C Is for Chassis: Ram's Biggest Goes to Work

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
c is for chassis rams biggest goes to work

Dropping its third truck shoe for 2019, Ram unveiled its light- and medium-duty chassis cab options at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday.

Built to take on whatever application the buyers chooses, the stripped-down trucks offer up the same updates seen on the 2019 Ram HD, including its newly upgraded Cummins inline-six diesel.

Offered in 3500, 4500, and 5500 guise, Ram’s new chassis cabs boast four frame lengths, with its skeleton now composed of 97 percent high-strength steel. Eight cross members help keep things rigid.

While you might not notice the 120 pounds in weight savings (there’s now an aluminum hood, in addition to other feathery components), you’ll probably recognize the redesigned interior, which now features a 12-inch touchscreen running Uconnect 4C Nav. More importantly, you’ll have at your disposal a towing capacity of up to 35,220 pounds — a class-leading figure Ram is happy to brag about. Payload tops out at 12,550 pounds, with a gross combined weight rating of 43,000 pounds.

Ram’s offerings cover the normal Class 3, 4, and 5 GVW ratings, though there’s a Class 2 chassis cab available, too.

Powering these rigs is a standard 6.4-liter Hemi V8, good for 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, and 2019 brings an eight-speed automatic on board for the first time. Buyers of 4500/5500 models can outfit their truck with a 370 hp version of that same engine and an Aisin six-speed automatic with Power Take-Off function.

Unlike Ram’s HD trucks, chassis cabs of all classes are only available with one flavor of Cummins — a 360 hp, 800 lb-ft 6.7-liter paired with a six-speed auto. No four-figure torque rating here.

Available on the 2019 chassis cab is adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, AEB with trailer brakes, and forward collision warning. For operators looking for greater near-vehicle surveillance, Ram’s ParkSense Park Assist system offers visual and audible indications, plus a 270-degree camera system with trailer reverse-guidance view. Tire pressure monitoring can look after six tires on the truck and up to 12 on a trailer. Those with deeper pockets can opt for an adaptive headlight system, thus preventing retina burns on oncoming drivers.

As luxury is now a thing even in medium-duty trucks, the chassis cab trim range spans the gamut from the workaday Tradesman, up through SLT and Laramie, before topping out at the new Limited. If it’s creature comforts you want, Ram will gladly accept your money for a nearly unlimited range of items.

What you’ll pay for any of this remains a mystery for now. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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7 of 11 comments
  • Kcflyer Kcflyer on Feb 07, 2019

    So why do they lower the peak horsepower and torque numbers from the 3/4 and 1 ton models for these units? I think all the manufacturers do this. Just curious.

    • See 4 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Feb 07, 2019

      @kcflyer - Increasing HP and torque means increased heat and extra internal stress. Civilian pickups aren't expected to run day in and day out pulling/hauling heavy loads reliably. A big camper pulled a few months out of the year isn't the same as making a living with your truck.

  • Jdowmiller Jdowmiller on Feb 08, 2019

    Ordering one.

  • MaintenanceCosts What a bizarre idea. Keep it legible. There's absolutely nothing wrong with A4E, Q5E, etc. At this point the Q5, Q7, and A4 in particular are such well-known brands that it's just dumb to monkey with them.
  • Ajla After the success this sort of thing brought Infiniti and Cadillac I can see why Audi is joining in.
  • SCE to AUX A plug-in hybrid requires two fuels to realize the benefit of having that design. This is where the Volt fell down.It could be either:[list][*]A very short-range EV[/*][*]A long-range ICE with mediocre fuel economy[/*][*]An excellent mid-range vehicle that required both a plug and gasoline.[/*][/list]If you wanted a short-range EV you got a Leaf (like I did). If you wanted a long-range car with good fuel economy, you got a Civic/Elantra/Cruze/Corolla. In my case, we also had an Optima Hybrid.I'd personally rather have a single-fuel vehicle - either gas/hybrid or electric - rather than combine the complexity and cost of both into one vehicle.
  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.