Overview

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Overview (Final Score: A-)

The 2019 Ram 1500 is an all-new pickup truck with changes from the ground up. The Ram 1500 is well known for its smooth highway drive, excellent capability and a strong lineup of choices to meet different needs. These core pickup truck values for the Ram have not changed with the new design, which adds more Ram-ness to the mix (literally), while bringing better capability and more technology to the truck.

Ram Trucks completed its overhaul of the old Dodge truck brand, finally shedding all semblance of attachment to the Dodge brand. The new 2019 Ram 1500 quietly shows this with its larger Ram head logo, "RAM" logos found throughout, and the disappearance of the crossbar grille. This rebranding started shortly after Fiat and Chrysler merged to form FCA about a decade ago.

With Ram Trucks running as its own brand, the 2019 Ram 1500 spearheads a new generation of pickup trucks, as the 1500 redefines what is possible with a half-ton pickup. Maximum payload, towing and fuel economy are all improved to best-in-class numbers for the Ram 1500 thanks to a myriad of improvements throughout the new pickup's design.

The 2019 Ram 1500 is available with several cab size and bed length specifications. There are three engine/powertrain choices and either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The 2019 1500 has seven trim levels to choose from. Note that the Classic model is unchanged from the 2018 model year and this review does not apply to it.

What We Love About the 2019 Ram 1500:


  • Great new look with lots of style and refinement

  • Excellent interior remains with some surprisingly good add-ons

  • Strong capability and lots of configuration options


 

What We Don't Love About the 2019 Ram 1500:


  • Reliability is unknown and remains a concern for Ram

  • Fuel economy is good, but the much-touted eTorque system is only a marginal upgrade

  • Trouble with the EPA means there is no diesel option for 2019


 

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Exterior View (10/10)

The new 2019 Ram 1500 has a much less bulky exterior than the truck's previous generation. Most of the changes are noted immediately from the front grille and fascia. The lines that define the edge of the upper and lower fascia are smoothed and less dramatic than the previous Ram, but retain the Ram Trucks branding of muscular fenders and lots of big rig-like intake space.

The bumper up front is well defined away from the rest of the fascia, as is expected on a pickup truck. The headlights are less bulky and a bit narrower, flanking the large grille. The upper portion of the grille blends into the hood, which is not as bulbous or "big engine" pushy as it was before. The fenders are well defined and neatly squared in their edge toward the sides. Nicely rounded wheel wells and good-sized gaps give an impression of toughness.

Closer observation of the new Ram 1500 show that grille louvers are now standard, the bed rails sit a bit higher, and the rear of the cabin is a little less square going down toward the bed. All of these things work to improve aerodynamics, which on most 2019 Ram 1500 models is now akin to a sedan thanks to all of that improved airflow over, under and around the truck.

As with previous renditions of the Ram pickup, cab sizes range from single (two-door) to Mega (extra-large four-door). The three-quarter doors are on the Quad Cab and a standard four-door, on the Crew Cab. Bed lengths begin with a standard 6.5-foot bed that can be shortened to 5-feet 7-inches or extended to a full 8-foot bed. These options depend on cab configuration chosen. Other convenience items like the popular Ram Boxes for integrated bed storage and tie-down rails are available as well.

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Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)

The 2019 Ram 1500 offers one of the nicest interiors in the business. Even at its lowest trim point, the 1500 has a very well-done, comfortable, even upscale interior design. As the trim levels climb, so do the interior accouterments and offerings. Every Ram 1500 has at least six cup holders and multiple storage cubbies for the gadgets, tools and gear that truck owners need to tote around.

In the Quad, Crew and Mega Cabs, the 2019 Ram 1500 offers even more storage as the front seats can become buckets with a large center console and useful sliding cup holder/small-item bin. Likewise, USB plug-ins, 12-volt ports and 110V outlets become more and more ubiquitous with each trim point.

