Fac­tory Fresh

The All-New Ram 1500 Is a Looker— Es­pe­cially With Some In-House Magic

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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.

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