Say sayonara to Ram’s crosshair grille, as every iteration of the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 abandons the design cue that dates back to the truck’s Dodge-branded days.
Behind that new grille lives active grille shutters that help smooth the big truck’s front-end aerodynamics at speed. Other aero additions include a front splitter that automatically lowers by 2.5 inches at speeds greater than 35 mph. Opting for the available four-corner air-spring suspension, the 4x4 Off-Road package, or the Rebel trim deletes the splitter; however, air-spring-equipped Rams mitigate this loss by lowering the truck 0.6 inch at speed.
On the fixed side of the aerodynamics package, the 2019 Ram 1500’s slipperiness through the air benefits from bedsides that have been raised by 1.5 inches and a small lip spoiler on the tailgate in the name of reduced drag. Meanwhile, the hood is designed to push air over and away from the windshield wipers to further improve airflow around the truck.
The 2019 Ram 1500 is powered by a 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6 (called Pentastar) or a 395-hp 5.7-liter V-8 (Hemi). Both engines mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission. New for 2019 is the adoption of hybridization by way of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ eTorque system, which replaces the alternator with a motor/generator unit that can feed energy to a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack. The technology is standard on Ram 1500 V-6 models and optional on 1500s with the pushrod V-8. Along with stop/start capability that should provide smoother and quicker starts than traditional systems, eTorque can provide a brief torque boost of 90 lb-ft to V-6 Rams and 130 lb-ft to V-8 models. The system’s power is replenished by way of regenerative braking, which feeds energy to a small battery pack mounted behind the rear seats.
The 2019 Ram 1500 wouldn’t be much of a truck if it didn’t have the payload and towing figures to back up its brawny looks and engines. Rated to tow up to 12,750 pounds and carry a payload of up to 2320 pounds, the new Ram improves upon the same maximum ratings of the current truck by 2130 and 440 pounds. Towing such large loads, however, requires checking the option box for the Max Tow package, which is limited to rear-wheel-drive trucks equipped with the eTorque-assisted V-8 engine and the 3.92:1 final-drive ratio (Ram also offers 3.21 and 3.55 rear ends). The highest ratings for four-wheel-drive 1500s are 11,460 pounds of trailer and 1950 pounds of payload.
Ram officials assured us that a diesel engine, sans eTorque, will return to the lineup in the 2019 calendar year. Although Ram remains mum on engine specs, we expect the 2019 Ram 1500 to employ the previous truck’s available turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6. Plan for modest bumps to power and torque peaks, which currently sit at 240 horses and 420 lb-ft, respectively.
Ram’s covered and lockable RamBox bedside storage areas return but now with lids that are better integrated into the bedsides and an AC power outlet in the driver’s-side compartment. Although RamBox compromises the bed’s overall width, the storage areas are essential tailgating tools (you can fill them with ice and beverages, for example) and are sure to impress friends and opposing fans at the next football game. RamBox is available exclusively with the shorter-bed crew cab.
Ram says that the new truck in its most popular trim and cab configuration—crew-cab Big Horn 4x4 with a V-8—is nearly 225 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Credit a number of innovations, including extensive use of high-strength steel in the truck’s ladder-type frame, which sheds 100 pounds. Additional weight savings come courtesy of a new electronic parking-brake system that’s 20 pounds lighter than the old cable-operated unit and an electrically assisted power-steering system that accounts for a six-pound weight reduction. Like its predecessor, the new Ram 1500 comes standard with coil springs front and rear (the Ford F-150 and General Motors’ full-size pickups use leaf springs in back). An air-suspension system remains an optional extra.
Despite its lighter weight, the 2019 Ram 1500 crew cab is actually dimensionally larger than the outgoing truck. Models with the standard box ride on a 4.1-inch-longer wheelbase than before and measure 3.9 inches longer from stem to stern. The smaller quad-cab models are dimensionally similar in length to the prior truck. Regardless of cab, every 2019 Ram 1500 is half an inch wider than before. In short, this is one big Ram.
Ram 1500 crew-cab models also see rear-seat legroom grow from 40.3 inches in the current truck to a Bentley Mulsanne–besting 45.2 inches in the new truck. Upper-crust versions treat those in the rear to available heated and cooled seats and also include seatbacks that offer eight degrees of recline. An available panoramic sunroof extends over both rows of seats.
Arguably the most eye-opening feature of the 2019 Ram 1500’s interior is its available 12.0-inch touchscreen Uconnect 4 infotainment system. Available on high-end Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited trims, the massive, vertically oriented screen includes a navigation system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and is capable of displaying information in full- or split-screen formats.
An older Uconnect 3 infotainment system with a 5.0-inch display is standard on Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn, and Rebel models, while Uconnect 4 with an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface with available navigation is optional on Big Horn, Rebel, and Laramie trims and standard on Longhorns and Limiteds. Like the bigger 12.0-inch Uconnect setup, the 8.4-inch unit is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. Even this mid-level display registers as large when experienced in person.
The off-road-ready Rebel variant returns to the Ram 1500 lineup for 2019. The trim includes the kit from the available 4x4 Off-Road package, which boasts a 1.0-inch suspension lift over the standard 2019 Ram 1500, an electronically locking rear differential, exposed tow hooks, hill-descent control, and skid plates. The Rebel adds trim-specific bodywork, burly 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, and Bilstein dampers with remote reservoirs. (Unlike before, the Rebel can now be had with the air suspension or without.) With that hardware, surely owners can find something rebellious to do—at least where the pavement ends.
The Ram 1500 finally adds active-safety and convenience features such as blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera system, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. LED headlights and taillights are available on almost every Ram 1500 trim, save for the most entry-level models.
The 2019 Ram 1500 goes on sale in the first quarter of 2018 in seven trim levels: entry-level Tradesman, fuel-economy-focused HFE, middle-of-the-road Big Horn, off-road-oriented Rebel, and the luxurious Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited models. Four-door quad cab and crew-cab body styles will be available. Both cabs pair with a 76.3-inch box, but the larger crew cab is also available with a 67.4-inch bed. Expect a regular-cab model to be unveiled at a later date.