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2018 vs. 2019 Ram 1500: What’s the Difference?

As the pickup truck wars rage on, one of the new trucks that’s getting a lot of attention is the all-new 2019 Ram. The previous-generation Ram pickup was getting pretty long-in-the-tooth, being mostly unchanged since the 2009 model year making it a little older than the Ram brand itself. The new fifth-gen Ram is a clean-sheet design that is ready to take the fight straight to Ford and GM.

Let’s take a look at what’s different and what’s similar between the 2018 and 2019 Ram 1500.

Exterior

From every angle, it’s obvious that the Ram is all-new for 2019. It’s become a bit more refined and sophisticated in its image. While the 2018 model has big, swooping lines and a front grille reminiscent of a big rig, the new 2019 truck has straighter lines and an overall classier aesthetic that still looks rugged.

With both model years, the look of the truck can change a lot depending on the trim. They both have multiple front ends ranging from the simple Tradesman to the rugged Rebel to the luxurious Limited with several in between with their own unique identity.

Overall, we think the new Ram 1500 is a better-looking truck than the 2018 model, which is starting to look a bit dated. The new truck’s look is a much-needed makeover, and we think Ram got it right.

Interior

The differences on the inside of the 2019 Ram are about as major as the differences on the outside when compared to the 2018 model. The 2018 Ram has a pretty basic truck interior with a boxy design that’s functional with plenty of interior space. The 2019 Ram, however, is a big upgrade with a new, more modern interior design that continues the more upscale look of the truck.

The interior space of the 4-door crew cab got bigger with the 2019 upgrade, and the Ram 1500 now has best-in-class back-seat space. Occupants also sit a little bit lower, giving everyone more headroom and making it a little easier to get in and out.

In both model years, the Ram 1500 can range from a bare-bones work truck up to an expensive, well-appointed luxury vehicle or anything in between. In the 2019 model, the back seats can even recline in the higher trims.

The 2019 Ram has some clever interior storage solutions like under-seat storage in the back, a rear flat-load floor, a reconfigurable center console and Ram bins, which are in-floor storage bins that are nice for carrying things like jumper cables and trailer hitches.

Like the exterior, we think the interior is a big improvement in the 2019 Ram 1500 with more space, more storage and a more modern design.

Mechanicals and Capability

As of this writing, there isn’t a diesel engine available in the 2019 Ram, but some variation of the EcoDiesel V6 available in the 2018 model is expected to come to the new fifth-generation truck sometime in 2019. As for the gas engines, the 2019 Ram brings something interesting to the table.

2018 Ram 1500 Engines

  • 3.6-liter Pentastar V6; 305 horsepower, 269 lb-ft of torque; 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway; max towing: 7,670 pounds

  • 5.7-liter Hemi V8; 395 hp, 410 lb-ft of torque; 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy; max towing: 10,760 pounds

  • 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6; 240 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque; 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy; max towing: 9,350 pounds

2019 Ram 1500 Engines

  • 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 w/ eTorque; 305 hp, 269 lb-ft of torque; 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy; max towing: 7,730 pounds

  • 5.7-liter Hemi V8; 395 hp, 410 lb-ft of torque; 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy; max towing: 11,610 pounds

  • 5.7-liter Hemi V8 w/ eTorque; 395 hp, 410 lb-ft of torque; 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy; max towing: 12,750 pounds

The same basic V6 and V8 in the 2018 Ram are carried over to the 2019 model, but with some important revisions. eTorque is a new mild hybrid system that replaces a traditional alternator with a battery-powered motor generator that improves both capability and fuel economy as you can see in the numbers above. The eTorque system is a great way to improve your truck’s performance without compromise.

Naturally, both trucks are available with 4-wheel drive for better off-road performance.

The Ram 1500 takes two good, proven engines and makes them even better with the clever new eTorque mild hybrid system. We wouldn’t be surprised to see competitors come out with something similar in the future.

Technology

The 2018 and the 2019 Ram are both available with similar Uconnect infotainment systems, but only the 2019 model is available with the massive 12-inch Uconnect system. This is the largest touchscreen in its class, and it has a customizable home screen with split-screen capability, allowing you to use that huge screen to do multiple functions at once. The whole screen can be used as a navigation screen, making getting where you’re going clearer than ever.

Both trucks are available with Apple CarPlay integration, but unfortunately, there’s no Android Auto available. The 2019 truck has an abundance of USB and USB-C ports to make sure everyone is connected at all times, and it also has active noise cancellation, so you can enjoy a nice, quiet ride.

The 2018 Ram 1500 is seriously lacking in driver-assistance safety tech. It’s not available with blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, autonomous emergency braking or any other drive-assistance tech that’s becoming very common.

Luckily, the 2019 Ram 1500 remedies that. The all-new truck is available with blind spot monitoring with rear cross-path and even trailer detection, which automatically senses and accounts for the length of your trailer. It’s also available with lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, a parking-guidance system and a 360-degree camera. When it comes to safety tech, the 2019 Ram beats the 2018 model by a wide margin.

Overall, the new 2019 Ram is a much more tech-savvy truck than the outgoing 2018 Ram.

Pricing

The many upgrades of the 2019 Ram are reflected in the pricing. The 2018 Ram starts at a pretty affordable MSRP of $27,295, while the 2019 model starts at $31,795. That makes it the only full-size pickup in the 2019 model year that starts above the $30,000 mark. One of the reasons for the price increase is the fact that the 2019 Ram isn’t available with a regular cab, 2-seat configuration, and it is only available with a quad cab or a bigger crew cab.

As you work your way up the model range, the pricing is actually very similar between the 2018 and 2019 models when configured with the same-size cab and box. Some 2019 trims, including the Laramie, the Rebel and even the top-of-the-line Limited, are actually more affordable than their 2018 counterparts.

Since pricing is nearly equal when similarly configured, the 2019 Ram is a better value than the 2018 model, but the 2018 truck still offers a strong value on the low end if all you need is a regular cab workhorse.

Conclusion

The 2019 Ram 1500 is hands down a better truck than the outgoing 2018 model. The fourth-gen Ram was starting to show its age, and Ram did an excellent job making it more modern inside and out and under the hood. With a classy new look, advanced technology, a roomier cabin and a new mild hybrid system available, the 2019 Ram is more competitive than ever.

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