2021 Ram 3500

2021 Ram 3500 Review: Leading The Workhorse Pack

by Gerhard Horn

The Ram 3500 is an unapologetic workhorse, offering an impressive payload and tow-rating. If you can't chuck it in the bed, you simply latch it to the towbar. Ram also has a reputation for reliability, an absolute must in this highly-contested segment it shares with the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD and Ford F-350 Super Duty. Both rivals have caught up over the years, but the 3500 remains a shining example in one department. With the 6.7-liter high-output Cummins Turbo Diesel under the hood, total torque is 1,075 lb-ft. That gives it a segment-leading towing capacity of 37,100 lbs with a gooseneck.

When it comes to offering a refined ride quality, and a luxurious interior with a modicum of practicality, the Ram is in a class of one. That's quite a feat considering the heavy-duty underpinnings responsible for its reputation as a die-hard workhorse.

Read in this review:

2021 Ram 3500 Truck Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Ram 3500 Truck?

The Ram Heavy Duty now features a digital rearview mirror that displays a real-time video feed from the rear camera. You can switch between this feature and a traditional rearview mirror. A new Limited Night Edition is also available, adding 20-inch black wheels, grille, and badges.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent engine options
  • Premium interior on high-spec models
  • Adequate standard features
  • Class-leading space in Mega Cab
  • Class-leading towing capacity
  • Cummins diesel model is expensive
  • Harsh ride with no weight on the bed

Best Deals on 3500

2021 Ram 3500 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Tradesman
6.4L V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$36,880
Big Horn
6.4L V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,630
Lone Star
6.4L V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,630
Laramie
6.4L V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$52,195
Laramie Longhorn
6.4L V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$59,690

3500 Exterior

The Ram 3500 is a no-nonsense agricultural statement. It has a prominent grille, flanked by equally powerful headlights. The Ram letters dominate the grille, leaving you in no doubt what it is. In terms of exterior features, the lower-trim models are equipped with halogen headlights, while upper-trim models get the LED treatment. Most models come with 18-inch wheels as standard, while the top-spec Limited is equipped with a set of 20-inch rims.

2021 Ram 3500 Front Angle View Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Rear Angle View Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Front View Driving Ram
See All 2021 Ram 3500 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

All models have a maximum width of 83.5 inches, while height varies from 77.8 to 79.3 inches. With so many different configurations, length is also a wildcard. The Regular Cab has an eight-foot bed and a total length of 232 inches. The Crew Cab can have either a 6.4-foot bed, total length 249.9 inches, or an eight-foot bed, total length 260.8 inches. The smaller of two is generally referred to as the Mega Cab setup. The base-model Tradesman 4x2 with a Regular Cab is the lightest configuration, weighing 6,056 pounds. The heaviest model is the Limited 4x4 Mega Cab at 7,536 lbs.

  • Length 232.0 in
  • Wheelbase 140.0 in
  • Height 77.8 in
  • Max Width 79.4 in

Exterior Colors

  • Hydro Blue Pearlcoat
  • Olive Green Pearlcoat
  • Delmonico Red Pearlcoat
  • Diamond Black Crystal Pearlcoat
  • Patriot Blue Pearlcoat
  • Pearl White
  • Billet Silver Metallic Clearcoat
  • Granite Crystal Metallic Clearcoat
  • Maximum Steel Metallic Clearcoat
  • RV Match Walnut Brown Metallic Clearcoat
  • Black Clearcoat, Minimum Build Quantity of 10. Late availability.
  • New Holland Blue, Minimum Build Quantity of 10. Late availability.
  • Case IH Red, Minimum Build Quantity of 10. Late availability.
  • Construction Yellow, Minimum Build Quantity of 10. Late availability.
  • Light Green, Minimum Build Quantity of 10. Late availability.
See all 25 colors

3500 Truck Performance

2021 Ram 3500 Front View Driving 1 Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Rear View Driving Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Gauge Cluster Ram

Engine and Transmission

If you're going to haul some stuff, you need power. Luckily, the Ram 3500 is well-equipped in this department. The standard engine is a 6.4-liter naturally aspirated Hemi V8 that produces 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. This engine allows you to load 7,680 lbs on the bed and tow 18,210 lbs in Tradesman 4x2 Regular Cab configuration. An eight-speed automatic is standard, sending power to the rear wheels. A 4x4 system is available on all models.

