Hey Cool! I get to write about a truck for once. Normally this is Carl Anthony’s end of things, but this time the truck news finally ended up on my desk. I like trucks. They’re no BS, no screwing around kind of deals. They’re tools that exist to get the job done, and everything else; the bells and whistles, the frills and things like that, just don’t really matter. In this case, we’re talking about the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty.
Posers Need Not Apply
Before we get into how good of a tool the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is, we should deal with the growing trend of (shudder) trucks heading upmarket. The very top of the line trucks these days are getting as fancy as Buck Owens’ stage get up. Near as I can tell, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is not aimed at the drugstore cowboys of this world. No, thankfully, even with its luxurious treatments, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is aimed at those who need to haul stuff to and from a work site.
In that respect, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty fits the bill. The standard 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with cylinder deactivation and variable cam timing provides 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft. of torque. Remember, this is the base model engine. The specs just get better and better from there.
For example, the all-new 6.7-liter Cummins I-6 High Output Turbo Diesel cranks out 1,000 lb-ft. of torque at 1,800 rpm. Yes, that is a lot. But it’s also not overkill either. If you have to tow something really heavy, or have the bed weighed down with a bunch of stuff and you’re starting out on a slope . . . in the rain . . . in the mud and sand . . . you get the idea. Speaking of that stuff, the new Ram HD can tow 35,100 lbs. and carry 7,680-lb. of payload when properly equipped.
If you’re a numbers kind of guy, that’ll pretty much settle the argument for you.
The new 6.7-liter Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel features a compacted graphite iron block, cast-iron cylinder heads, stronger pistons with low-friction rings, and new exhaust valves, springs, and rocker arms. A new exhaust manifold serves as the mounting point for the variable-geometry turbocharger, delivering boost pressures up to 33 psi. The standard Cummins Turbo Diesel improves to 370 horsepower (2,800 rpm) and 850 lb-ft. of torque (1,700 rpm).
Attached to the High Output Cummins is an Aisin AS69RC electronically-controlled six-speed automatic. The standard Cummins runs an upgraded version of the 68RFE six-speed automatic; and the 6.4-liter Hemi receives the TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic with more than 40 shift maps to optimize performance and fuel economy.
These powertrains aim to make your job easier, whatever that might be.
Ram’s engineers placed an even greater emphasis on strength, reworking the frame to yield the highest levels of torsional rigidity yet. The new frame is over 98 percent high-strength steel with six separate cross-members, hydro-formed main rails, and fully boxed rear rails; all meant to increase durability and efficiency. Furthermore, new lightweight materials in the frame and powertrain, along with an aluminum hood, cut the overall weight by 143 pounds.
You’ll also notice the redesigned Ram HD is the best riding and handling truck they’ve ever made. For example, two “Active-Tuned Mass Modules” mounted on the frame rails search out unfavorable vibrations and apply countermeasures to eliminate them. Active-Level rear air suspension (meaning air bags replace coil springs) is available, and includes a new bed-lowering feature to help when hooking up trailers. Ram says the supplemental air bags help soften the feel of a heavily-loaded truck.
They also upped the ride quality with Frequency Response Damping shocks, more progressive springs, and re-engineered bushings. The braking system receives upgraded calipers and booster and master cylinders to help shorten stopping distances and improve brake-pedal feel.
But hey, this is a 2019 truck we’re talking about here, so it’s not all Spartan minimalism. That refinement is enhanced by active noise cancellation, various anti-vibration devices, and acoustic glass; each contributing to the quietest cabin yet for a Ram HD truck. The interior receives new materials, colors, and textures, including hand-wrapped leather instrument panels. The Uconnect 4C NAV, with its 12-inch configurable screen, is complimented by SiriusXM and a 750-watt, 17-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. In the center console, there are 12 different storage configurations with dedicated and assignable switches, a wireless charging dock, and five USB ports.
Finally, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty has more than 100 safety and security features, including adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning.
Pricing & Manufacturing
Add all this up and the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is a tool you can use and trust; around home and to and from the job site. Or, in my case, towing a race car to and from the local track. Starting MSRP varies greatly: between $35,000 and $90,000 depending on trim level and preferred options.
The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.