I needed to get the Brick from Aremme’s house in PA back to my house in VA and it certainly wasn’t going to drive itself (or let me drive it that far). I wanted to get a tow dolly and drag it home with the Terrain, but that would be pushing the limits of the Terrain’s 3500 lb. towing capacity and UHaul wouldn’t let me have one. I weighed some options and figured the best thing to do was go all in and rent a full size truck and car trailer.
If you want to rent a truck to tow, it seems like the only options are U-Haul or Enterprise Commercial (but not regular Enterprise). U-Haul trucks have a flat fee plus mileage rate which was going to work out to be $177 for the truck alone. I could get a 3/4 ton truck from Enterprise commercial for $89* for the day. A tow dolly is $45* from U-Haul, and that would require me to disconnect the driveshaft on the Volvo. A drive on/drive off (in the marine industry we have RORO, so DODO?) double axle hauler was only $10 more, so it was a no brainer.
I ended up with a 2020 RAM 2500 Big Horn 4x4. It was a beast of a truck with a 6.4L Hemi with 410 HP and 429 ft-lbs. It pulled the empty car hauler from VA to PA with ease, I mean I had to be careful because I couldn’t tell the thing was back there. I think U-Haul lists the trailer weight as around 2500 lbs unladen. The ride home was only a slightly different story, as the 245 Wagon only weighs about 3,000 lbs, so I was only pulling something like 5,500 lbs, or only a bit more than 1/3 of the Ram’s rated towing capacity. Handling wise it felt nice and stable but I could feel the truck slightly struggle a couple times when I asked for brisker acceleration, such as highway on ramps, or up steeper grades. Overall it still managed just fine.
Driving and towing aside, this is your typical American big truck that screams “I’M A BIG AMERICAN IN A BIG AMERICAN TRUCK, LOOK AT ME BUT ALSO GTFO OF MY WAY!!!” It reminded me of when I was 2, and my dad would let me stand on the seat and “drive” our minivan down the long lane to my grandparents house. Here I am, a grown adult, and I felt like what I would imagine a child feels like sitting behind the wheel of a normal car. In other words, it is quite bigly.
The truck takes multiple opportunities to remind you that you’re in a RAM, with a large RAM’s head on the steering wheel, RAM printed on the instrument cluster, and above the radio. Speaking of radios, for as big as everything else on this truck is, it has a comically small infotainment screen, like smaller than my Galaxy S9. I normally don’t complain about such frivolities, but the juxtaposition is funny to me. It also kind of sucks. It’s slow and clunky, but it plays music when you can eventually get it to talk to your phone, and the stereo isn’t half bad. I even put it slightly ahead of the “premium” Bose system in our Terrain Denali, though that’s not saying much because I hate Bose and hate the Terrain stereo.
I owned a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 between 2007 and 2009 and this truck hit my nostalgia hard, but not in the best way. Namely the interior felt just as cheap and shitty as my old Ram. Maybe that’s just the base trim, I’d hope so for the kind of money the high end trucks fetch, but it seriously makes my crappy GMs, oft derided for their interior quality, feel like fine European luxury vehicles by comparison. It also had the same numb feeling brakes. They worked, oh boy did they work well, but they felt so numb, especially on the initial bite (or lack thereof).
Overall, it completed the mission admirably, namely hauling Swedish bricks long distances. I have towed a number of times over the years with various diesel trucks (Sierra 2500 6.5L, 3500 Duramax, Ram 2500 Cummins) but only a few times with gas trucks. Diesels feel effortless with all their bottom end grunt, and also get return better fuel economy numbers* whether unladen or towing. If I was towing heavy loads and/or towing frequently I’d want a diesel, but for the occasional jaunt the gas engine Ram was just fine.
*Note 1: Enterprise Commercial’s website says the 3/4 and 1-ton trucks can tow, but a fee “may” be applied. It most definitely is, though its only $20. My total for truck rental after taxes was $121. At least they were nice enough to provide the 2.5" to 2" hitch adapter. U-Haul charged $55 for the trailer, which after taxes was $69. I also needed a hitch. Dummy me didn’t bring the hitch from the Terrain because I thought it wouldn’t have enough drop. I assumed any bigly truck I rented would be too tall for the U-Haul trailer and they could provide one with the proper drop. Remember what assuming does, kids. Turns out I needed the exact same hitch I already have, but I didn’t want to waste 45 minutes going home to get it. So I ate $25 and bought another one. The extra fees and addition of the hitch put me at $215 total.
*Note 2: I started with a full tank and burned approximately 3/8 on the way to PA. I burned 4/8, which is equivalent to 2/4, or 1/2, for those of who like to reduce fractions (and 8/16 for those who like to expand them), on the way home. I refilled the truck before returning it, which set me back $53 at $2.10/gal. That means I put 25.2 gallons back in, 1/8 of a tank is 3.6 gallons, so I burned 10.8 gallons on the way up and 14.4 on the return trip. It’s about 165 miles each way, so I averaged about 15.3 MPG on the way up with an unladen trailer and 11.5 MPG on the way home. It also means I spent a total of $268 between rental and fuel.