More interested in torque? Then you need to opt for one of the 6.7-liter turbocharged Cummins turbo diesel engines. The standard output model delivers 370 hp and 850 lb-ft, good for a 22,780 lbs tow-rating in the same configuration mentioned above. If 850 lb-ft still sounds a bit gentle, go for the high-output. This monster of an engine packs a whopping 420 hp and 1,075 lb-ft of torque. With this colossus under the hood, you can load 6,570 lbs on the bed and tow 37,100 lbs. All these figures are for the Regular Cab Tradesman 4x2. Both diesel engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

  • Engines
    6.4L V8 Gas, 6.7L Turbo Diesel
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The acceleration will depend on which engine you opt for, but the standard 6.4-liter Hemi is perfectly capable. When it comes to overtaking and towing, the diesel engines do a magnificent job. Mated to an Aisin-sourced transmission capable of handling the high-output's grunt, the turbocharged diesels deliver power in great big lumps.

With the rear depending on a heavy-duty leaf spring suspension (supplemental airbags are optional) to soak up the bumps, it was never going to be a Rolls Royce. Most customers will likely accept the compromise and live with it. As with other trucks that use this setup, comfort, traction, and stability are vastly improved with a load in the bed.

The 3500 comes standard with 14.1-inch discs with twin-piston calipers, which is good enough for even the heaviest configuration.

3500 Truck Gas Mileage

The EPA doesn't supply official mileage estimates for any of the three engines, but it's safe to say that you won't be receiving an award from Greenpeace anytime soon. Real-world performance reports suggest a best average of 12.3 mpg for the standard 6.4-liter engine, while the 6.7-liter Cummins will drink diesel at a rate of 16 mpg. A 32-gallon tank is standard, while a 50-gallon tank is an optional extra on the extra-large models.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    32.0 Gallons
* 2021 Ram 3500 Tradesman 4x2Regular Cab 8' Box

3500 Truck Interior

2021 Ram 3500 Dashboard Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Charging Ports Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Seat Details Ram
See All 2021 Ram 3500 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The entry-level Regular Cab 3500 has a bench up front, large enough for three passengers. Entry-level Crew Cab models add another bench in the rear, taking occupancy up to six people. High-end Crew Cab models come with two individual seats in the front, however. The front headroom is 40.9 inches with all but the Regular Cab (39.8), while legroom is consistently 40,9 inches. Rear passengers get head-/legroom of 39.8/40.2 inches and 40.3/43.1 inches in the Crew and Mega Cab, respectively.

  • Seating capacity
    3-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Front Head Room 39.8 in

3500 Truck Bed and Cargo Space

There are two bed options available. The smaller 6.4-foot bed already offers plenty of loading space, but the eight-foot bed is enormous. The small bed is 20.1 inches high, while the longer bed is 0.1 taller. Both beds have a maximum width of 66.4 inches. Of the various configurations, the most capacious empowers the pickup truck with a maximum hauling capacity of 7,680 lbs.

Ram offers a cargo management system called RamBox. It's essentially two lockable bins in the bed, perfect for carrying smaller items that you don't want rolling around.

2021 Ram 3500 Front Seats Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Rear Passenger Seats Ram
2021 Ram 3500 Rear Passenger Seats 1 Ram

3500 Infotainment and Features

Features

The entry-level Tradesman is a fleet model, equipped with just enough luxuries to keep the workforce happy. This includes cruise control, air conditioning, a 3.5-inch driver-info display, and a 12V power outlet. Upgrade to Lone Star, and you get power front windows. The Laramie adds keyless entry, a seven-inch information cluster, heated eight-way power-adjustable front seats, multifunction leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, and power-adjustable pedals. The Laramie Longhorn comes with seat ventilation and memory, while the top-spec Limited adds wireless charging. As for safety, the entire range gets a rearview camera and hill start assist. From the Laramie upwards, you also get front and rear parking assist, while the Limited adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Infotainment

The Tradesman comes with a five-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth streaming, a USB port, and six speakers. From Laramie upwards, you get an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, and a second USB port. It plays your favorite farm emo via a nine-speaker Alpine sound system. The Longhorn adds navigation and a five-year SiriusXM traffic update system, while the Limited boasts a big 12-inch touchscreen interface.

3500 Truck Problems and Reliability

The Ram 3500 truck remains recall-free for 2021. It was recalled six times in 2019, with problems ranging from a failing bed step to a transmission fluid leak that may cause a fire.

