The Ford Super Duty line grew fairly grotesque in its latest iteration, and yesterday’s reveal of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD turned some people’s hair white with fright. I’ll admit the Chevy’s design works (looks better than the Silverado 1500, IMHO), but it’s jarring nonetheless.
With so much styling excess on hand, this writer often calls up images of the current, aging Ram 2500 and 3500 and breathes a sigh of relief. Soothing nerves since 2010, the Ram HD is. As Fiat Chrysler has now worked out the production bugs plaguing its 2019 Ram 1500, the stage is set for a larger follow-up. Next year brings the first new heavy-duty Ram in a decade, and fear was high that FCA might join its Detroit comrades in going way out and wild.
Breathe easy. We’re here with completely uncamouflaged photos of the 2020 Ram HD line to show you there’s nothing to fear.
There’s no crosshair grille, but that design feature was on its way out even before the smaller 1500 dropped it altogether for the 2019 model year. Everywhere else, the 2020 HD is pure Ram, drawing on the styling cues of both the current model and the next-gen 1500.
You’ll notice the headlights haven’t migrated to some new location, nor has the bumper lost its prominence. The 2020 Ram HD is, quite frankly, the safe choice for those easily offended by modern styling trends.
Sure, the front fender bulges aren’t quite as pronounced, but the HD’s flanks still resemble what came before. With its 1500, Ram offered a meaningful evolution in styling, not a revolution, backing up the proposition with greatly increased quality, comfort, and driving dynamics. Portals in the HD’s front bumper house fog lights and tow hooks and manage to come off looking less awkward than on the smaller truck. Headlights and grille are underscored by branches of chrome.
As for the logo, dare we call this Ram’s front-end brand advertising subtle? Compared to some Super Duty models and yesterday’s Silverado, I think we can. One new addition to the new truck is a model designation badge appearing on the sides of the hood.
Certainly, the horizontal slat grille makes a glitzy entrance, but there’s other trims (and grilles) to be had. The cavalcade of Rams that cruised past the camera included a Limited, Limited MegaCab, Laramie Longhorn, and a Big Horn. Jackpot for the photographer.
Out back, the taillights are sure not to offend anyone enamored with the current model’s rear lenses. The RamBox makes its return, too. While the photos don’t show us what’s inside, expect an updated interior with an 8.4-inch touchscreen running FC’s Uconnect 4 infotainment system. Like the 1500, the 2500 and 3500 models should also gain an available 12-inch screen. There’s be more than enough dash acreage for it.
While GM promises a new gas engine for its HD, there’s no fancy new mill on tap for this rig. The familiar 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is poised to return to base models when the next-gen Ram HD starts production in Warren, Michigan, with a 6.4-liter V8 and 6.7-liter Cummins diesel inline-six rounding out the powertrain options. Will the diesel-only six-speed manual continue in the Ram HD line? That we can’t answer.
While no Power Wagon variant cruised past this shutterbug, it’s hard to believe Ram would drop that variant. It kept the Rebel alive with the new 1500, and American automakers aren’t in the habit of discontinuing macho trims. Again, rest easy.
When should we expect an official glimpse of the 2020 Ram HD? Seems like January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit would be a fine place for it.