Once again, Ram Heavy Duty pickups look ready to chew up anything they encounter – and with 1,000-lb. ft. of asphalt-wrinkling torque, just might do it.
I don’t recommend trying to skateboard behind one of these 2019-model monsters.
As you may have guessed, the heavy-duty truck wars -- featuring 7,000-pound brutes that can likely tow most houses -- have officially begun.
Ram recently unveiled its pumped-up 2500 and 3500 trucks, saying they will become the benchmarks for capability, technology and luxury – at least for now.
The truth is, all the domestic heavy-duty pickups are immensely capable, able to haul giant trailers and loads while also enhancing the images of their better-selling little brothers, the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500.
Nonetheless, the new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty trucks should be a growling force to contend with. “Ram HD owners constantly demand the highest levels of capability and with 35,100 pounds of towing capacity pulled by 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque from our Cummins engine, we now hold the most important titles within the segment,” said Reid Bigland, head of the Ram Brand at Fiat Chrysler.
Just for the record: While Ram boasts of a 35,100-pound towing capacity with its new heavy-duty truck, Ford says it expects its F-450 pickup to tow more than 35,000 pounds, while Chevrolet contends its Silverado 3500HD will pull 35,500 pounds, according to Automotive News.
Shots fired, shots returned.
You certainly won’t miss the new Ram on the road, though. For 2019, Ram returns to a massive, cleaner-looking polished grille festooned in the center with “RAM.”
It will likely cause some serious heart palpitations among compact-car drivers when it fills their rear-view mirrors.
The bolder, road-eating grille and more potent Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine are just two of many changes in the new pickups.
Ram says the 2019-model HD trucks also get stronger steel frames, fortified automatic transmissions, better shocks, springs and bushings and a 360-degree surround-view camera with trailer reverse guidance.
In addition, higher-end models offer fine new interiors similar to those in the 1500 Ram, which some automotive writers have compared to mid-level German luxury cars.
These are some of the new features:
The most potent engine available will be the 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder diesel, which can generate 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800 rpm and 400- horsepower at 2,800 rpm.
With its compacted graphite-iron block, the optional Cummins has lighter and stronger pistons and an improved variable-geometry turbocharger that can deliver up to 33 psi of boost.
Also available are the mid-level Cummins Turbo Diesel with 370 horsepower and 850 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,700 rpm, as well as the standard 6.4-liter gasoline Hemi V-8 with 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm.
Both diesel engines carry five-year, 100,000-mile warranties, which Ram says is “unsurpassed.”
Ram 3500 HD models that have the high-output Cummins diesel are equipped with an Aisin electronically controlled six-speed automatic engineered to handle the Cummins’ torque. The standard-output Cummins diesel delivers its power through an upgraded version of the 68RFE six-speed automatic, while gas versions of the truck come with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic.
All of the trucks offer rotary transmission shifters mounted on the left side of the center-stack.
The trucks ride on all-new frames built with 98.5-percent high-strength steel, six cross members, hydro-formed main rails and fully boxed rear rails.
Although stronger, the new frame, powertrain and an aluminum hood reduce overall weight by up to 143 pounds, Ram says.
Heavy-duty pickups typically ride more harshly when unloaded. The 2019 heavy-duty Rams come with “frequency response damping” shocks that automatically adjust for vertical wheel input, which Ram says will provide a smoother ride and better handling.
Also, an “active-level” rear air-suspension is available on both 2500 and 3500 models that includes a “bed-lowering mode” to make heavier trailer hook-ups easier.
For 2019, the Ram Heavy Duty trucks also get new interiors similar to those on the award-winning light-duty Ram featuring more premium materials.
A new instrument panel places more of the controls closer to drivers, making them easier to reach. The trucks’ 12-inch display touchscreens can be configured to display one application such as a navigation map across the entire screen or be divided in half, operating two different applications at once. Five USB ports in the center-console are also available for charging, as well as three 115-volt household plugs.
In addition, an active noise-cancellation system and acoustic glass reduce ambient cabin sounds by nearly 10 decibels – the quietest Ram Heavy Duty ever.
Pricing and Availability
New 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 starts at $33,395, plus a $1,695 destination fee.
1,000-lb.-ft. high-output Cummins Turbo Diesel priced at $11,795.
2019 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab commercial trucks start at $34,750.
The new trucks should be available at dealerships in the spring.