I owned 2 D/A's a 01 and an 03. Got the 01 right off the LA car showroom floor, never do that again every peice of plastic trim, knobs had to be replaced, Theives!!! not to mention the blue stained seats from 20,000 people getting in and out. Had all the first year bugs, but at about 30,000 with no cat it ran like crazy. Wanted a 4x4 traded up in 03. So here is my take on this.
I think the GM is a real nice truck, they were the first to really make a diesel perform like a gasser, and a smooth ride on top of it. But I found that I always had things to replace in and out of warranty. My 03 had 2 sets of injectors by 80,000 miles. The additional warranty was up this year, and at $3000+ to replace the the injectors with the same faulty design ones again, I was done. I know later years didn't have these issues.
While the IFS is smooth, is it strong? In my experience I had to replace pitman arms,Steering shaft, left axle, and still felt that of all the parts of the truck I worried about the front end was going to be the weak part. I think GM is acknowledging that by beefing it up so who knows now.
Interior, yes its more car like in design, but look at the materials, its all hard plastic, and the crewcab is smaller then the Dodge crewcab.
Why Dodge? I have owned 5 new GM vehicles in the last 10 years, and all of them except my cargo Van (still under 30,000) have had multiple trips to the dealer for stuff. Both SUV's for transmission replacements under 50,000 miles?? I wanted a change, still to early to comment on the Dodge, time will tell. I have a healthy respect for Ford but no way on a first year engine.
What I like on my 2010 3500 4x4 Crewcab Laramie
Killer Looks, It just seems stronger Underneath is beefier, when I start this thing up I feel like its going to handle anything I throw at it. I tow a 5ver so I use it as a truck. The Engine always seems to have more then enough power, since its a Cummins I feel I have a tried and true (especially after 3 years of tweaking) piece of machinary.
The Cab is great, tons of storage areas, Great quality materials, stitched leather dash, U Connect is so much better then the GM Onstar phone, cab is noticably bigger ( I have small kids I can tell). And the ride for a 1 ton is good. The exhaust break, of course GM is offering that also
What I miss, Well to be honest the best part of the D/A for me was the A. The Allison was smoother, but I am still under a 1000 miles on my truck, and I have no complaints, its got a great feel to it, will see after a few more miles.
I think the IFS tracks better on the highway then solid straight axle, but I had heard this before I bought the Dodge, and know there are aftermarket parts in the range of $350 that will help this. On Star for the emergency airbag activation feature, thankfully I never needed it. Thats about it, I know the GM like Ford have Electronic Stability Control on their 2011 models and that is a nice feature, Dodge will probably add this at some point.
What really convinced me was, I have driven by the smae 3 Nieghbors who have the same Dodge trucks and have had them for 10 years, while I have been through 2 D/A's and 3 other GM's so It was time to spread the Love, and when I test drove the 2010 Dodge that was it. Plus in our RV travels the Cummins seemed to outnumber them all, but the D/A has made its place for sure.
Good Luck, we are fortunate that all 3 have stepped up their game,
PS I think the pricing on the 2011 GM's will be more then Dodge.