Friday, February 14, 2020

2019 Ram 3500 Limited Crew Cab 4x4: The One Ton Luxury Power House

Highlight: This is the first truck to feature both a power pull down tailgate integrated with a haptic feature. The haptic feature allows one to use a hand gesture to opens the tailgate. Go figure!

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $88,130 (Base Model: $35,095)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; Daytime running headlights; electronic stability control; electronic roll mitigation; an electric parking brake; a hillstart assist system; a rear back up camera; a tire pressure monitoring system a tire fill alert system; a traction control system; heated exterior mirrors; a cargo lamp; a locking tailgate; and a trailer sway damping system

Tradesman Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a headlamp off time delay system; a rear fixed window; tinted glass windows; power heated mirrors with manual fold-away; active grille fuel saving shutters; manual adjustable front seats; split bench front seat; rear folding seat; a 5-inch infotainment touchscreen; a 7-pin wiring harness; a 730 amp maintenance free battery;  a class 3 hitch receiver; a 23 gallon fuel tank; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a steering wheel mounted shift column

Laramie: 20-inch wheels; a 5.7-liter Hemi; 395-horsepower; leather bucket (front) seats; a class four receiver hitch; a keyless remote system; a remote start system; a U-Connect 8-inch infotainment screen; AppleCar Play; Google Android Auto System; 9 speakers with a subwoofer; an automatic dual temperature control system; 115-auxilaru power outlet; 12-volt auxiliary power outlet; and a leather wrapped heated steering wheel

Option: Metallic exterior color; towing technology group; a surround sound 360-degree camera; trailer reverse guidance; a maximum tow package; 4:10 axle, 5th wheel with a Gooseneck towing prep package; an auto level rear air suspension; center mounted high stop light with a cargo view camera; DOT centered roadside safety kit; 30 direct fifth wheel hitch by Mopar; a body colored bumper group; a painted front bumper; a painted rear bumper; Limited level equipment group: 17-speaker Harman Kardon Premium sound system with a 12-inch display screen with a navigation screen; a radar-activated cruise control system with a stop and go system; a full speed forward collision warming system plus; a surround view camera; a 6.7-liter heavy duty high octane diesel engine with a 220 amp alternator; a power sunroof; an automatic deployable step bed; 17-inch dual rear wheels with a spare tire; and a 17-inch, 6-inch polished aluminum wheels box and rear fender clearance lamps

Other Trim Level:

Ram Crew Cab

Ram Classic (the previous generation model)

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker audio system

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:  3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.6-liter, 6-cylinder/305-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

Payload 3.6-liter 4x2: 1,180 lbs

Trailer Tow 3.6-liter 4x2: 6,640 lbs

What’s New: For the 2019 model year, the all-new 3500 has been redesign inside and out, following in the step of its little sibling, the 1500. In every sense, in terms of fuel-efficiency, ride quality, high-tech features, luxury amenities, towing and safety driving aids, it’s no wonder why sedans and coupes have literally taking a back seat to trucks. The new heavy duty Ram is an all-purpose, lifestyle-work vehicle. 

Why: The redesign 2019 Ram is available in a Quad Cab or a Crew Cab configuration with a five foot, six foot or seven foot bed. Like the previous model, the Ram is available in a 1500, 2500 or 3500 series. The 3500 series which is available with two diesel engines and one gas engine, is also available with a dual rear wheel with a 4x2 or a 4x4 configuration.

Depending upon the trim, the Ram is available with a segment-exclusive driver safety aid that is a first in the truck segment. The 360-degree rearview camera that was embeded in the ipad-like infotainment system allowed us the ability to literally eye what was in the bed of the truck, where our optional 5th wheel was centered, while at the same time aid us in aligning the truck with a trailer (when needed for hooking up the vehicle). Ram’s design and engineering team didn’t miss a beat, as they were creating this truck.

Our dual rear wheel truck we reviewed was outfitted with such must-have features as a lane departure warning system to a radar-activated cruise control system to a rear park assist sensor system. All of these must have safety features will definitely reduce accidents.

Moreover, the easy-to-use driver gauges and the optional eye-absorbing Tesla-like, 12-inch infotainment screen literally placed the new 3500 Ram in a category by itself. Ram's new supersized infotainment screen has led a number of truck buyers to trade out of their Fords and Chevys.

The infotainment screen, which houses controls for the ventilation system, the navigation system and the audio system, operates more like a smartphone with an array of apps. The apps can be easily personalized and repositioned based upon the popularity (in many cases that being the driver).  In fact, one of the apps allowed us to check for movie tickets, fuel pricing and the like.

And, besides the user friendly systems, the interior quality of the leather hand-stitched seams surrounding the instrument panel and the door panels seemed more befitting for a Mercedes-Benz than a truck. Yes, the interior design team showcased their best work to date with this generation of Rams.

Moreover, the 3500 we reviewed was outfitted with the brand’s standard 100,000-mile warranty Cummins turbo diesel engine. The fuel-efficient, quiet tuned diesel had the capacity to tow a small house or a yacht, with its optional 5th wheel gooseneck. In fact, the workhorse luxury truck we reviewed had a towing ability of 35,100 pounds.

Furthermore, without the optional 5th wheel gooseneck, the Ram 3500 is capable of hauling up to 7,680 pounds in the bed of the truck.

Lastly, the ride quality of the new Ram, even in the 3500 series, must be one of the best in the segment. The vehicle no longer drives like a truck. Ok that's not a bad thing. The engineering team has put their best foot forward, adding an all-new auto level rear suspension system that incorporates the best of both worlds. 

In our opinion, Ford has always been the leader in terms of the ride quality in the truck segment. However, we believe that the new Ram might have taken their place. And based on the sales the automaker is racking up, consumers seem to speaking with their wallets (and pocketbooks too).

From all indications, this year’s Ram has definitely won us over. Even when comparing prices, the Ram seems to undercut its competitors from both Ford and GM, whose truck are hoovering close to $100,000 depending on the trim.

But: It’s a lot of truck to manage, especially with the dual rear wheels.

Also just to be petty, there was no power tilt/telescopic steering wheel in the top of the line Limited trim. Yes, this would not have been a gripe of our in the past. However, with this being a luxury work truck, we’ve raised the standards of what we’ve come to expect.

Verdict: Ram 3500 is great for the ranch, work sites or a night on the town in one’s dapper after-five attire. This all-purpose truck is available in a variety of trims with such popular features as the 12-inch, Tesla-like infotainment screen to a 5th wheel for those needing to pull a small house. The new Ram is capable, dependable and we must say relatively easy-to-navigate -- even with the dual rear wheels.

Ram has taken everything buyers have come to appreciate in the Ram 1500 and folded it into all-new 3500 series. And they have managed to do this at a price point that undercuts its competitors, as evident in the market share loss both Ford and Chevy are experiencing, with the popularity of the all-new Ram.

Competition: Ford F-350; Chevy Silverado 3500; and GMC Sierra 3500

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