what's about to become the hottest year ever for new pickup
unveilings, the 2019 Ram 1500 hits the road first with a
smooth, quiet ride and high-end features no competitor can
Ariz. — In what’s about to become the hottest year ever for new
pickup unveilings, the 2019 Ram 1500 hits the road first with a
smooth, quiet ride and high-end features no competitor can top.
I just spent a
day driving a loaded Ram 1500 Limited pickup through Arizona’s
roads and desert.
Ram 1500 should be in dealerships by the end of March. It competes
with full-size pickups, including the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford
F-150, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra. The Silverado and
Sierra also have all-new models coming this year, but they won’t
be on sale for months.
run from $31,695 for a base Tradesman model to $53,890 for a
The Ram will
initially come only with Fiat Chrysler’s famous Hemi V8 and a
roomy four-door crew cab. Other models will follow, including a V6
and Hemi engines with a mild hybrid system Ram says should improve
fuel economy by about 10 percent.
A pair of
canisters mounted to the truck’s frame eliminate engine
vibrations, allowing the V8 to save fuel by shutting off four
cylinders when it doesn’t need full power.
It worked like
a charm. The Hemi in my test truck switched back and forth between
V8 or V4 frequently in traffic and when idling, but I knew only
because I’d set the instrument panel to display that information.
I spent most
of the day in a high-end Limited model that had features including
wood and metal interior trim, air suspension, wireless phone
charging, a big dual-pane power sunroof, adaptive cruise control,
and a 12-inch touch screen for navigation, audio and other systems.
It will probably sticker at about $58,000 with all the options as
the nonhybrid Hemi to score about the same in EPA fuel economy tests
as the 2018 Ram 1500 — about 15 mpg city, 22 highway and 17
combined with rear-wheel drive. A new version of Fiat Chrysler’s
eight-speed automatic transmission is standard.
is luxuriously roomy, thanks to a crew cab that’s 4 inches longer
than the old model. Three inches of that go into extra rear legroom.
In addition to plenty of space to stretch out, the extra room —
and a flat floor in the rear — also lends itself to storage bins
under the floor and rear seat. The rear seat also reclines and has 8
inches of fore and aft travel.
growing larger and adding plenty of new equipment, the new Ram is
about 225 pounds lighter than the 2018 model, thanks largely to
plentiful use of high-strength steel in the frame, body and bed.
payload and towing capacity increase about 20 percent, to 2,300 and
12,750 pounds, respectively.
395-horsepower Hemi powering my test truck provided all the
acceleration, offroad and towing ability that have made the engine
an icon. The steering is precise and responsive, with good on-center
feel. The brakes got bigger to handle bigger payloads and trailers,
but brake feel was easy and direct, even with an empty bed. The
optional air suspension adjusts to provide a comfortable ride with
no load, while the standard steel suspension uses dual-stage springs
to accomplish the same thing.
12-inch touch screen is oriented vertically in the center stack,
like an iPad. It can be split into two screens to control separate
functions or devoted to a single feature, such as a large map for
navigation. Based on a brief test, sensitivity seemed fine.
builds the 2019 in what amounts to a brand new assembly plant. It
stripped every piece of manufacturing equipment out of the Sterling
Heights factory that used to build the Chrysler 200 sedan to convert
it to the new Ram.
The plant in
Warren that has been Ram’s home for decades will keep building the
old model as long as there’s demand for it, or until the company
has to idle the plant to switch to producing a new version of the
Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups, which it now builds in Mexico.
Phelan: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark—phelan.
2019 Ram 1500
Limited crew cab 4x4 at a glance
Five-passenger full-size 4-wheel-drive pickup
tested (estimated): $58,000
Power: 395 hp
@ 5,600 rpm (with premium gasoline); 410 lb-ft or torque at 3,950
fuel economy rating: 15 mpg city/22 highway/17 combined.