Ram’s big boy exudes can-do spirit

CASEY WILLIAMS | Auto Reviewer

“What am I going to do with that?” I asked my husband while looking at the 2019 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab with four-wheel-drive, dual rear wheels and long box.

“Anything you want,” he responded.

“But a barn-sized truck won’t even fit in our driveway,” I replied. Then he offered the clincher: “It’s not for decorating our driveway.”

The big Ram certainly looks like it can do anything, with its big chrome grille, step-down front fenders, long body and bulging dually fenders. Being a Laramie edition, there’s more chrome and Light Mountain Brown exterior paint, but all Rams look the part of an over-the-road hoss. Power running boards keep the look clean while LED adaptive lighting brightly bends corners.

Beneath the truck’s immense size, 17-in. wheels look like dimes.

Put your shoe on the power running board and heave up inside to find a cabin worthy of a private jet. It’s pretty posh with a theme I’d label “Texas chic,” given premium leather, real wood on the dash/doors and anodized gold trim. Heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel add comfort, as do automatic climate control and a power sunroof. A large, sleek 12-in. touchscreen controls the 17-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation and climate.

Wireless phone charging, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ease connections. Given the Ram’s size, you’ll appreciate safety features like parking sensors, around view cameras, adaptive cruise with auto stop and blind spot warning.

My only confusion with our truck is its powertrain. It came with the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine delivering 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is routed through a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission and electronic 4-wheel-drive system. The books say it can tow 13,710 lb. or carry 6,680 lbs. of payload as configured. That’s no laughing matter, but I think most buyers will step up to the optional 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel that changes the earth’s gravity with 400 horsepower and 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque. That truck can tow up to 35,100 lbs. If you’re going to get a truck, get a truck.

And, there’s a lot more to this truck. Ram offers the best-riding pickup in the business thanks to its auto level rear air suspension that not only takes the hop out of bumps but can also be lowered for trailer hook-ups. There’s no getting around the very stiff solid axles front and rear, but the ride is relatively smooth given its capability. A gooseneck prep group and transfer case skid plate help get big stuff to the job site and back again.

I guess you could just drive the Ram 3500 for enjoyment, but I wouldn’t recommend it for getting to work and back, unless your work requires a lot of heavy towing. But if you have serious work and want to do it in exquisite comfort, this is your ride. Load up, hook up and haul out.

Ram 3500 starts at $38,500, but came to $73,150 as tested. Competitors include the Chevy Silverado 3500, GMC Sierra 3500, Ford F-350 and select models from Kenworth, Peterbilt and International.

Follow the writer on YouTube @AutoCasey.