Dodge Ram Mega Cab

Dodge’s mighty Ram Mega Cab is the pickup for power lovers.

Engine: 5.9-liter in-line-6 turbo diesel ****

Net hp: @ rpm 325@2900 ****

Net torque: (lb-ft@rpm) 610@1600 ****

Transmission: 5-speed automatic ****

Front suspension: control arms, coil springs ****

Rear suspension: rigid axle, leaf springs Brakes (front/rear) disc/disc, ABS ****

Standard Tires: B.F.Goodrich Rugged Trail T/A, LT265/70SR-17 ****

Wheelbase (in.): 160.3 Length (in.) 247.7 Width (in.) 79.5 Height (in.) 78.5 ****

Curb weight: (lbs.) 7443 ****

Towing capacity: (lbs.) 12,400 Bed length x width (in.) 75.9 x 51.0 ****

Fuel capacity: (gal.) 35.0 ****

0-60mph acceleration: (w/o/w/ 5,140-lb. towed load, sec.) 8.8/15.7 30-60mph passing (w/o/w/ 5,140-lb. towed load, sec.) 6.8/11.0 60-0mph ****

Stopping distance: (w/o/w/5,140-lb. towed load, ft.) 169/226 ****

Observed towing fuel economy: (mpg. avg.) 8 ****

Price: (as tested) $54,540

Its gutsy Hemi V-8 tows more than 15,000 pounds. The optional Cummins turbo-diesel ($5,555) in my tester provides almost as much tow to go and increases range.

The Mega Cab's cab seats five leggy boaters, and there's enough cargo space to stash tackle and a wakeboard or two. Aptly named, the Mega Cab measures more than 13 feet between axles, stretches more than 20 feet overall, and dents your driveway with 3.7 tons of road-hugging heft.

That made me wonder: Is bigger better? So I hitched up a 24' cruiser for a test. I immediately noticed that the Cummins diesel sounds like a locomotive at idle but quiets down when it starts tugging. This motor blows no white or black smoke when cold, hot, or humping.

For such a beast, the Mega cab feels almost agile scooting to 60 in fewer than 10 seconds bareback and 15.7 seconds towing the boat and trailer. Tight turns are an obvious concern, but on the open road, the long wheelbase, smooth and stable ride, and extended view make you feel like a true sultan of the slab. Neither side winds nor broken pavement deters this tractor from trailering.

With 610 lb-ft of available torque, smoking one of the 17" radials on the launch ramp is an issue. The $285 anti-spin differential wasn't much help, so I shifted the $3,115 four-wheel drive into high range for the climb. Problem solved. Huge disc brakes handle major loads, and no fade was evident during repeated emergency stops. Halting more than six tons from 60 mph in 226 feet is great braking performance.

The Mega Cab's interior may be mega roomy but it's not mega luxurious. You might want to add the $1,200 entertainment system to delight your small fry and the $1,595 navigation system to placate the map challenged. Considering the price, there's too much hard plastic and faux wood. I think it should be plusher.