It’s been four years since we purchased our long-term 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Sport Crew Cab 4×4 from St. Clair Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, and Ram in St. Clair, Michigan. With just a hair over 45,000 miles on the odometer, our experience has been positive.
The Truck –
Our test truck was reasonably well-equipped when it left the factory. However, in 2023, a truck with the same level of equipment would cost a customer almost $70,000 instead of the current Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of slightly more than $61,000. What, then, did our truck have when it left the factory?
- Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat – $200
- Sport Appearance Package – $2,495
- Black Interior Accents
- Full-Length Upgraded Floor Console
- Laramie Body-Colored Grille
- Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats
- Sport Performance Hood
- RamCharger Wireless Charging Pad
- Bed Utility Group – $845
- 4-Adjustable Cargo Tie-Down Hooks
- LED Bed Lighting
- Spray-In Bedliner
- Laramie Level 2 Equipment Group – $4,595
- 19-Speaker Harman Kardon Premium Sound System
- Automatic High Beam Headlamps
- Blind-Spot with Cross-Path Detection
- Heated Second-Row Seating
- ParkSense Front and Rear Park Assist with Stop
- Rain-Sensitive Windshield Wipers
- Rear Under-Seat Storage
- Remote Tailgate Release
- Rear 60/40 Folding Split-Reclining Seat
- Single-Disc CD Player
- Tailgate Ajar Warning Lamp
- Front and Rear Rubber Floor Mats – $135
- 5.7-liter HEMI V8 MDS VVT Engine – $1,395
- Panoramic Sunroof – $1,495
- Rear Wheelhouse Liners – $195
- 12.1-inch Uconnect Touchscreen Infotainment System – $1,395
- 22-inch X 9-inch Granite Crystal Polished Painted Wheels – $1,295
- 285/45R22XL Goodyear Eagle BSW All-Season Tires
Only two of the options on our must-have list were not present on the truck. The trailer-brake controller and power running boards, which our dealer added a few weeks after purchasing the truck. Both options cost us another $1,100 out of pocket, but they were two of the most helpful ones over our ownership.
The Aftermarket Add-Ons –
We made many customizations to the truck to suit our needs. The following additional modifications were carried out while we were the owners…
- TruXedo Pro X15 Soft Tonneau Cover
- BedRug Classic Carpeted Bed Mat
- ZAutomotive DT Tazer
- Flowmaster FlowFX Direct Fit Dual-Mode Muffler with Active Valve
- US-Visor Smoked In-Channel Window Rain Guards
- LED Cargo Lights
- 18-inch x 8-inch Gloss-Black Wheel OEM Rebel Night Edition Wheels
- 33-Inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac All-Terrain Tires
So why switch to the Rebel wheels and tires? After scuffing the factory 22-inch wheels a few times, we found that when the Goodyear Eagle RSA tires needed to be replaced, buying a set of Rebel wheels and tires off a new Rebel was cheaper than buying new replacements for the RSAs. Ultimately, we loved the Rebel tire package’s ride on Michigan’s harsh roads, despite their loader road noise and a drop of 2 MPG average switching to them.
Our truck had the renowned 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine without the eTorque mild-hybrid system. The truck also boasts a 3.21 axle ratio, which is better for gas mileage, and I’ve noticed that it doesn’t consume a ton of fuel. The truck gets about 14 MPG on town trips and 22.5 MPG on longer highway trips with 22-inch wheels or about 19.5 MPG with the Rebel wheels and tires. We average nearly 18 MPG when driving a mix of highway and city streets. That is not bad, considering the size of the pickup.
The ZF-sourced 8-speed 8HP75 in this truck is still, in my opinion, the smoothest automatic transmission I have ever driven. The Ram engineering team should be commended for calibrating this transmission.
Yes, we’ve only driven this truck for 45,000 miles. Much of it was related to everything being shut down in 2020 because of the pandemic. Before that, we drove the truck from Detroit to Duluth, Minnesota, to launch the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch racing, to Ontario for several drag racing events, with a few stops at Niagra Falls, and on numerous occasions throughout Michigan. Since we do most of our work from home, the truck has been used for running local errands around town and weekend excursions.
