Competes with: Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Ford Super Duty F-250, GMC Sierra 2500, Nissan Titan XD
Looks like: A beefier Ram 1500 with a bigger schnoz
Drivetrains: 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 (410 horsepower, 429 pounds-feet of torque) or turbo-diesel 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder Cummins (370 hp, 850 pounds-feet of torque); eight-speed TorqFlite (gas) or six-speed (diesel) automatic transmissions; rear- or four-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Early second quarter
When Ram introduced the impressive new 2019 1500 full-size pickup truck at the 2018 Detroit auto show, it was chock full of bits that made it more luxurious, more comfortable, quieter and more powerful. Following that debut, parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles turned its attention to the heavy-duty side of the Ram lineup, unveiling the 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit today.
Related: More 2019 Detroit Auto Show Coverage
The new 2500 and related Power Wagon feature a lot of the improvements that were made to the 1500 half ton, but Ram upped the ante once again with more power, better payload and towing ratings, and some new technology that will be exclusive to the Ram brand for a while. Here, we'll focus on the three-quarter-ton HDs; if you want to know more about the Ram 3500 HDs, .
From the outside, there's less difference between the Ram 1500 and 2500 than you'll see from Ford and Chevrolet competitors. While the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 looks totally different from the 2019 Silverado 1500, sharing only its sheet metal roof, the Ram 2500 now looks similar to the 1500. The biggest obvious difference is the massive grille, which is 30 percent larger than the outgoing model for improved cooling (and let's be honest, more bling). Three new headlight designs are available: a basic halogen lamp, a full LED-reflector style and an LED projector lamp with active turning that allows for 15 degrees of travel as the driver turns the steering wheel.
The 2500 sits higher than the 1500 and has more unusual metal content than the outgoing model, including an aluminum hood and a lot more high-strength steel in the frame, all of which contribute to an overall 143-pound weight reduction on the highest-volume model. The new body has a class-leading 0.409 coefficient of drag, which Ram says makes for the quietest HD cabin it's ever crafted, aided by new anti-vibration devices, new engine mounts, active noise cancellation technology inside the truck and added insulation.
Three different body styles will be offered for the new 2500: regular, crew and Ram's exclusive Mega Cab. Bed technology didn't get much of a boost, however, with the RamBox lockable bedside storage bins making a return along with the RamBox Cargo Management System with its weatherproof, lockable, illuminated and drainable storage bins built into the bedrails. A 115-volt, 400-watt power outlet included in the RamBox is new for 2019.
Under the Hood
Bigger changes are present under the skin for the Ram 2500, starting with the powertrains. The new standard engine is a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 making 410 horsepower and 429 pounds-feet of torque mated to a new eight-speed TorqFlite 8HP75 automatic transmission. One optional engine is available for the 2500 HD — a totally reengineered turbo-diesel 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder Cummins making 370 hp and 850 pounds-feet of torque. The Cummins engine is mated to a beefed-up 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. The V-8 gas engine gets a rotary shifter on the dash, while the diesel retains a column-mounted stalk shifter.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, but four-wheel drive is an option across the board, using either a BorgWarner BW 44-46 electronic or BW 44-47 manual shift transfer case, depending on the model. Maximum towing capacity for the 2500 is 19,780 pounds when properly equipped (that would be a regular-cab, short-box diesel 4×2), while the 2500's max payload is listed at 4,520 pounds if you get a regular-cab gasoline 4×2 with the bed-delete option. Ram says that the extra capability won't be an issue when it comes to stopping, thanks to a new brake system that has larger calipers, a brake booster and a master cylinder that the company says should result in shorter, more confident braking performance.
Ram has re-engineered the suspension as well, aiming to keep all the capability of an HD truck but adding in some of the everyday usability that the new 1500 has brought to the truck world. New frequency response damping shock absorbers front and rear automatically adjust to the terrain the truck is traversing. Progressive springs and upgraded bushings help keep the ride civil, while an exclusive five-link coil design is installed on the 2500's rear end. A rear air suspension is optional on the 2500, replacing the rear coil springs with airbags, and now features a new Bed Lowering mode to make hooking up a trailer or loading things into the bed easier.
The frame of the 2500 has been upgraded as well, with a new two-piece front suspension cross-member structure adding a longer welded interface for greater strength to the frame. The 2500's all-new frame is now made almost entirely of high-strength steel and includes six separate cross-members, hydroformed main rails and fully boxed rear rails. Ram has included two active-tuned mass modules mounted on the frame rails that work to actively counter unwanted vibrations. The rear-axle cross-member has upgraded provisions for fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches, commensurate with the higher towing capacity.
