well on uphill drives under load (a payload of 1,673 pounds)." -- Washington Post
  • "Opting for the diesel will also get you an exhaust brake. Typically seen only on big rigs, an exhaust brake provides additional stability and braking power when towing very heavy loads. And those loads can be quite substantial, considering the Ram 2500's maximum tow rating of 13,450 pounds and payload capacity of 3,160 pounds." -- Edmunds
  • "Sure enough, later in the day, when I towed a few thousand pounds, the big Rams never flinched." -- Detroit News
  • "With nearly a full ton of trailer-tongue weight pressing down on its rear, steering precision more or less dropped off a cliff, and the brakes were also rather taxed by the load, which brought the rig to within a few pounds of its 25,400-pound gross vehicle weight limit (up from 24,000 for 2009). In that instance, however, the new exhaust-brake system helped tremendously, preventing us from gaining speed even on serious descents so as to preserve our brake power for when we truly needed it." -- Car and Driver

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