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2019 Ram 1500: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2019

The 2019 Ram 1500 represents a stem-to-stern redesign for this full-size pickup that brings with it increased capability, improved fuel economy, greater refinement and a features list that can't be beat. It builds upon its smooth-riding, well-rounded predecessor, while adding plenty of new, impressive elements: from the most basic Tradesman work truck and its standard eTorque mild-hybrid V6 powertrain, to the range-topping Limited interior that deserves the title "luxury truck" more than anything previous. Is it the best pickup you can buy? It's certainly racking up the awards to indicate that, and we certainly wouldn't argue.

What's New for 2019?

The Ram 1500 was completely redesigned for 2019. It will be sold alongside its predecessor for another year, however. The old one is designated by the name Ram 1500 Classic. See the 2019 Ram 1500 models for sale near you

Read more about what's new for the 2019 Ram.

What We Like

Class-leading ride; class-leading interior quality and feature content; user-friendly infotainment; extra-comfy Crew Cab back seat

What We Don't

Competitors offer more powerful engines and a greater variety of them

How Much?

$31,795-$56,895

Fuel Economy

The standard engine on every 2019 Ram 1500 is a 3.6-liter V6 (305 horsepower, 269 lb-ft of torque) aided by a 48-volt mild hybrid system known as eTorque. This adds a small amount of electricity when accelerating and aids the automatic stop/start system. Both elements help save fuel. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard. Fuel economy with rear-wheel drive (RWD) is estimated to be 20 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. Four-wheel drive (4WD) yields 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

There are two optional powertrains. One consists of a 5.7-liter V8 good for 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, while the second adds the eTorque system for comparable gains in performance and fuel economy. Without eTorque, a RWD V8 achieves 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined. With eTorque, it raises considerably to 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined. Again, 4WD lowers both figures.

Standard Features & Options

The Ram 1500 is available in seven trim levels: Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited. There are also "Classic" trim levels. These are the previous-generation Ram that will continue to be sold this year. For the sake of clarity, we do not discuss it here, but our review from last year should be helpful.

All but the two top trim levels come standard with a Quad Cab and 6-foot-4-inch bed (a Regular Cab will be available eventually). A Crew Cab available with that bed or a shorter 5-foot-7-inch bed is available on most trims.

Standard equipment on the Tradesman ($27,395) includes 18-in steel wheels (alloys optional), rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, heated power mirrors, power locks and windows, a backup camera, air conditioning, cruise control, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat (no driver height adjustment), a full-width rear bench seat, vinyl upholstery (cloth optional), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, three USB ports, an auxiliary audio jack and a 5-in touchscreen. Some of this equipment will be optional on the eventual Regular Cab model.

The Big Horn ($36,040), or the Lone Star as it's known in Texas and some surrounding states, adds upgraded exterior and interior trim, 18-in alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a rear center armrest, manual sliding rear window and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The big difference with the Big Horn is the immensity of available options. The most notable of these is the H1 Equipment package that includes an 8-way power driver seat, power-adjustable pedals, a rear window defroster, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded gauges, satellite radio, a CD player, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the 8.4-in touchscreen and a premium audio system. The H2 Equipment package adds front and rear parking sensors, reverse automatic emergency braking, remote ignition, heated front seats and steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, two rear USB ports, two household-style power outlets, a fully damped tailgate, upgraded gauges, and power-sliding rear window. Some of the upper trim levels' added features are also available.

The Rebel ($44,940) gets unique suspension and styling, off-road bumpers, LED headlights, and a variety of off-road-oriented items that are mostly available as options on other trim levels (an electronic locking differential, all-terrain tires, skid plates, tow hooks and hill-descent control). Its X1 and X2 Equipment packages are broadly similar to the H1 and H2.

The Laramie ($39,940) is the first of the three luxury-oriented trim levels. It includes over the Big Horn LED headlights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, unique interior color schemes, proximity entry, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats (bench remains standard, but bucket seats are available), an 8-way power passenger seat, a 60/40-split reclining rear bench and interior material upgrades. Most of the H1 and H2 package equipment is also standard.

The Longhorn ($50,640) features special ranch-inspired styling flourishes, especially in the cabin. It also adds to the Laramie equipment 20-in wheels, upgraded headlights, automatic high beams, side steps, a power tailgate release, heated and ventilated front bucket seats, real wood trim and a CD player. Most of the Longhorn's feature upgrades are available on the Laramie.

The Limited ($53,240) gets its own brand of fancy styling and interior trim, plus the air suspension that's optional on all other trims. Beyond that, it really only adds power-operated running boards and blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert (optional on all but two bottom trims).

There are a number of options available on the top three trims available in various packages. These include the 12-in vertically oriented touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, integrated navigation, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, a surround-view parking camera and automatic parking assistance. The Longhorn and Limited can be upgraded with ventilated rear seats.

Regular or dual-pane sunroofs are stand-alone options on all but the Tradesman. The RamBox bed storage is optional on all.

Safety

Standard equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability and trailer sway control, a backup camera and six airbags (front, front-side and side-curtain). Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on Limited, and optional on all but the Tradesman. Forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist are optional on the Laramie, the Longhorn and the Limited.

The non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Crew Cab the best-possible crash worthiness and prevention scores. The Extended Cab, at the time of this writing, got the best-possible ratings in the moderate front overlap and side crash tests.

Behind the Wheel

The previous Ram redefined what it meant to "drive like a truck," and the 2019 only pushes that bar higher -- the new 1500 is just so civilized and confidence-inspiring. True, it's not as if its competitors are agricultural, but there is nevertheless a greater sense of control, comfort and civility with the Ram. As before, the 1500 stands out with a 5-link coil-spring rear suspension that greatly benefits ride comfort, handling and trailer control by more precisely controlling the rear end than is possible with leaf springs and a solid rear axle (which every other truck has). The available air suspension also returns, including its ability to rise to clear obstacles and lower to aid loading.

The Ram's engines are perhaps its least impressive element. They get the job done and the eTorque system is innovative, but rival trucks essentially match its fuel economy while offering a greater variety of powertrains, including those that are more powerful. Not a weak spot necessary, but others can be better.

Inside, though, the Ram knocks it out of the park. From the most basic Tradesman to the ritziest Limited, it boasts attractive style, innovative storage and abundant feature content. USB ports are everywhere, the 8.4-in touchscreen is huge and easy to use and the 12-in vertically oriented screen is even better. In terms of space, the Crew Cab's back seat is enormous, plus it reclines, it can be heated, and uniquely, ventilated as well. Plus, thanks to distinctive color schemes and trim types for the different trim levels, you have a greater chance of getting a truck that matches your taste.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Ford F-150: Recent updates, impressive engines and an inherent goodness make the F-150 the Ram's toughest competitor. Read more about how they compare.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra: Also all-new for 2019, GM's twins improve upon their predecessors but don't match the Ram's innovations, ride or interior quality.

New Ram 1500 Classic or a Used Ram 1500: These are basically the same truck, and depending on the deal, considering one is a good idea. The outgoing Ram was still a great choice.

Autotrader's Advice

Most will be best-served by the Big Horn/Lone Star, which is available in the widest range of features and price. The top three "L" trims are the luxury models and their extras are hardly essential apart from perhaps the accident avoidance tech. Find a Ram 1500 for sale

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New 2019 RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab Laramie
New 2019 RAM 1500
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New 2019 RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab Laramie
New 2019 RAM 1500
MSRP $58,990
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New 2019 RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab
New 2019 RAM 1500
MSRP $50,210
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New 2019 RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab
New 2019 RAM 1500
MSRP $49,915
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 Ram 1500: New Car Review - Autotrader