2019 Ram 3500 HD delivers extreme capability and luxury
2019 is shaping up to be the battle of the heavy duty trucks. Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram are all updating their 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks this year with huge increases in performance. After taking a look at GMC and Chevy last month, we went to drive the Ram HD lineup in the desert outside Las Vegas.
The truck we chose for the day was a top of the line Ram 3500 Limited 4X4 with dual rear wheels and the high output Cummins turbo-diesel engine. The new 6.7-liter Cummins diesel delivers 1,000 pound-feet of torque and 400 horsepower. It's mated to a new 6-speed Aisin commercial-grade automatic transmission and a heavy duty rear axle designed specifically to handle the best-in-class torque.
The high output Cummins adds $11,795 to the base price of any Ram HD truck. Buyers may also choose the regular 850 pound-foot Cummins engine for $9,100, or the standard 6.4-liter HEMI gasoline V8 engine with 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet. For the record, we also drove the V8 and it's got plenty of power, and it doesn't add a penny to the price of the truck.
All that torque and driveline technology has a point, and it's towing capacity. The new Ram HD is capable of towing up to 35,100 pounds when properly configured. The new GM trucks are advertising 35,500 pounds, and Ford hasn't yet revealed their heavy duty tow capacity, but it's certain to be comparable. But before you think about actually pulling that much trailer, you should know that it's illegal to tow that much weight without a commercial driver's license. We pulled a 15,000-pound dump trailer on a gooseneck hitch for almost 100 miles very comfortably. The bottom line is that the new Ram HD will pull any utility trailer, toy hauler, or travel trailer and never break a sweat.
Inside, the new Ram HD is nothing short of amazing. Ram has implemented active noise cancellation technology that makes the cabin whisper-quiet. Even with the diesels, they've invested effort in keeping engine noise way down. The suspension is so smooth, you can drive the truck loaded or unloaded and the Ram will steer, brake, and accelerate normally.
Cabin tech and luxury vary widely among the Ram HD's seven different trim levels. The base Tradesman 2500 is Spartan but very affordable at $35,090. That truck has an old-fashioned regular cab, cloth or vinyl seats, and rubber floor mats, but also comes with air conditioning, cruise control, and a 5-inch infotainment screen with a rear-view camera. The test 3500 with all the cool options like leather and a 12-inch infotainment screen came to $87,710. The fact is, there's a Ram HD for every purpose and every budget.
2019 Ram 3500 HD
Base price: $65,250
Price as tested: $87,710
Type: Full-size pickup truck
Engine: 6.7-liter turbo-diesel (400 hp, 1,000 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: TBD
Overall length: 260.8 inches
Curb weight: 7,159 pounds
Final assembly: Saltillo, Mexico