In the American muscle car world, horsepower is king (see the new Shelby GT500 rumors), but in the heavy-duty truck world, bragging rights are all about torque. And in that area, Ram does not like to lose, which is why the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty makes a ridiculous 1,000 lb-ft of torque.
That’s the figure on the 400 horsepower 6.7-liter high-output Cummins engine, which offers the full grand worth of torque at 1,800 RPM, and 15 ponies more than last year’s model. It helps the Ram 3500 increase its towing capacity to 35,100 pounds, and gives it a payload rating as high as 7,680 pounds.
Ram talks about some of the features of the engine in its press release, saying it’s 60 pounds lighter than the previous motor, with a new cast iron head, “lighter and stronger” pistons, a new forged connecting rod design, and an allegedly “improved” variable geometry turbo bolted to a new exhaust manifold.
Another available 6.7-liter Cummins is also offered, though it’s a bit less potent at 370 horses and 850 lb-ft. There’s still the base 6.4-liter gasoline engine that makes 410 HP and 429 lb-ft.
Transmissions are six-speeds for the diesels, with an Aisin AS69RC bolted to the high output motor and a Chrysler 68RFE backing up the standard mill. The gas engine is mated to the eight-speed TorqueFlite 8HP75 used in other Fiat Chrysler products. As for the manual transmission option that can be had with the current Cummins heavy duty Ram, TFL Truck says it’s gone. “The 2018 Ram HD was the last one to offer a manual option with a diesel,” the website writes. Ram subsequently confirmed this news to Jalopnik via email. The manual heavy-duty truck is dead in the U.S. This is sad news.
Ram also says that its heavy duty trucks have all-new, lighter, more torsionally-rigid frames comprised of lots of high strength steel. And on the inside, there’s an available giant 12-inch infotainment screen like the one offered in the new Ram 1500.
Update: Jan 14, 2019, 11:25 A.M. ET: I spoke with Ram’s chief engineer, Rod Romain, and its “model responsible,” Troy Davis, and learned that much of the body is carryover from the outgoing truck, including parts of the cab and bed. Sheetmetal and styling elements ahead of the A-pillar, including the aluminum hood and the fascia, are all new. The frame—while apparently built largely of higher strength, lower gauge steel—looks more or less the same as the outgoing frame, Romain told me.
If you don’t believe me when I say that Ram doesn’t like losing the heavy duty “torque wars,” just look at the Ram 2500 and 3500's torque output over the last few years.
In 2010, Ford debuted a 735 lb-ft diesel Power Stroke diesel engine for its Super Duty line. Then, right around that same time, Chevrolet showed of a 765 lb-ft Duramax truck, leaving the Ram—then making just 650 lb-ft—in the dust. In the summer of 2010, Ford showed off an 800 lb-ft Super Duty diesel reflash, and Ram responded not long after with its own 800 lb-ft Cummins. Then in 2013, Ram went all in with an 850 lb-ft 3500 truck.
In 2015, Ford climbed to the top of the torque mountain with an 860 lb-ft Power Stroke diesel, and Ram quickly responded with a truck whose Cummins diesel made 865 lb-ft. Then Chevy went to 910 lb-ft and Ford went to 925 lb-ft in 2017, and Ram responded the next year with 930 lb-ft. That same year, Ford put out a 935 lb-ft Super Duty.
The whole thing is really silly, but that’s how it all stands today, with Ford on top by five lb-ft. So of course, Ram’s dialing up its torque-o-tron, and giving the 2020 Ram Heavy Duty 1,000 lb-ft.
Yes, quadruple digits.
We’d seen a bunch of spy shots (like these from Truck Trend), so between those and the teasers, we had a good idea of what the new heavy duty truck would look like. So what we have here is a vehicle whose styling has been brought more in line with that of its half-ton counterpart, the 2019 Ram 1500, and based on what I’m seeing, it looks good. Especially the Power Wagon, which gets a suspension lift, front and rear lockers, a sway bar disconnect, and, according to Autoblog, a Warn Zeon-12 winch with a synthetic line:
There are a number of different grille and light-surround designs, and while most of them look decent, the first one shown below, with the chrome above and below the non-LED lights, is one I haven’t quite made up my mind on:
Show floor photos:
Update Jan 14, 2019, 8:45 A.M. ET: This post has been updated with additional information, including confirmation from Ram that the manual transmission is going away.
Update: Jan 14, 2019, 11:25 A.M. ET: This post has been updated with information from an interview with the truck’s chief engineer and “model responsible.” Photos from the show floor were also added.