First Look – 2019 Ram 1500
High-Tech, High-Strength, High-Performance
It’s been a decade coming, and boy, are we glad that it has finally arrived! What exactly is it, you ask? The all-new 2019 Ram 1500. Redesigned from the ground up, the newest member of the Ram Trucks lineage is longer, lower, wider, lighter, more efficient, more capable, and more luxurious. Ram’s team of engineers and designers threw down the gauntlet, proving once again that they are indeed playing to win.
Exterior DesignLooking at the truck it’s tough to tell at first glance that the 2019 Ram 1500 is 4 inches longer, 1 inch lower, and half an inch wider. All of this, along with raising the bed rail height by 1.5 inches, helps to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The truck retains shapely bodylines with a much larger and more aggressive forward-leaning grille opening.
Speaking of the grille, you’ll quickly notice a distinct lack of Ram’s classic crossbar design, which has given way to six new styles, one for each trim level.
All of the sheetmetal is new and, with exception of the hood and tailgate, remains steel. A drawn bodyside character line stretches from front to rear with a styled creased line serving as the two-tone paint border.
Three headlight variations are available, from the entry-level halogen lamp and mid-spec full LED unit, all the way up to a full LED lamp with Ram’s Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS). Above the lights is a new raised aluminum hood, with a new model-designation badge finding residence in the stamped pocket on either side of the hood.
Moving to the roof, all of the GPS, radio (terrestrial and satellite), and Wi-Fi data are handled by a new “shark fin” antenna, making the Ram 1500 the first pickup to completely do away with the traditional mast antenna. A panoramic sunroof with 10 square feet of glass is now available, and the roof has been formed to flow air seamlessly off the trailing edge and onto the tailgate.
Sixteen new wheel designs are available in sizes ranging from 18-inch up to 22-inch. There are 12 paint colors, including four new colors and Ram’s first use of tri-coat paint. Three two-tone color options carry through the fender flares and the lower body.
Interior IndulgenceRam’s interior design team worked hard to bring unique colors and premium materials to each trim level of the new Ram 1500.
The 2019 Ram 1500 features the first application of the new Uconnect 4C, displayed on 12-inch touchscreen. Tailor-made for various Ram models, the 12-inch touchscreen can house one application across the entire screen, or the screen can be divided in half, operating two applications at the same time.
On models with bucket seats, a reimagined center console features more than 12 different storage combinations, can be optioned with wireless charging capability, and is able to store up to a 15-inch laptop with ease. At the rear of the console, there are two additional cup holders, which include a tablet holder for rear seat passengers. Keeping devices charged are five USB ports, three up front and two in the back. Three of the USB ports are fully functional and communicate with the Uconnect system, while the other two are charge only. Four of the five are equipped with newfangled USB C ports—along with the more common USB A—further future-proofing the pickup. Along with USB, two three-pronged 115-volt outlets are found in the cab, with a third in the RamBox if so equipped.
Along with the largest cab in the segment (Chevrolet claims the same for the likewise-new Silverado 1500, so we’ll see who’s correct once both companies face off), the second-row features seats that now recline eight degrees. The SmartFold center armrest creates a “captain’s chair experience.” Rear legroom is best in class at 45.1 inches. Rear seat passengers are also treated to heated and ventilated seats on some trim levels, a first among pickups. A true flat load floor provides increased rear passenger comfort, bookened by two in-floor storage RamBins that are 5.5 inches longer than previous models. On top of each RamBin are two tie-down points to keep cargo secure.
Audiophiles will be excited to hear that there are four new high-quality audio systems, including a class-exclusive 19-speaker Harman Kardon system that’s powered by 900-watt amplifier. The Harman Kardon system is the most powerful ever installed in a pickup from the factory.
Genuine wood, high-grade leather, and real metal are used throughout the cabin, creating one of the most inviting interiors in all of the automotive landscape.
Engine and TransmissionUnder the hood you’ll find one of a pair of familiar engine options, either a 3.6L Pentastar V-6 or a 5.7L Hemi V-8. Before you ask, no, the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 will not be available at launch, however it will be making a return either late in the 2019 model year or early 2020. Ram wouldn’t comment on the decision to make the EcoDiesel a late availability option, but company reps assured us that it would be returning.
The big news lies in the changes made to the gasoline engine options. Now standard on the 3.6L and optional on the 5.7L is the company’s eTorque mild hybrid system. This system replaces the engine’s traditional alternator with a motor generator unit linked to the crankshaft by an external belt. The unit works with a 48-volt battery pack, which is mounted inside the cabin behind the rear seats, to enable quick and seamless start/stop function, short-duration torque addition, and brake energy regeneration. Ram claims that the system can start the engine in less than four-tenths of a second and can add up to 90 lb-ft of torque to the 3.6L V-6 and up to 130 lb-ft to the Hemi V-8.