Despite having a positive ownership experience, the truck has had a few problems for us.
The first problem involved our Uconnect 4C system. Whenever we exited the truck, the settings returned to how they were when we first bought it. This was fixed by an over-the-air (OTA) update and learning how to create profiles on the Uconnect system.
Then, as we were turning “Michigan left” in heavy traffic, we ran into a problem where our Ram lost all power steering. The steering lost power immediately, and it didn’t return until the truck was turned off and the door opened. We were fortunate to be close to Milosch Palace Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, and Ram in Lake Orion, Michigan, who discovered the problem when the truck was placed on the scope. Chrysler ultimately replaced the steering rack and electronic power steering module under warranty. The problem hasn’t popped up again.
We also had an issue with the truck starting without a key inside the vehicle. Ram reached out to us immediately when we posted a video of the situation, but not want anyone to jump in our truck that sat outside our house at night. My cousin, a former mechanic, suggested disconnecting the battery for about 20 minutes and letting the electronics reset. I did so, and the truck never had an issue after it. As far as we know, it’s the only truck reported to do that.
There have been four things that have driven me nuts during the ownership of this truck. The biggest one is the brakes. Anytime the truck sits in the snow or rain, the brakes screech at the slightest movement. Not only is it embarrassing, but when you spend that much on a vehicle, you shouldn’t be eyeballed by everyone for something that shouldn’t happen in the first place.
The subwoofer was placed against the back of the cab with the Harman Kardon premium sound system. Unfortunately, the back window rattles something awful whenever you play the stereo with a song with a bassy tune. This was fixed by placing a couple of pieces of rubber between the speaker and the cab.
Another thing that irritated us was that Ram put LEDs throughout the truck; however, they left cheap halogen bulbs for the cargo lights. Although it could have been fixed for pennies, I went on Amazon, bought a pack of LED bulbs for $10, and did them myself.
The air conditioning system was the last thing that bothered me and our Co-Editor, Jared Balfour. For a modern truck, the Ram 1500 and newly updated Heavy Duty trucks have some of the worst air conditioning in the segment. However, you can set the air to the LO setting, which still doesn’t feel below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, the ventilated front seats made up all the difference.
After driving the truck for four years, I come to love the overall layout of the Ram 1500’s interior. Everything was laid out within the driver’s reach.
The rear bench seat is amazing. With the cab being four inches longer than the fourth generation, the rear bench can recline and offers a ton of legroom for the tallest adults.
The LED headlamps found on the Laramie are stellar. They provide superb lighting in both low and high-beam settings during night drives.
The rotary dial took a while to get used to, but it proved to be a great addition while freeing up the center console to allow for an amazing amount of storage.
The 3.21 rear axle ratio proved to be suitable for those who tow seldomly. With the 22-inch wheels, we could easily get 20 mph at 65 mph in highway conditions.
Overall Impression –
After enjoying the ownership of my Ram 1500 for four years, I can confidently say that it surpassed all my expectations. This truck has proven to be a reliable, comfortable, and highly capable vehicle, surpassing my childhood memories of pickup trucks. Having driven nearly every configuration of the fifth-generation Ram 1500 during this period, I found the Laramie Sport to be my favorite setup.
Throughout my ownership, I encountered only one issue with the steering, which was promptly addressed. This minor setback aside, the overall experience of owning this truck has been exceptional. Its performance and dependability have consistently met and exceeded my family’s needs on a daily basis.
While it was bittersweet to bid farewell to our Ram 1500, there is no doubt that we will return to the fifth-generation model soon. This truck has seamlessly fulfilled all our requirements, making it an ideal choice for our lifestyle. Its combination of luxury, capability, and practicality has made it an invaluable asset, and we look forward to again experiencing the unparalleled satisfaction of owning a Ram 1500.
You must be logged in to post a comment.