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2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab

When Chrysler introduced the Dodge Mega Cab in late 2005, it claimed that it featured the biggest interior of any extended cab pickup truck in the world.

If there was a production truck version of a limousine, it would have borne the name Dodge Ram Mega Cab.

So, how big was it? The cab itself was 305 mm (that's almost one foot for non-metric Luddites) longer than a comparable Ford F-250 Crew Cab, for example. It had 72.2 litres of interior cargo volume and 1,123 mm of back-seat leg room.

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What these numbers all meant was that the interior of the Mega Cab was considerably larger than any of its competitors, and six adults could easily fit into it. Put another way, the back seat had its own postal code. This was a huge truck.

Built in Saltillo, Mexico, the Mega Cab was offered in the 1500, 2500, and 3500 series and was actually built on a chassis taken from the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty line.

Two power plants were offered: the legendary Cummins Turbo-Diesel and an equally legendary Hemi V-8. The diesel version developed 325 hp at 2,900 rpm and a massive 610 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm, while the Hemi put out 345 hp at 5,400 rpm and 375 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. Interestingly, the Hemi was certified to run on regular 87-octane fuel.

Which was good, because these were both huge, powerful and thirsty engines and the Mega Cab wasn't designed to take home any trophies for fuel economy. People who are interested in these kinds of vehicles - then as now - care more about towing capacity, cargo volume and gross vehicle weight than fuel consumption.

Transmission choices were a six-speed manual and four- and five-speed automatics. The six-speed was standard kit with the Cummins diesel model and the four-speed autobox was optional. The Hemi, meanwhile, came with a five-speed automatic only.

The Mega Cab was available in two trim levels: SLT and Laramie, and was offered with either two- or four-wheel-drive.

Standard equipment included air conditioning, CD player, cruise control, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and a full whack of front and side curtain airbags.

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Needless to say, the options list was mega-extensive, including a plethora of different rear axle ratios, rear-seat DVD entertainment system and navi screen, heated front seats, leather upholstery, Bluetooth communications system and fancy wheels. Like most big trucks, the Mega Cab came with most of the bells and whistles.

No safety recalls from Transport Canada to report, but the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has four, and they cover all heavy-duty Dodge trucks. Three of these are fairly trivial in nature: possibly flawed aftermarket headlight and signal light replacements and a potentially bogus windshield wiper module. But there is also an alert for a questionable steering linkage assembly that could fail and result in a loss of vehicle control. Dealers will replace the part in question - the drag link inner tie-rod end assembly.

NHTSA has just three safety bulletins on file for the '06 Mega Cab 2500 and 3500 series, and they are, for the most part, fairly minor in nature: lack of air flow into the rear passenger compartment and a balky gear-shifter when the truck has been parked for more than 12 hours, but there is also a registered complaint for water possibly leaking into the fuel tank.

The base 1500 Ram, however, has 33 glitches and advisories on file and they cover a lot of ground - but not necessarily dealing with the Mega Cab. For example, the engine diagnostic light could come on unnecessarily, some models have a leaky rear axle, there have been turbocharger issues, and so on. For the most part, these deal with the non-Mega Cab 1500 models.

Consumer Reports lists some drive train and fuel system glitches with the '06 Dodge Mega Cab, and give this vintage of truck a below-average used car predictability rating.

A couple of things to keep in mind: as a general rule, 4WD models suffer more abuse than their 2WD counterparts and, if the truck has been used a work vehicle, it's no doubt seen tougher duty than the typical weekend warrior. Potential buyers are advised to determine this beforehand.

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Depending upon drive train combination and extras, you can expect to pay anywhere from about $20,000 to $31,000 for a three-year-old Mega Cab. The Cummins turbo-diesel models are more expensive, as are the 4WD versions.

2006 DODGE RAM MEGA CAB

Type: Full-size pickup truck

Original Base Price: $35,740; Black Book Value: $20,475-$30,550; Red Book Value: N/A

Engine: 5.9-litre turbo-diesel V-8/5.7-litre gas V-8

Horsepower/Torque:

  • 325 hp/610 lb-ft for diesel
  • 345 hp/375 lb-ft for gas engine

Transmission: Six-speed manual/Four- and five-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel-drive/four-wheel-drive

Fuel Economy (litres/100 km):

  • 16.6 city/11.3 highway (2WD Hemi with five-speed automatic); regular gas

Alternatives: Ford F250/F350/F450, Chevrolet Silverado 1500/2500/3500, GMC Sierra 1500/2500/3500

globeauto@globeandmail.com

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