It’s not often a heavy-duty truck wins Motor Trend’s prestigious Truck of the Year award, but then again, the 2020 Ram 2500 is not your average truck. While other truck manufacturers are still chasing max towing capacity, the 2020 Ram 2500 focuses on what truck buyers really need: real-world performance, capability, and versatility; and what they didn’t know they need: luxurious features and civilized driving manners. The 2020 Ram 2500 has it all. Its combination of luxury and muscle balance the needs of truck buyers better than any other truck on the road. Last year it was the Ram 1500 that took home the award; this year, the heavy-duty Ram took home the honors.
There’s a reason the recent-generation Ram trucks are dominating the awards. They are great to drive both on-road and off-road, they’re loaded with the latest safety tech, are eminently capable on the job site, and feature unmatched engineering. Motor Trend’s criteria for the award is based on design advancement, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and performance, categories in which the Ram 2500 excels.
“Ram Heavy Duty is Motor Trend’s 2020 Truck of the Year because it delivers unmatched performance, capability, and style to the ultra competitive truck segment,” said Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Edward Loh. “Engineered for work and play, Ram 2500 and 3500 reward true truckers with unflappable powertrains, sumptuous, high-tech interiors and a range of thoughtful utility features. Congratulations to Ram for back-to-back Truck of the Year wins.” But this is nothing new for Ram, having won the award five times in the last decade. So what separates the 2020 Ram 2500 from the rest of the pack? Let’s take a look at what the Ram 2500 brings to the road and why no other truck on the market can beat it.
The 2020 Ram 2500 can max-out at 19,370 pounds in towing capacity, while the Ram 3500 can tow up to 35,100 pounds. For a three-quarter-ton truck, that’s a lot of weight, more than you will probably ever need. Keep in mind that if your combined weight—truck and trailer—exceeds 26,000 pounds, you should have a commercial driver’s license. A 2020 Ram 2500 weighs up to 7,431 pounds, so you’re already pushing up against the threshold.
The base engine for the 2020 Ram 2500 range is a 6.4-liter V8 generating 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. This engine has a cylinder deactivation feature, which helps improve fuel efficiency, as well as a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. This is a great engine with plenty of power to take on just about any job. With the standard V8 engine, Ram heavy-duty trucks can haul up to 3,240 pounds and tow 14,370 pounds. So, even with the base engine, you will be able to haul and tow heavy loads.
The other option is a diesel, and this is where the numbers approach class-leading capability. The Cummins 6.7-liter inline-6 turbodiesel makes 850 lb-ft of torque and 370 hp. With this engine, the Ram 2500 increases its max payload to 4,520 pounds and max towing capacity to 19,370 pounds. No matter which engine you choose, you are sure to have enough power for just about any job.
A Suspension to be Admired
Heavy-duty trucks generally feature stiff suspensions to deal with the heavy payloads expected of them, which often translates into a rough ride. The 2020 Ram 2500, however, features two suspension options that feature best-in-class ride quality while still offering impressive capacities for payload and towing: a five-link coil system and optional air suspension. The five-link coil design allows for better load carrying while also improving handling and ride quality. The air suspension improves on this even more and can be raised and lowered depending on your needs. Also, introduced for the 2019 model year was Frequency Response Damping shocks, which work with the five-link coil springs to further improve ride quality when the Ram 2500 is empty or loaded.
Excellent Interior and Tech
One of the reasons the Ram 2500 is so well regarded, outside of its ample power and workhorse mentality, is its luxurious and tech-savvy cabin. The materials are all high-quality, such as real wood and metal, making it the best interior in the segment with luxury detailing, surprising comfort, and a modern design. The highest trim even features gold trim on the dash, doors, and gauges.
Storage is also an impressive aspect of the Ram’s interior. A large center console can be configured 12 ways to maximize storage, the rear seat can be folded up, and there are two Ram Bins on Crew Cab models that are hidden from view in the floor—all of this equates to 258 liters of total storage space. With such innovative use of space, you will never run out of room for your gear and tools.
Tech is another area where the 2020 Ram 2500 excels. With three 3-prong/115-volt outlets that can handle up to 400 watts to charge tools, a best-in-class 12-inch touchscreen, navigation, a 4G LTE mobile hotspot, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, you will be able to stay connected and powered-up wherever you go.
Standard safety features on the Ram 2500 include six airbags, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and a rearview camera. Other features include an auxiliary-camera system that shows what’s behind the trailer where both the regular side mirror and the tow mirror are power-adjustable. Trailer tire-pressure monitoring and enhanced blind-spot monitoring are also available to ensure a hassle-free towing experience.
Other driver-assist and safety features include a cargo and a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitors, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, and active lane control. If you are looking for the latest in advanced safety features, the 2020 Ram 2500 has you covered, as the Safety Group package is available on all models. Another feature that should be mentioned is the smart diesel exhaust brake. This comes standard with the diesel engine and controls your speed when going downhill without stressing your brakes, which is especially useful when towing a trailer. With some or all of these features, the Ram is an extremely safe truck.
Some of the new features for the 2020 model year include a new Night Edition for the Big Horn and Laramie models, which includes black stylings and 20-inch alloy wheels. Lane-keep assist is also new for the 2020 mode year in that it is available on all models, as well as adaptive steering and blind-spot monitoring. And if you are looking for a 50-gallon fuel tank, crew cab models with an 8-foot bed are now available with this feature. Also new for 2020 is an auxiliary camera system, which supports up to two cameras. With updates like these every year, Ram never fails to add news things and impress drivers.
Truck of the Year
With the best interior in its class and smoothest ride quality, the 2020 Ram 2500 is a luxury pickup with the towing and hauling capability of a semi-truck. The Ram 2500 has the muscle, with 850 lb-ft of torque, to get the job done, and the cabin of a luxury sedan, to make any family comfortable. It’s the perfect all-around vehicle—with the finesse of a daily driver and the power to get the job done. And that’s why it’s the truck of the year, because it does everything a truck should do, and everything you wouldn’t expect a truck to do.