Ram offers a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles

3500 Truck Safety

There is no safety review for the 2021 Ram 3500 from the NHTSA nor the IIHS. However, despite the lack of reviews, the standard safety specs are reassuring. All models come with six airbags as standard, a rearview camera, electronic roll mitigation, electronic stability control, hill start assist, trailer sway control, and ABS. Laramie specification adds parking sensors front and rear, while the top-tier Limited rounds out the standard suite with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. A Safety Group Package is available, and the cost depends on what model you go for. It adds adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, cross-path detection, and forward-collision warning.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Ram 3500 a good truck?

Ford may be in the lead when it comes to volume in the USA, but Ram takes the silver medal. More impressively, perhaps, is the fact that Ram has a higher return rate. More people will eventually return to Ram to replace their existing pickup with a new Ram vehicle. Is it blind loyalty, or the sign of a good truck? We think loyalty plays a role, but you can't ignore the practicality, nor the class-leading tow rating - also, 1,075 lb-ft of torque.

The new Ram 3500 delivers in every area that matters to the customer. It also caters to a wide variety of customers thanks to an impressive lineup of trim levels. There's a Ram for everyone, from the most entry-level dung stacker to the ranch owner.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Ram 3500?

There are far too many iterations to name here, so we'll just give you the basic outline of the prices. The Tradesman with a regular eight-inch box has an MSRP of $36,470, while the Big Horn with the same bed goes for $40,220. A Laramie Crew Cab with a 6.4-foot bed goes for $51,785, while the luxurious Limited Longhorn Crew Cab with a 6.4-foot bed takes a big leap to $59,280. The Limited Crew Cab with an eight-foot bed costs $63,785. Adding a 4x4 system is more or less $3,000, depending on the trim. The base price of the Ram 3500 truck excludes the company's destination fee of $1,695. As for the diesel engines, they don't come cheap. Adding the standard output 6.7-liter Cummins engine is $9,400 extra, while the high-output motor goes for $12,195. Furthermore, the various accessories can quickly push up the price.

2021 Ram 3500 Models

See All 2021 Ram 3500 Trims and Specs

🚗What Ram 3500 Model Should I Buy?

It depends entirely on the intended purpose. If you're here for a workhorse, get a Tradesman. If you're in search of a family-friendly luxury truck, the 4x4 Limited Mega Cab with the 6.7 high output Cummins engine is all the truck you could ever need. The budget doesn't stretch that far? Stick to the standard Laramie, as it has the most balanced standard specification, including keyless entry, heated power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The Safety Group Package ($1,990) is well worth investing in.

2021 Ram 3500 Comparisons

Ram 2500 Ram
Ford F-350 Super Duty Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Ram 3500410 hpTBC$36,880
Ram 2500 410 hpTBC$35,425
Ford F-350 Super Duty 385 hpTBC$35,745

2021 Ram 3500 vs Ram 2500

Choosing between these two competitors comes down to one question: What do you want to do with it? If you only want to tow a trailer with two quads on it, the 2500 should do just fine. You don't need 1,075 lb-ft of torque for that. The 2500 is smaller, so there are a few downsides. The 2500's payload is half that of the 3500, and the smaller truck has a maximum towing capacity of 19,780 lbs.

Both trucks come standard with the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with the same 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque output. The high output diesel is not available in the 2500, but, once again, ask yourself if you're buying it for bragging rights or for hauling something big? The 2500 works much better in a city or small-town setting thanks to its smaller dimensions, while the 3500 is the king of the open road and the ranch.

See Ram 2500 Review

2021 Ram 3500 vs Ford F-350 Super Duty

Ram might lose to Ford when it comes to smaller pickups in the US, but the 3500 packs a solid punch in this particular segment. There are several specific things a truck like this needs to do well, and the fact is the Ram beats the Ford in every comparison.

When you equip a 3500 with the high output Cummins engine, there's no competition when it comes to towing ability. The Ram is also more luxurious than the F-350, though both do have traces of iffy materials in the cabin. Out of these two, we'd have the high output Ram, but how much cash are you willing to put aside for this beast?

See Ford F-350 Super Duty Review

Ram 3500 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Ram 3500:

72
Photos
$36,880 - $68,895
Price Range (MSRP)
Ram 3500
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