Ram 1500 Limited
As the EPA and
Congress spar over whether to relax existing fuel economy standards
and environmentalists fret over the possible effects, itís
instructive that the three top-selling new vehicles in the United
States last year were the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram
1500, according to data from industry publication Automotive News. A
mere six full-size pickup nameplates accounted for 2.4 million light
vehicle sales for a 13.7 percent market share. And thatís not
counting midsize pickups, whose five nameplates accounted for an
additional 452,335 units in 2017, good for another 2.6 percent of
market share. The bottom line: Eleven models account for 16.3
percent of the market.
the 81 hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles offered
last year interested 558,653 buyers, good for a 3.2 percent market
share. Thatís less than Ford or Chevrolet managed on their own
with one pickup truck.
If the thought
makes you want to curse your fellow Americans as luddites as you cry
in your kale salad, realize that pickup trucks are an American
cultural touchstone that alt-fuel vehicles are not. Besides, pickups
are modern day Conestoga wagons; every bit as useful and far more
comfortable. Of course, Americansí historic love of these vehicles
stems from one fact: Theyíre so darn handy. Haul shrubs, tow a
trailer, schlep your family; a pickup does it all.
But until the
past decade or so, youíd never call pickup trucks indulgent or
opulent. And while there have been any number of special models or
trim lines that ladled on the options like barbecue sauce at a pig
roast, they always felt added on, almost as a marketing
the case with the 2019 Ram 1500, redesigned from stem to stern and
available in Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and
Limited trims. Quad and Crew Cabs come with a 6-foot, 4-inch bed;
Crew Cabs can also be fitted with a 5-foot, 7-inch bed. Payload is
now 2,300 pounds, while towing capacity tops out at 12,750 pounds.
Itís also some 225 pounds lighter thanks to extensive use of
high-strength steel, although there is some aluminum used, such as
on the dampened tailgate.
While the 2019
Ram will be offered with a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 with a
standard mild hybrid system, or a 395-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8, only
the V-8 will be initially available. Power is delivered through an
eight-speed automatic transmission to rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
the Rebel off-road and the Big Horn and Laramie on-road, this truckís
excellence is evident whether traversing deep ruts and deep sand
with the Rebel or towing a 5,900-pound boat trailer with the
Laramie. The V8 provides ample power, and the transmission always
seems to be in the perfect gear. The four-wheel drive system
performs as effortlessly off-road as it does in Jeeps. Steering is
nicely weighted and surprisingly crisp.
was never this much fun to drive.
And there are
options to improve driving pleasure, such as an air suspension,
Off-Road Package with a one-inch suspension lift, blind-spot
monitoring that includes trailer coverage, trailer-sway dampening, a
surround view camera, and adaptive front-lighting that points lights
all, the Crew Cabs were a welcome respite of civilization from the
forest primeval. Here, itís obvious that a modern, high-tech cabin
with premium materials was part of the plan from the start. So itís
little surprise that the Ram is astonishingly quiet and comfortable,
not to mention extraordinarily roomy. In fact, aside from
limousines, few if any vehicles have 45 inches of rear legroom,
regardless of nameplate. And thereís lots of storage space,
including two glove boxes and a roomy center console with a lid that
lists metric conversions and fractions to decimals on its underside.
There are even two rear in-floor storage bins. An optional panoramic
sunroof adds to its feeling of spaciousness.
But itís the
instrument panel thatís truly notable, particularly on pricier
models. At its center is a large infotainment screen thatís easy
to use and features sophisticated graphics. Below resides toggle
switches, a wireless charging dock and up to five USB and USB-C
And of course
the Ram is well dressed, wearing a far more sophisticated wardrobe,
while retaining elements of its tough highway tractor past. The
grille is quite fussy, but no more so than your typical western
boot, and each trim gest its own unique face.
the finishing touch to a pickup truck that is clearly the one to
beat in its class. You might be able to buy other full size pickups,
but you wonít find a better one than the 2019 Ram 1500. And while
itís as handy as a Conestoga, itís a far better rig to wrangle.
5.7-liter Hemi V8
economy (city/highway): 15/22
capacity: 6,025-12,750 pounds