2019 RAM 2500

By October 10, 2019

Like its lighter-duty 1500 counterpart, the heavy-duty 2019 Ram 2500 has been redesigned for the new model year. So has its stronger-yet, one-ton Ram 3500 sibling. Vying for dominance in the heavy-duty pickup truck category, the 2019 models not only look great, they promise greater power, along with enhanced capabilities. Ram Trucks continues to offer a Power Wagon, ready to flex its metallic muscles for the most demanding tow/haul tasks.

Grilles are larger for 2019, and the model lineup has changed. LED lighting has been added, and engines deliver more power. Heavy-duty pickups now use an 8-speed automatic transmission, and more advanced safety technology is available. Passenger accommodations have become more luxurious, too.

A new suspension design improves the ride, and an available rear air suspension now includes driver-activated bed-lowering mode. Use of lightweight materials has reduced overall weight by up to 143 pounds. A new 360-degree surround-view camera system features a trailer reverse guidance view.

Heavy-duty Ram trucks come in a broad selection of trim levels: work-ready Tradesman, Big Horn and similar Lone Star (sold only in Texas), Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited – along with the Power Wagon. Buyers can choose from two engines, three transmissions, two cargo bed lengths, and three cab configurations, with rear-drive or four-wheel drive. Like other full-size domestic pickups, heavy-duty Rams can add a dizzying array of additional-cost options.

Regular-cab models come only with an 8-foot bed. Four-door Crew Cab trucks may have either an 8-foot or a 6-foot 4-inch bed. Each massive Mega Cab model gets the shorter bed.

The base engine is a 6.4-liter V-8 that ships up 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, driving an 8-speed automatic. Under light loads, half of the V-8’s cylinders can shut down, to reduce fuel consumption.

Buyers who pull heavy loads might prefer the optional Cummins 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-6, rated at 370 horsepower and 850 pound-feet. If even that won’t suffice, a Ram 3500 can be equipped with a mighty 400-horsepower, high-output turbodiesel that can generate 1,000 pound-feet of torque. Turbodiesel Rams use a 6-speed automatic.

The V-8-powered Power Wagon rolls on chunky 33-inch tires and a raised, off-road suspension. An electronic-disconnecting sway bar provides greater articulation on remote trails.

Neither federal nor independent agencies have crash-tested a 2019 Ram 2500.

Blind-spot monitors are standard on the Limited trim level, but optional elsewhere. Active-safety technology such as forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking is optional for all Ram 2500 models. Lower trim levels can add parking sensors, while upper levels get a version with parking assistance. Options include a cargo camera and a surround-view camera system.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $1,695 destination charge.

Regular Cab

Tradesman with 8-foot Bed ($33,395 with rear-drive, $36,295 with four-wheel drive) comes with a vinyl floor covering and upholstery, front bench seat, manual windows, keyless entry and start, 5.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, Bluetooth, trailer hitch, air conditioning, and 17-inch steel wheels. Cloth upholstery, active-safety features, and rear air suspension are optional.

Big Horn with 8-foot Bed ($37,645 with RWD, $40,545 with 4WD) adds power towing mirrors, an integrated brake controller, 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, and chrome bumpers. An 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation is optional. So is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Lone Star with 8-foot Bed ($37,645 with RWD, $40,545 with 4WD) is similar to Big Horn, but sold only in Texas.

Crew Cab

Tradesman with 6’4″ Bed ($36,950 with rear-drive, $39,850 with four-wheel drive) is equipped similar to regular-cab Tradesman, but with power front windows.

Tradesman with 8-foot Bed ($37,150 with RWD, $40,050 with 4WD)

Big Horn with 6’4″ Bed ($40,545 with RWD, $42,300 with 4WD) is equipped similar to regular-cab Big Horn.

Big Horn with 8-foot Bed ($42,100 with RWD, $45,000 with 4WD) 

Lone Star with 6’4″ Bed ($40,545 with RWD, $42,300 with 4WD) is equipped similar to regular-cab Lone Star.

Lone Star with 8-foot Bed ($42,100 with RWD, $45,000 with 4WD) 

Laramie with 6’4″ Bed ($46,500 with RWD, $49,300 with 4WD) includes 18-inch wheels, leather seat upholstery, power front seats, power sliding rear window, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an 8.4-inch infotainment screen.

Laramie with 8-foot Bed ($49,100 with RWD, $52,000 with 4WD) 

Laramie Longhorn with 6’4″ Bed ($56,300 with RWD, $59,200 with 4WD) comes with upgraded leather, leather/wood heated steering wheel, navigation, power-adjustable pedals, and chrome running boards.

