Driving Notes

2017 Ram 2500 Tradesman

April 8, 2017

by Mike Antich - Also by this author

Photo by Mike Antich.
Photo by Mike Antich.

I recently had the opportunity to test drive the 2017 Ram 2500 Tradesman Regular Cab 4x2 long box. The truck is geared to fleets that want a low-cost work asset without the extraneous bells and whistles. It is a no-frills, utilitarian pickup with hand-cranked windows, manually adjusted seats, hand-adjusted driver- and passenger-side mirrors, and manual door locks. This doesn’t mean it is devoid of driver amenities, it does offer air conditioning, radio, a USB port, a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, and behind-the-seat storage bins.  

My key takeaway from the test drive evaluation was the impressive power of the 6.4L Heavy Duty HEMI V-8 engine. It is capable of generating a muscular 410 hp and 429 lb.-ft. of torque that can handle the toughest fleet job. But it doesn’t just deliver brute power, it does so in a fuel-efficient manner using cylinder deactivation or “Multi Displacement System” (MDS), which turns off the fuel in four of the eight cylinders when the extra power is not needed. Adding to the HEMI’s fuel efficiency is that it is mated a six-speed automatic 66RFE transmission whose additional gears enable maintaining an optimal engine speed during variable driving conditions, which  minimizes fuel consumption. In addition, the engine runs on less expensive 89 octane gasoline. It has a 32-gallon fuel tank that allows the freedom of an expanded work radius.

The engine is designed for durability, torque, and fuel economy, while working with heavy loads, such as trailering. The Ram 2500 Tradesman is up to the task and is equipped with a trailer tow with four-pin connector wiring.

During my driving evaluation, the engine performance was very impressive, with almost effortless acceleration to pass vehicles during freeway driving. On the other end of the spectrum, it offers excellent low-speed throttle response.

Ample Safety Features

Photo by Mike Antich.
Photo by Mike Antich.

While the Ram 2500 Tradesman offers basic driver amenities, it doesn’t skimp on safety equipment. It is equipped with electronic stability control and has a 4-star rollover rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that ranks the risk of rollover in a single-vehicle crash.

Another safety feature it offers is anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes.

It is also equipped with advanced multistage front airbags, supplemental side-curtain front airbags, and supplemental front seat-mounted side airbags.

In addition to safety equipment, the cab interior is ergonomic friendly to accommodate the wide variety of physiques found with today’s drivers. For smaller stature drivers or those who are heavy set, the tilt steering column allows drivers to adjust it to their preference. To facilitate ingress into the cab there are driver and passenger assist handles. For taller or shorter drivers, there is a height-adjustable front shoulder belt.

In addition to safety features, the model I drove included the Sentry Key Theft Deterrent system. The pickup also is equipped with a locking liftgate.

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Amy Winter-Hercher

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Amy is an associate editor for Auto Rental News and Business Fleet.

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Andy Lundin

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Andy Lundin works on Automotive Fleet and Fleet Financials.

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Chris Brown

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Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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Eric Gandarilla

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Eric Gandarilla works on Automotive Fleet and Fleet Financials.

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Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Paul Clinton

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Paul is the senior web editor for Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, Government Fleet, Green Fleet, Vehicle Remarketing, and Work Truck. He has covered police vehicles for Police Magazine.

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Thi Dao

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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