Ram adds further refinement to the 1500's style and comfort for 2019, but the big draw is an all-new eTorque mild hybrid system. But don't be fooled, the 1500 is still a working truck, nothing even close to a plug-in Prius.
The new Ram 1500 clearly stands out from its competition as a member of the Ram family, with a similar ruggedness and strength conveyed through each and every detail. And yet, small changes also point to the future-facing drivetrain motivating the model (in all its iteration), and perhaps to a more technologically-focused design language for the rest of Ram's lineup as well.
The classic Ram grille has received minor updates, including a more elaborate metal mesh, with slightly tighter, more angular edges. Of course, the RAM logo hasn't shrunk at all. Meanwhile, a sculpted hood, an active grille shutter, and narrow LED headlights differentiate 2019 models from their predecessors.
At the rear, an aluminum tailgate features an integrated spoiler, a geometrically-enhanced Ram badge, and an overall simpler look down to symmetrical, circular exhaust tips that are slightly integrated into the rear bumper. An active air dam operates at higher speeds, allowing Ram to claim that overall, the design's slight revisions improve aerodynamics to allow for a class-leading frontal drag coefficient.
Drivetrain & Mechanicals
The majority of potential Ram buyers will be drawn to the new 1500 with hopes that its eTorque system will help to improve power and fuel economy simultaneously. But calling the eTorque system a 'mild-hybrid' is a bit of a misnomer, as the battery assistance is just that, assistance, without the ability to power the truck on its own without the internal combustion engine running. In fact, the eTorque system doesn't boost power figures at all, instead helping to smooth out acceleration at lower RPMs.
The 1500 4x4 V6 eTorque offers 305 peak horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, with a max towing payload rated at 7,730 pounds. A Hemi V8 with eTorque bumps those power figures up significantly to 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft, with a towing capacity of 12,750 pounds.
Efficiency is improved, however, by a fuel cutoff at stops that saves up to 1.7 ounces of gasoline per 90 seconds. The eTorque system also captures energy that 2018 and earlier models lost to braking, and can even apply short boosts to the engine to help the eight-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission shift more smoothly. Unlike many cars that utilize a stop/start system, eTorque can completely shut off the engine when coasting below 12 miles per hour. The eTorque system did, however, allow for an increase in towing capacity by 20% for both V6 and V8-equipped models.
Other key details include a class-exclusive air suspension option, which can lower the truck at highway speeds to improve MPGs, and the Rebel package. Available on both Quad Cab and Crew Cab models, the off-road-enhanced Rebel package a two-inch ride height lift, a new ELocker electronically locking rear differential, and 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DurTrac all-terrain tires. Rebel-equipped trucks stand out from their compatriots thanks to black powder-coated steel bumpers and tow hooks.
Interior & Tech
Ram has upped their interior quality for 2019, which is a big step for a lineup of trucks that already offered some of the most comfortable interior details on the market. An available 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system leads the class, complementing a 7-inch digital display cluster. Harmon Kardon sound, active noise cancellation, and a media center complete with five USB charging ports, an aux cord input, and SiriusXM radio fit into the mix.
Meanwhile, drivers and passengers sit resplendent in a tactile environment which Ram claims features more real leather and wood than Ford and Chevy combined. New for the 1500, an optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof measures fully 10 square feet. For buyers in hotter climates, Ram's commitment to seat ventilation extends even to the rear seats, which can also be had with reclining functions as well as a fold-down center console.
Ram has included details that most manufacturers overlook, including 40 liters of under-seat storage, a rear flat-load floor, a reconfigurable front-row center console, and Ram Bins that have increased by 5.5 inches to allow for up to a four-inch drop hitch. Modern drivers aids have become fully integrated into the working man's truck, including automatic parallel and perpendicular parking, adaptive cruise control, front collision and blind spot alerts, autonomous emergency braking, and headlights that turn up to 15 degrees.
Pricing & Buying
The Ram 1500 doesn't come cheap, with base prices for the 1500 Laramie starting at $43,590 but escalating quickly depending on configurations. The Laramie Longhorn starts at $51,490, while the range-topping 1500 Limited starts at $54,090. The off-road specific Rebel begins at $43,995. Of course, Ram expects its customers to pack in the options, allowing for prices to increase seemingly exponentially.
Ram hopes the innovative eTorque system will differentiate their trucks from the competition, perhaps enticing buyers to opt for the V6 in greater numbers. Interior and tech features also lead the class, but so do price tags. For context, Chevy's 2019 Silverado starts at $34,600 while Ford's 2019 F-150 can be had starting at only $28,155.