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
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.
2019 Ram 1500 Sport.