Posted by Mark Williams | March 15, 2018
The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 delivers an absorbing bulk of avant-garde technology, a new attending and is now upgraded in about every metric, but Ram may charge to cull a few added tricks from the abracadabra hat if it wants to t its two above competitors.
This new adaptation of the Ram half-ton auto truck, which dates aback to the aboriginal 1900s, could be advised the 15th (or so) bearing of the model, depending on how you cut it. That’s a continued time to be architecture and convalescent on a auto truck, but if you apperceive how advancing the half-ton chic is nowadays, you apperceive this is not the time to be shy. As best we can acquaint from our aboriginal drive of several of the new trim levels, there’s affluence actuality to accord the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 a run for their money.
The 2019 Ram 1500’s trim levels accept decreased to six: Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited (although Canada does get a abstracted Sport trim).
We collection several versions in and about San Antonio, anniversary configured with either aggregation or Quad cabs, all 4x4s, and anniversary with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and eight-speed automated transmission. A abstracted drive accident this summer will affection both the V-6 (305 horsepower/269 pounds-feet of torque) and V-8 (395/410) engines able with a 48-volt array backpack that allows for a stop-start affection and can add as abundant as 90 pounds-feet of torque to the V-6 and 130 pounds-feet for the Hemi. This eTorque mild-hybrid arrangement will be accepted on the V-6 and a $1,995 advantage on the V-8. Note that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the EPA are in the adjustment stages apropos the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 for the 2018 model, but the aggregation expects to accept the agent engines certified for the 2019 barter afore the end of the year.
If you’re apprehensive about regular-cab Ram 1500s, Ram affairs to build a lower-cost, current-generation Ram 1500 with regular, Quad and aggregation cabs at one bulb indefinitely, while an all-new bulb will aftermath 2019 Ram 1500s with aloof Quad and aggregation cabs. Ram will adjudge aback to body the new bearing alone based on appeal for, and advantage of, the earlier models. We’re academic both ancestors will be awash for at atomic a year.
Interiors are acceptable the best important allotment of the half-ton addle and Ram seems to be owning it. For best buyers accomplishing absolute comparisons, the previous-generation Ram 1500’s autogenous affection would accept been at or a the top. But this new archetypal resets the bar.
Designers got added focused and advised about actual and architecture choices at anniversary trim level. The best affecting autogenous advancement is the bigger advice awning in a pickup, the all-new 12-inch touchscreen Uconnect arrangement that allows for assorted types of awning configurations with the added affection of actuality able to accent which apps arise as adjustment ons at the basal of the screen. You can change the adjustment about to accouterment your needs, aloof like on your smartphone.
The entry-level Tradesman autogenous offers thicker and tougher t seats, with all the aforementioned cubbies as the college trim levels and a fold-forward centermost bench that becomes an armrest, additional a acceptable under-seat accumulator bin for out-of-sight security. For 2019, aggregation cabs will additionally accept a collapsed rear burden attic with beyond hidden accumulator bins base as well. Big Horn versions get added trim accents and covering bench options, while the Rebel and Laramie versions up their d with absorbing anodized and aluminum accents about consoles, doors and the dash. Naturally, high trim levels like the Laramie Longhorn and Limited board added absolute (and expensive) leathers, woods, logos, labels and, in one case, alike a appropriate cast seared into the dashboard wood.
Look central the centermost armrest animate and you’ll acquisition a few “Easter eggs” in the anatomy of a baby burden affiliate categorical with four silhouettes of the best contempo Ram 1500 generations. Likewise, aloof in case you charge a few formulas or bend identifiers, Ram has included some job-site algebraic solutions on the base of the armrest.
Lastly, to alarm this new Ram’s autogenous quiet is an understatement. Although we didn’t do any instrumented testing, a cogent advance in berth calmness is evident, with upgraded aperture seals and thicker insulation sprayed all about the cabin. In addition, the 1500 has noise-canceling technology in the cab that is additionally angry into a beating canceler on the anatomy to advice abate any bad resonance that would be perceived in the berth aback the Hemi V-8 goes into V-4 mode.
The aboriginal Ram we collection was a mid-level Laramie with the anew retuned braid springs and all-new abundance acknowledgment damping shock absorbers. The easiest way to call these new shocks is that they assume to board both acrid and apathetic inputs in the aforementioned way a added adult and big-ticket remote-reservoir shock — or alike an alive air-ride abeyance — would be able to do. This bureaucracy is acceptable to be one of the best accepted trims, a acceptable way for buyers to accumulate the all-embracing bulk down.
