By on February 1, 2006

Big, with no excuses needed. Now git off my cotton picking lawn! A lot of the car industry's heavy hitters are busy talking up small cars. Audi, BMW, Chevy, Ford, SMART, even the Chinese are betting that America's collapsing SUV market will lead to a rebirth of the whole "small is beautiful" shtick. According to this theory, millions of dinky-sized city cars will soon be plying a city street near you; burning less gas, sweetening the air and taking-up less space. Meanwhile, check out the Dodge 2500 Mega Cab 4WD Laramie Cummins Turbodiesel. This sumbitch is BIG, and it don't apologize to no one for nothin', anywho, anyhow.

The Mega Cab's size earns/demands instant respect, but there's more than simple bulk at work. Most of today's pickups are a riot of awkward configurations: quad cab short beds that look ungainly, stepside trucks with misshapen haunches and girlie-man taillights; Heavy Duty Fords with mismatched low bedside height. The Mega Cab is perfect. Its rear doors' extended length combines with the extra C-panel width to create a sublime balance between cab and bed. Add in the obligatory macho design cues (crosshair front grill, flared wheel arches, optional roof lights) and the Mega Cab is a trucker's dream if I ever did see one.

No I ain't no hollow back girl!Inside, Dodge seals the deal. Got a laptop, nail belt, wrenches, candy bars, a notepad and a stack of year-old receipts hanging around? The Mega Cab's armrest will take it all AND it can be folded into a comfortable seat. Is your co-worker a little sweaty? You'll be glad he is waaaayyy over there across the gloriously wide cab. Are the hired hands (or kids) worn out? Let 'em chill in the reclining rear seats and watch the flip-down DVD. (Who in tarnation thought bolt upright seatbacks were acceptable for non-ballet dancers anyway?) Need more storage? Look around. Under the seats. Behind the seats. Kick out the young 'uns, fold the rear seats down and bring the Alpacas in from the cold.

When push comes to haul, the Mega Cab's bed is surprisingly short on answers. While its 2,120 lbs. payload capacity ensures "throw them refrigerators in the back" versatility, the extra cabin space steals nearly two feet from the Quad Cab's 2500's long box. The Dodge Boys' land grab leaves just enough horizontality to haul the usual lifestyle gear (ATV's, trail bikes, skidoos, etc.), and not a penny more. On the upside, if you can't fit your kit topside, 8250 lbs. of towing capacity means no toy left behind.

Lose your key in the rain? You can shelter in those wheel arches.The Mega Cab's 5.9-liter 325-horsepower inline-6 Cummins turbo-diesel has enough power to haul Nevada and tow New Mexico, at the same time. How does 610 pound feet of torque sound? Loud. (You're gonna have to power down at the drive-thru.) How does it feel? Tickle the Mega Cab's go-pedal with your toes and the 6613 pound pickup twists ever-so-slightly around its longitudinal axis. Add a bit more juice and the whole truck lifts and leans forward into the collar. Stomp the throttle and hang on. The Mega Cab's almost as fast as it is big. You will believe a house can fly.

As you'd expect, the Mega Cab's diesel dominates the driving experience. The Cummins powerplant's awesome grunt and sonic aggression provide endless entertainment for hard-core pickup drivers. If you're not partial to that kind of torque tonic, you're bound to find the Mega Cab's constant din and ferocious power pulses a bit… annoying. And that's without considering the money extracted by mileage in the high teens.

A crossgrilled hurricane. The Mega Cab 4X4 has plenty of traction for extraction, but the all-wheel-driver's recirculating-ball steering and a rigid-beam front axle make it more "truck like" than the two-wheel-drive version (with its rack and pinion steering and independent front suspension). But then ultra-quick steering ratios and a hunkered stance are not necessarily conducive to serious hauling and towing. In fact, driving a Mega Cab requires both self-reliance and self-restraint; there's not a lick of traction or stability control to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Truth be known, the Mega Cab's size is it biggest drawback. The Dodge Boy's behemoth stretches over 20.6' from snout to gate; stash one of these bad boys in your family garage and you'll sample tail out action of a different sort. Luckily, it's not hard to park in public. Just park anywhere you damn well please; the Mega Cab's in-yer-face demeanor tells the world "I'm putting her right here 'cause I can't fit in your small-assed spot. You gotta problem with that?" Some will, some won't.

If you care what environmentally-minded folks think about your super-sized pickup truck, buddy, are YOU in the wrong vehicle. But if you believe that bigger may not always be better, but it usually is, a Dodge Ram 2500 4X4 Mega Cab Laramie is an excellent choice. Just try not to run over one of them city cars on your way into town– at least not by accident.

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