Last May, a group of at least a dozen thieves arrived at Fiat Chrysler’s Ram truck manufacturing plant in Warren Michigan. They cut a small hole in the chain link fence, slipped inside, and made off with 10 freshly made 2018 Ram 1500 pickups. The cops were never able to track down the thieves, and those trucks are presumably long gone by now.
FCA is actually making the 2018 Ram concurrently with the new 2019 model. Fiat says this is just because they can’t keep up with demand for the Ram 1500, so they had to keep making the older model while they retool for the new one.
This gives you a bit of an idea just how desirable the Ram 1500 is. And there’s no Ram 1500 more desirable than the top-of-the-line Limited trim.
If you’re looking for a luxury truck, there’s no more luxurious than the Ram 1500 Limited. On the inside is the latest and greatest in automotive technology. Under the hood is an ultra-efficient V6 or an incredibly powerful HEMI V8 combined with a brand-new mild-hybrid system that recaptures energy lost while braking and feeds it back into a small electric battery to provide even more torque than ever before.
But before we get too far into all this space-age technology, let’s talk power. The Limited comes standard with a 3.6-L Pentastar V6 engine that produces 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Max towing is rated at 7,100 lbs, while rear-wheel-drive fuel economy is a segment-leading 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. That’s better than a lot of 4-door luxury sedans.
For those that just can’t do without power, the optional 5.7-L HEMI V8 provides 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. Max towing jumps to 11,540 lbs, enough to tow a small yacht, while mileage only drops to 15 mpg city and 22 highway.
Those incredible fuel numbers are thanks to the brand new mild-hybrid system that partially electrifies the Ram’s powertrain. Unlike regular hybrids that combine a battery with electric motors to keep from sipping gas as much as possible, Ram’s mild-hybrid technology just updates the trucks electrical system and replaces the conventional alternator with an electrical generator.
It gets more complicated from there, but the long and short of it is the Ram 1500 can store energy while braking and use that energy to start from a standstill (thanks to Ram’s start/stop technology, the engine shuts off instead of idling). The V8 also has cylinder deactivation, going from 8 to 4 cylinders, so as to only sip as little fuel as necessary while cruising.
That’s just the start of the Ram 1500 Limited’s techno-wizardry. The four-corner air suspension is pretty nifty too.
Of all the top-end trucks, the Limited’s ride is reported to be the smoothest. Its air shocks automatically adjust for payload and driving, hunkering down when on the highway for greater aerodynamics or when someone needs to climb aboard and raising up for greater ground clearance when driving around town.
On the inside, the Limited sports the largest infotainment screen in the biz: a massive 12-inch UConnect display that puts all other infotainments to shame. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come along with a quintet of USB plugs with one of them being the ultra-fast USB-C type. A 9-speaker Alpine audio system is standard, but you can spring for a mildly insane 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system if you really want to.
Power-heated side mirrors, heated and vented front seats, automatic LED headlights, and active cabin noise cancellation combine with a plush leather interior to make for the utmost in luxury travel.
The one thing that the Ram 1500 Limited doesn’t come with as standard is a full suite of driver-assist technology. It comes with rear parking sensors and automatic rear collision braking, but upgrading to the full gamut of adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning costs extra.
But then, it also costs extra on every other luxury pickup offered by the big North American truck makers.
The Ram 1500 Limited starts at $53,195, but if you opt for the full electronics package, the big V8, and a few other optional upgrades, you’ll quickly find yourself pushing close to $65,000. Overall, that’s not a bad price for all the technology, power, and practicality you get in this pickup.
So much, in fact, that Ford was forced to up their game for the Platinum trim on their F-150. The 2019 model is going to come with the Raptor’s 3.5-L twin-turbo V8 engine to overtake the Ram’s HEMI V8. Although it will certainly beat the Ram on power and towing with 450 hp and 510 lb-ft, it’s highly unlikely to beat the Limited’s fuel economy. And unless Ford also throws in a few more electronic gizmos, unlikely to beat the Limited for technology either.
Or price. The current 2018 F-150 Platinum costs $61,360 to start.
From Chevy, the Silverado High Country provides a decent 5.3-L EcoTec3 V8 at base with 355 hp and 383 lb-ft along with an optional 6.2-L V8. it also starts at a more reasonable $53,495. But it doesn’t come with a 12-inch display, or have Ram’s air suspension, or active noise cancellation (that last one is an optional extra).
Overall, the Ram 1500 Limited provides more technology, more power, and more luxury for the price than any other luxury truck on the market. Until we see the 2019 F-150 Platinum--and unless we’re very surprised by what Ford has in store--the Ram 1500 Limited will remain on top for some time to come.