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2019 Ram 1500 First drive impression – From the frontlines

By Rob. P

Editors note: Welcome to our second installment of Views from the front lines. In this series we will be looking at the 2019 Ram 1500 from a dealership management perspective. Note that these views do not necessarily reflect the views of 5thGenRams.com In this installment site contributor and forum member BOBBIBIGWHEELS gives us his first drive impressions on the 2019 Ram 1500.

It finally arrived, and needless to say, I threw a plate on the back and had the truck remote-started before I even sat at my desk today.

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie, Crew Cab, Short Box, 4×4, Hemi V8 – Diamond Black

This truck was lightly equipped, as we call “Bank Orders” – IE a truck that was force-shipped to us from FCA without allowing us to modify its build. Key missing features include the 360 Camera, 12″ Screen, and Panoramic Sunroof.

Despite the “light load”, this Laramie still garners a whopping $74,105 CAD MSRP, roughly $9,000 more (before a 25% off rebate…) than the outgoing 2018 DS Ram 1500 Laramie in a similar build.

DT Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab Short Box 4×4

DS 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab Short Box 4×4

Let’s start at the exterior –

The 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie looks modern – that’s the first thing that caught my eye. The LED headlamps and tail lights immediately allow the DT Ram to distinguish itself from its outgoing model. The grille kinks beautifully at the center, and the new RAM badging on the grille and tailgate are sharp and industrial looking. Despite the attempt to add some “muscle” to the sides of the DT Ram, I found in person it appears slab-sided much like the DS, and that the illusion of having bulge is only really perceived due to the box not being flush with the cab, where it tapers in. The tailgate is ridiculously light, the easy down tailgate is impressive, and the new rear bumper looks amazing and has a ton of function for stepping into the bed. The RAM team placed the sensors for both front and back parking in a clever, unnoticeable way. The wheels are full alloy, which is phenomenal, as the outgoing Laramie had “chrome clad” wheels which were good from far, but far from good – appearing very cheap up close.

The interior –

This is where RAM hit it out of the park. My manager demo is a 2018 Ram 1500 DS Sport, Crew Cab, Short Box. I drive about an hour everyday in this truck, so even the most subtle of changes were apparent immediately. Everything is soft, high quality material. The center console nearly cushions your right arm it is so plush. The center console is ingenious, and for those of which who had the opportunity to drive the late Chrysler 200, it shared much of its innovation from that car.

Uconnect 4C is something I am already familiar with in my 2018 Ram, however, where the 2019 Ram has my 18′ beat is the unbelievable back-up camera quality. The picture is crystal clear. The dials and knobs on the center stack are solid, built with the same quality as the JL Wrangler. They feel industrialYou’ll notice that the term industrial keeps coming up – this truck has found a way to combine a factory with a spa… I don’t know how else to explain it. The Harmon-Kardon sound system kicks ass – for those of you who have had the opportunity to listen to it in a Challenger or Grand Cherokee – the Ram sound quality is right there. Loud, clear, crisp.

The seats were surprising – on the Laramie it combines Leather and Suede, however, the suede insert is only a few inches wide and follows the inside of the bolstering. The seats are more comfortable, in my opinion, than the outgoing model. The back-seats are a treat. As a salesman of our product, having a flat floor with a true 3 passenger rear bench is huge. Many sales are lost to Ford for this feature being missing on the DS Rams. The reclining seats are ridiculous, you’ll almost chuckle at how comfortable you are. The center bench folds out into a wicked console fit for a BMW 7 series.

The new dial-shifter is leaps and bound better. It has these little notches that fit your fingers beautifully, as well as a much clearer tactile response to shifting from Park, Reverse, Drive. The new 7″ in-cluster display is sharp. It carries that industrial-meets-technology theme that RAM has nailed. The entire center stack is easy to use, which is something FCA has had on the competition since the 8.4″ Uconnect debuted 7+ years ago. You won’t find yourself searching for what you need, and for those of which that joke that you could put the truck into Park when trying to turn down the volume, there is now a considerable amount of distance between each dial.

The Drive –

Quiet.

It is so damn quiet compared to my DS Ram 1500. It feels light, nimble, and accelerates faster in my butt-test. The steering wheel carries these characteristics… it feels effortless to maneuver. You can really feel the new, bigger brakes – it stops quickly and again, quietly. The 8 speed transmission feels better – my shifts were quick as always, but I just felt that the throttle response was better managed. My current gen Ram 1500 would fight me hard on a quick acceleration, whereas I found the DT ready, willing, and able to get up and go.

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