2019 Ram 3500: Bigger, Badder and Now Luxurious

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By Mark Williams

Competes with: Chevrolet Silverado 3500, Ford F-350/F-450 and GMC Sierra 3500

Looks like: A beefier heavy-duty single- and dual-rear-wheel version of the newly minted Ram 1500

Drivetrains: Carryover 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 (410-horsepower, 429 pounds-feet of torque) paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission or all-new turbo-diesel 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder Cummins (370 or 400 hp, 850 or 1,000 pounds-feet of torque) with a pair of new six-speed automatic transmissions; rear- or four-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Early second quarter

Following close on the heels of the successful launch of the 2019 Ram 1500 light-duty pickup truck, the new 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 revealed today at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit offer similar (but very different) structural and quality upgrades to the frame, chassis, cabs and interior.

Related: More 2019 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Because there is so much difference between the heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 models, especially the dual-rear-wheel models, this story focuses on the changes to the one-ton model. If you want to read more about the changes to the three-quarter ton and upgraded 2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, click here.

Exterior

The 2019 Ram 3500 will continue to be offered in several distinct trim levels: Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited. The outside of the Ram 3500, as you would expect, closely follows the 2500 and to a certain extent the smaller Ram 1500. The grille reflects the biggest changes with more horizontal slats from the new light duty and a larger, bolder wide-mouth look. We're glad the large "nostrils" of the previous model are gone. But the new look is not just for styling's sake; the larger grille is designed to flow more cooling air into the engine compartment when needed. All 2019 Ram HDs will have computer-controlled grille shutters to help the engine warm up quicker in cold weather and cool faster during high-demand situations. Also, the newly designed front bumper will allow air to flow into the engine via a new center opening.

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The new aluminum hood reflects some of the multilevel "waterfall" design cues seen on the 1500, and the 3500 offers three new headlamp choices: halogen, full LED reflector and full LED projector with active turning that moves the lights in the direction of travel up to 15 degrees.

Ram 3500s will continue to be offered in both single- and dual-rear-wheel versions in regular- and crew-cab 4x2 and 4x4 configurations with an 8-foot bed. The Ram 3500 Mega Cab also will be offered in single-wheel and dually configurations but only with a 4x4 drivetrain and a 6-foot, 4-inch bed. All Ram HD Mega Cabs will have the shorter bed.

Interior

As we saw with the Ram 1500, moving to larger and quieter cabs (regular, crew and Mega Cab), and a vastly simplified and cleaner dash layout is likely to garner the new Ram 3500 a lot of attention from the money-is-no-object crowd. These buyers usually tow expensive trailers, boats or campers, and when they tow they like to go in style.

Each trim level will sport a different material with materials and colors that reflect that model's intended purpose. The new center dash puts all the radio, climate and feature controls within easy reach of the driver, whether the 12-inch or 8-inch screen is selected. The centerpiece of the new interiors will be the 12-inch configurable touchscreen that's likely to become the gold standard for the class; it's standard on the top-of-the-line Limited and optional for other trims.

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Among other big improvements to the interior, the front seats have been stiffened with more side bolstering, the center storage area offers 12 different storage combinations and cab-specific active noise cancellation systems reduce outside noise. Crew and Mega cabs have larger in-floor storage bins with drain holes and provide several in-floor tie-downs to boot. There also are several active-tuned modules on the frame (similar to the Ram 1500) to minimize frame/chassis/suspension vibrations.

The state-of-the-art Uconnect 4C Navigation and SiriusXM 360L will be available in the upper trim levels providing real-time, on-demand programming and allowing owners to develop and maintain profiles similar to Netflix — something that's never before been offered in the HD class.

Under the Hood

The Ram 3500's standard engine will be the carryover 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, rated at 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpms and 429 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm; it will be mated to a heavier-duty TorqueFlight eight-speed transmission with a class-exclusive, rotary-dial gear selector a la the 2019 Ram 1500. The naturally aspirated V-8 gas engine offers cylinder deactivation, moving from V-4 to V-8 modes as demand dictates to save fuel and includes a fuel shutoff system during certain deceleration situations (like coasting to a stop or long downhill glides).

