Full-Size Pickup Truck Comparison: 2019 Ram 1500
- Towing capacity as high as 12,750 lb
- Near-luxury interiors, with an available 12-inch touch screen
- Mild hybrid system adds torque when you need it, improves fuel economy
- Pricing starts at $37,335 for the Crew Cab | Price yours
Where Luxury and Capability Meet
The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 has the work-life balance figured out. With the latest generation of the Ram, engineers made the truck more capable, more comfortable, more efficient and more luxurious all at once.
Riding on a new lighter, stronger more rigid frame, the Ram lost weight overall, yet the truck’s towing and payload capacities went up. Despite the new emphasis on capability, ride quality is just as plush and supple as before. Not only that, but cabins received new designs that took the Ram’s best-in-class interiors even further. The addition of the eTorque mild hybrid system, standard with the 3.6-liter V6 and optional with the 5.7-liter V8, adds torque when needed but also improves the truck’s fuel economy.
The Ram is currently the third best-selling truck in America (and the third best-selling vehicle overall), but with the improvements and changes, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see the Ram sneak up on the Silverado’s second-place standing.
On the Road
The Ram we had for our test was a Laramie Crew Cab equipped with the eTorque-enhanced 5.7-liter V8. The mild hybrid system adds torque when you start to accelerate, smooths out transmission shifts, and optimizes engine efficiency. (If you want to read more about eTorque, check out this story.) It adds power when you need it, ensures the truck runs more efficiently when you don’t need power, and does all of this behind the scenes.
As skeptical as we were before trying it out, eTorque lives up to what the company promised: acceleration and driving felt the same as if we were in a truck without eTorque, but the vehicle’s fuel range was significantly higher. The eTorque-equipped 5.7-liter V8 was just as entertaining and fast as the regular V8, with smooth shifts and, of course, no shortage of torque.
The Ram is the only truck that offers this type of hybrid system. The eTorque-equipped V6 is a good alternative, and rounding out the engine lineup will be the return of the diesel V6, expected sometime in 2019. Ram also updated its already excellent air spring suspension, and the ride quality continues to be best in class: comfortable without feeling floaty or sacrificing precision.
If you want your truck to have a posh interior with high-tech features and a modern look and feel, the Ram is far and away your choice. Tasteful color combinations and quality materials, with different interior designs based on trim level, are pleasing to the eye and nothing feels flimsy or fragile.
With the Ram, you have a choice of two touch screens: an 8.4-inch unit available on Big Horn and Rebel and standard on Laramie, or a 12-inch screen that’s optional on Laramie, Longhorn and Limited. Each has its own advantages: The larger screen offers a handy dual-screen function that makes it easy to see and control two different functions at once or can show the map over the entire screen. With the smaller screen, you have the functionality of Ram’s impressive Uconnect infotainment system, plus a bank of climate and audio controls. We were wowed by the larger screen’s fantastic visuals, but for day-to-day work duty, we prefer the practicality of the smaller screen and extra controls.
The interior isn’t just about good looks, either. The dash-mounted transmission dial and 4-wheel drive controls are well-placed, as are the trailer brake controller and tow/haul button. Adding to the interior’s luxury feel is a quiet cabin and a spacious rear seat – with a flat floor, as was also the case with the Ford and Chevy – that offers more rear-seat legroom than the F-150, which held the previous record.
Get more driving impressions in our 2019 Ram 1500 First Review
With a Payload, With a Trailer
Once the payload was loaded in, the Kelley Blue Book editors noticed that the suspension did an excellent job compensating for the extra load, and there was no noticeable difference in power delivery compared to when the truck bed was empty. Driving downhill on a grade, the transmission didn’t take advantage of engine braking as much as we observed in the F-150, but overall, we were impressed by the way the Ram 1500 handled payload. And if you don’t mind losing a little bed space, the RamBox system is an excellent way to securely stow small items in the sides of the bed.
When we towed our 5,000-pound trailer, a few key features made themselves known rather quickly. The Ram’s software can calculate the length of the trailer, achieving this soon after you start to tow. This is important, because what that does is help the truck determine what the blind-spot zone is on either side of the trailer. The new Ram and the Ford F-150 are the only trucks on the market that currently offer a trailer blind-spot system. The system worked well, and with the Ram’s ease in pulling the trailer, would make people at all levels of expertise feel comfortable towing.
However, even though the Ram’s maximum towing capacity is 12,750 pounds, you’d have to get a Quad Cab to tow that much, which sacrifices rear-seat room. If you want to tow with the Crew Cab, which is by far the most popular cab configuration, the maximum is 11,530 pounds.
More capable, more comfortable and more fuel efficient, the 2019 Ram 1500 is a fantastic choice for someone who wants that balance of a terrific daily driver, comfortable family hauler, and capable work machine. However, if you need to tow more or carry more payload, the F-150 is the one to get, and the Ram’s 5-Year Cost-to-Own data and resale value aren’t quite as good as those of the Silverado or F-150.