RAM 2500 XL: Large and in charge
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Americans love big. A standard size fast food meal comes with a burger bigger than your head and about a gallon of soda to wash it down. Couples live in houses with enough rooms for 12 families and their President has enough ego for an entire country.
Therefore it's no surprise that the already monstrous RAM 2500 is now available in XL - because it really needed to be bigger, right? Well, maybe in the States where all the highways are dead straight lines, but over here in little ole' New Zealand our roads tend to have a few bends.
If you are inclined to upsize your fast food, then the RAM 2500 XL is going to be your cup of tea - your 6.7 litre Cummins Turbo Diesel cup of tea that is.
Everything about this vehicle is large. In fact, if you are not a large person, then you will probably need to pick up a stepladder from Bunnings before you try to get inside.
But such a large vehicle comes with a few problems, thankfully they are not too large, but you need to be aware of them. First, a large vehicle like the RAM 2500 XL takes a bit to stop. Ok, that's probably a big problem, given you are driving nearly 4500kg of truck.
RAM has addressed slowing down by adding exhaust brakes; so you can be like a real truck and make that annoying exhaust brake groan whenever you drive into town. It helps you stop, too.
Speaking of town, the RAM 2500 XL is not really a town-friendly kind of vehicle. Even though it's nice that everyone looks at you; women swoon, small children will scream in delight and men will cast jealous glares at you wherever you drive. But should you wish to park it anywhere, you will be labelled an inconsiderate jerk no matter how hard you try.
If you are angle parking you will have to put the wheels onto the curb so that you don't block the road. Parallel parking is easier because you have a reversing camera and front and rear sensors - hugely necessary - but you will take up two parks. And parking buildings? Forget about it. At 1.97m it's a tight squeeze and manoeuvring inside those "panel beater-approved" central Auckland parking spaces requires several anti-anxiety pills.
The RAM 2500 XL has many extras added on from the standard RAM 2500. Both versions are the top-of-line Laramie models, so expect a high class of interior with heated and vented seats with electrics on both sides.
A little issue, though - although the right hand drive conversion is great, the display panel seat control and the climate control is still set up for a left-hand-drive car.
The XL upgrade has a huge set of all terrain tyres to give it even more muscle than the standard RAM.
You get a bit more control off-road, but I preferred the road tyres to control all that weight. Those AT tyres didn't have enough grip for my liking on the wet tarmac -- and, like most utes without a load, it can be a bit loose in the rear. You also get wheel flares, a fancy chrome grille and a sporty looking bonnet with vents.
Off-road, the massive weight and width of the RAM 2500 creates a few vision issues. Fence posts are too low to see so be careful through the farm gates and make sure the park sensors are on.
Despite those vision problems, it's got more than enough grunt to push through all kinds of terrain -- or simply to push the terrain out of the way.
Despite some issues there are features of the RAM 2500 XL that are freaking fantastic. Traffic islands are all but small obstacles and you can drive in the truck lane at motorway on-ramps. Well, I did. The massive back tray allows a huge payload and as it's more than 2m long, everything will fit there.
It sits three across the front and three in the back with extra large legroom. In fact the back seat folds up and there is space for a single mattress.
But where it's most remarkable is the amount it can tow -- nearly 7000kg. That number blows away those other baby utes when it comes to hauling.
Everything about this truck screams XL. Any nit-picking is countered by providing a gargantuan monster to pull not just your boat or horse float but anything you could ever need to tow on the road ... and probably more.
RAM 2500 XL
Engine: 6.7l Cummins Turbo Diesel
Towing: 6942kg (on the pintle)
Price: $164,990-$5000 more for the XL upgrade.
Cup Holders: 11
Pro: It will tow anything. Great for the ego
Con: It may be a little too big, just a little. Hard work to handle at times