2019 Ram 3500 Review
2019 Ram 3500 Review By Auto Critic Steve Hammes
There are pickup trucks and then there are pickup trucks. I’m talking about ones with dual rear wheels, diesel engines that push up to 1,000 pound-feet of torque and that can tow over 33,000 pounds. Well, that’s exactly the resume of this all-new Ram 3500 Heavy Duty. And on top of that, it can be optioned like a luxury sedan.
The 3500 is the biggest, most capable truck that Ram sells and for 2019 it brings with it many of the polished innovations first seen on the all-new 1500; fusing the brawniest mechanical elements with those of a luxury rig. Like all trucks, Ram’s Heavy Duty series can be configured in a multitude of cab, box and engine layouts in both 2500 and 3500 payload capacities. But they don’t get any bigger than this one – the 3500 Mega Cab 4X4 dually weighing over 4 tons and measuring 21’ long with a 6’4” box. Payload: 5,420 pounds. Max Trailer Weight Rating: 33,020 pounds, thanks to the twisting force of Ram’s newest high output turbo.
That thing got a Hemi? Well, it does unless you chose one of the available 2 diesel engine options. And this one here is the high output 6.7-liter Cummins inline-6 that produces 1,000 pound-feet of torque. But, it also adds about $12,000 to the price.
Making 400 horsepower at 2,800 RPM and its groundbreaking 4 digit torque yield at 1,800 RPM, this engine gets up to 33psi of turbo boost working through an Aisin 6-speed automatic that’s specific to this high output version. It also uses a new controller with faster processing speeds that Ram says delivers quicker, more precise shifts. Hard for me to say if that’s a tangible improvement because flooring this is akin to waking a bear from a nap – it takes some time for things to start happening.
If you want to take this truck all the way you’ll need to select the Max Tow Package which also requires the dual rear wheels. With it, you’ll get this 5thwheel hitch which is good for 30,000 pounds.
This $3,700 grouping also includes the auto-leveling rear air suspension with bed-lowering mode to ease with trailer hook-ups. The cargo cam also comes in handy for such things. And then, you also get a bag full of flags and fire extinguishers as part of the roadside safety kit…hopefully you’ll never have to use them.
It’s been a while since I’ve driven anything of this size and so the first few days I was just focused on keeping this truck in its lane…this dually is wide. But a couple of days in I was comfortably whipping it around with one hand on the wheel and now I’m even fitting into parking spaces like a boss.
But, I don’t have anything big enough to tow to really show you what it can do…I mean this is for horse trailers, car carriers and that sort of thing not lawnmowers. So I’ll have to assume that the resume and tools Ram has equipped it with are more than enough to give the driver a confidence boost when pulling something big. Now if you plan on driving this truck around just because well, it’s surprisingly quiet, obviously spacious, loaded with luxury features and brutally rough when you hit anything but smooth pavement. And welcome to the world of turbo lag? Sometimes when you press the accelerator you could go grab lunch before the power kicks in.
Despite those supplemental air bags in the rear, the ride can get extremely rough…hit a pothole and you’ll feel it for days. Otherwise, it’s surprising how precisely and easily it steers and how docile the 3500 is overall. And though it’s not rated by the EPA, I’ve averaged about 15mpg.
If there is but one omission on this particular build it is the absence of the Towing Tech Group which includes an around-view monitor; something you will definitely want to spend the extra $795 on if you intend on taking this into a parking lot.
It also doesn’t include blind spot monitoring beyond the truck itself but there is tire pressure monitoring for all 6 truck tires and up to 12 trailer tires. Now, it does fit into most parking spaces, but just barely and the power folding mirrors are a must. And with over 13” of ground clearance it’s really nice to have these power retractable running boards.
And take a look at the cabin of this Laramie model…very high-end and well-conceived, just like its half-ton little brother. Including the engine, this one has over $27,000 in options like the big boy touchscreen loaded with great features that are very easy to use if not a little slow to load, this awesome, carefully designed, wide wireless charging pad that can handle any size screen, a wonderful sounding 17-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, adaptive cruise control, memory settings, auto high beams, remote tailgate release, this simple to use tri-fold tonneau cover, and much more. And this isn’t even the highest trim level. The rear seats are enormous and I love the versatility they provide, with a 2 stage folding feature that’s perfect for carrying more cargo. The huge center console with its sliding cupholders and 2 tier compartment is also brilliant. Ram really knows what they’re doing when it comes to luxo-fying their trucks and this one has everything you could want.
The 3500 Laramie 4X4 Mega Cab starts at about $55,000 and totals $83,670 as-tested. Made in Mexico, this new Heavy Duty is for the ranch or business owner who doesn’t sacrifice comfort for capability.