2019 Ram 1500 Review

The 2019 Ram 1500 completely embodies the cliche of working smarter not harder. It packs a ton of features that will make life easier for truck buyers, which will really help it stand out in this market.

It’s tough to stand out when most new trucks boast about more power and class-leading tow and haul ratings, but this new Ram lives up to the hype and will appeal to a wider, more mainstream audience.

The first exciting new feature of the Ram 1500 is the eTorque mild hybrid system. It adds 90 lb-ft of torque on V6 models and 130 lb-ft on the V8. It’s made possible thanks to the Ram’s usage of a new electronic system that features a 48-volt battery system. We’ll get a closer look at this powertrain in the near future, but today we’ll focus on the more conventional powertrain, which is the tried-and-true 5.7-liter V8 engine. It’s more or less a carryover from last year’s model, packing 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque.

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It’s mated to a revised eight-speed automatic transmission that’s designed to be more efficient, refined, and smoother. You’re going to hear those three words a number of times when describing the new Ram.

While the engine is similar to last year’s model, its capabilities have been updated as well. Thanks to some noise cancelation technology and clever vibration dampers, the engine can operate on fewer cylinders over a wider range of engine loads. This is because cylinder deactivation introduces some unwanted noise and vibrations, and since the Ram can smooth those out, it can be more efficient as a result.

Another upgrade to the Ram is electronic locking differentials, which will be available to those who opt for the all-wheel-drive model. The all-wheel-drive mode is selectable via a few buttons by the gear selector including a 4WD automatic mode that will lock the system as needed.

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But the big story with any pickup truck are those final drive ratios. Buyers have three to choose from — 3.21, 3.55 or 3.92 to suit all their pickup truck needs. For the select few that tow serious hardware, it’s worth mentioning the new six-lug hubs, which should help with heavier loads.

New Ram Bones

The other huge changes in this truck are found beneath the sheet metal. The Ram sits on an all-new chassis that’s designed to be lighter, longer, and stiffer than before. It allows for a maximum towing rating of 12,750 lbs and a maximum payload of 2,300 lbs.

Those aren’t class-leading numbers, but as mentioned before, this truck feels smoother and more refined, providing a ton of confidence for drivers. The way it handles and drives is unlike other trucks. With its smoother ride, there were times when you forget you’re in command of a big truck, but something smaller and more manageable. Relatively speaking, it’s responsive and extremely approachable for a wider audience of drivers.

The suspension has a lot to do with that feeling and there is some interesting magic going on by the wheels called Frequency Response Damping shocks. This race-derived tech allows the shocks to automatically adjust to the vertical movement of the wheels. It also means that when you slam on the brakes, the car has less brake dive and feels more stable and poised.

Adding to that, the Ram is the only truck to offer four-corner air suspension, which helps level the truck out when you’re towing and hauling. It can also help improve aerodynamics and efficiency. Those that don’t get an air suspension system still get some aerodynamic benefits with an active front spoiler

All of these features are a huge asset on the road, but are also pretty handy off-road. Now I won’t overstep my boundaries here, and if you want to learn more about the Ram’s off-road capability, I encourage you to head over to Off-Road.com and check out my colleague Stephen Elmer’s take on the truck — he’s an off-roading expert and can tell you all about how it performs on the trail.

Ram is Smooth on the Road

While I’m talking about the on-road capability of the truck, it’s interesting to see that it comes standard with fuel-saving low rolling resistance tires. This, combined with the lighter body and other powertrain and aerodynamics improvements, mean that the truck will be much more fuel efficient, even if you don’t get the fancy mild-hybrid models.

Additionally, truck chatter is loaded to the brim with metal, and this truck features a bit of aluminum to keep weight down in specific areas, like the tailgate, but it keeps it away from more important parts of the truck like the bed.

My favorite thing to talk about with this truck is the new splayed frame, which means the truck will be safer in collisions. The safety innovations features continue on the road, and the vehicle features things like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and parking assistance. The blind spot system even works with a trailer attached to the truck. I would have never imagined that truck buyers were really worried about their own safety, driving in something this large, but I’m glad that Ram didn’t forget about how important this aspect is.

Interior Stands Out

The truck also feels very premium. The interior is pretty stunning and it’s hard to ignore the available 12-inch touchscreen in higher trim models. Other versions of the truck get the usual UConnect infotainment system that is always fast, responsive, and easy to use. But beyond the infotainment system, there are all kinds of small touches and details that add up. For example, there’s a warning system for when the tailgate is down — something that should be on every truck from the get-go.

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Furthermore, the Ram is extremely practical, I mean of course it is, it’s a pickup truck, but I mean there’s even more practical additions like the upgraded Ram boxes found outside the bed, which have lights and plugs now. Even inside the vehicle, there are new Ram Bins under the front seats, that offer additional storage.  In total, there’s almost double the storage as the outgoing model.

Ram thought about all the little details and it’s not like this is just a truck to do hard work, but it can also be a liveable truck for families and day-to-day commutes. Further proving this point, there are a bajillion USB ports (including USB C ports) and slots to prop up tablets and phones to entertain passengers.

Hard to Ignore Exterior

The interior design is eye-catching with plush, soft materials. The highest-end models are truly special feeling, capable of wooing the most critical truck fans. Also, this truck features cool toggle buttons, which are easy to like.

However, take a look at the exterior of the car and you’re looking at possibly the most important part of this truck. Ram has always offered the most attractive truck in the segment and this new model doesn’t change that impression. Many of the badges have been moved around to keep the exterior design clean, and sensors have been cleverly hidden around the truck.

The 2019 Ram 1500 starts at $33,340, which gets you a 4×2, quad cab Tradesman trimmed model. Personally, I think that’s a high price point, but the Ram offers a number of interesting and exclusive technologies and features that help its case.

However, we’re still missing important details about the truck, like how those new eTorque models are and what kind of fuel economy you can expect from any model. All that news should be coming soon.

The Verdict: 2019 Ram 1500 Review

When you think about it, this Ram is really just a luxury car hidden in a pickup body. It has advanced powertrains, a ton of drivers assistance, handy convenience features and a gorgeous interior, while also being as practical and capable as before. I’m not sure every truck buyer wants to be coddled with all these features, but it’s hard to argue with what just how livable and approachable the new Ram really is.

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