The optional engine is the big news here: It's an all-new inline-six-cylinder Cummins B motor that is lighter and stronger than the one it replaces. Made from compacted graphite iron, the new block is topped by a new cast-iron cylinder head with new exhaust valves and springs, rocker arms, a hollow camshaft, and an aluminum oil and water pump. The turbo-diesel 6.7-liter diesel produces 400 hp (less than before) at 2,800 rpm and a whopping, class-best 1,000 pounds-feet of torque (70 pounds-feet more than before) at 1,800 rpm. As before, Ram HDs will get a less powerful variant of the same engine for buyers who might want or need the de-rated version or are looking for more longevity. The down-rated version produces 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 pounds-feet of torque at 1,700 rpm. This version gets all the same improvements the up-rated version includes.

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All diesel Ram 3500s will get the electronically controlled Aisin AS69RC six-speed transmission, which we're told now has twice as much learning capability than before to deliver faster, more precise shifts under all driving conditions, loaded and unloaded. That was one of our complaints about the Ram 3500 during our 2018 One-Ton Heavy-Duty Truck Challenge.

Payload and Towing

The heart of the improved, class-leading towing and hauling numbers is partially connected to the 2019 Ram 3500's strengthened frame. The all-new frame is built with 98.5 percent high-strength steel, six separate through-welded cross-members, hydroformed main rails and fully boxed rear rails. The cross-member over the rear axle of the one-ton is much bigger and stronger than before to accommodate the bigger fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch ratings.

The maximum tow rating for the Ram 3500 (4x2 diesel with a 4.10:1 axle ratio) is just more than 35,000 pounds; it has a gross combined weight rating of 43,000 pounds. The max payload capacity for the one-ton dually is 7,680 pounds (4x2 Hemi V-8 with 3.73:1 or 4.10 axle ratios). Gross vehicle weight ratings range between 10,700 and 14,000 pounds depending on configuration.

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Another reason for the Ram 3500's higher maximum towing and payload limits is the all-new max tow 12-inch American Axle & Manufacturing heavy-duty rear axle that has a larger ring gear, 4.25-inch tubes, much larger differential bearings and bigger shaft hub seals.

Safety and Tech

As with the 2019 Ram 1500, there are almost too many new or upgraded safety and technology features for the 3500 to list. Ram actually provided a list of 101 new safety and tech features in the media press kit, broken into five separate categories. Suffice to say that the 2019 Ram 3500 will offer key safety features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, collision warning, multiple rearview camera options and settings, trailer backup assist, individual sensors on each airbag and much more. Naturally, different safety and technology features will be found on different trim levels. We'll know more about how everything interfaces with the driver and passengers after we get time behind the wheel of the different models, which is supposed to happen in February.

The new 2019 Ram 3500 hits dealership early in the second quarter; pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry; manufacturer images and drawings

 

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Comments

All Guts
All Glory
All Best in Class
Ram!

Sounds like manual transmissions really are history... what a bummer.

Believe this is the first one to hit 1K on the torque. Knew it was inevitable just surprised it wasn't rushed to sooner.

Hold on now... everyone knows Ford isn't gonna let this happen. They are in the process of sprinkling some of their magic dust on their trucks so they can be best in class on paper.

The clear winner for this segment

No other manufacture even comes close to this beast

welcome to 2011 powerstroke levels of horsepower. Torque management?

This beautiful looking truck with a luxurious high quality material interior has to pass the truck in the link below that is UGLY and has an interior inspired by Fisher Price for #2? Done!! LOLOLOLOL.


https://cdn.motor1.com/images/mgl/mQrW4/s4/2020-chevrolet-silverado-hd.jpg

Column Shift lever, No thanks, I'll stick with my 99 Ranger with a 5 speed.

Nice truck. Way to go Ram.

I'll stick with my S10.

My good old Super Duty's out in the back yard up on blocks, but I'm sticking with it. It's don't run, but it sure is nice.

No FAKE papa here.

If you had a job driving one of these new HD RAMs for a living, you'd wake up every Monday morning and bounce out of bed.

That interior shot should make any guy with a pulse head right over to the RAM dealer to trade in his old Super Duty.

@papa

"That interior shot should make any guy with a pulse head right over to the RAM dealer to trade in his old Super Duty.
Posted by: papajim | Jan 14, 2019 9:13:52 AM"

Whats even worse is that interior (and front end) should make any would-be Gm hd 2020 buyer with a pulse forget that fugly_ truck and head over to the RAM dealer.....

