2019 Ram Heavy Duty

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — At the North American International Auto Show in January, Ram 1500 earned top honors as North American Truck of the Year, as chosen by automotive media jurors from across the U.S. and Canada. Fresh off of that win, Ram introduces its all-new 2019 line of 2500, 3500 and Power Wagon Heavy duty trucks.

The newest Ram additions have been completely redesigned and are basically new from the ground up. There’s a new frame constructed of 98.5 percent high-strength steel, and numerous suspension upgrades with new and lighter front and rear axles, springs and upgraded bushings.

At the media introduction in Nevada recently, the head of Ram brand, Jim Morrison, declared the new heavy-duty trucks as the most powerful and capable pickups in the segment with a towing capacity of up to 35,100 lbs. and a payload capacity of 7,680 lbs and a never-before-seen top torque rating of 1000 lb-ft from the Cummings I-6 Turbo Diesel engine. These numbers are most important to customers who buy heavy-duty trucks for towing construction and earth moving equipment, heavy recreational vehicles, horse trailers, boats, and other brawny equipment.

Fitted atop all that capability is a completely restyled body and cab that mimics the look of the recently restyled and highly-awarded Ram 1500. However, they actually share none of the same body panels. The new Ram looks completely different than the truck it replaces from last year.

Inside, Ram designers have essentially “lifted” the award-winning interior from the 1500 pickup and outfitted it into the heavy-duty trucks. There’s a completely new instrument panel, a redesigned center console capable of concealing a 15.0-inch laptop, numerous USB ports front and back, a wireless Smartphone charging port, upgraded materials refinement with rich leathers, fabrics, real metal switchgear, upscale trim interlaced with filigree inscriptions in copper, along with a branded Longhorn logo burned into real wood trim on the instrument panel in the up level trim models.

All the gauges and controls are high class, well placed and lit and intuitive. The thick steering wheel feels great in the hands; seats are exceptionally comfortable and kept us more than comfortable on our extended test-driving.

Both the 2500 and 3500 comes standard with a 6.4-liter 410-horsepower Hemi V-8 that produces 429 lb.-ft of torque delivered through a TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission. The previous 5.7-liter Hemi is no longer available.

Two other engine choices available are the optional ($11,795) and revised Cummins 6.7-liter I-6 High Output Turbo diesel that delivers up to 1,000 lb.-ft of torque and 400 horsepower and weighs 60 pounds less than the previous-generation engine. A second variant of the Cummins Turbo diesel also gets a performance boost with 370 horsepower and 850 lb.-ft torque ($9,100). Ram Heavy Duty trucks powered by the standard output Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel are equipped with a significantly upgraded version of the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission.

Four-wheel-drive versions of the 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty are equipped with a BorgWarner part-time transfer case. The 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 and variant of the Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel drive power through either an electronic (BW 44-46) or manual shift (BW 44-47) transfer case, depending on the model. Ram Heavy Duty trucks with the high output version of the Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel are equipped with an all-new part-time BorgWarner transfer case (BW 44-48). This transfer case is designed to handle the higher input loads for maximum towing capability up to 35,100 lbs.

While heavy duty trucks don’t get fuel economy ratings from the EPA, Ram officials said the trucks are more efficient thanks to improved engineering, weight reduction, improved the co-efficiency of drag up front and added active grille shutters.

Across all trim levels, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty features push-button start and a redesigned rotary e-shifter dial (HEMI V-8 only). The new shifter area also intelligently groups new feature buttons, including Hill Descent Control, axle lock and transfer case controls, when equipped.

2019 Ram Power Wagon

The Ram Power Wagon trim is based on the 2500 4x4 Crew Cab and features a unique suspension, factory suspension lift, locking front and rear differentials, disconnecting sway bar and a 12,000-lb. winch. New to the Power Wagon is a 360 camera, which includes forward-view camera gridlines to help navigate obstacles. An all-new and integrated front-mounted WARN Zeon-12 winch features a unique fairlead and fairlead retainer with a new synthetic line that replaces the steel cable that cannot kink, does not fray and is more maneuverable. The new line also cuts weight by 28 lbs.

A Power Wagon content package continues to be available on Tradesman, which includes all the off-road equipment but keeps the Tradesman design elements.

There are a total of six trim levels: Tradesman, Big Horn, Power Wagon, Laramie, Laramie longhorn, and Limited. Buyers can configure their heavy-duty with numerous body configurations, including a regular cab with an eight-foot box, a crew cab with either a 6.4- or eight-foot box, and Mega Cab models with more than 120 percent additional storage capacity verses competitors (6.4-foot box only). Plus, the 60/40 split-folding rear seats in the Mega Cab recline 15 degrees for added comfort.

There’s a host of new advanced safety and technology features including  adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking (AEB) and AEB with trailer brakes. So even when towing a trailer, the full automatic emergency braking will engage if necessary.

Also new is the available and massive 12-inch fully configurable operational screen that was brought up from the Ram 1500 and is super easy to use with a sharp, crisp display. Also included is Ram’s Uconnect 4C NAV, a 750-watt, 17-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and a 360-degree camera display.

A back-up camera is standard and the Ram Heavy Duty offers a second rear-view camera (cargo-view camera) to monitor payload in the bed. It also can be used to align fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers, a common task of the Ram Heavy Duty pickup. As a segment first, back-up sensors on the Ram 3500 include specifically designed sensors to cover the added width of dual rear wheels, giving a wider span of coverage when backing up with limited view. We really liked the new auxiliary exterior camera that can be positioned at the back of a trailer to improve visibility with custom positioning in and behind trailers.

On the road, we found that the new heavy-duty Rams delivered an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride thanks to active noise cancellation, anti-vibration devices and acoustic glass. The new suspension tuning that includes Frequency Response Damping shocks, progressive springs and re-engineered bushings resulted in predictable, confident handling and ride comfort. Exclusive rear air suspension now features driver-activated Bed Lowering Mode, Normal/Payload Mode and Trailer-Tow Mode, making it much easier to connect a trailer.

Overall the all-new Ram Heavy Duty trucks have been thoroughly updated, are among the most capable trucks on the planet – and also the most luxurious with the most comfortable ride among all competitors. It’s also more powerful than before, has some of the most advanced technology in the business, and in our opinion, has what it takes to be one of the most powerful and capable heavy-duty trucks you can buy.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $35,090 - $68,745
Price as Tested:
Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Mega Cab 4x4 - $87,995
Ram 2500 Tradesman Regular Cab 4x4 Long Box - $51,010
Engine: 6.4-liter 410-hp V-8 connected with an eight-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: Not Rated
Seating: Up to 5

Crash Test Ratings: Not Rated

Where Built: Coahuila, Mexico

Competes With:
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD
Ford F-250 and F-350

Fab Features:
Best in class 35,100 lb tow rating
Best in class 1,000 lb.ft of torque
Completely redesigned and loaded with advanced technology, capability and comfort

— Jim Prueter