There are trucks consumers buy for recreational use, and trucks for serious work chores. To say that the Ram 3500 belongs in the latter category is an understatement.

This particular one is loaded with everything. The window sticker tells the story: “Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 Long Box Diesel.” The end result is a monster 22 feet long, and with the dual rear tires, 8 feet wide. Driving this beast on city streets requires caution. Taking this rig through the narrow fast food drive-thru lane isn’t going to happen, and most automatic car washes won’t allow entry.

Taking corners is a chore, as the wide rear wheels stick out and will destroy anything in the way. The first day, I almost took out my neighbor’s fence and mailbox!

Under the hood, the standard engine is a 410-horsepower 6.4 gas, or diesel rated at 370 hp and 851 lbs./ft. of torque. This has the third option, a heavy-duty diesel cranking 400 hp and a potent 1,000 lbs./ft. of torque. With the gooseneck hitch we had, this truck can tow a whopping 35,000 pounds.

The cost of this motor isn’t cheap, adding $11,795 to the tab. In fact, with all the options, the price soared from the base $34,000 to $86,300! Fuel economy is not listed by the EPA, but we got 10 mpg in city driving and 15 on the freeway with an empty bed. The cost of buying and operating this truck is high, but it is nice to know you are king of the road while doing so.

Next up is the 2020 Ram. A new diesel engine is being introduced, and that is what I ordered. At the last minute, I was told it was not available yet, so I was sent a Ram with the proven gas V8 instead. But I did get a chance to try the new “Multi-function Barn Door Tailgate.” This is a rugged piece of gear, as the factory claims this tailgate can support 1 ton of weight placed on it. Yes, that is 2,000 pounds. It can also open sideways but split in the middle, with two small doors opening in opposite directions. These, along with more interior upgrades, make the new 2020 model worth a look.

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Chad Haire, of Phoenix, test-drives vehicles for this feature.

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