The All-New Ram 1500 Is a Looker— Especially With Some In-House Magic
Unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mighigan, the ’19 Ram 1500 was one of the most significant debuts in the Motor City. But in this business, the news cycle is short, so the Ram brand (together with in-house parts and accessories arm Mopar) trotted out a fire engine red example at the Chicago Auto Show, keen to keep the Ram on the radar before its on-sale date later this year.
When it was unveiled in Detroit, we were immediately impressed by the Ram’s smooth new bodywork and stupendous interior. Longer, lower, and wider than the model it replaces, the Ram has serious road presence, in spite of the disappearance of the imposing crosshairs grille. That’s right, from the ’19 model on, Ram will leave that grille in the rearview mirror, replacing it with the bold “RAM” script that appears on the current-generation truck’s Limited, Rebel, and Sport trim levels. The hood is aluminum and the tailgate composite to help save weight, and the new Ram is up to 120 pounds lighter than the old one (thanks mostly to an even stiffer frame rendered in lighter-weight high-strength steel).
Inside, even the base models are impressive, with pleasant materials, comfortable seats, and even more room than the already spacious ’18 Ram 1500. The company’s Uconnect infotainment gets upgraded to 4C-spec for the ’19, a fancy way of saying there are more features, better displays, improved voice recognition, and more in the new system. The top-dog Ram 1500 Limited (and other high trims) gets a massive 12-inch center touchscreen, oriented vertically like the Tesla Model X. The display can be configured in several different ways, including a split-screen layout that shows both audio and navigation, for example. Elsewhere in the cabin is genuine leather, wood, and metal trim, giving other trucks (and even many luxury vehicles) a run for their money in terms of quality and style.
Under the hood, the ’19 Ram 1500 comes with either the familiar 5.7L Hemi V-8 or a 3.6L V-6. Furthermore, both engines can be had with the company’s new eTorque mild-hybrid system (standard on the V-6 and optional on the V-8). The system runs off a belt-start generator that replaces the alternator, enabling engine idle stop, short-duration boost, and brake regeneration. Ram says eTorque can add up to 90 lb-ft to the V-6’s output and 130 lb-ft to the V-8’s when starting from a standstill. That’ll be a boon to RVers, boaters, stump pullers, and red light racers alike. All powertrains are mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions, with the V-8 getting a version rated for that engine’s increased torque output.
Mopar began work on the parts catalog for the all-new ’19 Ram 1500 well before it was unveiled, and the parts division took advantage of the Chicago Auto Show to boast of their work. The truck revealed in the Windy City was a Big Horn Sport 4x4 in Flame Red, to which Mopar engineers added at least a dozen interior, exterior, and performance accessories.
Most obviously, the bed gets an all-new Ram Rack cargo management system, which mates the Ram’s available utility bedrails to two cab-height spars that adjust fore and aft. As shown on the Chicago Auto Show truck, Ram Rack makes it easier to carry long cargo, like ladders or canoes, without resorting to hanging stuff off the truck’s tailgate.
Also on the show truck are Mopar 18-inch beadlock-capable wheels mounted to 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. Mopar off-road fender flares, rendered in black, prevent offroad damage. A skid-resistant set of low-profile, body-length running boards helps improve cab access while preserving ground clearance. Off-road performance is pushed further thanks to a 2-inch Mopar lift kit.
Under the hood is a Ram Airflow accessory cold-air intake, helping maximize the performance of the truck’s 390hp
5.7L Hemi V-8 engine. That engine exhales through a Mopar Performance cat-back exhaust system that exits through wellintegrated 5-inch dual exhaust tips. Inside, there are a few Mopar touches, namely the stainless steel doorsill plates, all-weather floormats, and premium Katzkin leather seats.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the new Ram 1500. The smooth styling might be a bit more anonymous than before, but it’s undeniably classy and attractive. The interior is a home run, with amazing materials, a modern design, and state-of-the-art infotainment options. And the powertrain is more efficient and harder working than before, thanks to that eTorque mild hybrid system. Add in a few Mopar accessories (like that tough-looking Ram Rack and beadlock wheels), and you’ve got a recipe for one cool dealer-fresh truck.
The Ram 1500 Rebel returns for 2019, and this time, it will be available in more body styles and configurations. Don’t expect its off-road prowess to diminish one bit.
Longer, lower, and leaner, the new Ram is optimized for aerodynamic efficiency. Luckily, wind tunnels like smooth, pretty shapes, so the truck looks good as well.