Given that torque figures on American heavy-duty trucks have steadily crept upward over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before someone hit that big four-digit mark. Ram was the first to cross that threshold with its 2019 Ram HD unveiled at the 2019 Detroit auto show with 1,000 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 GMC Sierra HD was also just revealed, and its top engine makes more horsepower but less torque than the Ram. However, it takes more than just torque numbers to win over heavy-duty truck buyers. Below, we compare specs of Ram’s redesigned HD truck against the competition from GM and Ford. Let’s see what the numbers say.
The 2019 Ram 3500 HD’s class-leading 1,000 lb-ft is specific to the high-output version, which also makes 400 hp and comes backed by a six-speed Aisin automatic transmission. The standard version of Ram’s updated Cummins 6.7-liter turbodiesel I-6 pumps out 370 hp and 850 lb-ft. For 2020, GM’s Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 will continue to make 910 lb-ft but will use a new Allison 10-speed automatic. Although full specs haven’t been revealed yet, the Duramax in the 2020 Silverado HD will likely make the same 445 hp as the Sierra HD. Ford will be refreshing its Super Duty lineup for 2020 and will probably increase power, but if not, the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8 will continue to churn out 450 hp and 935 lb-ft. The current TorqShift six-speed automatic is expected to be replaced by a 10-speed unit.
If oil-burners aren’t for you, each automaker offers a gasoline option. The Ram’s 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 makes 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. GM will introduce an all-new gas engine, possibly a Navistar-sourced 6.6-liter V-8, which should eclipse the 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of the current 6.0-liter Vortec V-8. The Super Duty’s 6.2-liter V-8 produces 430 lb-ft, and horsepower is rated at 385. A power bump could happen if the engine is updated for 2020.
Towing and Hauling
That 1,000 lb-ft of twist is not just for show, as the 2019 Ram HD claims a class-leading maximum towing capacity of 35,100 pounds with a gooseneck or fifth wheel. Although “class-leading” is technically true, it just barely beats the Super Duty’s 35,000-pound maximum rating. Towing figures for the 2020 Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD have yet to be released, but GM claims the maximum capacity will be “well in excess of 30,000 pounds.” When it comes to hauling, the Ram HD can carry a maximum payload of 7,680 pounds in its bed, a smidge more than Ford’s rating of 7,640 pounds. Currently, the Silverado’s max is 7,153 pounds (6,112 for the Sierra), but expect an improvement for 2020. Interestingly, those max payload numbers all apply to gas-engine variants. (The heavier diesel engines lower each rating slightly.)
The EPA doesn’t rate heavy-duty trucks for their fuel economy, but the size of the fuel tank will give you an idea of each truck’s driving range. The Ford Super Duty’s fuel tank capacity depends on the engine and configuration. The Power Stroke’s tank ranges from 29 gallons in the shortest wheelbase to 34 gallons for the mid-wheelbase models and 48 gallons in the model with the longest wheelbase (crew cab with the long bed). The gas engine’s tank is either 34 gallons for the regular and super cabs or 48 gallons for the crew cab.