The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 pickups come with the benefits of Cummins Turbo Diesel capability, sophisticated towing technologies, plus design and engineering borrowed from its light-duty 1500 sibling.
The 1500 was "the most-awarded truck in the segment" and the main contributor to Ram's best sales year ever in 2018. "It's a great base to start from," says Jeff Johnson, senior brand manager, Ram Heavy Duty Truck.
Ram's starting from a good place with the reputation of its current heavy-duty pickup, which has the "highest resale value of any vehicle in the industry" with the 3500, Johnson said. "Our heavy-duty trucks are the longest-lasting pickups in the segment."
Capability, technology, luxury and safety are the key attributes for the heavy-duty models, he said, which start at $33,395 for the 2500 model. "Capability was the No. 1 thing we wanted to deliver on Heavy Duty," and the result is "best in class," Johnson said, quoting big towing and torque numbers delivered by the optional new Cummins 6.7-liter I-6 High Output Turbo Diesel, available on 3500 models for $11,795.
"The Heavy Duty will tow up to 35,100 pounds and we are the first to shatter the four-digit number on the torque. Our new Cummins High Output has 1,000 pound-feet of torque (at 1,800 rpm)," Johnson said. The Cummins HO is paired with a heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission and generates 400 horsepower at 2,800 rpm. Its max payload is 6,570 pounds.
"On payload we also have best in class, and that's 7,680 pounds on the Ram 3500." This rating belongs to a 3500 4x2 regular cab with the base 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 gas engine. Its towing capacity is 18,210 pounds. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the 6.4-liter generates 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 429 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm.
The standard Cummins diesel, which adds $9,100 to the price tag, delivers 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 850 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,700 rpm. Its transmission mate is a six-speed automatic. Maximum towing is 22,740 pounds and payload capacity is 6,170 pounds.
Easing the burdens of hooking up, backing and towing a trailer is a Surround View Camera system with Trailer Reverse Guidance, which is part of a Towing Technology Group package costing from $445 to $1,095, depending on the model. The camera system provides a 360-degree bird's-eye view around the truck, and also assists parking. Shoehorning a 1-ton dually into a tight parking spot is easier when the driver can see how it aligns with space dividing lines and vehicles flanking it.
A Cargo View Camera provides a look into the bed, allowing the driver to check on cargo and view a fifth-wheel hookup. The tailgate/backup camera with zoom provides an assist when hooking up a conventional trailer.
Trailer Reverse Guidance is facilitated by cameras behind the truck's side mirrors. These cameras look down the sides of the truck and trailer, providing a split view in the monitor screen. "It kind of scrunches the vehicle and trailer into the center and you're only seeing down both sides," said Johnson. "If you're backing your trailer into a spot or your boat down a launch you can see both sides of your trailer and truck, and exactly what's there."
Teaming with technology to provide driving convenience is a comfortable interior. "On the luxury side, we've basically borrowed the interior from the Light Duty," Johnson said. "The Light Duty was awarded the (Ward's) 10 Best Interiors, again, and the interiors are basically the same design, the same layout and the same colors."
The redesigned interior features "authentic premium materials," which include a hand-wrapped leather instrument panel, and center console with a dozen different storage configurations. An interior highlight is the Uconnect 4C NAV with a 12-inch configurable screen.
Separating heavy-duty pickup interiors from the 1500 is its Mega Cab with four large doors and a spacious rear compartment with an extra-large reclining back seat. Ram boasts that its storage capacity is "more than twice the amount" of its closest competitor.
"Engineers did a lot of work to make the vehicle quieter," Johnson said. "We've got acoustic glass in the vehicle that keeps out extra noise. They've redesigned the frame and suspensions to isolate noise, vibration and harshness."
It's the whole package, he said, which includes best-in-class capabilities, technologies that make it easier to hook up the trailer, and the more-comfortable interior, which draws serious truckers to the 2019 Heavy Duty.
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