The 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups charge onto the Detroit auto show floor with the same good looks found on the lighter-duty Ram 1500 and a 6.7-liter inline-six Cummins diesel that can churn out 1,000 lb-ft of torque under the hood. With that 1,000 lb-ft of torque, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty can tow an astonishing 35,100 lbs. and carry 7,680 lbs. of payload. Despite the massive figures, Ram engineers were still able to shed 143 pounds from the truck.

You’re probably curious about the barrier-busting Cummins diesel -- let’s fill you in. The engine is available in two outputs: the standard output Cummins makes 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 lb-ft of torque at 1,700 rpm, with the high-output version taking headlines with 400 hp at 2,800 rpm and 1,000 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. Regardless of output, the 6.7-liter diesel burner gets a new block made from compacted graphite iron, which Ram claims is stronger and weighs less than a standard gray iron block.

Topping the block is a new cast iron cylinder head, stuffed with new exhaust valves, springs and rocker arms. Ram uses a hollow camshaft and an aluminum housing for the water pump to further reduce weight. New forged connecting rods, new bearings and new lightweight pistons will work together to turn diesel and air into power. There’s also a new exhaust manifold that feeds an improved variable-geometry turbocharger that, in turn, feeds the engine a whopping 33 psi of boost.

If diesel isn’t your go-to fuel, Ram is also offering the Heavy Duty pickups with a 6.4-liter Hemi V8. Making 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, it might not be the best for towing or pulling stumps, but it will get the job done. The V8-powered Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups will also get frame-mounted vibration dampers, like the Ram 1500, to keep unwanted engine vibrations from bleeding into the cabin.

Ram has three different transmissions headed to the Heavy Duty Ram pickups. If you opt for the gas-burning Hemi, you’ll get Dodge’s 8HP75 transmission -- more commonly called the eight-speed TorqueFlite. The standard-output Cummins diesel gets an upgraded version of the outgoing pickup’s six-speed automatic. The high-output Cummins is backed by an Aisin six-speed automatic. If you’re keeping score, that means automatic transmissions 3, manuals 0, but when hauling a heavy load -- that might be ideal.

From the transmission on four-wheel-drive models, power heads through one of three of the available transfer cases. Of course, these depend on engine selection and model. That power then heads to the new front and rear axles.

All of that powertrain magic is great, and backed by frames made of 98.5-percent high-strength steel. Six separate crossmembers keep the two outer fully-boxed rails together. The rear axle crossmember was designed with provisions for goose-neck and fifth-wheel hitches. There are three different headlight combinations up front and six different grille options.

It gets steel coil springs in all four corners, unless you opt for the air suspension, which replaces the rear steel springs with air springs. That should help with your towing, as well as offer a suppler ride. About that ride, Ram is trying to address the harsh ride of heavy-duty trucks with special frequency-response damping shocks. These self-adjust based on vertical wheel input. Ram claims this lets the 2500 and 3500 pickups have sports-car-like suspension, but we’re skeptical about that.

This whole package is wrapped in unsurprising sheetmetal -- if you saw the Ram 1500, you'd know its heavier-duty sibling based on looks alone. Though, like the rest of the truck, the body is scaled to fit: a bigger grille opening gets more air into the heat exchangers and the cab lights reveal the truck’s width. Still, Ram engineers put the body on a diet with an aluminum hood to help when it crosses the scales. The truck also will launch with a fuel-saving .409 drag coefficient. That means it slips through the air better than a Lamborghini Countach!

The interior, too, is borrowed from the lighter-duty rig. The massive 12-inch UConnect touchscreen makes its first heavy-duty appearance. Of course, you can’t have the worksite getting in the way of your favorite podcast or NPR show, and Ram offers an active noise cancellation system along with acoustic glass. If you think the jobsite will still be too loud, Ram will set you up with a 750-watt , 17-speaker sound system. Like the 1500, the 2500 and 3500 pickups also have tons of storage inside -- with 9.1 cubic of interior storage space. That’s spread around the Ram’s interior, with 1 cube of that coming from the massive center console, which is big enough to store a 15-inch laptop.

Adding to its Detroit show mix, Ram will also show off a new 2019 Power Wagon. The Power Wagon gets a special interior, Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tread-embossed seats and unique UConnect screen. Standard LED Headlights will guide you through the trails, while the standard 33-inch Goodyear tires climb over obstacles. In case you get stuck, or see something that needs to be moved, there’s a Warn Zeon-12 winch with a kink-less synthetic line to help take care of business.

The new Ram Heavy Duty looks to build off the success laid by its lighter-duty sibling. The 1,000 lb-ft of torque should grab headlines for a while, but it’s only a matter of time before Ford or Chevrolet usurp the throne. There’s no word on price, but it’s safe to say it probably won’t be any less expensive than the outgoing model.

Source: Autoweek

January 14, 2019