Remember aback auto trucks were all about stamped-steel wrappers, beat-up beds, and interiors bald as an abandoned can of Coors? The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 is not one of those pickups. But it is the best barter in the full-size articulation today—and the competition’s not absolutely all that close.
Many barter reviewers are afraid—and I beggarly pants-wetting afraid—to aloof appear out and say that. I doubtable it’s because they’re afraid to aching anyone’s feelings. Not aloof Ford, GM, and their massive NFL-Sunday-truck-marketing machines, but Ford, Chevy, and GMC owners who bark like mad if anyone suggests their barter isn’t the best. Best of these awfully loyal owners, of course, accept never sat in the latest auto competitors, let abandoned apprenticed them. Yet they’ll appropriately advance abandoned rumors and bottomless nonsense about them. And reviewers, crazily, assume to booty their chat for it: Hey, every Ford buyer I allocution to tells me there’s annihilation like a Ford pickup. Oh, and they told me the Ram ain’t account shit. What a surprise.
Admit it: You’re starting to dig that new advanced end
I abhorrence to breach it to you, Denis Leary, but this new 2019 Ram 1500 is aloof apparent bigger than your Ford—or Chevy, Titan, or Tundra. It looks better. It’s every bit as able and capable. It’s got the best (and coolest) features. And both the autogenous and the ride-and-handling balance—two analytical apparatus of the modern, demi-luxury truck—are marvels that put this Ram over the top. I apperceive I’m falling for a analysis car aback I don’t appetite to accord it back, and that was absolutely the case with the Ram Limited Crew Cab 4×4 I collection —a chichi range-topper that accomplished about $65,000 with options.
Yes, the old Ram’s truck-stoppin’, big-rig grille was its architecture signature. But it was time for a change, and the new Ram looks great: modern, still affluence manly, but beneath over-the-top macho. It’s stronger, lighter, and added aerodynamic, too. The barter sheds about 225 pounds, admitting it’s still a ample at up to 5,200 pounds in V-8 Crew Cab guise. The Ram’s animate ladder anatomy absolutely gets sturdier and thicker breadth required, admitting the frame’s 100-pound weight reduction, with 98-percent high-strength animate architecture and class-unique “splayed” advanced balustrade that bigger assure cartage in front-end collisions.
Ram drives bendable but still works hard, including max towing accommodation of 12,750 pounds
Max burden accommodation rises to 2,300 pounds, with max towing of 12,750 pounds. Advanced and rear axles get six-lug connectors, up from five, and the rear cogwheel is bathed in agent coolant for a fast acceleration to operating temperature and to air-conditioned the animosity beneath abundant loads. Reworked alive grille shutters abate annoyance for bigger ammunition economy, and coil-spring models—versus those with the alternative four-corner air suspension—get a adaptable advanced air dam to do the same. Opt for that costly air ride setup—which no added half-ton barter offers—and the Ram hunkers bottomward automatically to allotment through the wind at speed. Ammunition abridgement rises to an official 15/21 mpg in burghal and artery for the 4×4, 5.7-liter Hemi-powered V-8 truck.
For adventuresome types, there’s the Ram 1500 Rebel. Hey, can we get a Hellcat V-8 in that?
That Hemi soldiers on with an banausic 395 application and 410 pound-feet of torque. But akin to a finely-tuned eight-speed ZF automated manual and a lightened truck, the V-8 hustled my Ram accomplished New York’s aflutter Uber armies and added different ditherers like they were continuing still. The Hemi sounds abundant as it barks through its bifold exhausts, and the engine’s about-face to fuel-saving four-cylinder operation is about undetectable, with cyberbanking accumulation dampers on the anatomy to allay accordance and alive babble abandoning in the cabin.
Don’t jump off that bridge, but this actuality Limited starts from about $58,000 in V-8 4×4 trim
Up front, the Ram’s retuned abeyance includes a blended high ascendancy arm. The antecedent Ram’s class-unique, coil-spring rear suspension—which already fabricated it the smoothest-riding half-ton truck—gets alike smoother, with new shock absorbers whose bypass valves acclimatize for appulse speeds. I about had to cackle over how creamily, and quietly, the Ram rode in every situation—including over the awful cobblestones on my Brooklyn street, which the Ram attenuated bigger than some affluence sedans I’ve driven. And the Ram Crew Cab’s four-inch amplitude additionally carves out the roomiest cab in the auto game, including a antic 45.1 inches of rear legroom that acme every full-size affluence sedan, including the BMW 7 Series and its 44.4 inches. Aback I best the Ram up from Newark airport, I plunked a huge roller bag on the rear-seat floor—not addled on its side, but asleep flat. Incredible.
Ram Limited’s knockout cabin: Are you abiding this is a truck?
Coincidentally, afterward a week-long test, I hopped actually beeline from the Ram’s cab into a 2019 Chevy Silverado. And it took about 300 yards to ability a verdict: The “all-new” Chevy, with its primitive, leaf-spring rear, collection like an old horse carriage—or aloof an old pickup— compared with the Ram. The Chevy clomped over bumps, produced annoying head-toss over bouncing surfaces, and boomed and jiggled over decidedly bashful pavement imperfections. Throwing a few hundred pounds in the Chevy’s bed bigger things, but that’s the point: The Ram rides beautifully whether burdened or unladen, and the closing circumstance—whether barter guys like it or not —is how best owners and families are application (or not using) their trucks. Mark my words: Over the aing 10 years, added half-ton barter makers will dump their blade springs for coils, dampers, and a multi-link design, because the Ram’s aggressive advantage (or their own chump complaints) will force their hand.
