Competes with: Chevrolet Silverado 3500, Ford F-350/F-450 and GMC Sierra 3500
Looks like: A beefier heavy-duty single- and dual-rear-wheel version of the newly minted Ram 1500
Drivetrains: Carryover 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 (410-horsepower, 429 pounds-feet of torque) paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission or all-new turbo-diesel 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder Cummins (370 or 400 hp, 850 or 1,000 pounds-feet of torque) with a pair of new six-speed automatic transmissions; rear- or four-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Early second quarter
Following close on the heels of the successful launch of the 2019 Ram 1500 light-duty pickup truck, the new 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 revealed today at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit offer similar (but very different) structural and quality upgrades to the frame, chassis, cabs and interior.
Related: More 2019 Detroit Auto Show Coverage
Because there is so much difference between the heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 models, especially the dual-rear-wheel models, this story focuses on the changes to the one-ton model. If you want to read more about the changes to the three-quarter ton and upgraded 2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, click .
The 2019 Ram 3500 will continue to be offered in several distinct trim levels: Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited. The outside of the Ram 3500, as you would expect, closely follows the 2500 and to a certain extent the smaller Ram 1500. The grille reflects the biggest changes with more horizontal slats from the new light duty and a larger, bolder wide-mouth look. We're glad the large "nostrils" of the previous model are gone. But the new look is not just for styling's sake; the larger grille is designed to flow more cooling air into the engine compartment when needed. All 2019 Ram HDs will have computer-controlled grille shutters to help the engine warm up quicker in cold weather and cool faster during high-demand situations. Also, the newly designed front bumper will allow air to flow into the engine via a new center opening.
The new aluminum hood reflects some of the multilevel "waterfall" design cues seen on the 1500, and the 3500 offers three new headlamp choices: halogen, full LED reflector and full LED projector with active turning that moves the lights in the direction of travel up to 15 degrees.
Ram 3500s will continue to be offered in both single- and dual-rear-wheel versions in regular- and crew-cab 4×2 and 4×4 configurations with an 8-foot bed. The Ram 3500 Mega Cab also will be offered in single-wheel and dually configurations but only with a 4×4 drivetrain and a 6-foot, 4-inch bed. All Ram HD Mega Cabs will have the shorter bed.
As we saw with the Ram 1500, moving to larger and quieter cabs (regular, crew and Mega Cab), and a vastly simplified and cleaner dash layout is likely to garner the new Ram 3500 a lot of attention from the money-is-no-object crowd. These buyers usually tow expensive trailers, boats or campers, and when they tow they like to go in style.
Each trim level will sport a different material with materials and colors that reflect that model's intended purpose. The new center dash puts all the radio, climate and feature controls within easy reach of the driver, whether the 12-inch or 8-inch screen is selected. The centerpiece of the new interiors will be the 12-inch configurable touchscreen that's likely to become the gold standard for the class; it's standard on the top-of-the-line Limited and optional for other trims.
Among other big improvements to the interior, the front seats have been stiffened with more side bolstering, the center storage area offers 12 different storage combinations and cab-specific active noise cancellation systems reduce outside noise. Crew and Mega cabs have larger in-floor storage bins with drain holes and provide several in-floor tie-downs to boot. There also are several active-tuned modules on the frame (similar to the Ram 1500) to minimize frame/chassis/suspension vibrations.
The state-of-the-art Uconnect 4C Navigation and SiriusXM 360L will be available in the upper trim levels providing real-time, on-demand programming and allowing owners to develop and maintain profiles similar to Netflix — something that's never before been offered in the HD class.
Under the Hood
The Ram 3500's standard engine will be the carryover 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, rated at 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpms and 429 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm; it will be mated to a heavier-duty TorqueFlight eight-speed transmission with a class-exclusive, rotary-dial gear selector a la the 2019 Ram 1500. The naturally aspirated V-8 gas engine offers cylinder deactivation, moving from V-4 to V-8 modes as demand dictates to save fuel and includes a fuel shutoff system during certain deceleration situations (like coasting to a stop or long downhill glides).
The optional engine is the big news here: It's an all-new inline-six-cylinder Cummins B motor that is lighter and stronger than the one it replaces. Made from compacted graphite iron, the new block is topped by a new cast-iron cylinder head with new exhaust valves and springs, rocker arms, a hollow camshaft, and an aluminum oil and water pump. The turbo-diesel 6.7-liter diesel produces 400 hp (less than before) at 2,800 rpm and a whopping, class-best 1,000 pounds-feet of torque (70 pounds-feet more than before) at 1,800 rpm. As before, Ram HDs will get a less powerful variant of the same engine for buyers who might want or need the de-rated version or are looking for more longevity. The down-rated version produces 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 pounds-feet of torque at 1,700 rpm. This version gets all the same improvements the up-rated version includes.
All diesel Ram 3500s will get the electronically controlled Aisin AS69RC six-speed transmission, which we're told now has twice as much learning capability than before to deliver faster, more precise shifts under all driving conditions, loaded and unloaded. That was one of our complaints about the Ram 3500 during our .
Payload and Towing
The heart of the improved, class-leading towing and hauling numbers is partially connected to the 2019 Ram 3500's strengthened frame. The all-new frame is built with 98.5 percent high-strength steel, six separate through-welded cross-members, hydroformed main rails and fully boxed rear rails. The cross-member over the rear axle of the one-ton is much bigger and stronger than before to accommodate the bigger fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch ratings.
The maximum tow rating for the Ram 3500 (4×2 diesel with a 4.10:1 axle ratio) is just more than 35,000 pounds; it has a gross combined weight rating of 43,000 pounds. The max payload capacity for the one-ton dually is 7,680 pounds (4×2 Hemi V-8 with 3.73:1 or 4.10 axle ratios). Gross vehicle weight ratings range between 10,700 and 14,000 pounds depending on configuration.
Another reason for the Ram 3500's higher maximum towing and payload limits is the all-new max tow 12-inch American Axle & Manufacturing heavy-duty rear axle that has a larger ring gear, 4.25-inch tubes, much larger differential bearings and bigger shaft hub seals.
Safety and Tech
As with the 2019 Ram 1500, there are almost too many new or upgraded safety and technology features for the 3500 to list. Ram actually provided a list of 101 new safety and tech features in the media press kit, broken into five separate categories. Suffice to say that the 2019 Ram 3500 will offer key safety features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, collision warning, multiple rearview camera options and settings, trailer backup assist, individual sensors on each airbag and much more. Naturally, different safety and technology features will be found on different trim levels. We'll know more about how everything interfaces with the driver and passengers after we get time behind the wheel of the different models, which is supposed to happen in February.
The new 2019 Ram 3500 hits dealership early in the second quarter; pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry; manufacturer images and drawings