2019 Ram Heavy Duty Review: The Quiet & Confident Powerhouse

95
Excellent
Overall Impression
Lots of useful tech.
Powerful and quiet.
Ideal for tough jobs.
Pros
Comfortable Cabin
Multiple Camera Views
Massive Towing Capacity
Cons
Some Turbo Lag
Bumpy Ride (At Times)

The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty gets a complete redesign and is bigger and better in almost every way. If you need to haul a massive load, the new Ram HD is one of the best trucks in America for the job. Towing and payload capacities increase thanks to the truck’s updated architecture and powertrain. Over 100 safety and security features are available, and the amount of in-cabin technology helps the big Ram set the bar even higher in the heavy duty truck segment.

This week we drove the luxury-oriented, 2019 Ram 3500 Limited on the upper end of the lineup. The Limited has a decent starting price but our tester came loaded with options that raised the MSRP considerably.

Ram HD: What’s New For 2019?

The Ram HD (2500 and 3500) is fully redesigned for the 2019 model year. The truck receives more high-strength steel in the frame (98.5 percent) and aluminum throughout the bodywork, reducing overall weight while also increasing rigidity. Ram says new bushings and mounts, along with the axles and acoustic glass, increase ride comfort and decrease noise. We were curious to see just how quiet and smooth the Ram HD is with the Cummins diesel.

Available configurations include Regular Cab, Crew and Mega Cab in either a two-wheel drive or 4×4 configuration, with the 3500 having an option for dual rear wheels. Trim levels include Tradesman, Big Horn, Power Wagon, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited. 3500, 4500, and 5500 are the chassis cab and commercial trucks.

The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty rides on a high-strength steel frame with six separate crossmembers. The hydroformed main rails and fully-boxed rear rails help handle heavy payloads.

Features & Options: Nearly Too Many To List!

Our 2019 Ram 3500 Limited Crew Cab 4×4 tester ($65,250) featured a soft-closing tailgate; LED headlights and taillights; foglights; power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors; remote start; and front and rear parking sensors. On the inside, our tester came with a 115-volt power outlet; dual-zone automatic climate control; a seven-inch display screen; a power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory; power-adjustable front passenger seat; heated, leather front seats, and a heated steering wheel. If that wasn’t enough, our Ram 3500 came with a 10-speaker surround-sound system, HD and satellite radio, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Limited comes with a chrome mesh grille, spray-in bedliner, and LED bed lights, which are nice for working at night. Our Limited tester was upgraded further with supple leather upholstery; ventilated front seats and heated rear sears; wood interior and steering wheel trim; power-adjustable pedals with memory; automatic high beams and wipers; and a navigation system.

 Related: From work to family, do trucks make our lives better?

Features & Options: Plenty of Extras (And Lots of Power)

Other standard upgrades included power-deployable running boards; 20-inch wheels; additional chrome exterior trim; the RamBox cargo management system (which includes bedside storage compartments, an adjustable bed divider, and tie-downs); and special black leather upholstery. 

Finally, our Ram 3500 Limited came with the optional Max Tow package ($3,695); Harmam/Kardon premium sound; 12-inch display; surround-view camera, and a lot of extra safety tech ($2,995). We were loaded up with the Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel with 1,000 lb ft. of torque ($11,795) and a power sunroof for good measure ($1,095).

Total MSRP including destination: $87,810. The 2019 Ram HD starts around $33,000 but pricing can vary greatly depending on cabin configurations, trim levels, and options.  

An Active-Level rear air suspension is an option for the 2019 Ram HD. The supplemental air bags soften the impacts heavy loads have on the truck.

Interior Highlights: Ideal For Longer Trips 

The Limited cabin is a nice place to spend those hours on the road towing that six-stall horse trailer, fully-equipped race car trailer, or a large fifth wheel camper. You will get to your destination feeling rested and relaxed. We didn’t have anything to pull this week (a shame with Labor Day coming up) other than pulling I-70 at altitude, seeing how fast we could get the big rig moving. We cranked up the ventilated seats and A/C and sat back to enjoy the ride.

Ram did a good job upgrading the cabin, adding lots of soft-touch materials, leather-wrapped surfaces, and wood grains on the dash. This Limited 3500 feels as plush as any luxury car or SUV. All controls are laid out in a logical and easy-to-use manner, and there’s plenty of space for taller passengers in every seating position. From the drivers seat, visibility is excellent thanks to large windows and good seat adjustability.

In the back, there was plenty of room for our long-legged passengers who complimented Ram on the comfort level. We also folded up the seats to reveal a large area for cargo which we made use of. Overall, the cabin of the Ram HD is a welcome place for your family and friends to take long trips in.

2019 Ram HD Limited interior layout. Up to three 115-volt household plugs are available; all outlets handle up to 400 watts to better charge power tools.

2019 Ram Heavy Duty: Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs

Our Ram 3500 tester came with the famous 6.7-liter, six-cylinder Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel. The upgraded version pumps out 400 horsepower and a massive 1,000 lb-ft. of pavement-pulling torque. It’s coupled with a six-speed Aisin-sourced automatic transmission. Along with improvements to the chassis, the big diesel pushes the Ram HD’s max towing and payload capacity to 35,100 and 7,680 lbs. respectively (when properly-equipped). 

EPA fuel mileage estimates are unavailable as the EPA does not rate HD trucks from the Big Three. 

The standard 6.4-liter Hemi with cylinder deactivation and variable cam timing can go in place of the Cummins diesel. It’s hooked up to a new eight-speed automatic and produces 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft. of torque.  

The cylinder block of the Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel is made from compacted graphite iron. Moving through the engine, the most noticeable updates are the new exhaust valves and rocker arms; lighter pistons with low-friction rings, and forged connecting rods. Boost pressure clocks in at 33 psi.

Driving Dynamics: The Best Out There

The only reason to spend an extra $11,795 is if you really need to pull and haul heavy loads. But it’s the perfect drivetrain to do your heavy lifting. The Cummins diesel is the best engine in this segment, and Ram has had it in their trucks since 1989. Once again, they have masterfully engineered the truck to accommodate the size and power of the Cummins Turbo Diesel. If you need to pull or haul anything heavy, this is the truck that will exceed your expectations.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a load to pull this week except for an opportunity to haul it up I-70 at 9,500 feet elevation. The straight-six Cummins spooled up and we could go as fast as we wanted. 

Related: An in-depth look at the 2019 Ram 1500.

Driving Dynamics: Like A Church Mouse 

The biggest surprise is how quiet the cabin is. We’ve driven many Ram trucks – and Dodges back in the day – with the Cummins diesel. The older models are loud inside when you get going under a full load. But this new generation of Ram HD trucks is quiet, and we could barely tell it was a diesel under the hood. I actually had to look at the paperwork we got with our tester to verify it was the diesel and not the gas V8.

2019 Ram Heavy Duty in a single real wheel configuration.

Driving Dynamics: Bumpy But Not Bad  

The 3500 is large and even longer with the Crew Cab or if you opt for the dually. Yet, in spite of its size, the Ram 3500 is relatively easy to drive. The steering is light enough for quick turns and highway maneuvers we noticed. The Ram HD has a bumpy ride most of the time, but it’s not unbearable like some HD trucks. A quiet and luxurious interior, well-padded seats, and a forgiving suspension make for a competent highway cruiser on those long trips across state lines.

You just can’t park it anywhere! You leave your behind sticking out and could get clipped. We recommend, if you are towing something over a long distance, to fuel up at truck stops versus normal gas stations. You will have more room there to maneuver. 

2019 Ram 3500 with dual real wheels.

Conclusion: Raising The Bar 

The 2019 Ram 3500 Limited Crew Cab 4×4 is the heavy duty truck you want for pulling large loads. The Limited seems too nice for a work truck, but this trim is excellent for families who need to go places with their camper or horse trailer. If you don’t need the extra payload capacity, the 2500 model is also a viable option. Either way, the new Ram HD with the Cummins diesel sets the bar high. 

Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

2019 Ram Heavy Duty: Exterior Gallery

2019 Ram Heavy Duty: Interior Gallery

Mechanical Components Gallery

Photos FCA US LLC.

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