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Feb28

Ram HD Pickup Lineup First Drive Review

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Ram HD Pickup Lineup First Drive Review

LAS VEGAS — Ram is flourishing. The truck model is coming off its best gross sales yr ever, and its all-new 2019 Ram 1500 has gained nearly each truck award there’s to win, together with North American Truck of the Yr. Now Ram is launching the world’s torquiest pickup truck ever, the brand new 2019 Ram Heavy Obligation. The burliest model packs 1,000 pound-ft of twist, however there’s much more to this truck than its obscene quantity of low-finish grunt. It is also the quietest, most snug, and most refined heavy-obligation pickup Ram has ever made.

Most energy, payload and towing

The 2019 Ram Heavy Obligation is not precisely all-new. It is extra of a serious refresh, the HD’s first since 2014 and the second since this era debuted in 2010. The truck is now infused with a lot of the styling, know-how and far of the interior of its mild-obligation little brother, the Ram 1500. Solely the HD’s cab, doorways and bedsides are primarily unchanged, together with its 6.four-liter Hemi V8, which is now standard on all 2500 and 3500 fashions. The unpopular 5.7-liter Hemi is not out there.

Ram continues to supply two variations of its Cummins inline six-cylinder diesel energy on all fashions besides the 2500 Energy Wagon. The 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel, which prices an additional $9,one hundred, and the Excessive-Output model have each been reengineered for extra energy, extra sturdiness and considerably much less noise.

The Cummins nonetheless pumps out 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm, however its torque output has jumped from 800 to 850 pound-ft at 1,seven hundred rpm. The HO model, which is simply out there on the 3500, will get a 15 hp bump to four hundred hp at 2,800 rpm, and its torque climbs from 930 to that magical 1,000 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm. Redline stays at simply three,250 rpm, and a column-shifted six-velocity automated nonetheless backs each engines.

Hemi fashions, together with the Energy Wagon, have been upgraded to an 8HP75R eight-velocity from ZF and a touch-mounted rotary shifter. The Hemi’s energy ratings are unchanged at 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, however the V8 now has a extra superior cylinder deactivation system for improved fuel financial system and smoother operation when solely 4 of its cylinders are firing. The eight-velocity’s gearing additionally betters the Energy Wagon’s crawl index from 35:1 to fifty one:1 for improved low-velocity off-roading.

Most Ram HD consumers spring for the diesel. The preferred mannequin is the 2500 4×4 Crew Cab Laramie with the Cummins, however trucks with the 6.four-liter and the brand new eight-velocity really feel significantly faster on the street. Even the large boy 3500s.

The place’s that diesel rattle?

Each variations of the Cummins get a brand new Compacted Graphite Iron block, which is lighter and seventy five % stronger. There’s additionally a brand new cylinder head with an all-new valvetrain, lighter and stronger pistons, new bearings, a brand new exhaust manifold, a brand new quieter scissor gear drive and a brand new turbo for extra move. Max increase on the HO, which prices an additional $eleven,795, is now 33 psi.

Each engines are considerably smoother than earlier than — they’ve misplaced most of their signature rattle. Based on Rod Romain, the truck’s chief engineer, the brand new block has pure sound-deadening traits, and a brand new hydraulic lifter lash adjustment system has eradicated the annoying tick-tick of the valves. Extra aluminum elements have additionally dropped 60 kilos from the diesels, though at 1,060 kilos, they nonetheless outweigh the Hemi by 490 kilos.

The general noise discount is exceptional. You will not should yell over the Cummins to order your burger and fries on the drive-through. In truth, the Hemi, which retains its muscle-car growl, might now be the extra audible choice. Particularly at full throttle, with the eight-velocity snapping off tight gear modifications simply earlier than its 5,800 rpm fuel cutoff.

Each new Ram HD additionally comes with standard acoustic glass and lively noise cancellation, which is tied into the audio system. Ram says these applied sciences, together with the truck’s eight % aerodynamic enchancment and different elements, have made its cab 10 decibels quieter. And it’s luxurious-car quiet inside, even at ninety mph.

Class-main aerodynamics

Ram’s signature cross hatch grille is gone. There are six new grille designs unfold throughout the Ram’s many trim ranges, and the household resemblance to the smaller Ram 1500 is tough to overlook. The brand new grilles are 30 % bigger, and there are a number of obtainable headlamp designs, together with a full LED/projector with Adaptive Entrance-lighting System (AFS), which may swivel within the course of journey as much as 15 levels.

The brand new look is a bit much less trucky, however the pickup has misplaced none of its angle or head-turning potential. Our Walnut Brown Metallic 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4×4 Lengthy Field dropped a couple of jaws on the Vegas Strip.

A brand new aluminum hood saves 27 kilos, whereas the metal tailgate has been reshaped to enhance aerodynamics and it might now be opened by distant, decreasing itself slowly and silently in a managed fall. Sadly, the multifunction tailgate proven on the Ram 1500 on the Chicago Auto Present won’t be provided.

