The Ram 1500 is one of FCA’s most important products, a total cash-cow for the Italian-American automaker. Along with its hugely popular Jeep division, this tough truck brings home the proverbial bacon month after month, selling in seemingly ever-greater numbers with each turn of the calendar.
Why is it performing so well in the marketplace? Well, for starters motorists have noticed the overall refinement and interior quality inherent in the latest generation of this pickup. Completely overhauled for model-year 2019, the Ram 1500 is perhaps the best driving full-size truck available today and it inarguably has the nicest cabins in the pickup business. Throw in tastefully aggressive exterior styling, a refined ride and handling thanks to its available air suspension system, an impressive powertrain lineup and you have a recipe for victory.
Innovation is another reason for Ram’s success. For instance, their trucks can be had with a massive 12-inch infotainment display, the biggest around, they’re also available with mild-hybrid technology for enhanced efficiency and performance, they’re solid and safe, plus they feature a standard coil-spring rear suspension.
Given its refinement, good looks, capability, efficiency, and even affordable pricing, it’s easy to see why the new Ram 1500 is selling so well. It’s also not hard to understand why it’s the best “half-ton” truck on the market today. Its unique blend of quality, features, and comfort makes it a smart buy. Appealing to more value-conscious drivers, the previous-generation Ram 1500 is still offered. The Ram 1500 Classic is available at a nice discount compared to the latest model.
The latest-generation Ram 1500 is built at FCA’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, SHAP for short, located in suburban Detroit.
Pros/ Available driver-assistance technology, Powerful smooth-running drivetrains, Superb on-road dynamics, Available eTorque system, Best-in-class interior, Overall capability
Cons/eTorque not standard with V8 engine, Heavier than rival trucks, Can get expensive
Bottom Line/One of the best full-size trucks on the market that's also extremely affordable
Table of contents
Ram 1500 Specs
Engine: 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with standard eTorque mild-hybrid system
Engine: 5.7-liter Hemi V8
Engine: 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with optional eTorque mild-hybrid system
Engine: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6
Drivetrain: Rear- or four-wheel drive
Transmission: Standard eight-speed automatic
Seating Capacity: Up to six people
Bed Sizes Available: 5-feet 7-inches or 6-feet 4-inches
Body Styles Available: Quad Cab or Crew Cab
Maximum Towing Capacity: 12,750 pounds
Ram 1500 Fuel Economy
As for fuel economy, the Ram 1500 is generally right in the hunt with rival full-size pickup trucks. Here’s a sampling of how well it performs. The EPA numbers listed below are ordered city, highway, combined.
Rear-wheel-drive, 3.6-liter V6, eTorque, eight-speed automatic: 20/25/22
Rear-wheel-drive, 5.7-liter V8, eight-speed automatic: 15/22/17
Rear-wheel-drive, 5.7-liter V8, eTorque, eight-speed automatic: 17/23/19
Four-wheel-drive, 3.6-liter V6, eTorque, eight-speed automatic: 19/24/21
Four-wheel-drive, 5.7-liter V8, eight-speed automatic: 15/21/17
Four-wheel-drive, 5.7-liter V8, eTorque, eight-speed automatic: 17/22/19
HFE, rear-wheel drive, 3.6-liter V6, eight-speed automatic: 20/26/23
Ram 1500 Classic, rear-wheel drive, 3.6-liter V6, eight-speed automatic: 17/25/20
Ram 1500 Classic, rear-wheel drive, 5.7-liter V8, eight-speed automatic: 15/22/17
Ram 1500 Classic, four-wheel drive, 3.6-liter V6, eight-speed automatic: 16/23/19
Ram 1500 Classic, four-wheel drive, 5.7-liter V8, eight-speed automatic: 15/21/17
Ram 1500 Safety Rating
The all-new Ram 1500 is a supremely safe truck. In rigorous Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing it earned “Good” ratings across the board in all the organization’s crash tests including the small-overlap front driver and small-overlap front passenger tests, the moderate overlap front, side impact and roof crush. Even its head restraints were rated “Good,” the highest score handed out. Helping reduce the likelihood of a crash, the Ram 1500 also offers superior crash-prevention technology when fitted with optional equipment. Depending on trim level, the IIHS rated this truck’s headlamps either “Marginal,” the second-lowest score they provide or “Poor,” the lowest. The vehicle’s LATCH anchor ease of use was rated “Marginal.”
As for the Ram 1500 Classic model, it should perform very similarly to the 2018 Ram 1500 pickup. In the driver’s side small-overlap test that truck is rated “Marginal.” In the moderate-overlap and side-impact tests it’s rated “Good.” Roof strength is “Marginal.” The head restraints and seats are “Good.” Headlamps are either “Marginal” or “Poor” depending on equipment. The LATCH ease of use is “Marginal.”
