UPDATE: You can now read our full review of the 2019 Ram 1500

  • Totally redesigned and up to 225 pounds lighter
  • Aluminum tailgate, engine mounts, steering system and more
  • Max payload increased to 2,300 pounds, tow rating raised to 12,750 pounds
  • 3.6-liter V6 or 5.7-liter V8, each matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Both engines available with a new torque-boosting eTorque mild hybrid system
  • Tech upgrades include a huge new 12-inch touch screen
  • Production moving back to Detroit from Hermosillo, Mexico
  • Prices should remain in line with the current model’s starting price of $27,890
  • Goes on sale in the first quarter of this year


The Ram 1500 pickup is one of the bright spots in the Fiat Chrysler Automobile profit-and-loss review, contributing heavily to the corporate bottom line on sales that have increased every year since the dark days of the 2009 recession.

During that time Ram has been the perennial number three in the full-size truck derby, finishing with over a half-million sales in 2017 and gaining ground on second place, held annually by the Chevy Silverado.

Operating on the theory that there can never be too much of this kind of good thing, the Ram 1500 has undergone a major makeover for model year 2019, a timely redesign perhaps provoked, to some degree, by the knowledge that the Silverado also receives a thorough refurbishing. Revealed to the world at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the Ram’s ground-up revitalization extends to every area of the truck, but the key elements are related to hardware.

More frame, less mass

For example, the frame is new, composed of 98 percent high strength steel, enhancing rigidity and reducing weight by 100 pounds, according to FCA. Thanks to increased use of aluminum (tailgate, engine mounts, front suspension cross member, transmission cross member, steering system and front axle components), FCA cites overall weight reduction of nearly 225 pounds. The more robust chassis contributes to vehicle dynamics, as well as an enhanced work ethic. The max payload soars to 2,300 pounds, and towing capability escalates to 12,750 pounds.

Exterior design revisions, including a new front air dam and active grille shutters, contribute to improved aero efficiency, with a 0.357 coefficient of drag, allowing FCA to characterize the new Ram as the most aerodynamic of full-size pickup trucks.

The Ram 1500's new chassis is supported by a new generation of the Ram’s pneumatic suspension, with Frequency Response Damping, load leveling and, according to FCA, improved off-road performance. If dirty driving is likely to be frequent, there’s a new Off-road Package, including a one-inch suspension lift kit, locking rear differential, retuned damping, and hill descent control. Braking has also been upgraded, with the largest front rotors (14.9-inch) in the class, according to FCA, and a new electric parking brake.

The eTorque factor

Engine choices are familiar—FCA’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 (305 horsepower, 269 lb-ft of torque) and 5.7-liter Hemi V8 (395 hp, 410 lb-ft), the latter with cylinder deactivation. However, the 2019 power inventory also includes a new mild hybrid option that replaces the standard alternator with a motor generator maintaining a 48-volt Manganese Cobalt-Graphite 300-watt battery pack. Available with either engine, FCA calls it the eTorque mild hybrid, and its mission is to contribute torque at the crankshaft in certain situations—as much as 90 lb-ft to the V6, 130 lb-ft with the V8—and enhance stop-start performance. Both engines are backed by FCA’s 8-speed Torqueflite automatic transmissions, and 4-wheel drive is available.

Although instantly recognizable, the sheetmetal is new, with a new forward-leaning grille, higher bed rails, new logo, adaptive LED lighting, a power-release tailgate; and greater styling differentiation across the Ram’s six trim levels.

A new panoramic sunroof is available for the new cab, which is wider and four inches longer, much of the additional space devoted to the rear of the cabin. Interior materials have been upgraded, there’s more small object storage, noise cancellation, and the latest generation of FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system with 4G WiFi hot spot. The new Ram also boasts five USB ports, a 900-watt 19-speaker Harmon Kardon audio option, 360-degree camera, available 3D navigation with voice command, and the choice of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Auxiliary control center dash touch screens include a standard 8.4-inch display and a dash-dominating 12-inch option.

The list of safety and driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control with stop, go, and hold capabilities; forward collision warning with auto braking; lane departure warning and correction; parking assist, hill start assist, and trailer-sway damping.

As a footnote, just before the Detroit show FCA announced that Ram production is moving back to Detroit for 2018, from its current assembly facility in Hermosillo, Mexico.

2019 Ram 1500 Exterior and Interior Pics

 

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