HDRams.com was invited to Las Vegas, Nevada this past month by the Ram Truck team to get some seat time with the new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty lineup. Even though we didn’t get a ton of time with the entire lineup of Heavy Duty trucks that Ram is offering for the 2019 model year, we did get to spend some time with the vehicles that we feel would most appeal to our readers.
Towards the premium side of the new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty lineup is the Laramie Longhorn trim level. Compared to the outgoing 2018 Ram Laramie Longhorn models, the Ram Truck team have stepped up their game in the luxury truck market. In addition to the new looks inside and out for the 2019 model year, the new Ram Laramie Longhorn get more chrome, more real wood accents, a full leather-wrapped dash, leather-wrapped door panels, brushed nickel accents, and even more technology than ever before.
We were lucky enough to get our hands on two 2019 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab Dually 4×4 models, spec’d nearly identical except for their powertrain. One was equipped with the 6.4-liter HEMI (BGE or Big Gas Engine) V8. The big HEMI makes 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft of torque from its 392 cubic-inches of displacement. For the first time in the Ram Heavy Duty, Ram has included a standard 8-speed automatic (8HP75) Torqueflite transmission. The other was the new 6.7-liter H.O. Cummins turbocharged I-6 diesel, making 400 horsepower and 1,000 lb.-ft of torque at 1,800rpm.
The first truck we drove was the 6.4-liter HEMI model. While the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 is virtually unchanged for the 2019 model year, Ram has dumped last year’s 6-speed automatic for the 8-speed automatic (8HP75) Torqueflite transmission. This is the first time an 8-speed automatic has been equipped in a Ram Heavy Duty pickup, and it brings the HEMI to life with no less than forty new shift programming sequences. Now, for the first time, all HEMI-powered Ram Heavy Dutys come with the same rotary dial shifter as the 2019 Ram 1500.
Our test truck was a beautiful Walnut Brown paint color which made the truck quite handsome with the Laramie Longhorn chrome. The Laramie Longhorn is a chrome lovers delight, and all the chrome is tastefully done. All Heavy Duty Laramie Longhorn models feature new premium LED lamps with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). AFS allows the outboard headlamps to turn 15-degrees when the driver puts input into the steering wheel. These new lights turn in the direction the driver is steering, so your headlamps are always facing where you are pointed. New stylish LED tail lamps are styled after the 2019 Ram 1500 and include built-in Blind-Spot Monitors.
Upon opening the doors, the power running boards drop down inviting the driver into the Laramie Longhorn specific interior. In my opinion, they have toned down the Laramie Longhorn interior for the new model year a little. The ample boot style stitching is no longer as prevalent. Instead, it has a rich and simplistic look with an open grain barn wood that is literally branded with the Laramie Longhorn logo on the passenger side of the dash. I really liked the rough cut seams of the leather on the dash and the feel of the different styles of leather on the door panels. The interior felt so comfortable and at home to me. Maybe it was the native Texan coming out in me.
This truck was equipped with the all of the towing features available, including the Towing Technology Group, 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Prep Group, Auto Level Rear Suspension and a Mopar 5th wheel hitch in the bed under the Mopar Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover. The truck also had the latest Safety and Technology options which include the 12.1-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). ACC will fully stop the truck in an emergency even with a trailer attached thanks to the integrated trailer brake system.
Besides the HEMI feeling lively thanks to its new transmission, the truck was smooth on the road. Steering wheel feedback was surprising good. While I am not used to driving a 3500 on a daily basis, the truck would jounce a bit on the concrete road surfaces unloaded. Of course, this is to be expected with this truck which was equipped with the rear airbags and one-ton leaf springs. But otherwise, the HEMI-powered Ram was very comfortable to drive on the Las Vegas area snowy roads. Yes, the Las Vegas area was hit with snow upon our arrival, but the Ram 3500 didn’t flinch one bit.
After spending some time with the HEMI model, we switched over to the H.O. Cummins Laramie Longhorn which was identically optioned. However, this time there was a twist. The Ram Truck team wanted to show us, just how capable the new 1,000 lb.-ft of torque H.O. Cummins was over the HEMI. So they put 21,000 lbs. worth of trailer and Case tractor with the front bucket still attached behind our Laramie Longhorn.
Sitting in the driver seat, I flipped the toggle switch for Tow/Haul mode, engaged the engine brake system and grabbed hold of the traditional column shifter (which is on the Cummins equipped trucks). Our route took us down a narrow 6% grade to a dead-end turnaround at the Colorado River, just south of the Hoover Dam. We then proceeded to head back up the hill to see what the new H.O. Cummins could really do. The truck handled the 21,000 lb. load with ease. The Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission is a perfect match for the Cummins. We only wish it was standard on all Cummins engines in the Heavy Duty lineup, instead of being only available on the 3500 models with the H.O. Cummins.
One thing I really liked was the towing mirrors equipped with Blind-Spot Monitor lights. Having a blind spot monitoring system that includes the trailer length made pulling the trailer a lot less stressful. The new Blind-Spot Monitors in the tail lights can detect vehicles in your blind-spot even when you are towing a 30-foot trailer. The Laramie Longhorn’s 12.1-inch Uconnect system also allowed us to view our load with the 360-degree cameras around the truck, to give us peace of mind, that our load was secure.
Overall, I enjoyed both trucks. I have to honestly say that the Laramie Longhorn is my personal favorite trim level for the new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty. With its traditional western theme, the Laramie Longhorn is a gorgeous truck inside and out. The Ram Truck design team did an exceptional job paying attention to small details that really set this truck apart from any other luxury Heavy Duty truck in the market.
But if I had to pick one truck to take home and put in my garage, it would be the 6.4-liter HEMI V8. Yes, while the H.O. Cummins is getting all the attention, the HEMI with that new 8-speed automatic is impressive. Out of all the Ram Heavy Duty models we got to drive during our time with the Ram Truck team, the 2019 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab Dually 4×4 with the HEMI was my favorite and most enjoyable to drive.
FIRST DRIVE: 2019 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Image Gallery: