Okay, this review really has nothing to do with the fine art of barbequing, or BBQ-ing if you prefer, but rather it alludes to the fact that there are six different grilles covering the line of trim levels for the New 2019 Ram 1500 truck, each with their own distinctive grille design. There are actually 29 total variations of this latest Ram 1500 to choose from.
Visually, the 2019 Ram 1500’s all-new exterior design features a chiseled Ram’s head logo and “R-A-M” grilles, and there are six distinct differentiations between model across the various price classes. A new full LED Adaptive Front-Lighting System includes twin bi-functional projector headlamps, fog lamps and tail lamps. The Ram haulers for 2018 are Lighter overall weight has been reduced almost 22 pounds compared to the previous model), longer and wider with an overall cab lengthening of four inches providing additional space for extra features and passenger comfort. There’s nearly 100 percent more storage capacity at 151 liters compared to the closest competitor.
Trim levels include: Tradesman, Bighorn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited. Drive configurations include both 4×2 rear-wheel drive and 4×4 four-wheel drive. There are Long Wheelbase versions available in all but the Rebel trim. Cab configurations consist of both a Quad Cab and a Crew Cab, with Quad Cabs only available on Tradesman, Bighorn, Rebel and Laramie models, which are available in both 4×2 and 4×4 drive configurations.
The Ram 1500 provides sIgnificant gains in fuel economy with their new eTorque mild hybrid system on both the second generation 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and iconic 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engines. eTorque consists of a belt-drive motor generator unit with a 48-volt battery pack aiding in start/stop functions as well as for a short-duration torque assist and in brake energy regeneration. eTorque adds up to 90lb.-ft. of launch torque for the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and up to as much as 130 lb.-ft. of launch torque to the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine.
Frame-mounted active tuned mass modules (ATMM) along with in cabin Active Noise Cancellation expand the use of fuel saving technology cylinder cutoff on 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 mills, enabling a quiet cabin at 66.6 db (devilishly quiet).
A new generation of 8-speed Torqueflite automatic transmissions yield enhanced efficiency with more powerful computer control. Other powertrain features include: a new electronic locking rear differential as standard equipment on the 4×4 Off-Road Package and Rebel models, with optional all model availability; and a heat exchanger system now incorporates an industry-first thermal axle allowing the rear axle gear oil to warm up quickly, maximizing efficiency during the warm-up process.
Crawling into cab, one is greeted by the first FCA application of a 12-inch, fully configurable touchscreen that includes tailor-made graphics for specific RAM models. The center console has been redesigned to provided 12 different storage configurations, delivering unique customization possibilities for greater versatility and functionality.
Second row seating offers slide reclining seats up to 8 degrees, and a true flat load floor with integrated RAM bins and tie-down rings as well as expandable under seat storage capability. There’s also an all-new switch bank that features dedicated toggle switches, a wireless charging dock and up to five USB ports, as well as four type C/A ports.
The 2019 Ram 1500 is the strongest RAM to date, with the most advanced frame in the segment, featuring an exclusive front splayed rail design. It is also the most aerodynamic pickup in the segment with a drag coefficient of .357 and featuring exclusive active grille shutters, an air dam and next generation air suspension. That enhances fuel efficiency, improves ride quality and provides greater off-road capability, load leveling and entry/exit ease.
All-new Frequency Response Damping shocks serve up an optimum blend of ride, handling and comfort level for a pickup truck. The RAM 1500 comes with the segment’s largest front brakes and a new electric parking brake. The new Off-Road Package includes a one-inch suspension lift, electronic locking rear axle, specially tuned shock absorbers and Hill Descent Control.
In the Safety department, the RAM 1500 offer more than100 safety and security features including: Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop Go and Hold, Blind-Spot Monitoring with easy-to-use trailer coverage, Forward Collision Warning, Ready Alert Braking and Trailer-sway damping control, Lane Sense Departure Warning Plus, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park and Hill Start Assist.
