2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab 2500

There are big vehicles, really big vehicles and then there’s the Dodge Ram Mega Cab – it’s a freaking monster! Aside from stretching a time zone or two from bumper unto shiny bumper (it’s 6,297-mm long and rides on a massive 4,077-mm wheelbase), it’s the ride height that makes it feel so large – then again anything that puts the hood line at shoulder height is bound to feel big.

The height thing led to an odd test week: In order to get my daughter into her safety seat, I had to stand on a milk crate, and I’m 5-foot-10. Then, when it snowed trying to clear the upper reaches of the windshield proved to be an impossible task, even when hoisted high on said crate. Don’t even think of clearing the snow off the roof.

However, with this size come some advantages that outweigh these inconveniences. After scaling the heights to the driver’s seat and getting comfortable behind the wheel the likable aspects flood to the fore – you can see over every other car on the road while looking the driver of a semi in the eye. It also proved to be a wonderful tool for clearing the fast lane of those ninnies that loaf along at one kilometre and hour under the speed limit. Seeing Dodge’s crosshair grille and oversized Ram looming large in the rearview mirror made them scurry like roaches exposed to
sunlight. It was simply marvelous.

Size also means that, unlike many so-called extended cabs, there is a ton of room in the back seat – try 1,123-mm of legroom, which is 82-mm more than the front seat riders enjoy – and there’s enough width (2,022-mm) to accommodate three adults in complete comfort. Likewise, there’s much more flexibility than usual. With the rear seat in the upright position there’s 7.6 cubic feet of storage space behind it. Fold both halves of the 60/40-split seat down and you reveal 2.31 square-metres of flat floor and 71 cu. ft. of cargo space, and you haven’t even started to load up the box. More importantly, all this space is easily accessed and loaded thanks to extra wide rear doors (876-mm) that open to a full 85-degrees.

As for the box, well, the length of the cab limits it to 6-foot-4, although it does stretch out to 8-foot-3 when the tailgate is dropped down. In keeping with the cab, the box has all the mod cons – plenty of tie-downs, a fitted bed liner and cutouts designed to accommodate 26 boards, which allow the space to be sectioned off and adds two-tier storage when needed.

The Mega Cab can also be loaded to the nines if desired – to the tune of $15,535 in the case of the tester. Now this brings everything you expect to find in a top-notch luxury car. Full leather with heated front seats, power everything including a large sunroof and adjustable pedals, dual-zone climate controls, supplemental side air bags, a top-draw navigation system and an in-car entertainment system with wireless headphones. Opulent only begins to describe the comfort and convenience.

It’s also laid out in a logical fashion with everything falling readily to hand – may not seem like much, but it would have been very easy to put stuff well beyond normal reach because of the expanse of real estate that forms the instrument panel.

The other items worthy of note are the side view mirrors. These things a large and feature convex mirrors in the outside top corner, which eliminates all blind spots and makes backing this monster into a confined space a simple matter.

Obviously, having to motivate 3,318 kilograms of truck takes a lot of power. The Mega Cab has it in spades. The 5.7L Hemi and its 345 horsepower is good, the 5.9L Cummins turbo-diesel is better. This thing twists out 325 hp and a stump-pulling 610 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm! Breathe on the gas and the diesel lumbers forward without paying the slightest to the mass it’s motivating. Mat the gas and the Cummins goes from a tough workhorse capable of pulling a 5,874-kilogram trailer to plain fast – this thing hauls its way to 100 km/h 9.4 seconds and will do the 80-120 km/h passing maneuver in eight seconds flat.

Over the course of a week, I came to appreciate the combination of power and fuel economy. While an average of 16.7 litres per 100 kilometres does not sound like much, it whips its gas-powered counterparts – a recent test saw a Ford F150 guzzle its gasoline at just over 20 L/100 km.

The turbocharged power is relayed to the road through a four-speed automatic, a 4:10 rear axle and a part-time, shift-on-the-fly, four-wheel-drive system. Under normal circumstances, this is where I’d whine about the part-time nature of the system. However, given that this is a heavy-duty workhorse where towing capacity and brawn are more important that the ability to drive all four wheels all the time, I’ll let it slide.

As for ride and handling, both aspects are true to the heavy-duty truck. In order to support its payload, the suspension has to be on the stiff side – the Mega Cab is firm but not to the point where it becomes a pain. Likewise, the size of the vehicle makes a faster corner very much a tiptoe affair. That said, the Mega Cab handled better than any truck tested before it. The most likable trait being the connect feel the steering imparts – most trucks feel as though there is a length on knicker elastic somewhere between the steering wheel and the steered wheel.

It goes without saying that the Dodge Ram Mega Cab 2500, heavy-duty truck in every sense of the term, is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea.

However, if you need to tow a fifth wheel and want to do it in style this truck does it better than any of its peers.

Type of vehicle: Four-door, six-passenger truck
Engine: 5.9L, turbocharged inline-six diesel
Power: 325 hp @ 2,900 rpm, 610 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: Four-speed automatic
Brakes: Four-wheel discs with ABS
Tires: 265/70R17 light truck tires
Base price/as tested: $47,665/$63,200
Destination charge: $1,225
Fuel economy, L/100 km: N/A
Equipment as tested: Dual-zone climate control, power locks/windows/mirrors/moonroof and adjustable pedals, cruise control, AM/FM/six-disc CD/MP3 player with seven Infinity speakers, GPS navigation system, DVD-based in-truck entertainment system with wireless headphones, leather seating, trip computer/outside temperature/compass readouts