I hope the new rams are as good as everyone says. But what really matters to me is reliability. I REALLY hope they have improved reliability. All of the current trucks are pretty nice. I have a hard time believing the new ram interiors can really be so much better than the other trucks. The trucks today are nice enough that I will choose whatever has the best reliability. That really is what makes the decision for me and why I have been sticking with the fords most of the time.

@papajim--The Ram is one truck that GM needs to study as to what makes a truck desirable. The interior and the exterior are beautiful. GM has a great power train but this is where they are lacking. Like to see Chevy rise up to this level and have a truck that even those who are other brand loyalist say I want this truck. GM do this now before it is too late. You don't even have to completely redesign your new truck, just make it more appealing.

Really nice design RAM so much better than the GM HDs! Still dont like the badge on the hood. We’ll have to see how the 2020 SD compare - super curious on the new Ford V8. Ram will get a serious look when the time comes to replace my current ride.

Wow! 1,000 lb/ft of torque. We had old road tractors that didn't make that.
I knew it was coming and I was wondering who would do it first but now that it's here that's just staggering. Pickups that can move mountains!

With a engine block made in China. . . So sad Cummins is going that LOW

Not bad looking. Wish they would have made it look a bit more different than 1500. 1000ft lbs of tq is impressive. Like to see performance specs on it. Now if they can get reliability up in them. They will sell many of these trucks.

Like I've said, cousin has a cummins, loves it when its on road ,but its been in shop 4 times now in year and half he's owned it.

As for the guys bashing the new GM HDs. Opinions vary. Ill pass judgement when I see it in person. Just like the 1500's, once I saw it in person, they are very sharp looking.

The CGI block is made in BRAZIL. The original technology for
CGI came from Sweden.
There is a very large company in Brazil that is the only authorized
manufacturer for CGI in the world. The Fordf Powerstroke also
uses this material.
You sound like a liberal. Whats the matter, you forgot to charge
up your Prius last night?

TrevA,

The company is Tupy S.A. Now, go educate yourself.

should make any guy with a pulse head right over to the RAM dealer to trade in his old Super Duty.


@papa, Some good improvements, but nothing for a Ford guy to run out and trade his Super Duty in for. Plus there is a new Super Duty arriving this year as well.

Correction about the making of blocks in CGI. This block is made in Saltillo Mexico by brazilian Co Tupy with Swedish High Tech from Sintercast.
SinterCast is the world’s leading supplier of process control technology for the reliable high volume production of
Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI). With at least 75% higher tensile strength, 45% higher stiffness and approximately double
the fatigue strength of conventional grey cast iron and aluminium, CGI allows engine designers to improve performance,
fuel economy and durability while reducing engine size, weight, noise and emissions. The SinterCast technology, with 45
installations in 13 countries, is primarily used for the production of petrol and diesel engine cylinder blocks and exhaust
components for passenger vehicles, medium-duty and heavy-duty cylinder blocks and heads for commercial vehicles, and
industrial power engine components for marine, rail, off-road and stationary engine applications. SinterCast supports the
series production of components ranging from 2.7 kg to 9 tonnes, all using the same proven process control technology.
As a specialist supplier of precision measurement and process control solutions to the metals industry, SinterCast also
supplies a suite of tracking technologies, including the SinterCast Ladle Tracker®, Cast TrackerTM and Operator TrackerTM,
to improve process control, productivity and traceability in a variety of applications. The SinterCast share is quoted on the
Small Cap segment of the Nasdaq Stockholm stock exchange (SINT). For more information: http//www.sintercast.com

As former fulltime rv'ers towing a 39' fithwheel all over this country for many years with one-ton trucks from Ford, Chevy, and Ram, all diesel, I can vouch for the Ram being the best. It won't be the fastest up the hill but it's plenty fast enough. It won't scorch the quarter mile times but it's plenty quick enough. Where it excels is at towing. Those V8 diesels scream at around 3800 rpm and the engine temperature gauge would teeter on hot (especially my GM's) while climbing those steep hills with a heavy load. Been there, done that. My Ram would climb to 2700 rpm, then part way up the hill it would upshift, dropping rpm to around 2100 to 2200. Temperature gauge hardly moved at all. I remember in our last year the warnings we got about not towing that 16,000 lb. fifthwheel over Monarch Pass on US 50 in Colorado. We did it anyhow. When we reached the summit (coming from the west) my wife and I looked at each other and asked "what's so tough about that?" The Ram just took it in stride like always. You want the fastest? Buy the Ford or a GM. You want competence in your tow vehicle and confidence your truck can do it? Buy the Ram. Plus, the mean time between overhaul of the Ram is way more than the others, meaning it lasts longer. And it was the only truck I ever had that never needed to go into a shop for anything other than scheduled maintenance, like fluid changes, new tires, brake pads when they finally wore out, etc. I routinely put way over 100,000 miles on my trucks before trading except for a couple of my Ford and GM trucks that never made it that far without major problems. I grew up a Chevy fan, then a Ford fan, but the Ram is the best truck I ever owned.

The picture of the std cab, 8 ft bed is really nice. Cool they included the “original” truck body configuration. Classic. Guy I work with has a 2018 no frills, 4x4 reg cab 8 ft bed F150. Something to be said for how I remember most trucks growing up. Crew/Super cabs were the exception.

@Dale
I get it. I’ve got family with Fiat products and some were utter nightmares. Reality or not, my perception is sketchy on Fiat quality. I’ve owned new Ford trucks since 1993 and have never had an issue - that’s hard to motivate someone to switch brands. I know there are guys with GMs that feel the same.

@Beebe, @Jeff s. Couldn't agree more with your comments. The Ram seems to be head and shoulders above the GM's...not too confident on reliability though...Ram HD was the most unreliable vehicle on Consumer Reports list. Wow, GM is just getting killed, I guess I will keep my Suburban for a few more years.

My concern would be the reliability of Ram. If they can get that down then they will be very close to F series in numbers. Ram has the looks, nicer interior, and some great powertrains but they need to convince those of us who are skeptics that they have just as good of reliability as Ford and GM. If they get that then there is no stopping them. Even makes me who is a midsize truck lover want a Ram.

then they will be very close to F series in numbers

@Jeff S

Last RAM trucks delivered about half as many trucks as either Ford or GM. You're talking about a 100 percent increase.

It might take several years for them to simply manufacture that big an increase, much less sell it.

Last RAM trucks delivered about half as many trucks

EDIT meant to say "Last YEAR ram delivered..."

I like this RAM better than my now previous favorite F series super duty as well. Will see what Ford does with update next year. WOW, Ram is REALLY on a roll!!! Maybe I could just buy it, and just take it to the shop for repairs every few months...looks so good, I might just do that!

Its not bad looking. Should have made it look alitttle more different than 1500s. Now work on reliability, they have their issues.

Cousin loves his when its on road but his cummins as been in shop 4 times past year and half. Very frustrating

As for those belittling the GMs HDs. Opinions vary, but I'll save mine for in person. Waited for the 1500 and in person they are gorgeous.

Kudos foe GM to go outside the box with design. RAM should have done this with their HD truck. To match the great interior!

'Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N) Chief Executive Mike Manley told reporters at the Detroit auto show on Monday that U.S. metals tariffs will raise the automaker’s 2019 costs by $300 million to $350 million, or about $135 to $160 a vehicle, based on the automaker’s 2018 U.S. sales.'

Reuters
BUSINESS NEWS
JANUARY 14, 2019 / 11:21 AM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO
Global auto leaders urge T administration to end trade turmoil
Ben Klayman, David Shepardson

Agree with Dale. Heavy towing; can’t beat Cummins. The engines simply don’t work as hard as the V blocks to move a load. Lower rpms, better economy while towing, and longer intervals between overhauls. Powerstroke and Duramax are quick and sporty. Great for taking your boat to the lake or your sxs’s to the dunes.

The 3500 Ram looks good, always has. I do like the bold new look if the GM HD trucks too. They look beefy.
Interior in the Ram "looks" nice, but my gosh, there is way too much going on in these trucks now, which brings me to my comments on reliability if the Ram.
Reliability of the past 2 Ram 3500's we have owned has been very poor. Not from the motors, but from the emissions and electrical. Both our trucks a 2012 and 2016 have been crippled with poor quality electronics and material. Our 2016 Longhorn is sure nice interior wise, but looks are it, the quality is very poor. We have had Fords, not bad reliability wise but interiors rattle and warp too easy, seats are not comfy, exterior looks are "OK".
As far as the GM HD trucks we have never had many issues with them, and have been the most reliable, the Duramax/Allison is a great combination for HD towing. Sure the GM isn't the fanciest , but for truck duties and keeping out of the shop, the GM HD trucks are great. I wish the Ram would get a better hold on electrical and quality control because I sure do like the Cummins, but hate not being able to enjoy it with so many issues that plaque Ram trucks.

