• Significantly improved Ram HD follows 1500 redesign
  • Cummins diesel makes 400 horsepower, 1,000 lb-ft of torque
  • Tow rated at 35,100 pounds
  • Payload capacity is 7,680 pounds
  • Priced from $33,395, plus $1,695 delivery

 

A super-sized grille, a luxurious interior, a long list of new technology and a segment-leading Cummins diesel engine producing 1,000 pound-feet of torque are some of the highlights of the re-engineered, restyled 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups. 

Light-duty and heavy-duty pickups are huge profit makers for the Detroit Three. Ford has determined that when it comes to pricing offer everything that is imaginable in a heavy-duty pickup because some buyers won’t be turned off by a sticker nearing $100,000. Fiat Chrysler executives won’t talk pricing on the 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 just yet, but they admit when it comes to options there appears to be no limit. Current Ram 2500 models start at $33,045, but a 2018 Ram 3500 Mega Cab Limited starts at a lofty $65,640.

“There was a time when these heavy-duty trucks did their job during the week and then sat in the driveway. Now our customers are driving them as everyday drivers and they are asking for more technology and more luxury,” said Jim Morrison, who heads the Ram brand in North America. “I don’t think we have seen the top end yet. There are a lot of conversations about how much we can put into these trucks.”

Premium audio, all-around view camera offered

Leading the list of new features is a 750-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 17 speakers, a 360-degree surround view camera that also shows both sides of a trailer to assist drivers while maneuvering and towing, a monitoring system to check the pressure of up to 12 trailer tires while driving, and a 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen display with split-screen capability.

“From an interior perspective we fundamentally lifted the award-winning, best-in-class, most luxurious Ram 1500 interior and transplanted that in our 2019 Ram Heavy Duty. All of the controls that are customary to somebody hauling a large trailer will be right there at the driver’s fingertips,” said Reid Bigland, who heads the Ram brand globally.

Reducing weight and improving aerodynamics to improve efficiency were among the goals when the pickup was being developed. The new truck is 143 pounds lighter than the previous model. For example, the hood is now made of aluminum, a 20-pound weight savings. The redesigned front and rear bumpers saved 11 pounds. The engine is 60 pounds lighter because aluminum components were substituted for non-structural areas of the engine.

Class of 2020: The New and Redesigned Cars, Trucks and SUVs

Aggressive styling

The most notable change in exterior styling is the huge grille, 30-percent larger than the previous model. Active shutters are incorporated in the grille and a lower air dam is added below the bumper resulting in an 8-percent improvement in aerodynamics. Bigland would not say how much the weight reduction, improvement in aerodynamics and new diesel engines would enhance fuel economy. The body panels are carried over from the 2018 model. 

The 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 have a towing capacity of 35,100 pounds and payload capacity of 7,680 pounds. Three models are offered – regular cab, crew cab and mega cab – in six trim levels.

Torque monster

In terms of power it is all about torque. Ram’s big news is the new turbocharged, high-output engine developed with Cummins. The inline 6-cylinder produces 400 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 1,000 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. “This is the first heavy duty ever to break through what I consider to be that 1,000 pound-feet of torque sound barrier,” Bigland said.

By comparison Ford’s turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel V8 makes 450 horsepower at 2,800 rpm. Torque is rated at 935 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm. The engine is available on the 2019 Ford Super Duty F-250 and F-350 pickups. Powertrain details for the revamped 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 and 2020 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups are expected to be released in a month or so. Silverado heavy-duty sales begin mid-year; no date has been released for the Sierra heavy-duty models.

Ram is also available with a Cummins turbocharged, 6.7-liter, inline-six diesel that has 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 850 lb-ft of torque at 1,700 rpm. A 6-speed automatic is standard with both diesel engines.

Gas engine offered

If you don't want a diesel, the standard engine is a gasoline 6.4-liter Hemi V8, producing 410-horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 429 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. This engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Other Ram 2500 and 3500 improvements include new axles, re-engineered high-strength steel frames, anti-vibration devices, new engine mounts, active noise cancelling and improvements in ride and handling. The automaker says the interior is 10 decibels quieter than the previous model.

Pricing

The new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty starts at $33,395 for the Ram 2500 Tradesman regular cab 4x2. At the other end of the spectrum, the Ram 3500 Limited Mega Cab 4x4 with 12-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen comes in at $67,050 plus $1,695 destination. Pricing of all models reflects the standard 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine with 8-speed automatic transmission.

The optional 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel with 6-speed automatic transmission is $9,100, while the optional 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque Cummins High Output (3500 only), mated to the Aisin 6-speed transmission, is $11,795.

Bonus Content: Check out the 2019 Ram HD Sport and 2019 Ram HD Laramie Longhorn versions of this truck.

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