More strength and tech
On the heels of the 2019 Ram 1500 winning our 2019 Truck of the Year award, Ram showed off its new 2019 Heavy Duty models at the Detroit auto show this year. But those rigs are made for regular folks. Enter the 2019 Ram Chassis Cab, a versatile commercial truck developed for daily use at the work site.
The chassis cabs are available in 3500, 4500, and 5500 models, which represent Class 3, 4, and 5 gross-vehicle weight ratings (GVWR), respectively. However, there is also a Class 2 version with a 10,000-pound (4,536-kg) GVWR. The standard powertrain is a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that produces 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque in the 3500 model and 370 hp and 429 lb-ft in the 4500 and 5500. A new eight-speed automatic backs the 3500 model and a six-speed automatic with optional Power Take-Off capability (on the left or right side) is standard on the 4500 and 5500, and optional on the 3500. The Hemi features cylinder deactivation and Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off technology for improved fuel economy.
The optional Cummins 6.7-liter I-6 turbodiesel has been revised with a new cylinder block made from compacted graphite iron, new cast-iron cylinder heads, new rocker arms with a hollow camshaft, and new oil and water pumps. Power is rated at 360 hp and 800 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic with Power Take-Off capability (also left or right side) backs the oil burner.
Ram claims the Chassis Cab has a maximum towing capacity of 35,220 pounds (15,975 kg), a max Gross Combined Weight Weighting of 43,000 pounds (19,504 kg), and a payload capacity of up to 12,510 pounds (5,674 kg). In order to make upfitting easier, the rear section of the frame doesn’t have any components above the rails that would interfere with the installation of a flatbed, cargo box, or whatever else customers want to put back there. The frame also features a C-channel design with a flat mounting surface and pre-drilled holes throughout for upfit lines and mounting hardware.
A Vehicle System Interface Module (VSIM), with more than 70 inputs and outputs, can communicate between aftermarket and factory control modules. Alternator systems depend on engine choice. The Cummins turbodiesel uses dual 220-amp alternators that combine for 440 amps while the Hemi’s 220- and 160-amp units total for 380 amps.
Safety wasn’t overlooked in the 2019 Ram Chassis Cab. New active driver-assist features are available on all trims and include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic emergency braking with trailer brakes, and adaptive cruise control. Front and rear parking sensors and a 270-degree camera system with trailer reverse-guidance view are also optional. The cargo-view camera lets drivers monitor the upfit or payload and can assist when hooking up fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailers.
Four trims levels will be offered: Tradesman, SLT, Laramie, and a new Limited trim offering similar luxury to the Ram 1500 and HD Limited models. Tech got a big upgrade with an optional 12.0-inch center touchscreen with a new SiriusXM system with 360L. The standard 5.0-inch and optional 8.4-inch screens from the Ram HD will be offered as well. A 750-watt Harman Kardon unit with 17 speakers and an 8.0-inch subwoofer is the top audio choice. The standard instrument cluster display is 3.5 inches but can be optioned up to 7.0 inches. A navigation system and Wi-Fi hotspot are available.
Up to five auxiliary switches, including the Power-Take Off switch, make up the new push-button switch bank. Meanwhile, the eight-speed transmission uses a new rotary shifter (six-speed units have a column shifter). Center console storage grows in size from 23 to 39 liters. Wireless charging is available, but you can also charge up via one of five USB ports or the two 115-volt outlets, which offer up to 400 watts.
Outside, the Ram Chassis Cab shares its sheetmetal with the Ram HD, including the big R-A-M grille that is available in four different styles. The three headlight options now provide twice the lumens of the previous model and the optional Adaptive Lighting System uses steering-responsive headlights.
The 2019 Ram Chassis Cab will be available this spring with pricing to be announced later.