Twist and Stout: The 2019 Ram HD Has 1,000 LB-FT of Torque
The HD wars continue apace, with the diesel Ram the first to crest four figures of twist.
Got torque? Sure, you do. But how about 1,000 pound-feet of it? The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty offers three engine options to meet various needs, but the headliner is the all-new 6.7-liter inline-six Cummins diesel with 400 horsepower and that massive, massive pile of twist. It's mated to an Aisin six-speed automatic because, well it can handle the torque.
There's also a lower-output version of the Cummins six with 370 horses and 850 lb-ft; it hooks to an eight-speed automatic as standard, or can be upgraded to the sixer. The final available engine is the standard 6.4-liter Hemi V-8; it's good for 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque and uses the eight-speed automatic exclusively. Whichever gearbox is underneath, the Ram Heavy Duty employs the familiar shift-by-wire rotary gear-selection dial instead of a console or column-mounted shifter. Four-wheel-drive versions of the Ram 2500 and 3500 HDs use a BorgWarner part-time transfer case; buyers can opt for electronic or manual control. The front and rear axles are new with larger half-shafts, and include a 12-inch ring gear on the max-tow unit.
Ram claims that 4x4 dually 3500s with the high-output Cummins and 4.10 axle ratio can tow up to 35,100 pounds, and that 4x2 3500s can haul up to 7,680 pounds of payload. The heavily revised—Ram calls it all-new—and fully boxed frame now contains 98.5 percent steel, and the trucks are said to shed up to 143 pounds thanks to increased use of high-strength steel, as well as lightweighting measures used on the chassis, bumpers, and powertrain. To that end, the Cummins now uses a compact-graphite-iron block, while it also gets higher-strength internals, revised pistons and head, new injectors and high-pressure fuel pumps, and improved exhaust-brake performance.
Trims—in order of opulence and price—include the Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited. There's also a new Power Wagon off-road special with Bilstein dampers, a factory winch with a synthetic cable that's 28 pounds lighter than before, an upgraded eight-speed automatic, a removable front air dam, and a special off-road camera view for navigating trails. New sensors on dually models aim to help owners better navigate those trucks' prodigious widths.
The styling is familiar overall—Ram tells us that it focused on the interior and capability rather than making a departure from the previous truck—but there are six new massive grille designs with active shutters based on trim. As you move up the model hierarchy, the headlamps are halogen, LED, or full LED/projector.
Ram is claiming increased refinement for its workhorses, too, with new body mounts that reduce torsional loads on the cab and help reduce idle shake. The suspension has variable-rate springs and dampers at all four corners to deliver better handling and a smoother ride when unladen. Air-suspension-equipped trucks offer active load leveling as well as a new bed-lowering mode to make trailer hook-ups easier. The weatherproof, lockable, illuminated, and drainable RamBox storage bins built into the bedsides now tout a 115-volt outlet.
The interior has been completely remade in a design theme echoing that of the 1500 models, and features high-quality plastics and materials throughout—the Limited and Laramies are particularly impressive, more the stuff of luxury cars than big-boy pickups. There's a new instrument panel—fully digital in higher-spec trucks, including specific themes based on trim—push-button start, an available tablet-style 12.0-inch Uconnect navigation touchscreen, an active noise-cancelling system, and acoustic glass for a quieter experience. The expansive Mega Cab offers he rear legroom and up to 9.1 cubic feet of storage space that includes two bins behind the rear seats. In all models, there's enough space inside the center-console bin to stash a 15-inch laptop. The new Ram HD also features five USB ports and up to three 115-volt plugs. The latter outlets can handle up to 400 watts to charge or power tools. Safety features run from automatic emergency braking that will also activate the trailer brakes to a 360-degree camera, and four audio systems are on offer, topped by a 750-watt, 17-speaker Harman/Kardon system.
The Mexico-built 2019 Ram Heavy Duty will be priced closer to its on-sale date this April.