I have been itching to drive the new Ram Heavy Duty since the launch back in January of this year. Ram invited us out to the media drive back in February but I was unable to go due to a scheduling conflict so Moparinsiders contributor Mike Volkmann went in my place. After reading his article and watching his videos singing the praises of the new Heavy Duty, I knew that I had to get behind the wheel of one sooner than later. While I finally got to see the new HDs in person at the Toronto Auto Show, I did not have the opportunity to drive one at the time.
Fast forward to 2 days ago when my friends at White Rock Dodge texted me a picture of this Delmonico Red 2019 Ram 3500 Big Horn Sport Dually, upon finding out that they just got that truck in I canceled the rest of my day, grabbed my camera gear and headed down there. While I, of course, had a limited amount of time with the truck these are my first impressions.
The 2019 Ram Heavy Duties have all new sheet metal from the A-pillars forward giving the truck a fresh and unique look. The truck has a new aluminum hood; a 30 percent larger grille to allow for more airflow for powertrain cooling and the front parking sensors are smartly hidden within the front bumper trim. I think that the Ram designers did an excellent job freshening up the front of the truck. While this truck had the base halogen headlights, unlike on the 1500 the halogen headlights actually look really good on the Heavy Duties. LED headlamps are optional on the Big Horn Trim, standard on Power Wagon and Laramie while Longhorn and Limited get a different LED projector headlight with adaptive front lighting as standard.
The side profile is mostly the same as before, but badge placements have been moved around with the model badge being transferred to the side of the hood and RAM lettering being moved to the lower front corners of the doors. These trucks are still strikingly good looking especially in some of the metallic colors like this Delmonico Red.
Around back we get a new aluminum tailgate that is dampened on the Big Horn level 2 trim. The tailgate has been slightly redesigned to tie in with the new 2019 Ram 1500s tailgate, and it gets new badging as well. The rear bumper has been redesigned with a lower step-up height, and the rear parking sensors are smartly hidden in the lower bumper trim. For 2019 the HDs also gets new taillights, this truck had the base lights but like the headlights LED taillights are optional on the Big Horn, and standard on Power Wagon, Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited. This particular truck also had the optional deployable bed step that comes out from under the driver’s side of the rear bumper for greater ease of access to the box.
The interior of the 2019 Ram Heavy Duties is all new. Drawing on the award-winning 2019 Ram 1500s interior the 2019 Ram Heavy Duties are much more modern inside than in previous iterations. The dash is a clean, pleasing design and all controls are logically placed and easy to manipulate. The sliding center console from the 1500 also makes its way over providing a ton of storage and configurations for the end user. There is a multitude of USB and USB-C ports for front and rear passengers, along with a 400W household plug in the front of the center console with another one on the back of the center console for rear seat occupants. This truck was equipped with the Cummins Turbo Diesel which means it still had the column mounted shifter while 6.4 Gas powered trucks get the rotary shifter. Seats were comfortable and gained tilting headrests for 2019.
The rear seats had more than enough room for me to sit behind the driver’s seat set for my position with room to spare (I’m 6’1) and were very comfortable. The seat is also high enough off the floor where your legs don’t feel cramped, a problem that I have noticed in a few competitor trucks. Rear seat passengers get their own air vents, the USB as mentioned earlier and household plugs and 6 cupholders if you include the ones in the fold-down armrest. The cupholders in the back of the center console can also be used to hold a tablet to play movies for the kids.
There is a ton of storage throughout the interior including some deep bins under the rear seats and Rams class exclusive in floor storage. While the rear cab floor isn’t flat the fold out load floor returns for 2019 to create a flat load floor.
While I only had a short amount of time with the truck, there were a few immediately apparent things. Rams engineers have worked hard to quieten the cabin, and their efforts are definitely noticed. The truck I was driving was powered by the standard output (370hp and 850lb ft of torque) 6.7 Cummins Turbo Diesel and other than a very faint sound you could barely hear it. Even under full throttle, the engine noise was subdued with just a quiet, pleasing diesel rumble getting through. Wind and road noise was also almost non-existent. While we are talking about the powertrain, I should note that the standard output Cummins in this truck felt as strong if not stronger than the HO Cummins I drove last year in a 2018 3500. The 68RFE received some mechanical and electronic updates for 2019 and shifted fast and smooth, and I was very impressed with how it performed in this truck.
While I had driven other 1-ton crew cab long box trucks before this was the first time I had driven a dually. While a large truck Ram has implemented some technologies that make it easier to drive. The backup sensors now include the width of the dually flares when backing up and as such will alert you if you’re going to hit an object that far out. The backup camera is also excellent in this truck and looks as if it is high definition, also available is a 360-degree camera option.
The Heavy Duties got all new frames, and a tweaked suspension design for 2019 and the changes were immediately evident out on the road. The ride while firm (this is a one-ton dually after all) was very impressive, I drove on various surfaces and roads in different states of repair was not able to upset the suspension at all. Yes, you feel the bumps in the road, but the suspension system, new frame, and new body mounts do an excellent job of smoothing them out. Compared to a few of the competitors one tons that I have driven I would say the Ram has the best ride.
For a truck of this size, it has a surprisingly good turning radius, and steering feel was also on point while the new larger brakes felt strong. For a truck of this size and capability, it was surprisingly easy to drive. If you’re in the market for a new 3/4 or 1-ton truck, the new Ram Heavy Duties deserve a look. With excellent powertrains, new technologies, comfort, and extreme capability you can’t go wrong.
We plan on driving other models of the Heavy Duties in the future and look forward to bringing you the latest news and reviews on these excellent trucks.