Seating up front is very comfortable, whether the bench or buckets are chosen. Adjustments are plentiful and the large, fat steering wheel and easy-to-find controls give confidence to the driver. Ram changed the shifter knob to be more tactile and easier to grip with gloves or cold hands, another nice touch.

Rear seating improves as the cab configurations get larger. The Quad Cab can carry up to three people but is going to be cramped for most riders. Those seats fold up and out of the way for added storage, of course.

The Crew Cab and Mega Cab options offer plenty of rear seat legroom and space with lots of shoulder and headroom to boot. Three across, even full-grown adults, is no problem. Under the rear floor mats are the expected saddle boxes for extra gear or tool storage. A handy place for trailer hitches, extra pins, tie-downs and the like.

For the utility minded, there is plenty of lighting in the Ram's cabin. The rear seats in the larger cab options can fold up with a flat-floor fold-out for hauling items inside the truck. Under-seat bins are also handy back there for storing other stuff to be kept out of sight. In the bed, cargo lamps can be configured for more visibility and an optional rear camera in the tail light on the back of the cab can be used to give better visibility. Optional side steps and other access items are also available.

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Technology (10/10)

In the world of pickup trucks, it doesn't get any better than the 2019 Ram 1500 and its tech offerings.

The 1500 begins with basic Bluetooth and radio with the first of the better infotainment having the excellent 8.4-inch touchscreen with Chrysler's Uconnect interface. This offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, audio input options, satellite radio, etc. Navigation can be added as can a few other apps, but advanced things like speech-to-text and the like are built-in with the bigger infotainment.

And then Ram takes it up a notch. New for 2019 is a huge 12-inch infotainment display for the 1500 that turns the infotainment into a tablet. This one comes standard with several additional apps and WiFi connectivity.

For driver's aids and safety equipment, the Ram 1500 comes with several options ranging from adaptive cruise control to blind-spot monitoring and emergency braking. A convenient airbag system that lowers the tailgate (and thus the hitch) to get under a trailer and then lift it up for connection is standard on the Ram 1500.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

There are essentially three engines available for the 2019 Ram 1500: a V6 and a V8 with or without the new eTorque mile hybrid system. The V6 has eTorque by default.

As of this writing, there are no mpg numbers from the EPA for the V6 engine in the 2019 Ram. Fuel economy ratings for the Ram 1500 Classic are published as 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway in rear-wheel drive and 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway in four-wheel drive.

The Hemi V8 is EPA rated at 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway in 2WD and 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway in 4WD. Removing the eTorque system drops the highway mileage by a point in the V8, but fuel economy otherwise remains the same. The Classic model is rated at 15/21 city/highway.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (7/10)

There are no published reliability ratings for the 2019 Ram 1500, as of this review's publication, but it's expected that the Ram will retain much of its previous ratings.

The J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study rated the 2018 Ram 1500 as "About Average." So far, there have been no recalls for the 2019 model year. The warranty for the Ram 1500 is about average for the segment at 3 years/36,000 miles basic and 5 years/60,000 miles for the powertrain.

Safety (7/10)

The 2019 Ram 1500 does not yet have safety ratings published from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The previous year, the Ram scored well on crash tests but was behind the curve in the truck segment whereas others improved their results. We expect the 2019 model will do the same, but until those tests are conducted, we're cautiously using the 2018 results as a benchmark.

The Ram does have several on-board safety items as standard, such as trailer towing assist and sway control, as well as options for advanced technologies, such as forward-crash mitigation.

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Performance (10/10)

The 2019 Ram 1500 has three engine options, starting with a 3.6-liter V6 that outputs 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. This engine mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission in either two-wheel (rear-wheel) or four-wheel drive.

This V6 engine includes Ram's new eTorque mild hybrid system, which has an engine stop-start system and regenerative braking. The braking regeneration stores a limited amount of power in a small lithium-ion battery cell and uses that to reduce weight on the engine from accessories and the like, improving fuel economy and power output.

The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 in the 2019 Ram 1500 outputs 395 horses and 410 lb-ft of torque. This also mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission in 2WD or 4WD. The eTorque system is optional with the V8 and slightly improves fuel economy while upping some capability.