Connectivity and Infotainment are not forgotten in the RAM 1500 either with innovative state-of-the-art technology and fourth generation Uconnect system with split screen capability, enabling dual application operation. The Uconnect system and SiriusXM Guardian Connected Services include Wi-Fi hotspot capability. An available Harman-Kardon audio system with 19 premium speakers, a 900 watt surround sound amplifier, 10-inch subwoofer and active noise cancellation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay enable a link with both Uconnect’s 8.4-inch and12-inch touchscreens. The available navigation system allows for one step, voice-controlled destination entry and enhanced 3-D navigation map graphics. There’s also a 360-degree Surround View Camera with bird’s-eye view of the vehicle.
SUMMARY: During the National Press Launch of the 2019 RAM 1500, Monroneys were not yet available, as final pricing had not yet been announced, so actual cost for each vehicle tested was not available. My driving partner and I started off the drive program, which included both on and off-road excursions in a RAM1500 Crew Cab Big Horn 4×4 then moved into a Laramie trim level Crew Cab 4×4, finally ending up in a Crew Cab in Limited trim and 4×4 configuration. Respective test vehicle base prices ranged from $42,195. to $57,690. A fully loaded RAM 1500 Limited Crew Cab LWB 4×4 can easily top $60,000., but is well worth it given the overall appeal and content.. As fate would have it, all three test vehicles wore the same Delmonico Red metallic exterior finish and had Black interiors.
The RAM 1500 Crew Cab’s interior is arguably the most spacious in its segment and ranks as one of the most comfortable as well. Think of it as a living room on wheels, with basically all of the same amenities – Okay, there was no bathroom, but one could always carry a portable potty.
Acceleration from the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 was stellar and the eTorque feature delivered more boost off the line, while also delivering enhanced fuel efficiency. Handling characteristics bordered on the feel of sumptuous sedan, with a nimble response.
The ride comfort and interior ambience carried over into even off road exercises despite being unladen. Only the 5.7-liter HEMI was experienced and the EPA estimated fuel economy was 15-mpg city and 22-mpg highway. Not bad for a heavy hauler – curb weight was no t yet officially rated. By the way towing capacity for the HEMI powered Crew Cab trucks is rated at 12,500 pounds.
The 2019 Ram 1500 is backed by a five-ˇyear/60,000-ˇmile Powertrain Limited Warranty that covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage onto the new owner. The standard three-ˇyear/36,000-ˇmile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-ˇto-ˇbumper
coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.
The 2019 Ram 1500 is built at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Regardless of past loyalties or brand alliances, the RAM 1500 deserves a look and test drive before making a final purchase decision for a new pickup truck.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4×4
Base Price: $31,695. D&H=$1,645 Tradesman Quad Cab 4×2
Price as Tested: $57,690. Limited Crew Cab 4×4 LWB
Engine Type and Size: 5.7-liter 90-degree HEMI V-8 with pushrod-operated OHV and sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 395 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 410 @ 3,950 rpm
Transmission: Torqueflite 845RE 8-speed automatic.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine, transfer case / 4WD
Suspension: Front – Upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar. Optional air suspension replaces twin-°©tube shock absorbers and progressive rate coil springs
Rear – Five-link with track bar, progressive rate coil springs, stabilizer bar, twin-°©tube shock absorbers, solid axle. Optional air suspension replaces progressive rate coil springs
Brakes: Power-assisted dual rate, tandem diaphragm vacuum four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS.
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude H/T 275/65 R18 116T mounted on 5-spoke alloy wheels
Wheelbase: 144.6 inches -nominal
Length Overall: 232.9 inches
Width: 82.1 inches
Height: 77.6 inches
Curb Weight: N/A lbs.
Turning Circle: 46.2 ft.
Approach Angle: 18.9 degrees
Departure Angle: 24.9 degrees
Breakover Angle: 16.7 degrees – with skid plate
Ground Clearance: 8.1 inches
Fuel Capacity: 26 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 15 mpg city / 22 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: .357
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.