The all-new Ram 1500 presses all the right buttons with improvements in the areas that matter most to truck buyers. There are new fuel-efficient powertrains, new safety features, improved capabilities, and an updated design inside and out. It also boasts a ride so smooth and comfortable that it puts other trucks to shame.
Changes start with an overall weight reduction of 225 pounds, and a new frame made from 98 percent high-strength steel. Improved capability comes from a maximum payload increase to 2,300 pounds with maximum towing of 12,750 pounds.
The utility of a truck comes both from what it can carry outside and how well it can accommodate cargo and people inside. The Ram 1500 has a cab that’s 4 inches longer, making for an expansive backseat with slide reclining seats and a flat-load floor with RamBins, tie-down rings, and under-seat storage. Up front, the center console is fully redesigned with 12 different configurations for holding smaller items.
The infotainment system includes an available 12-inch configurable touchscreen that dominates the dashboard. It features the fourth generation of Uconnect, which is one of the easiest-to-use systems available. There’s split-screen capability, SiriusXM with 360L, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. An optional Harman Kardon 19-speaker audio system is available for audiophiles.
There’s also wireless charging with unique placement for your smartphone. Rather than putting the wireless charging pad on the center armrest where it’s easy to knock off or flat in the center console where it takes up storage, this wireless charger works with your phone upright. It slides snugly into place and stays put, even over bumps.
The Ram 1500 isn’t short on safety, with over 100 standard and available features. Hill-start assist, trailer sway control, brake assist, ready-alert braking, and rear-view camera with dynamic gridlines are standard across the lineup. Hill-descent control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection and trailer detection, and adaptive emergency braking are available.
Power comes from a choice of engines that offer improved fuel economy, thanks to an eTorque mild hybrid system. The base 3.6-liter V6 with eTorque has 305 horsepower with 269 pound-feet of torque, and is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. A 5.7-liter V8 is offered with or without the eTorque system, both with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. While fuel economy numbers on eTorque engines are pending, the V8 without eTorque achieves an EPA-estimated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway.
We spent our time in the V8, and although it’s a tough truck, the ride is anything but tough on passengers. Seating is luxury-car comfortable, especially in higher trims, and the ride is remarkably smooth, with four-corner air suspension that soaks up the bumps. Frequency response damping technology further adjusts the shocks at all four corners so the 1500 is controlled and easy to handle whether taking a tight corner or cruising down the highway.
Creating a quiet cabin was a priority for Ram and it shows. This is the quietest Ram ever produced, with multiple technologies to eliminate noise, vibration, and harshness. It’s also the segment’s most aerodynamic pickup, which helps keep wind noise to a minimum. Between the comfortable seats and quiet cabin, the Ram 1500 is a truck that lets passengers truly relax and enjoy the ride.
A new 4×4 off-road package takes you from pavement to dirt with a one-inch suspension lift, electronic-locking rear differential, and 32-inch off-road tires on either 18-inch or 20-inch wheels. Hill-descent control adds to that off-road prowess as do off-road calibrated shocks, skid plates, and tow hooks.
No matter what you have planned, there’s a Ram configuration to suit your needs. This includes quad and and crew cabs, 5-foot 7-inch short beds, or 6-foot 4-inch long beds, and the option for two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
The multitude of configurations means a range of prices to fit any budget. The base Ram 1500 Tradesman starts at $31,695 while the top Limited comes in at $57,690. Expect the 2019 Ram 1500 in dealerships toward the end of March.