Just like the 1500, the 2019 Ram 2500 receives a major upgrade to its cabin in terms of materials, assembly quality and storage capacity. It may look similar to the previous design, but the interior is completely new and features six different trim levels from workhorse to luxury. A new rotary electronic shifter is present on V-8 models, with ancillary function buttons grouped around the knob such as hill descent control, axle lock and 4×4 transfer case controls (if equipped). All 2019 HD trucks get push-button start.
On higher-end models, the same level of display screen wizardry that has blown away so many journalists in the 2019 Ram 1500 makes its appearance in the 2500. Several multimedia touchscreens are available: a 3-inch, 5-inch and two types of the familiar 8.4-inch screen. New for 2019 is the optional 12-inch, vertically oriented touchscreen that debuted on the 1500 pickup, allowing the screen to be divided in half and run two different applications simultaneously. The 8.4- and 12-inch screens come with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The driver's gauge cluster can be had with a 7-inch, full-color, 3D-animation-capable display that allows for reconfigurable delivery of all manner of truck system data. Five USB ports are available in the cabin, and up to three 115-volt, 400-watt outlets as well. The latest version of the FCA Uconnect multimedia system keeps everyone tuned in and online, while an optional 17-speaker Harman Kardon 750-watt premium audio system with an 8-inch subwoofer is available, as is a 360-degree surround view camera system.
Even the climate control system has been upgraded, now delivering 30 percent more airflow with lower noise levels and larger front defroster vents for better performance. Ram says this will be the quietest HD truck it's ever made — nearly 10 decibels quieter than before thanks to active noise cancellation systems and the use of acoustic glass.
The big news on the interior is the upgrade to both the Laramie Longhorn and Limited trims. The interior is a stunner with real leather-wrapped panels throughout the cabin, real wood and real metal trim. The Laramie Longhorn is the western-themed model, while the Limited easily rivals some of the best luxury vehicles in the world in terms of interior appointments.
The Ram HD lineup will offer many of the safety systems the Ram 1500 offers, including adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. The AEB system works in conjunction with the trailer brake controller to activate the trailer brakes.
Many of the Ram 2500's new safety features are centered around towing and hauling. A cargo/payload camera helps monitor the load in the bed and features active gridlines for hooking up fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers. Backing up a trailer is easier, too, with the rearview camera including a display screen view of both sides of the trailer. The tire pressure monitoring system can monitor six pickup tires and 12 trailer tires as part of four different storable trailer profiles in the multimedia towing menu. A custom tire fill alert can be set for the tires to notify a driver when they fall below or reach a certain pressure. New mirror-mounted rear-facing spotlights are offered that help illuminate surroundings when backing up a trailer. If you want even more visibility, a new optional auxiliary remote exterior camera can be placed just about anywhere you want, such as on or behind a trailer to see what might be following you.
2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon: Head for the Hills
The updates to the 2019 Ram 2500 include an all-new Power Wagon, the off-road monster that Ram offers to people interested in climbing mountains without leaving air-conditioned, leather-lined comfort. The 2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon gets all the updates that the regular 2500 receives, but like the last version, it also gets some specific off-road-oriented equipment that makes it able to go nearly anywhere wide enough to accommodate its considerable mass.
A unique Articu-link front suspension is fitted to the Power Wagon that includes a factory suspension lift, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers at all four corners and an electronically disconnecting front sway bar. The only powertrain is the gas 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with the eight-speed automatic transmission as the diesel engine's cooling requirements prevent it from working with the standard 12,000-pound Warn Zeon-12 winch that's integrated into the front bumper. That new winch also has some updates, such as a unique fairlead and retainer with an unkinkable synthetic line that's 28 pounds lighter. The new eight-speed transmission help provide and even lower crawl-ratio when in low range as well.
The Power Wagon also boasts several visual changes, such as a unique interior trim with embossed seat patterns, unique graphics and exterior trim, and exclusive wheels with off-road tires. An off-road camera is fitted to the front grille, allowing you to see over hills and sharp drop-offs, and even includes dynamic guidelines that correspond to your wheel angle. If you want all the off-road equipment without the extra expense of the trim goodies, you can get the Power Wagon's bits in a contented package called the 2500 Tradesman work-truck trim.
Look for the new 2019 Ram 2500 to arrive in dealerships early in the second quarter accompanied by the new 3500. For a peek at the changes to the 2019 Ram 3500, click .
Manufacturer images; Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry