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Video| The 2019 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Is an Ultra-Tough $85,000 Truck

I recently had the chance to drive the new heavy-duty Ram, which was just redesigned for the 2019 model year. The one I drove was a 2500 model, with an $85,000 sticker price. There’s also an even more capable — and expensive — 3500 model, which can be ordered with up to 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Yes, you read that right: 1,000 lb-ft of torque.

What do you do with 1,000 lb-ft of torque? Well, you tow with it, of course. The most capable version of the Ram 3500 HD can tow up to 35,000 pounds, which is an absolutely absurd number. For reference, a fully-loaded semi-trailer is about 45,000 pounds, which means we’re not really that far away from being able to tow a fully-loaded 18-wheeler trailer with a commercially available pickup truck that you can just head on down to your local Chrysler dealership and buy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t drive the 1,000 lb-ft version, but instead I had to settle for merely using the 850 lb-ft version, which was also kind of overkill, considering I wasn’t towing anything. Then again, I was hauling around the truck’s massive size, so 850 lb-ft is kind of nice, largely because the truck is huge: the front end comes up to my neck. The rear seats have enough room that you could basically lie down. The whole thing is something like 22 feet long.

But if you’re like me, you know big trucks are big, and you know they’re capable, and you’re more curious how they could possibly justify an $85,000 sticker price, no matter how big or how capable. This is an excellent question until you climb inside the truck, and you realize you’re not really in a truck, but rather a luxury car with a massive ride height and a big bed. This truck has everything, including a huge vertical Tesla-style touchscreen, heated and cooled seats, every infotainment app you could possibly think of, heated rear seats, a 17-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, a power-opening tailgate, and blah blah blah, you could really go for days. If luxury cars have it, then so does the Ram 2500 HD. It’s crazy.

But then you get it out on the road, and any thoughts you had that this was a usual luxury vehicle completely go out the window. It isn’t. It’s a hulking, massive, gigantic vehicle that makes a Chevrolet Suburban feel "car like," and I truly mean that. The Ram 2500 HD is just so huge and so excessively gigantic that it’s really starting to feel like you’re piloting a commercial vehicle, which I think some people could make a very good argument that, indeed, you actually are. You’re many feet from the road in any direction, you’re towering over normal cars, and you’re just doing it all in a cocoon of luxury and opulence.

Amazingly, acceleration is strong — though, as is typical with diesel powerplants, it’s only especially strong at the low end of the rev range. Once you get moving, things tail off a bit, which seems to make sense for a vehicle this size. Steering and handling is hardly worth describing. Imagine steering a bus, or a cherry picker, or a dump truck, and that’s about where you are — it’s exceptionally light and easy, but considerable movement of the steering wheel has little effect on the actual direction of the truck, and the thing is so big that you’re basically guessing where you put it anyway, so it’s all a very floaty experience marked by a lot of guesswork.

Really, though, that’s normal for a truck like this, and it didn’t negatively affect the experience, largely because I was expecting it — and that’s also true for pretty much anyone who buys a full-size, heavy-duty pickup. And now, when you buy a heavy-duty truck, you also expect a lot more: luxury, technology, equipment and immense capabilities. The new heavy-duty Ram has all of it, and it’s a very impressive pickup — probably the most impressive in a segment full of some truly serious pickups. Find a Ram 2500 for sale

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Being an owner of multiple Chrysler trucks I was disappointed that this new generation of Ram trucks was dropping the signature cross-hair grille that has been a staple of Chrysler products for more than 50 years. However I’m glad to see the homages to the Dodge trucks of yesteryear hidden throughout this truck, shows that Chrysler is still aware of their loyal owners, even when adapting their trucks to the style of the current market. I’m also disappointed to see the industry as a whole switch away from, single cab short bed and extended cab trucks. Both of my two Dodge’s are extended cab short beds. I think the extended cab is proportionally the most “correct looking” of the truck body styles, as well as being an affordable middle ground for people who don’t always need an extra row of seats, but still want some in-cab storage space. I would love to see this new generation of Ram truck with an extended cab, but I know that is unlikely to happen b/c of current market trends and the fact that the vehicle has already been fully designed and released. The smaller “quad cab” on the 1500 is an interesting hybrid of a crew cab and extended cab, and I’m disappointed that did not make the migration over to the HD trucks. I have heard that the 1500 will be getting a single cab short bed version in the coming year, which does excite me quite a bit, hopefully Chrysler sees some value in adding the 6.4 hemi to the 1500 lineup. A RWD, big block, single cab, short bed truck is almost like an old school Americana wet dream. I doubt in today’s automotive climate that it is even a feasible option, but dodge seems dead set on keeping these old dinosaur engines relevant, so if anyone could make that truck happen it would be FCA. I mean a few months ago before they bought all those emissions credits from tesla, there were rumors of a NA 426 Hemi, which is completely bonkers in today’s auto climate, but I know I would have been at the front of the queue to get one, disappointed that the whole “emissions” thing they’re dealing with basically killed all hope of that project. Doubly disappointed as well to see the HD trucks drop the 6MT transmission from the previous generation, even though the cummins engine is still basically the same and uses the same 6 speed auto as it did last generation. I’m sure it was a low volume special order item, and that explains why it was only available on the base trim tradesman, but it was a corner of the market that definitely exists and ram was the only truck filling that demand. With the engine remaining mostly unchanged I can’t imagine that incorporating the 6MT would be much extra effort, but I guess FCA doesn’t think the development cost and time is warranted because the resulting payout isn’t sufficient. Shame really that no HD truck on the market now has a MT, even as an upgrade option. I think the only thing really keeping from genuinely considering one of these new ram trucks as a future vehicle is the lack of color options. Which I know seems completely silly, but the challenger and charger are getting a plenty big heap of classic/retro color palette options and I for one would love to see the ram trucks get a similar treatment. My 74 Power Wagon is a beautiful metallic gold color and I think one of the things that would sell me on a new Ram would be being able to get it in a matching metallic gold. Dodge hasn’t done gold on a truck since like 2012, with last years Sand colored limited edition PW being the closest color since. I just think that retro paint options, like a “macho” paint package on the power wagon, would give proportionally high roi when you consider how low the input cost is compared to something like adding a new engine, body style, or transmission. I’d love to see the mopar catalog expanded with more retro options for these trucks as well, like an official mopar replacement grille for these trucks with the old school crosshair style. Regardless, it’s good to see ram making a wave in the truck segment, with chart topping towing and power figures, while also having sales numbers that reflect their effort, with the 1500 beating out the Silverado in sales so far this year (although it is pretty ugly compared to the last gen Silverado), which is a marked increase over their sales figures in previous years. It was also interesting to see plans from FCA including a new Body on Frame Dakota, especially with the development and now release of the Gladiator, but more recent news seems to suggest that project may also be benched for the foreseeable future, just the same as that 426 hemi. I’ll still hold a little bit of hope for that Single Cab, Short Bed, Plum Crazy Purple, RWD, 426 powered Ram 1500 just in case, a man can dream right?

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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