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Ram is on a roll when it comes to innovating in the pickup truck segment lately. Adding technologies like an air suspension and offering a diesel half-ton are just a couple of ways Ram is setting itself apart.

New Powerplant

For 2015, Ram added a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 to the options list for its heavy-duty pickup, offering more horsepower and torque than any other gasoline-powered HD on the market. It cranks out 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque that sounds pretty appealing on paper. That’s a full 371 fewer lb-ft of torque than what you get with the 6.7L Cummins diesel, but it will also save you $6,665 compared to the oil burner, which is an $8,100 option. Opt for the 6.4L and you’ll have to drop $1,495 over the base engine, a 5.7L HEMI V8 that makes 29 lb-ft of torque less than 6.4.

So, going for the new engine will save you money out of the gate. But once you pick up your new gas-powered heavy duty, will it deliver the goods? I never really wanted more power while driving without a load. Paired with a 3.73 rear end, the big gas engine does a respectable job of moving all this steel down the road. Compared to the diesel, the gas engine revs much more quickly and sits higher in the RPM range.

Where’s the Jam?

Things change when you need to tow. Pulling a 6,000-lb load – roughly 50 percent of what our truck is rated to pull – the HEMI power feels underwhelming. Hills leave it wheezing hard and that is where the tradeoff between cash and power becomes clear. Even if it doesn’t feel the best in its segment, the Cummins doesn’t feel underpowered like the gasoline V8 does.

Thankfully the weakness of the engine doesn’t translate into other areas of this pickup as the suspension setup and dynamics of this 2500 are quite good. Clearly the frame and hardware taking the load are designed to handle the weight and they do so with ease. Roll in the corners is basically non-existent and nicely weighted steering gives the driver a confident feeling.

The other half of the 6.4-liter’s value story is fuel economy. After a week with the truck, we were averaging just 13 mpg. While towing, that number would regularly drop down to rest around 10 mpg. That is the other major difference between the diesel, which in our experience can average anywhere between 15 and 17 MPG.

Cowboy Limousine

So poor fuel numbers and a lack of power are two weaknesses of the powertrain, though the package that wraps around it is impressive. A gorgeous and functional interior greets you, especially in the “Laramie Longhorn” trim. This truck does cowboy luxury better than anything else on the market. The leather is rich and even has a great smell. Details in the cabin are everywhere, like the small decorative decals around the gauges, or the fake barbed wire imprinted onto the floor mats. And real wooden accents in the center stack tie it all together for a luxury aura that doesn’t come off feeling fake.

Those wood accents wraps around Ram’s UConnect infotainment system that works flawlessly. It is exceedingly simple and easy to figure out. The real selling point of this system over others though, is its speed. There is never any lag or hesitation here.
To read all of this 2014 Ram 2500 6.4L HEMI Review please visit AutoGuide.com.
 

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Not a surprisingly article (not that I mean it in a bad way). I haven't tow with it, but I've driven a 2500HD 6.4L and it felt brawny enough when driving around alone, but i imagine the Cummins -predictably- is the way to go if you want to tow. If you just want a HD for reasons other than a diesel option, maybe the 6.4L is fine.
 

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Who would have thought that a truck with 410 hp and 429 lb/ft of torque would be underpowered when towing 6k lbs...
 

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These seem to match the other comparison between the Silverado 6.0L gasser and the 6.4L Hemi. Wonder if Dodge is holding the 6.4 back to keep the transmission in tact?
 

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If you look at the gearing of the GM 6-speed that's behind the 6.0, the first and second gears are lower than Ram's. Simply, the engine struggles because the transmission gearing is not optimized for it.
 

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Yeah, the fast lane truck piece was a slam dunk for the chevy. Wonder if the dodge was pulling timing?
 

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For the displacement advantage over the 5.7 hemi, this engine puts out comparably disappointing numbers. And, gearing is an issue.
 

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The truck needs the 8 speed auto in use in the half tons. It has to be up to the task since it's being used behind the hellcats. I had a 2012 Ram with the "not really a 6 speed" auto, and have the 8 speed auto now. That tranny wakes up the truck big time. The two low ratios for 1st and 2nd in the 8 speed would help the 6.4 get its load moving from a stop.
 

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The truck needs the 8 speed auto in use in the half tons. It has to be up to the task since it's being used behind the hellcats. I had a 2012 Ram with the "not really a 6 speed" auto, and have the 8 speed auto now. That tranny wakes up the truck big time. The two low ratios for 1st and 2nd in the 8 speed would help the 6.4 get its load moving from a stop.
It would surely benefit from the 8-speed, but the one in the Hellcat is different than the one in half tons. It's actually physically longer aside from the revamp of the internals.
 

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If you look at the gearing of the GM 6-speed that's behind the 6.0, the first and second gears are lower than Ram's. Simply, the engine struggles because the transmission gearing is not optimized for it.
Yeah, the fast lane truck piece was a slam dunk for the chevy. Wonder if the dodge was pulling timing?
I wonder if it wasn't both of these. They both seemed to be running near the torque peaks (4200 for GM, 4000 for Ram), but even the 6.4's 12% greater engine torque couldn't combat the greater torque the GM could put down to the wheels (roughly 12% more in 2nd gear). The way the Ram seemed to just shut down though seemed more like heat effects, whether in the transmission, engine, or intake temps.

It would surely benefit from the 8-speed, but the one in the Hellcat is different than the one in half tons. It's actually physically longer aside from the revamp of the internals.
Is it bigger than the Aisin you can get with the Cummins? Sadly, I don't see them dropping the 8-speed in because the up-sell for the diesel is probably much better for the bottom line. Unless they go 8-speed across the range... (diesel included)
 

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Lots of people over at RV.net forum love their new 6.4L for towing. Many towing 10k plus. People with the newer GM 6.0L trucks seem to really like them as well. When I first got active on the forum back in 2008 everyone was recommending a diesel for anyone towing more than 8k lbs. Now most people recommend a gas truck unless you get over 12k lbs. Now if you're nearly living in your RV like some people, then a diesel is nice even at lower rates. For most of us that spend 2-4 weeks with our trailers, gas motors are cheaper to buy and less costly when things go wrong. The newer diesels are great except that they are very complicated and seem to have somewhat fragile fuel systems that cost more than my Cruze.
 
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