Laramie Longhorn with 8-foot Bed ($56,500 with RWD, $59,400 with 4WD) 

Limited with 6’4″ Bed ($61,300 with RWD, $64,200 with 4WD), the top trim level, comes with heated front/rear seats, cooled front seats, heated leather/wood steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals with memory, blind-spot monitors, and 12.0-inch touchscreen with navigation.

Limited with 8-foot Bed ($61,000 with RWD, $63,900 with 4WD) 

4×4 Power Wagon with 6’4″ Bed ($52,900 with 4WD) comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels, 33-inch Wrangler DuraTrac off-road tires, LED lighting, a Warn winch, electronic-locking front/rear differentials, Bilstein shock absorbers, powder-coated bumpers, and flamboyant graphics.

 

4×4 Mega Cab with 6’4″ Bed and Four-wheel Drive

Big Horn 4WD ($46,500) is equipped similar to Crew Cab Big Horn.

Lone Star 4WD ($46,500 is equipped similar to Crew Cab Lone Star.

Laramie 4WD ($53,500) is equipped similar to Crew Cab Laramie.

Laramie Longhorn 4WD ($60,700) is equipped similar to Crew Cab Longhorn.

Limited 4WD ($65,700) is equipped similar to Crew Cab Limited.

Exterior

To rework the heavy-duty Ram, designers borrowed the basic design from the light-duty 1500 series, along with its more ritzier cabin. A chiseled-look front end with 39-inch grille contrasts with the overall big-rig theme, which has been smoothed and toned down. Headlights and wheels have been enlarged to match the 2500/3500 pickup’s greater capability.

Each trim features a distinct theme. Tradesman trucks have steel wheels and unpainted elements. Big Horn and Lone Star models get chrome bumpers and wheels. Laramie versions substitute alloy wheels and add LED lighting. Longhorn flaunts a western theme. Laramie Longhorn and Limited are the classy choices. Power Wagons wear knobby 33-inch tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels, adding a black grille and a front-mounted winch.

Crew Cab trucks with 6-foot 4-inch bed have a 149.1-inch wheelbase; those with the 8-foot bed sport a 169.1-inch wheelbase. Mega Cabs ride a 160.2-inch wheelbase.

Interior

Cabins range from functional in Tradesman form, with a vinyl floor and crank-open windows, to luxurious with a leather-wrapped dashboard and 12-inch touchscreen in the lavish Limited. Appearance differs little from the smaller, lighter-duty Ram 1500.

Crew Cab models offer abundant space for five full-size adults. Six can fit if the optional front bench is installed.

Even in workhorse Tradesman trim, fit and finish excel. Top models are loaded with leather, soft-touch surfaces, genuine wood, and solid plastics.

Front seats are comfortable, but lack a telescopic steering column. Optional power-adjustable pedals should help. Two gloveboxes are installed, and the center console offers a dozen configurations.

Space is bountiful in the back seat, too. Valuables can be stowed under the seat.

Dashboards hold conventional buttons and knobs. Controls operate smoothly, including the audio volume knob. A vertical 12.0-inch touchscreen is available.

A deployable bed-step swings down and out from the rear of the cargo bed, but it’s less useful than setups in some rival full-size pickups.

Driving Impressions

Heavy-duty Ram trucks ride and handle far better than expected. In each trim level, the big Ram is quiet, spacious, and refined.

Both brawny engines deliver more than sufficient torque to handle heavy loads. When accelerating assertively, the V-8 sounds thunderous, its exhaust note almost reminiscent of muscle cars. On trail runs, bountiful torque propels the unique Power Wagon version to climb steep rock faces, with a throttle pedal that’s easy to modulate.

The smooth 8-speed automatic used with the V-8 makes better use of engine output than the previous 6-speed unit. Both turbodiesel engines operate smoothly, helped by clean shifts from its 6-speed transmission.

For a truck, the Ram 2500 rides comfortably. Rear coil springs help the pickup ease past expansion joints and troublesome pavement with at least a touch of grace. The optional rear air suspension helps to level heavier loads and makes trailer-hookup easier.

Active noise cancellation and anti-vibration devices keep the cabin noticeably quieter than in past Rams. Fuel economy of heavy-duty pickups is not estimated by the EPA.

Final Word

Ready to deliver practically astounding power and performance, the admirably versatile big Rams arguably rank leaders of the heavy-duty pack. In passenger comfort, capabilities, and features, Ram 2500s are the ones to beat. They’re also among the most expensive examples, when you reach past the workaday Tradesman edition. Unfortunately, too, most active-safety technology is optional rather than standard – though Ram is hardly alone on that issue.

 

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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