2019 Auto Judge Truck Of The Year Ram 1500

When Ram re-designed the 2019 Ram 1500, they checked every box, from engineering, exterior design, capability, and function. The results are in, and the 2019 Ram 1500 is winning awards like the Auto Judge Truck of the Year. It was also recently named the Truck of Texas by Texas Auto Writers Association. 

“We’ve paid a lot of attention to Texas customers with the remake of the all-new Ram truck,” said Jim Morrison, Head of the Ram Brand, on the first drive of the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, held in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Now, two years at the helm of Fiat Chrysler America’s truck division for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, Morrison is bullish about the 15th generation model that is not simply bigger but is also improved in almost every measure. America is also bullish about trucks, which are selling in increasing numbers, with an ever-growing volume of buyers that are showing preference for high-end, special edition models, with transaction prices that spike from $60,000 to $80,000 and up.

2019 Ram 1500
2019 Ram 1500 Limited

Ram listened to their customers to design a truck that meets their needs inside and out. “What customers will find in addition to updated trims is extra space in the cab, with more elbow room and increased cargo stowage — more space for people and things,” said Morrison, pointing out the longer RamBins under-floor storage, the larger pickup bed, as well as the popular lockable RamBox storage located on the outside of the bed that now comes with a 115-volt outlet.

Although longer and wider with a new frame that features 98 percent high-strength steel to improve durability, weight and rigidity for better road manners, the newest version of the light duty truck has shed 225 pounds. Ram says the new pickup now falls into the “heavy duty” category. Of note, the maximum payload has increased to 2,300 pounds and maximum trailer tow to 12,750 pounds.

New highlights are revised exterior and interior styling; six updated and distinctive models at six different price points; active aerodynamics, with grille shutters and an air dam; a class-exclusive air suspension that brings better on- and off-road capability, load-leveling and entry/exit convenience. A new 4×4 Off-road Package integrates a taller suspension with a one-inch lift, an electronic locking rear axle, specially tuned shocks and Hill-descent Control; the electronic locking rear differential is standard on 4×4 Off-road Package and Rebel and available on all models.

2019 Ram 1500
2019 Ram 1500 Limited

There is also a host of new features and technologies that are class-exclusive and segment-leading as well as 100 safety and security features on-board. Three new, longer frame lengths are offered: a 144.5-inch wheelbase on Crew Cab short beds and a 153.5-inch wheelbase on Crew Cab long beds – both four inches longer than their predecessors. The Quad Cab long bed has a wheelbase of 140.5 inches. The new aluminum tailgate has improved damping for opening and integrates a “lift assist measure” that allows the tailgate to be dropped with the interior switch, remotely with the key fob, or unlock/open with passive entry. On sale now, the 2019 Ram 1500 is available in 2WD and 4WD versions and starts at $31,695.

The Ram’s exterior has been updated with a chiseled Ram’s head logo and “R-A-M” grilles, a “superhero chest”, and with differentiation between the six models. Other new items are a full LED Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), including twin bi-functional projector headlamps, fog lamps and tail lamps and a new dual pain sunroof, with a 10 sq.-ft. of sky view. Ram says its new generation interiors are each “designed like a different hammer–one for every job, from the Tradesman to the Limited”, with themes for each trim both outside and in. A bench seat is available for all models except the Rebel.

The biggest news under the hood is significant gains in fuel efficiency that come from the new eTorque mild hybrid system on the second generation 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engines; eTorque combines a belt-drive motor generator unit with a 48-volt battery pack to enable start/stop function, short-duration torque assist and brake energy regeneration, adding up to 90 lb.-ft. of launch torque to the V-6 and up to 130 lb.-ft. to the HEMI. Both powertrains benefit from an Interactive Deceleration Fuel Shut Off (iDFSO) feature that pauses fuel flow to the engine cylinders when the vehicle is decelerating to improve fuel economy. The latest generation of FCA’s TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmissions also bring improved efficiency.

2019 Ram 1500
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn – Mountain Brown Interior

Updated technology includes the award-winning fourth-generation Uconnect system and a class-exclusive 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen display that has tailor-made graphics for various models and features split-screen capability for dual-application operation and 360-degree camera views; an all-new SiriusXM suite with an industry-exclusive 360L personalized listening experience comes with more variety, smart content, recommendations and thousands of hours of on-demand audio as well as Guardian Connected Services and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Ram says the Harman Kardon audio system with 19 premium speakers, 900-watt surround sound amplifier, 10-inch subwoofer and active noise cancellation is the most powerful sound system ever found on a pickup. Other updates are new multifunction USB ports and an integrated wireless charging pad, and a navigation system that provides one-step, voice-controlled destination.

The bright 12 inch screen is particularly important to potential customers because it not only has a nav system, a back-up camera and all the air/stereo and other controls at your fingertips, but also a forward camera and top view camera allowing you to see obstacles in front and on all sides of you in tight situations.

Designers have focused on increasing stowage and Ram claims that it has nearly 100 percent more storage capacity versus its closest competitor. The re-imagined center console boasts 12 different storage configurations and offers “never-before-seen customization for the most active interior real estate”. Second row seats can slide and recline to eight degrees and there is expandable under seat storage.

Other upgraded features of note are larger brakes, upgraded transfer cases for 4WD operation, reworked rear axles with open or limited-slip differentials that allow torque transfer across the rear wheels to maximize traction, and a new electronic locking differential on 4WD. Both front and rear wheels and hubs now adopt a 6-lug bolt pattern and there are sixteen new wheel designs that range from 18 inches to 22 inches in diameter.

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Sue Mead
Sue Mead’s automotive career began as a freelance evaluator for Four Wheeler Magazine in 1988, on the first team that included women as testers. Today, she travels the globe test-driving cars and trucks, and working as a photojournalist/feature writer for dozens of publications, specializing in 4WD and adventure. Mead has been an auto editor and 4WD editor for CNN/fn. Her books include Monster Trucks and Tractors; Off Road Racing, Legends and Adventures; and Rock Crawling. She has been to 70 countries; driven enough off-road and 4WD race miles to have circumnavigated the globe twice! Mead won the Open Production class at the 2011 Dakar; and is an inductee into the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.