Of, if you prefer, the Laramie Longhorn with quarter-sawn, “barn wood” oak trim
The Ram’s alternative air abeyance is hardly a must, but it brings added advantages. It can acclimatize ride acme to akin a amount or trailer—another addition to steering, administration and safety— and acquiesce easier burden loading and commuter entry/exit. And, as mentioned above, it can additionally abate aerodynamic annoyance for bigger ammunition economy.
With my air-suspended Ram squatted bottomward for that easier climb, I entered a comfortable berth that auto mavens of 20 years ago would hardly recognize—or, in the case of this Ram’s dramatic, 12.0-inch UConnect infotainment screen, wouldn’t admit at all. (Even basal Rams get an 8.4-inch UConnect infotainment screen.) My barter included tooled, full-grain covering that recalled adorned cowboy boots; pinstriped “tuxedo” copse (there’s quarter-sawn oak “barn wood” for the Laramie Longhorn); bifold gloveboxes, and a 19-speaker, 900-watt Harman Kardon audio arrangement with aflame stainless-steel enclosures. Analog driver’s gauges are handsome and easy-to-read; their chronograph-style attending didn’t ability the Patek Philippe heights of earlier Aston Martins, but it’s still a acceptable presentation. A knurled-metal rotary manual punch is belted by four-wheel-drive controls, including an cyberbanking low-range setting, forth with hill-descent and axle-lock switches. I additionally accepted the Ram’s extra-large side-view mirrors with an chip deepening zone—one of about 50 agency the Ram kicked the Chevy’s ass, alike with the $56,000 Chevy Silverado I drove, whose crap-plastic autogenous wouldn’t canyon aggregation in a $20,000 Hyundai.
Ulrich’s new, spacious, and comfortable adaptable office
Oh, and don’t balloon the Ram’s crazy-large configurable centermost console, which swallowed my MacBook with abundant allowance larboard over for a change of clothes. Bristles USB ports are broadcast about, including four that add the new, ultra-fast USB-C connection. On one Indian summer day, the Ram became such a comfortable assignment breadth that I didn’t appetite to leave. I sat in The Drive’s Brooklyn parking lot forth New York Harbor—waiting, coincidentally, for that battling Chevy Silverado to appearance up—connected to the onboard wi-fi network, and acquainted my computer into the 115-volt, 400-amp outlet. Argument bulletin announcements accustomed on the Tesla-like, vertically-oriented screen, and the Ram displayed and/or accurate them out loud. The alone discharge was an figure that appropriate you could either “send a new argument bulletin with articulation recognition” or a predefined message—things like “stuck in traffic.” But aback I hit the “send a new message” icon, the Siri-like changeable articulation banned to let me do it, alms up alone the preset options.
Big roller bag fit collapsed in the Ram’s gigantic aback seat, which has added leg (or bag) allowance than a Mercedes S-Class
If the V-8 Ram does accept a anemic spot, it’s the appetite for unleaded, admitting the deactivation tech. (Hello, Hemi.) Aback I coasted every adventitious I get and kept speeds about 60 afar per hour, I absolutely managed to eke out 21 artery mpg, as per the EPA. But aback I collection the Ram with any appetite whatsoever, ammunition abridgement plummeted to as little as 12 mpg overall. I’m attractive advanced to active the Ram’s new eTorque powerplants, which accommodate a 48-volt electrical arrangement and powerful, belt-driven starter/alternator to bear a mild-hybrid jolt, forth with adorning braking and storage, application a baby lithium-ion battery. That blow equates to a 90-pound-foot torque addition on Pentastar V-6 Rams, and 130 pound-feet for V-8 models. That eTorque assemblage is a accepted calling agenda for those V-6-equipped Rams and a $1,450 advantage for Hemi V-8 models; it’s additionally accessible on the new Jeep Wrangler. With eTorque’s help, breadth for the V-6 Ram all-overs to a thrifty 20/25 mpg in two-wheel-drive trim, and 19/24 mpg with 4WD. The Hemi V-8 eTorque archetypal allotment 17/23 mpg with 2WD (a 2-mpg advance in burghal and artery against a accepted V-8) or 17/22 with 4WD. I’m analytical to see if one or both models can bear more-meaningful assets in real-world operation.
Ram’s Hemi V-8 brings 395 application and deactivation
And if the Ram is the arch avatar for an age of added deluxe, accustomed trucks—the auto as modern-day ancestors car—it additionally underlines that those families had bigger adore acceptable domiciliary incomes. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t alike aggravation with a approved cab model—those acceptable worker-bee specials with no aback bench but accessible extra-long beds for hoisting and carriage absolute cargo. For them, FCA will abide to advertise the previous-gen Ram with a approved cab. A rear-drive Tradesman V-6 cloister cab of the 2019 archetypal starts at a reasonable $33,390, but accepting a Ram V-8 agency spending at atomic $43,000. For my 1500 Limited 4×4, options from an off-road amalgamation to a bed tonneau awning kicked the amount to a exciting $64,640, from a abject of about $58,000. I’ve never apprenticed a auto that drives and acts added like a affluence car than this redesigned Ram. But the Ram additionally shows the amount of car-like affluence aback it’s jacked up to accurate auto heights.
Lawrence Ulrich, The Drive’s arch auto critic, is an award-winning auto announcer and above arch auto analyzer for The New York Times and Detroit Free Press. The Detroit built-in and Brooklyn gentrifier owns a afflicted ’93 Mazda RX-7 R1, but may appetite to accord it a acceptable home. Email him at Lawrence.firstname.lastname@example.org
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