Ram 1500 Features
Ram’s latest half-ton model offers a surfeit of features and amenities, enough to make it one of the most appealing trucks on the market today, in case its refinement and styling weren’t enough.
Underneath that handsome body is a frame that’s comprised of 98 percent high-strength steel; splayed front rail help contribute to this vehicle’s enviable crash-test performance. This makes the latest Ram 1500 the toughest Ram 1500 ever. It’s also helped this pickup lose up to 225 pounds compared to the previous model. Engineers took about 100 pounds out of the body structure and roughly 120 from the chassis.
Improving fuel efficiency are active grille shutters that close when extra cooling performance isn’t required in order to provide improve aerodynamics.
Bring this tough truck to a safe, secure stop even when fully loaded are husky brakes. The Ram 1500 should have the largest front rotors in its segment, clocking in at just shy of 15 inches (381 millimeters) in diameter.
Improving both performance and fuel economy is eTorque. This 48-volt mild-hybrid system brings a host of benefits to the table including seamless stop-start, regenerative braking and, as its name suggests, a torque boost in certain driving situations. The traditional alternator is replaced by a belt-driven motor-generator that feeds 48 volts to a suitcase-sized and advanced-chemistry battery pack. While driving, eTorque can bolster the V6 engine with up to 90 pound-feet of twist. The Hemi gains up to 130. eTorque is standard with the base engine and optional on the V8.
Providing customers with an easy-to-use infotainment experience, the Ram 1500 is available with a groundbreaking Uconnect system fitted with a segment-leading 12-inch portrait display. This massive amount of touchscreen real estate allows you to run two different “apps” at once, for instance, the navigation system up top and climate control down below.
If audio quality is a top concern of yours, the Ram 1500 shouldn’t disappoint. They’re available with a 19-speaker Harmon Kardon system that should be the best in the pickup segment.
A new HVAC system flows 25 percent more air than before with larger defroster vents helping keep the windshield free of ice and condensation. Rear-seat passengers are kept more comfortable now since airflow to this part of the cabin has been increased by a whopping 50 percent compared to the previous Ram 1500.
When it comes to driver-assistance technology this truck has loads of it. You can get adaptive cruise control with stop, go and hold capability, parking sensors, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera, a parking assist features that automatically parallel and perpendicular parks the truck, adaptive headlamps and much more.
A simple improvement has been made to this latest Ram’s key fob. Engineers figured out how to improve battery life, making it last up to six years.
The Ram 1500 is backed by a 5-year/60,000 powertrain warranty. This is in addition to the standard new-vehicle bumper-to-bumper guarantee, which lasts for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Ram 1500 Pricing
The most-affordable Ram 1500 is a Tradesman Quad Cab model with rear-wheel drive and a standard V8 engine. Skip all available options and you can nab one of these rigs for a totally affordable $35,135, including $1,695 in destination charges.
A popularly equipped, midrange Laramie model with four-wheel drive, a spacious crew-cab body, the eTorque-equipped V8 engine, an anti-spin rear axle, air suspension, an off-road package and an array of advanced driver aids checks out at about 58 grand, a pretty penny to be sure but arguably worth it for a handsome and well-equipped truck.
Of course, if you don’t need the latest and greatest and don’t mind driving a slightly older model, grab a Ram 1500 Classic. You can get one with an 8-foot bed, a V6 engine and rear-wheel drive for less than $30,000 including delivery. That makes them a strong value in the full-size pickup segment.
Ram 1500 Competitors
Given that it’s a full-size truck it should be no surprise the Ram 1500 competes with other full-size pickups. Its archrivals include the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, the latest and greatest offerings from FCA’s domestic competitors, though they’re far from the only opponents it faces. The Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra are sized and equipped to compete as well.
Ram 1500 Future Plans
The Ram 1500 was totally overhauled for the 2019 model year so it’s unlikely the truck will receive any significant changes in the near-term. It also has the best ride and handling as well as the nicest interior in its segment, so, again, we’re betting Ram will stand pat for the time being.
About the only noteworthy change in the works that we know if is the coming of a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine. It should become available in the latest Ram 1500 model this summer, delivering an advertised 260 horsepower with a walloping 480 pound-feet of torque along with significantly better fuel economy than its gasoline-burning powertrain counterparts.
|Engine /||5.7-liter Hemi V8|
|Transmission /||Eight-speed automatic|
|Maximum Towing Capacity /||12,750 lbs.|
Our Final Verdict
It’s not hard to see why the Ram 1500 is the best “half-ton” truck on the market today. Its unique blend of quality, features, and comfort makes it a smart buy.5