Now LED, even the HD’s clearance lamps are new, reshaped with a decrease, sleeker profile. Different aero tips embrace grille shudders and a reworked rear bumper. “It is such a type follows perform truck,” says the HD’s exterior designer Mike Gillam, who has additionally lastly shed the truck of its previous-faculty mast antenna. In accordance with Ram, the HD’s zero.409 drag coefficient is class main.

Greater than 20 sensors and cameras are impressively built-in into the truck’s exterior, together with cameras hidden in its grille and tailgate. There’s additionally a mattress cam. A blind spot warning system, parking help sensors, a 360-diploma monitor, adaptive cruise management and automated ahead emergency braking, which integrates together with your trailer’s brakes, are all out there.

Inherits a fantastic interior

Equally new is the HD’s interior, which has been additionally been lifted from the Ram 1500, proper right down to its out there 12-inch configurable touchscreen. The format works simply as nicely right here because it does within the mild-obligation truck, and the supplies and a spotlight to element are spectacular.

Every trim will get its personal feel and appear, however our favourite is the Laramie Longhorn, with its actual open-pore striped wooden and gold trim on the sprint, doorways and gauges. It is so over-the-prime that the Longhorn emblem is hand-branded into the wooden on the truck’s higher glovebox door.

Ram has reused the HD’s seat frames, however they’re reshaped with new padding, and luxury is improved. The HVAC system has additionally been dialed up for 30 % extra airflow, and there is a radical improve in interior storage, together with a multilevel middle console that may swallow a laptop computer with a 15-inch display.

Because of the column shifter on the diesel fashions, Ram has additionally reused the HD’s steering column, which tilts however doesn’t telescope. The pedals do regulate, however not fairly sufficient if in case you have lengthy legs. As a result, the driving place is not as snug as it’s within the mild-obligation truck.

Ram gives three bodystyles, Common Cab, Crew Cab and Mega Cab, which nonetheless gives best-in-class rear seat area and a reclining rear bench. Base costs begin proper round $35,000 for a 2500 two-wheel drive lengthy-wheelbase Common Cab Tradesman and climb to $sixty eight,745 for a 3500 4×4 Mega Cab Restricted. Load up a Laramie Longhorn or a Restricted with choices, together with Cummins diesel energy, and also you’re taking a look at a $ninety,000 truck.

Stronger chassis and higher experience is a superb method

A lot of the Ram HD’s newfound refinement results from its all-new boxed metal body, which is about 30 kilos lighter however matches the stiffness of the earlier design as a consequence of a rise in excessive-power metal. A brand new entrance crossmember additionally provides power whereas dialing out engine vibration, and new physique mounts, together with two Lively-Tuned Mass Modules, isolate the cab.

In line with Romain, the HD’s retuned suspension with new bushings, spring charges and shocks has resulted in a 50 % enchancment in journey consolation. There’s nonetheless some truck jiggle left within the journey if the mattress is empty and the tires are pumped as much as their max load pressures, however its lack of influence harshness is one thing to behold.

A brand new steering gear and linkage have improved on middle really feel and a retuned brake booster and pedal ratio have lightened brake pedal effort. Lively Degree rear air suspension, which replaces the rear coil springs with air luggage, stays out there on each 2500 and 3500 fashions, which additionally get new entrance and rear axles to deal with the truck’s elevated energy, payload and tow ratings.

The HD’s lack of noise and vibration can also be significantly spectacular. At idle, solely a light-weight buzz stays within the pedals of diesel fashions, and its towing stability is astonishing. Utilizing the Ram’s exhaust brake to regulate our downhill velocity, we pulled a 25,000-pound load up and down a moist slender two-lane with a 5 % grade with out breaking a sweat. The HO-outfitted HD 3500 couldn’t have made it simpler.

Ram’s Energy Wagon additionally will get the brand new body. Nevertheless, its suspension, which incorporates Bilstein shocks, is unchanged. There are a number of hardware tweaks to Ram’s best off-roader, together with a 360-diploma digital camera with a ahead view, and a brand new Warn Zeon-12 winch with an artificial line that can’t kink and shaves 28 lbs. from the truck’s nostril. And its ramp index has climbed from 510 to 538. “The off-street guys will perceive and respect that,” says Morrison.

Bragging rights and gross sales

With about 30 % market share, Ram persistently runs second to Ford in Heavy Obligation pickup gross sales, whereas its HD trucks make up about 25 % of its complete gross sales quantity. Perhaps the brand new monster torque score of the Cummins HO will change that.

The brand new Ram 3500 HD out-hauls and out-tows the Ford F-450, however simply barely. With its 7,680-pound max payload score and 35,one hundred-pound tow capability, the Ram 3500 HD carries simply forty kilos greater than the most important diesel Ford Tremendous Obligation, which may pull 35,000 kilos, solely one hundred lower than the Ram. And GM says the 2020 Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD with their new 6.6-liter Duramax V8 will up the ante with a category-main 35,500-pound max towing capability.

It is an ongoing recreation of “my specs are greater than yours,” and we hope it by no means ends. Within the meantime, we’ll see if the Ram’s newfound energy, consolation, features and refinement drive gross sales in a market recognized for its excessive buyer loyalty.

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