Putting the HD on a new Ram

Slideshow: The Ram brand turns out a new heavy-duty line with a wide range of features.

Willie Vogt

January 25, 2019

15 Slides

The pickup truck business can be nasty. The big three are mounting a constant battle of tech and features against each other, and for 2019, it appears the heavy-duty segment gets a push. General Motors has already teased its new Silverado HD pickup with a bold look. Just in time for the North American International Auto Show, Ram unveiled its new HD pickup; and following in the footsteps of the 1500, these new machines offer a range of new features inside and out.

The revised Ram 1500 offered a new-look nose that scrapped the crosshairs look, which was to the chagrin of some fans. But there were other features on those “town-y” trucks that heavy-duty users might find of value. Combine that with a range of power and durability features, and the HD Series could get a nice boost.

And that’s what Ram has done with the new 2500 and 3500 pickups. These new machines drop the crosshairs and take on a beefier design view of the 1500 nose. But that’s not all; these new trucks get three engine options, new suspension for a better ride (loaded or empty), and an office-like interior with a tablet-size control center in the dash.

For the exterior design, the truck boasts an industry-leading drag coefficient of 0.409, thanks to an “interlocking” design approach that makes for a smoother shape. The new design has the grill, hood and fenders sharing pieces of each other, which pulls everything together.

There’s a lighter aluminum hood and a more aggressive grille that comes in six styles. The new front bumper is cut with openings for better airflow to the largest turbo intercooler Ram has ever used. There are even choices for front lighting, from halogen to full LED/reflector and full LED/projector with Adaptive Front Light System — for 15% of movement in expected direction of travel.

On the inside, the trucks pick up the new supersized Uconnect 4C NAV screen as an option. The 12-deep screen is like a tablet embedded in the dash. It yields a brighter display for navigation, enhanced imagery from Sirius XL and the ability to split the screen into two virtual displays.

The standard Uconnect screen is a 7-inch model that offers plenty of information for day-to-day use.

Under the hood
When it comes to rating pickups it starts with power, especially for a machine that’s more than likely to be assigned to some work detail. In a heavy-duty work truck, power matters; and for 2019, Ram is getting more power from its Cummins diesel power plant.

The new Cummins 6.7-liter inline 6 is a high-output turbo diesel that delivers up to 1,000 foot-pounds of torque at 1,800 rpm, and 400 hp at 2,800 rpm. And yes, you read that right — this new engine crossed the 1,000 foot-pounds torque barrier for machines this size.

The second choice is another Cummins turbo diesel, which offers 370 hp at 2,800 rpm. and 850 foot-pounds of torque at 1,700 rpm.

The standard engine in the 2500 and 3500 Ram is upgraded to the 6.4-liter Hemi V8, with 410 hp at 5,600 rpm and 429 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm to handle towing and payload requirements.

Linking those engines to the rear axle are a few transmission choices. Ram 3500 heavy-duty models equipped with the high-output Cummins turbo diesel get the Aisin AS69RC electronically controlled six-speed transmission, which is designed to handle the torque of that 6.7-liter engine. The new transmission uses a controller with double the memory of the previous controller, and a dual-core processor to deliver more precise shifts under all driving conditions.

Trucks with the standard turbo diesel get the upgraded version of the 68RFE six-speed transmission, with changes designed to improve the electronically controlled shift quality.

And in a first for the Ram heavy-duty, the Hemi V8 will be mated to a TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic. The transmission has more than 40 shift maps to optimize shift points for fuel economy and performance.

These trucks are packed with other features and choices that include the optional Rambox, which adds storage to the sidewalls of the bed. There are auto-braking safety features, with all-around cameras for parking. And these trucks features industry-leading large cabs. Check with your local Ram dealer about availability.

About the Author(s)

Willie Vogt

Willie Vogt has been covering agricultural technology for more than 40 years, with most of that time as editorial director for Farm Progress. He is passionate about helping farmers better understand how technology can help them succeed, when appropriately applied.

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