A new generation of TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmissions backs the pair of available gasoline engines. Trucks equipped with the 3.6L V-6 are fitted with the TorqueFilte 850RE while the 5.7L Hemi V-8 gets a TorqueFlite 8HP75. Both transmissions benefit from a faster computer control system, which is capable of coordinating with the eTorque system for optimum performance of both. Shift schedules increase to more than 40, enabling optimization for fuel economy, performance, and drivability.
A pair of available transfer cases, both from BorgWarner, enables four-wheel drive operation. The BorgWarner 48-11 allows for all-wheel-drive operation, while the 48-12 is available for part-time, high and low-range, operation. Both units have been upgraded internally to handle the increased towing and payload ratings, and both are activated via a push button mounted on the dash below the rotary transmission shift knob.
Chassis and SuspensionThe new Ram 1500 uses the longest and lightest frame in the 1/2-ton truck segment, which is also the strongest in Ram’s history. The chassis has reduced weight by 120 pounds, 100 pounds of that from the frame alone. The frame features patent-pending front splayed rail technology, which creates a highly efficient energy absorbing structure. High-strength steel tire blockers are placed behind the front tires to force wheels outward in the event of impact. Side rails are taller and fully boxed, and rear cross members are double shear welded. The new frame is available in three additional wheelbases, 140.5, 144.5, and 153.5 inches.
New front suspension components combine lightweight composite upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms, and retuned geometry. The front anti-sway bar is relocated behind the front tires, improving roll stiffness by 20 percent. A new front coil-over shock design is standard on all models, regardless of configuration.
At the rear, the third-generation five-link coil suspension is designed to provide better articulation over road obstacles, and new progressive rate coil springs are said to provide a better ride than ever before.
Frequency Response Damping (FRD) technology is featured in the shocks on all four corners. When the dampers experience a slower input, common during cornering and heavy braking, a bypass valve is closed for more aggressive damping, which provides additional stability. When exposed to faster shock inputs, which is common on rough roads or at higher speeds, the valve will open to soften the damping, giving the driver more confidence and control with a smoother ride.
Also returning for 2019 is Ram’s segment-exclusive optional four-corner air suspension.
Extreme CapabilityWhile the torque wars are in full swing in the HD class, those in the ½-ton group are feverishly battling it out for towing and payload supremacy, with figures now rivaling their 3/4-ton counterparts. For 2019, Ram ups the ante with a maximum payload rating of 2,300 pounds and maximum trailer weight of 12,700. The truck that achieves the highest payload rating is a Quad Cab V-6 4x2, while the tow champ is a Quad Cab V-8 4x2 equipped with the eTorque and Max Tow Package.
The Max Tow Package features a Dana Super 60 rear axle center section, 3.92:1 gear ratio, 10-inch ring gear, and 35-spline axle shafts. Sorry folks, this axle is only available with an open differential and only on 4x2 models. We’ll keep dreaming of a Super 60 Rebel option, for now.
Off-Road ProwessProving to be a customer favorite, the Rebel is returning for 2019. Ram appears to have listened to our wild Rebel wish list, because the new model is just what we have been hoping for. Rebel is now available in both Quad and Crew Cabs, and can be had with either a steel springs or with air suspension. Unique 18-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires are driven by a new selectable electronic-locking rear differential, which can be used in all drive modes. New Bilstein shocks now feature remote reservoirs, which keep the shocks working more consistently for a longer period of time. Rebel also features hill-descent control, beefy tow hooks, and a unique front bumper and grille assembly. Skid plating protects the transfer case, steering, oil pan, and gas tank. And yes, the front seats still have a tire tread pattern embossed in them… meh.
First introduced on Ram HD, the 2019 1500 now adds the 4x4 Off-Road Package as an option for nearly every trim. Selecting this adds a 1-inch lift on either steel or air springs, an electronic-locking rear differential, and 32-inch on/off-road tires on either 18- or 20-inch wheels. Off-road¬–biased rear suspension geometry and unique off-road shocks add to the trucks trail capability. This package also includes the same skid plate packaging as Rebel and rear fender decals.
Safety and SecurityWith more than 100 available safety and security features, the 2019 Ram 1500 is available with the latest in advanced technology. Some of the newest features include adaptive cruise control with stop, go, and hold; adaptive front lighting; advance brake assist; full-speed forward collision warning; and blind spot monitoring. Brake-throttle override is new to Ram and uses the electronic throttle control to reduce engine power when both pedals are depressed at the same time. LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus leverages the new electronic power steering to alert the driver when they begin to depart the lane and can even assist the driver with corrective action.
Helping drivers park their pickups is the new ParkSense system, which can both parallel- and perpendicular-park the truck. The system will also automatically brake the vehicle in reverse at speeds of less than 4 miles per hour, avoiding collision while backing into a parking spot. We’re still not sure how we feel about these types of systems being available on pickups.
Rounding out some our favorite new features are a new 360-degree camera system, tailgate power release, and passive entry activated by passing a hand below the handle, tailgate ajar notification, and tire fill alert.