On the San Antonio freeways and the outer-ring highways, the abeyance affability was a standout feature, axis inclement ruts and amplification joints into airy obstacles — at atomic from the angle of our awful acquainted base dyno. If there’s one way the added weight accumulation (roughly 225 pounds) shows up in this new pickup, it’s how the accepted braid springs can authority the anatomy akin and quiet, alike over bumps and burst alley — not article the antecedent models did actual well. We’re academic the redesigned absolute abeyance and the added adult electric council bureaucracy comedy a allotment in the added abiding and acute feel as well. New high (composite) and lower (forged aluminum) ascendancy arms, forth with a relocated anti-sway bar (now abaft the advanced axle), amalgamate to accord the Ram’s advanced end an extra-confident feel, alike aback diving into decreasing-radius decline corners.
On a baby two-lane Texas Acropolis Country aisle that anguish through brook beds and rolling valleys, the front-end feel was aciculate aback it bare to be, axis bottomward into the asperous corners, but airy calmly into the transitioning straightaways. We didn’t faculty any of the accepted (especially with blade bounce pickups) rear-end bung advancing out of the corners, or any charge to accomplish council adjustments aback the truck’s centermost of force confused from one ancillary aback over all four wheels.
If we had a complaint about annihilation during this breadth of driving, it would be that the eight-speed chiral didn’t accept a Sport setting: We noticed a baby averseness in burke acknowledgment during our winding-road sections that could accept been abundant added fun with some affectionate of new software adaptation in the aftereffect chiral and agent controls to bind up the accouterment and accord us a little added burke sensitivity. (The bourgeois programming did crop us about 20 mpg on the vehicle’s fuel-economy calculator.) Likewise, the alone way to about-face this barter manually, as before, is to move your deride beneath the centermost breadth of the council caster — article absurd to do if you appear to be axis the caster at the aforementioned time.
It’s account acquainted that the new 1500 has abundant bigger advanced and rear disc brakes, and it’s bright Ram spent a lot of time convalescent their around-town feel, as able-bodied as their all-embracing adeptness and strength. Although we didn’t get to do any achievement testing at a bankrupt track, we dynamited the brakes a few times to see if we could actuate any of the antecedent limitations, and we begin the new brakes action a added solid and assured feel.
Once we got to the off-road ranch, we were guided to a leash of Rebels — two crew-cab 4x4s and one anew minted (Ram never offered these before) Quad-cab Rebel 4×4 Off-Road Amalgamation with braid springs. The Quad cab archetypal gets the best 6-foot, 4-inch bed. RamBox box-side accumulator compartments are an advantage on all Rebels, but none of our analysis trucks were so equipped.
This new Quad-cab Rebel will acceptable be the advantage added of the rough-and-ready four-wheelers will acquirement because it will be lighter and abundant easier to adapt with an aftermarket abeyance lift and bigger tires. As it stands, alike aback sitting in branch clothing, the accepted coil-sprung Rebel (as against to the Rebel able with Ram’s absolute four-corner air suspension) has a taller attitude than added Rebels. Technically, coil-sprung Rebels accept arena approval agnate to the Off-Road 1 ambience of Rebels able with the air springs.
We had the adventitious to do some off-angle, bouldered aisle exploring, some sloshing through the anointed mud of a arid two-track and alike some higher-speed clay alley active in 2nd and 3rd gear. The Rebel still offers the high-performance mono-tube Bilstein shocks and added drift plating (under the agent and alteration case) but now additionally includes bigger 32-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac mud tires that do a abundant job of avaricious and casting mud and rocks on the trail. New 4×4 Rebels action a new set of push-on controls for the alteration case, locking cogwheel and acropolis coast ascendancy alongside the rotary chiral dial. The new breadth positions all the important off-road controls in a distinct breadth aural accessible reach.
We additionally got some time abaft the caster of a new Rebel with the four-corner air abeyance that allows adjustable heights: two for off-roading (Off-Road 1 and Off-Road 2) as able-bodied as an on-pavement Aero approach for bigger ammunition abridgement and a Park approach for accessible entry, avenue and burden loading. We admired the new toggle switches on the lower centermost ascendancy panel; the abeyance readout appears abundantly in the advice centermost a added important gauges, although we do ambition the icons and blazon were a little beyond (getting old stinks).
Although the Rebel does not action advanced or rear sway-bar disconnects (like the bigger Ram 2500 Adeptness Wagon does), which would acquiesce the axles to angle added calmly over obstacles, it does action a new locking rear cogwheel that can be bound in either four-wheel or two-wheel drive. We acclimated the locker alone once, aback we begin ourselves ashore abetment bottomward a hill: Our slick, mud-filled annoy absitively to accelerate alongside off the aisle and block the barter amid two ample rocks. No worries, though; we aloft the air abeyance to Off-Road 2, bound the rear arbor and pulled ourselves aback on the capital allotment of the aisle and up to the clay road. The alone affection missing from our ambition account is a 360-degree camera bureaucracy for any of the off-road modes, which would accord drivers and cartage bigger afterimage of the aisle about them.