Agree with Dale. Heavy towing; can’t beat Cummins. The engines simply don’t work as hard as the V blocks to move a load. Lower rpms, better economy while towing, and longer intervals between overhauls. Powerstroke and Duramax are quick and sporty. Great for taking your boat to the lake or your sxs’s to the dunes.


Posted by: GM makes it, Isuzu shakes it | Jan 14, 2019 6:44:1

The Duramax makes full torque at 1600 rpm, the Cummins @ 1650 rpm.
I have used both Cummins and Duramax, the Duramax tows effortlessly at low rpm just like the Cummins. I like the sound of the Cummins, quiet, and reliable, the rest of the Fiat is, well, not good.
I would like a truck with Cummins engine, Allison Transmission, and looks of the new GM with the interior of Ram, but electronics and reliability of GM

@David Robertson

Whether or not you like the current president, one thing is sure. The executives at GM, Ford and FCA are using the trade discussions as an excuse to cover for their own business issues.

There is no way the US can safely continue to rely on foreign countries to provide our steel. Reviving America's steel industry is critical to our national defense. Restoring America's coal industry is essential to the health of our steel industry. Without coal you cannot make carbon steel.

Lastly, using the figure you quoted "...about $135 to $160 a vehicle" is peanuts when you're talking about crew-cab trucks that MSRP at $60k or more.

America's ability to defend itself is worth that, don't you think?

These new RAM 1500, 2500 & 3500 are the trucks that will propel RAM ahead of Chevy. This is the year !!!

Ramtastic, you could be right. Not that this would ever happen, but GM needs to do a very quick interior redesign...one way this could work is to use the upcoming 2020 Suburban/Yukon interior on higher trim trucks such as LTZ and High Country. Also, GM needs to up the power in the Duramax (this could possibly already be in the works, even though they just did up the power last year), as well as the 5.3 and 6.2 engines, and do something about the ugly duckling front end treatments found on some Silverado models, especially the LT trimmed HD's. Obviously, there is no way they are going to do all of that stuff in the next year or two...so the Ram may very well take over second place in sales...but Ram probably won't take the lead over Silverado/Sierra combined anytime soon. I can see some huge discounts coming on the Silverado to try and keep second place.

That really is what makes the decision for me and why I have been sticking with the fords most of the time.


Posted by: Beebe | Jan 14, 2019 9:54:26 AM

Stick with Ford, They build it once at the factory and then they can rebuild it with all the recalls on your dime. Off the job again to return to the dealer over and over again. I guess that free coffee at the dealer is great. lol please spare me the bull. I've owned a Ford.

Papajim
"If you had a job driving one of these new HD RAMs for a living, you'd wake up every Monday morning and bounce out of bed."

That very is a very NA experience that people outside cannot relate too

That very is a very NA experience that people outside cannot relate too...Posted by: Robert Ryan | Jan 14, 2019

Do you ever read this stuff before you hit the Post button?

Dodge 25% Toyota 25% Cummins so only 50% of the truck
Designed by FIAT Hell even the 1/2 tons use a ZF tranny

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It's funny Ford guys say anything about RAM's electronic problems. I didn't have any. There has been hundreds of recalls for Ford's electronics and fires, fires and fires again. Sync was frozen constantly in early versions , I witnessed personally in my friend's Raptor.

It’s even funnier that Ram trucks is the only brand to have the largest vehicle buyback programs in history.
@RAM you have no basis to criticize the quality of Ford or GM.

Well, GM killed hundreds with ignition switch and no buyback program.
Ford has hundreds of fire recalls, burns houses down and no buyback program.

@ RAM they all suck. I’ll even go as far to say that there is a normal distribution of suckyness across all brands - techincal quality speak...

Buy whatever you like and get the best deal on and hope your not on the bad tail of the normal distribution. Everything else is subjective folks.

My 2010 RAM 1500 didn't suck. I didn't qualify for buyback either.
I enjoy my 2019 RAM 1500.

@ RAM
As do many others enjoy their GM, Ford, Toyota, etc..



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