The heavy hitting truck returns to Detroit, more capable than ever.
The pickup market is full of competition. But only a few make trucks in the heavy-duty class. And this is the most capable yet.
It's the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty, and it "out-powers, out-tows, and out-hauls ever other pickup” on the market. It can carry up to 7,680 pounds and tow up to 35,100 – thanks in no small part to an engine cranking out a mind-boggling, stump-pulling, rootin-tootin' 1,000 lb-ft of torque.
Those are the headline figures, and they're sure to impress those with a big job to do. But there's a lot more to FCA's new HD pickup.
The attention-grabbing output comes from the newly upgraded Cummins diesel: a 6.7-liter straight-six that, incidentally, also produces 400 horsepower. A less potent version will also be available with 370 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque, and the standard engine is no slouch either: the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 burns gasoline to the effect of 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque.
The Hemi comes mated for the first time to the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic, while the Cummins diesels each come with their own six-speed automatic. And four-wheel-drive versions pack a BorgWarner part-time transfer case that, like the gearbox, is specific to the thousand-pound-foot diesel.
All that gear is packed into a new frame built 98.5 percent out of high-strength steel, with lightweight materials (like an aluminum hood) helping to shave 143 pounds off the curb weight. Active dampers at all four corners help it handle smoothly (even when unladen), working with the active noise-cancellation system and acoustic glass to make this the quietest Ram HD ever.
The available, class-exclusive automatic leveling rear air suspension has been recalibrated from the old model to the new one. The brakes have been upgraded, there's a full suite of active and passive safety systems on offer, and the interior's been completely redesigned.
The new Ram Heavy Duty offers dashboard monitors as large as 12 inches across, along with an available seven-inch digital instrument display, a 17-speaker/750-watt Harman Kardon sound system, a 360-degree around-view camera, and an advanced Tire Pressure Monitoring System that can track all six wheels (on the Dually model) and as many as a dozen trailer tires.
There's more storage space inside, along with a proliferation of power outlets and USB ports. The dials have been enlarged to make them easier to control while wearing gloves, and even the HVAC system has been reworked to warm or cool the cab faster.
As you can see, the exterior styling's been revamped as well, with elements specific to each trim level: there are six different grille designs, for example, and three headlamp combinations.
FCA hasn't waited around to release the new Power Wagon either, arriving as "the most capable production off-road truck in the industry” – complete with lifted suspension, locking differentials, 12,000-lb winch... the works. Buyers looking for the added equipment without the attention-grabbing looks can even get a Power Wagon package on the work-a-day Tradesman model. The bottom line is that whatever you need it to do, the new Ram HD looks up to the task.