The new design for the Ram in 2019 means that towing and hauling are now best-in-class (as of this writing) at up to 12,750 pounds and 2,300 pounds, respectively. Most of the capacity depends on the setup of the truck, with the V6 having far less capability and the Hemi V8 eTorque with the most aggressive rear axle ratio having the best.

During our drive of the 2019 Ram 1500 at a Ram-sponsored event, we used the non-eTorque 5.7L to pull a 6,500-pound trailer without difficulty. This smooth pull was clearly well under the limits for the truck. More time later with a 2019 Ram Rebel model equipped, again, with the standard 5.7L, but with a more aggressive 3.9 rear axle, proved that towing is part and parcel for the Ram's makeup. We also hauled several bags of garden soil (equalling about half the truck's capacity) with no struggle.

On the road, the 2019 Ram 1500 is a smooth ride, as expected. Off the road, the Rebel models are superb in their capability to get through dirt, sand, mud and whatever else can be found. Standard models are more sedate in their off-pavement capability, but will do well for any farmer/rancher or occasional mid-duty off-road goer.

With a comfortable ride, the new aerodynamics also greatly improve cabin noise on the highway. The Ram is surprisingly quiet and may be the quietest pickup truck on the road now.

Under load, the 2019 Ram 1500 makes some noise through its transmission, but only under stress when pulling a hill or using trailer braking and the like. It is otherwise unobtrusive with a natural operation for its trailer sway control.

Pricing and Value (9/10)

For most full-size pickup truck buyers, the 2019 Ram 1500 likely has a configuration to meet all needs and expectations. We remain fans of the Big Horn package for its good mix of work-a-day capability and comfort, for the price tag. A few options are available in this package that can add other upgrades buyers might want, including WiFi hot spot and other conveniences. For the bigger screen, buyers will have to upgrade to the Limited model or better.

For off-road and hardcore terrain bouncers, we highly recommend the Rebel model. The Ram 1500 Rebel also has a good resale record so far, with higher value retention than other Ram models.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (72/80, 90%)

Comparables to the 2019 Ram 1500 include the usual half-ton pickup truck offerings: the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Tundra.

The Ford outsells all others handily thanks to its strong fleet presence and a very wide-ranging field of options and configurations. The Chevrolet is a popular choice, as is its more premium GMC twin, for similar reasons and well-documented capability. The Toyota Tundra is a more all-around pickup with fewer configuration choices and a reputation for excellent reliability.

The choice of which pickup to buy largely comes down to brand awareness, expectation and style. The 2019 Ram 1500 offers the unique styling that Ram and its sister brands have become known for, while also giving plenty of capability for the buck. The new look of the Ram is very well done and hits the market nicely. Most buyers will be happy with their decision to buy a Ram 1500.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Crew Cab - 4WD
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 35545
Big Horn/Lone Star Big Horn/Lone Star 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 39790
Laramie Laramie 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 43690
Rebel Rebel 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 45190
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 38345
Big Horn/Lone Star Big Horn/Lone Star 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 42490
Laramie Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 46390
Rebel Rebel 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 47990
Longhorn Longhorn 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 54390
Limited Limited 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 56990
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 38645
Big Horn/Lone Star Big Horn/Lone Star 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 42790
Laramie Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 46690
Longhorn Longhorn 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 54690
Limited Limited 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 57290
Crew Cab - RWD
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder RWD 32045
HFE HFE 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 34245
Big Horn/Lone Star Big Horn/Lone Star 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 36290
Laramie Laramie 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 40190
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 34845
Big Horn/Lone Star Big Horn/Lone Star 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 38990
Laramie Laramie 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 42890
Rebel Rebel 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 44490
Longhorn Longhorn 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 50890
Limited Limited 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 53490
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 35145
Big Horn/Lone Star Big Horn/Lone Star 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 39290
Laramie Laramie 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 43190
Longhorn Longhorn 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 51190
Limited Limited 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 52995

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