2019 ram 1500 Sport

The 1500 Sport is so quiet and smooth, it’s like find­ing a bit of coun­try in the mid­dle of a city

Calgary Sun - Autonet - - FRONT PAGE - driv­ing.ca/pho­tos

WIND­SOR, Ont. — Lis­ten. Hear that? It is the sound of si­lence, hin­dered by just a whiff of wind tum­bling over the big mir­rors in our Cana­dian-ex­clu­sive 2019 Ram 1500 Sport. Trav­el­ling at 100 km/h, even with­out the ben­e­fit of noise-re­duc­ing wheel­well lin­ers, the new truck is qui­eter than a barn full of hay. The smooth­ness that com­ple­ments all this quiet al­most makes the truck feel like an EV. Or a tall Bent­ley.

Aside from the si­lence, the 2019 Ram 1500 gets a long pa­rade of ad­vance­ments over the 2018 Sport, which will con­tinue to be sold for a while longer as the Sport Clas­sic.

The 2019 model is, of course, far more at­trac­tive with a newly sculpted face, cool LED tail lights and a taller box that car­ries a sin­gu­lar shoul­der line across the truck. The taller box also helps with aero­dy­nam­ics, but so many other things have been im­proved: tow­ing, pay­load, space, tech­nol­ogy, brak­ing, aero­dy­nam­ics, in­stru­men­ta­tion, stor­age, and even the flow rate of the HVAC sys­tem gets 30 per cent bet­ter.

The quiet comes from am­ple in­su­la­tion, but ac­tive noise can­celling also phases out un­wanted racket, as does an acous­tic front wind­shield and front side glass. Robotic seal­ing of joints and baf­fles to close small gaps also helped cre­ate a 36 per cent im­prove­ment in cabin quiet. Vi­bra­tions from the engine, when it de­ac­ti­vates four cylin­ders, are also can­celled out by “ac­tive mass mod­ules” mounted to the frame. The ex­pe­ri­ence is so sat­is­fy­ing, this tran­quil­ity is like find­ing a lit­tle bit of coun­try in the mid­dle of a city.

So, at $56,595 to start for a 4x4 Crew cab with a five­foot-seven box (a six-foot-four box can also be had), what else does the Cana­dian-only Sport get, aside from the mono­chrome paint over the bumpers, grille, door han­dles and mir­rors?

Most no­tably, full-time 4WD, in ad­di­tion to part-time 4H, 4L and nor­mal 2WD. All are ac­ti­vated by small­ish but­tons near the right knee. Sports also get LED fog lights and LED re­flec­tor head­lamps with black bezels.

There’s also heated cloth/vinyl seats, a heated leather steer­ing wheel, an alu­minum damp­ened tail­gate that drops or locks with the key fob, 20-inch wheels, dual ex­haust, push-but­ton start, power-ad­justable ped­als, and ac­tive grille shutters and front air dam that help drop drag to .357. Plus there’s an 8.4-inch touch screen and a seven-inch TFT in­stru­ment clus­ter dis­play. Both are sharp, clear, at­trac­tive and easy to use. A stun­ning 12-inch screen is op­tional on some mod­els, but stan­dard on the Lim­ited.

The Sport is far from loaded, of course, but in­di­vid­ual op­tions — from leather seats to 22-inch wheels — are avail­able, though there is an ob­vi­ous cost for ev­ery box checked. Our test truck, which in­cluded air sus­pen­sion, a power dual-pane sun­roof, sport hood, power run­ning boards and a whole slew of safety gear, rang in at more than $74,000.

The sus­pen­sion gets a 20 per cent boost in roll stiff­ness, and vari­able rate springs in the rear al­low the truck to carry a max­i­mum pay­load of 2,300 pounds, and tow up 12,750, so it can ride just as well with a load as when empty.

There was still the faintest bit of truck bounce over rough roads, even with the op­tional air sus­pen­sion, but it is min­i­mized by hy­draulic cab mounts. Air sus­pen­sion al­lows for a lift of up to 51 mil­lime­tres for of­froad use and a drop of 50 mm for en­try and exit.

Tow­ing 5,200 pounds was al­most ef­fort­less, and hook­ing up a trailer with the aid of air sus­pen­sion makes the job a one-per­son af­fair: Just cen­tre the ball below the tongue and raise the sus­pen­sion, nudg­ing the ball into the trailer tongue.

Sport mod­els come stan­dard with a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 paired with an eight-speed au­to­matic, con­trolled by a ro­tary dial. There are no pad­dle shifters for the Sport, un­for­tu­nately, just the con­tin­u­a­tion of tiny but­tons on the wheel that will con­trol shift­ing when man­ual mode is wanted.

Some might balk at the ro­tary shifter, but af­ter us­ing it for a bit, it’s fan­tas­ti­cally sim­ple and ef­fi­cient, and it frees up am­ple real es­tate for phones, tape mea­sures, drinks and what­not.

Other mod­els can, for 2019, be op­tioned with Ram’s “eTorque” elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, which is stan­dard on the V6 and op­tional on the V8. E-torque uses a belt-driven elec­tric mo­tor/al­ter­na­tor that serves as the starter mo­tor for the idle-stop func­tion, while pro­vid­ing a brief boost of torque on ini­tial ac­cel­er­a­tion. The mo­tor also uses mild re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing to charge the sys­tem’s 0.43 KWH lithium-ion bat­tery, which is lo­cated be­hind the rear seats.

Much like the rest of the in­te­rior, those rear seats truly are fit for kings and queens. It’s al­most too nice back there for kids, who get mul­ti­ple ports to power electronics. And when the kids in the back even­tu­ally fall asleep, the only thing you’ll hear is their breath­ing.

Derek McNaughtoN/Driv­ing

2019 Ram 1500 Sport.

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