|Positives: Tremendous power and capacity, colossal amounts of room and palatial comfort, excellent huge 12" split-screen infotainment system, Laramie Longhorn leather seating is uniquely styled.
|Negatives: Choppy ride when unladen, looks and is giant no matter how many curves you put on it.
|Bottom Line: If you need to move a lot, the 3500 is the dually to get thanks to its power, size, and easy driving manners. It's the best HD truck to get right now.
Although we didn't get the monster Cummins turbodiesel engine, the Hemi V8 is plenty powerful. We also don't expect something this massive to be easy to drive, relatively speaking, of course. But the 3500 is one of the easiest HD trucks to helm.
Ride Quality: Our tester was unladen during testing, which equated to a choppy ride (typical for a dually. This is where it gets dinged a little, but for the segment it's par for the course.
Acceleration: The throttle response is very good, and the big 3500 moves well for its size. It's not as fast as the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel (8.4) seconds.
Braking: The brakes work well, and we had no trouble stopping with it unladen. Brake pedal feel could be better, but it'll do for a truck this size.
Steering: Steering is decently weighted but lacks any semblance of feel.
Handling: The 3500 is tall but manages corners well for having a high center of gravity.
The in-car tech in the 3500 is excellent. Our tester came with the huge 12" touchscreen, which is almost necessary for a vehicle that's big on everything. It also has the right features for a dually in terms of towing technology. It's big demerit is the optional blind spot detection, something imperative for a truck this wide.
Infotainment System: The optional 12" Uconnect screen is perfect in portrait mode. The screen is clear, vivid, and responds well to inputs. We also love the split screen capability that prevents you from having to toggle between functions while driving.
Controls: All the controls work remarkably well. Big knobs and buttons for audio and climate, as well as the towing controls. The rotary shifter is also quite good, one of the better ones we've come across.
We can't call the 3500 attractive (most HD trucks of this size are just plain huge), but it gets by with some fancy front fascia styling, and nice curves in the body. The interior is where the 3500 shines in this trim with some of the most unique and posh trim we've seen in a a pickup truck.
Front: We're not huge fans of huge amounts of chrome, but the 3500 looks like a Kenilworth semi with this big shiny maw. The whoel front fascia is pretty much chrome.
Rear: The contouring in the tailgate adds character, but we don't like the taillight pattern. The huge 3D Ram logo looks great here.
Profile: It looks conventional from this view, and DAMN this thing is long.
Cabin: We don't frequent rodeos, but this Laramie Longhorn interior is awesome and unabashedly western in its execution. Great leather patterns, textured faux wood trim, and even storage saddle buckles make it a great place to pass the time.
Our Crew Cab 3500 isn't the biggest one (there's a Mega CAb), but it's still huge inside. If ever there was an example of how much pickup trucks have gone upscale, our Laramie Longhorn is it. But it's not just the appointments but the overall layout, seat comfort and space.
Front Seats: The big plush seats are very supportive with some of the best bolstering we've seen in a pickup truck. The seating position is also very good, and the adjustable pedals and steering column help you attain an excellent driving setup.
Rear Seats: Ample letgroom, shoulder room, and headroom make the 3500 Crew Cab great for passengers.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): You can hear the big HEMI when it's working hard, but vehicle is pretty quiet on road. Higher speeds add some wind noise, but it's well-managed.
Visibility: The long rear bed and the tall hood make driving in tight spaces rough, but the large glass and numerous cameras help visibility.
Climate: Huge vents, a quick-responding system, and great heated/cooled seats help make the cabin very comfortable in a hurry.
Typically, heavy duty trucks don't get tested for safety, but at least the 3500 has some good safety features and tech. Again, we lament the fact that it doesn't get standard blind spot monitoring, an absolute necessity for a truck like this.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: The Longhorn Laramie only comes with a ParkSense Park Assist System (but it's pretty important for this big rig) and rearview camera.
Optional Tech: Although the Safety Group is well under a thousand dollars, it includes some good equipment such as an Adaptive Cruise Control, Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning, and that all-important Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection.
To call this thing large inside is a serious understatement. The 3500 is capacious in the cabin and in the huge long bed configuration.
Storage Space: Where to start. The big center armrest can hold a full-sized laptop, and the sliding center console compartment doors open up to a large storage space. Door pockets are deep and long, and there's even a great top tray in the dash.
Bed Size: The long bed is gigantic at 8 feet in length. Ours had the tonneau cover, which kept things more private for cargo but limited hauling capacity.
The V8 is on the thirsty side, and since the 3500 is heavy at over 5,000 pounds, the gas mileage never made it into the double digits for combined highway and city driving. That being said, there are ZERO expectations for something this size to do well with efficiency.
Observed: 8.9 mpg
Distance Driven: 63 miles.
Our tester came outfitted with an optional $3,495 package that included the excelelnt 17-Speaker Harman Kardon Premium Sound System that's mated to the big 12" touchscreen. Sound quality is fantastic, and it's a great system that's worth the upgrade.