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2019 Ram Heavy Duty contorts pavement with 1,000 lb-ft of torque

It's also easy on the eyes, which is a nice change of pace from every other current-gen HD truck.

Steven Pham/Roadshow

Ram just took the Torque Wars to a whole new level, one that finally stretches into four digits.

A mind-blowing powertrain

The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty (2500 and 3500) is officially the first heavy-duty truck from the US' Big Three to reach 1,000 pound-feet of torque. That monster output comes as part of an optional 6.7-liter Cummins diesel I6, which also makes 400 horsepower. Yet, the engine weighs some 60 pounds less than its previous iteration, thanks to a new cast-iron cylinder head, lighter pistons, new connecting rods and bearings, in addition to an all-new exhaust manifold and tweaked variable-geometry turbocharger.

Of course, there are other engines on offer for the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty. The base engine is a 6.4-liter V8 putting out 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. If you're after diesel, but not the full-bore kit, there's another Cummins on offer with 370 hp and 850 lb-ft.

In terms of transmissions, the big-boy Cummins mates to a six-speed Aisin automatic that's built specifically to handle all that torque. The other, less powerful Cummins variant uses a different six-speed automatic, while the gas V8 hooks up to an eight-speed automatic.

So what does that translate to in terms of capability? To put it brusquely, it has a crapload of capability. The Ram HD will haul up to 7,680 pounds in the bed, and it will tow up to 35,100 pounds.

A good lookin' body, inside and out

I have to give credit to Ram for building a heavy-duty truck that doesn't look all that different from the Ram 1500. The Ram HD is properly handsome, and these days that seems like a weird thing to say, considering how "meh" the Ford Super Duty is, and how "oh heavens no" the Chevy Silverado HD is. The body is literally slick, too, with a decent drag coefficient of 0.409, which Ram claims is the best in the segment.

If you want to look properly beefy, opt for the Power Wagon, which is the Ram HD's most off-road-friendly variant. It's taller than the standard Ram, with a special suspension for off-roading, locking differentials, a disconnecting sway bar and a 12,000-pound Warn winch. It also has a 360-degree camera to help navigate around obstacles. Despite the new kit, the truck is 28 pounds lighter than before.

Under the body is a brand new frame made of 98.5 percent high-strength steel. It has six crossmembers, fully boxed rear rails and it's ready for both fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches. Despite all the beefiness, a good deal of which is necessary when your truck makes one thousand torques, use of lightweight materials results in a truck that's up to 143 pounds lighter than before.

The interior of the Ram HD borrows the same updates from its light-duty sibling. There's a nice amount of layering on the dashboard, with plenty of storage space obvious as the eye moves downward. There's still a healthy amount of physical switchgear, even when the infotainment screen expands to epic proportions.

Apparently, it is possible to make a heavy-duty truck that doesn't look bad.


Good tech for a truck

Speaking of screens, the Ram 1500's monster 12-inch Uconnect infotainment screen is available, but as with the 1500 before it, it's not standard on every trim. The big boy can display either one page across the height of the screen, or it can run two applications simultaneously. Uconnect is one of our favorite systems across the industry, so this is definitely a good thing. A second, 7-inch screen in the gauge cluster is also available.

The tech doesn't end there. The interior rocks active noise cancellation and special acoustic glass designed to minimize unwanted noises -- Ram claims this updated HD model reduces interior noise by 10 decibels. Even the HVAC system has been tweaked to deliver more air with less noise. Electric heating elements are tucked into the vents to deliver warm air faster in the winter.

USB ports are all over the darn place, including Type-C ports. You can also kit out the interior with up to three 115-volt plugs, all of which can handle up to 400 watts for charging or powering various items. 

On the safety front, the Ram HD can be optioned with automatic emergency braking, a 360-degree camera and a second rearview camera that looks into the bed. The truck can also monitor up to six tire pressures on the truck and an additional 12 tires for a trailer. The Ram 3500 has unique parking sensors designed to work with dually rear ends.

The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is manufactured in Mexico. Given the 2019 model year, it shouldn't be too long before it goes on sale.

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