We additionally collection Big Horn and Laramie V-8s and begin them to be solid and competent at towing trailers, anniversary belief about 5,000 pounds and application a accepted 2-and-5/8-inch brawl bureaucracy with what looked like the able 10 percent argot weight on the rear bumper. Our Big Horn was the alone one able with the carryover, pivotable bivouac mirrors, which fabricated it easier to accumulate the tires on the attenuated pavement.
One of the attenuate upgrades we’re blessed to see is that the 2019 has confused from five-lug axles to six lugs; that agency stronger axles and a added allowance of assurance aback towing a trailer. The lighter vehicle, stronger anatomy and bigger axles aftereffect in a college best tow appraisement of 12,750 pounds with the committed tow amalgamation and two-wheel drive only. To be specific, Ram now offers a able Dana 60 rear arbor advantage for its half-ton with the Max Tow Package, as able-bodied as an absorbing thermal administration arrangement that pipes chiral aqueous to the rear animosity to balmy it on algid mornings and air-conditioned it during high-heat abundant towing up abrupt hills through the desert. We achievement the tech comes to added models and packages.
If there’s a anemic point to towing with the new Rams, it’s that they action a distinct Tow-Haul approach that accouterment alone a blow added aggressively during dispatch but doesn’t assume that advancing aback downshifting on its own to abet college agent rpm for bigger control. We approved to get it to downshift a few times on some acropolis descents and had agitation accepting it to bead a gear. With that said, we like the baby accessory readout aback in chiral mode, but Ram still needs to bulk out a way to get rid of the awkward deride switches for article added usable. The council caster will consistently be a awe-inspiring abode to downshift your tow rig.
Other capacity we admired during our abbreviate towing loops included the adeptness of the advancement sensors to browse and actuate the admeasurement of your bivouac and acclimatize the blind-spot warnings. We additionally admired the 360-degree camera arrangement and the zoom-in adeptness of the advancement camera that allows you to see with added precision, authoritative bivouac amalgamation a one-person job. Because all of our analysis trucks were basal Hemi V-8s, we doubtable the accession of the eTorque mild-hybrid arrangement and its torque-when-you-need-it could accommodate alike added aplomb aback towing a heavily loaded trailer. We can’t delay to analysis it.
This new Ram half-ton barter is bigger in about every assessable way. But there are a few things Ram seems to accept larboard on the table. For starters, with some of the affection advantages in both the 12- and 8.4-inch touchscreens, it’s a abashment not to action added personalization and customization for the owner, whether that agency awning backgrounds or fonts or added differences angry to trim level. For example, why not accord added off-road or absorption abstracts or basic advice to the client of a Rebel? Why not accord added horse bivouac tips or western antic accident advice to the client who opts for the Laramie Longhorn? And why not accommodate added agent aliment or a account of all the apparatus shops to the guy who opts for the Tradesman?
Additionally, apropos the upgraded eight-speed chiral that absolutely has alone two settings — Tow/Haul on or off — we’re abiding there could be article added here. If you accept the mild-hybrid accouterment 130 pounds-feet added torque, why shouldn’t there be a Sport approach to acquiesce added off-the-line punch? Why not accord the disciplinarian the advantage to blooper into an Eco approach to accommodate bigger ammunition savings?
Finally, there needs to be some advancement or advance in the bulk of bed technology, be it hidden storage, tailgate tech or reconfigurability. The RamBox is a acceptable start, but what about ancillary balustrade that accord buyers added cargo-carrying or tie-down options? Front-end architecture is important, but the back-end of a auto is what defines it. Accord it some touches that facilitate allowance neighbors, acknowledging hobbies and carriage camping accessory to the abundant outdoors.
As mentioned, 2019 Ram 1500s will be offered alone in Quad- and crew-cab configurations for at atomic the aing year. Base appraisement for the 4×2 2019 Tradesman Quad cab will alpha at $33,340 (which includes a $1,645 destination fee — up $250 from 2018) and acme out at the 4×4 Limited aggregation cab with the 12-inch Uconnect multimedia awning at $58,140 with destination.
This pricing, aback compared with analogously able Ford F-150 and Silverado 1500 models, marks a solid amount player, carrying added agreeable with agnate or bigger capabilities.
We accept no agnosticism affluence of buyers who adjudge to jump into the average of the Barter Wars will be absolutely blessed with this new Ram 1500, but they could acquisition it defective in a few areas if they absorb a lot of time with a abounding bed. The softer braid springs still do a bit of afflictive angled aback loaded; however, for abounding new-truck buyers, that’s not acceptable to appear actual often. This is a acceptable attempt at the big players and acceptable to accept the antagonism scrambling for a abundant response.
Cars.com photos by Mark Williams; architect images
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