We can appreciate lots of the world trying to go greener. It’s a valiant a worthwhile cause that gives purpose to so many lost souls. We get the idea behind the vegan lifestyle, and sure paper straws help keep sea turtles from engaging in too many plastic pole-vaulting competitions under water. Plastic bags are becoming anathema on a level approaching tobacco products in popular opinion. All of these things are good and just. However, every once in a while we have to sit back and remember that although many of us can, and should, go a bit greener, there are some times that we need to just get back to basics.
This ideology translates into the automotive realm as well. Sure, a Prius and a Volt and even a Tesla are all wonderfully useful vehicles. But, when the time comes for that rancher, or farmer, or construction crew to actually need to move something big, being powered by a large Duracell just won’t cut it. That’s where a truck like the 2019 3500 Heavy Duty Tradesman comes in and reminds us all that bigger can still mean better.
Let’s not give any false impressions here. The Ram 3500 Tradesman is a work truck through and through. Vinyl floors, compliment the vinyl or cloth upholstery about as well as a can of Coke compliments a microwaveable TV dinner. Even the exterior is no frills with basic black trim around the front and rear of the truck where other trim levels would have body color or metallic parts instead. Though, there is an optional chrome upgrade you can have if you so choose. The only real excitement comes from the Connect 4C NAV that features a 12-inch infotainment screen that utilities an impressive 750-watt 17-sepaker Harmon Kardon stereo system to keep the tunes coming. There are even five USB ports and wireless charging for all things cellular. The Tradesman isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of the Ram options, with its two-door, long bed and rear wheel drive set up. But then, it isn’t here to be pretty. It’s here to be pretty serious about work. But beyond the basics, the numbers of this mega-mover tell the real story of its existence. Sure, there is a 6.4-lliter Hemi V8 that is advanced enough to offer cylinder deactivation and Variable Cam Timing. It even dishes out a legit 410-horsepower and respectable 429 lb-ft of torque. But let’s be honest, a real truck runs on diesel. And the 6.7-liter Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel inline six cylinder engine is just silly. It makes about the same horsepower as the gas version at 400-horsepower, but the torque figure is just damn-near frightening. How does an even 1,000 pound-feet of torque sound? Almost ridiculous on anything but a semi. Combine that engine with a 4:10 rear gear ratio and you can tow up to 35,100 pounds and a payload capacity of 7,680 pounds. The gas engine gets mated to an 8-speed automatic, while the monster diesel gets a six-speed auto.
Although this truck is meant for work, it still offers some civility that we don’t often see in a behemoth like this. Active noise cancelation, anti-vibration devices and even acoustic glass treatment all add up to a surprisingly quiet cabin, even with the diesel. The new suspension that uses Frequency Response Damping shocks, as well as progressive springs and bushings combined with the rear air-suspension help things stay very calm out on the open highway, even if you’re towing a house. There is a Bed Lowering Mode, a Normal/Payload Mode, and a Trailer-Tow Mode to help fine tune your suspension setup. The high-strength steel frame offers up the most torsional rigidity from a Ram yet.
Further proof that the Ram has evolved are safety features like the 360-degree surround view camera that has a trailer reverse guidance. The auxiliary exterior camera also allows the driver to keep from making any serious mistakes backing up. The trailer Tire Pressure Monitoring system keeps tabs on up to six tires on the actual truck itself as well as up to double that amount for the trailer behind it. There is also systems like adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking and even Automatic Emergency Braking with the trailer brakes as well.
The 3500 Tradesman starts at about $35,000 for the gas version and about $44,000 for the diesel. But whichever you choose, just remember that although going green is fun, until you have to get going, while towing four horses, or a tractor. Then it might just be time to get back to basics, and for that, the Ram is just the truck to get it done.