Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
We had an impeccable experience with the Ram Brand in Phoenix, Arizona recently for their national press launch of the talented 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck. Built from more high-strength steel than Superman himself the latest Ram workhorse has been fortified with a 12,750-pound trailer tow capacity and 2,300-pound payload capability from a newfangled body that is longer, stronger, tougher, lighter, wider, and far more accomplished.
The backdrop for our test drive was the dry lands of Arizona where Ram allowed us to off-road through sand, mud and ruts, and tow trailers while enjoying the sedan like amenities of the enlarged and luxurious cockpit. There are so many new features bestowed upon this vehicle that it’s challenging trying to summarize with so few words for a truck that is already the most menacing and good-looking in my opinion. No other rival comes close to the dominance of the Ram’s grille and fascia which represents power and dominion. Some of the notable highlights of the 2019 Ram include new eTorque systems, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning plus, blind spot monitoring, 4×4 Off-road Package with a suspension lift of 1”, crash stoppers behind the front wheels, LaneSense lane departure warning-plus, and adaptive cruise control with stop, go, and hold. But there is more including two powerful engines with greater efficiency, a new 4-corner air suspension system with load-leveling detection and manual lowering capability, and the carryover coil spring rear suspension from the previous model which is attributed to the truck’s enjoyable ride quality.
The exterior proportions are pretty much the same as the prior generation including the vertical front-end, minimal overhangs, and big rig face. With stellar design language Ram simply enhanced it a bit opposed to a radical undertaking. The round exhaust tips are a Ram fan favorite and have been increased in size, pivoting corner steps release from under the rear bumper, the new aluminum tailgate is light and easy to operate thanks to lift assist, the famed RamBox includes deeper bins, and the deployable step assist bars aid your entry into the 4” longer cabin. Yet, I like stationary bars/running boards because they help define the profile of the truck. Mopar will take care of that need through the Mopar Custom Shop in addition to 200-plus accessories created for enhancement of your 2019 Ram 1500. More importantly owners will be able to highly individualize their Ram 1500 from 16 factory wheel choices ranging from 18” to 22” (now 6-lugs) and 12 exterior colors with four representing all-new hues.
Power comes from the either the enhanced aluminum Pentastar V6 with 305-horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque or the honored 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 395-horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque which is enriched with Ram’s Fuel Saver Technology. I know it’s tough trying to be tough in a V6 but with today’s driving scenarios where a truck can actually be your main vehicle of choice attaining the best mileage as possible is the key goal. Each engine receives a special version of the electronic TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission that uses the rotary e-shifter dial which I’m still getting use to. Nevertheless, highway cruising felt as calm as if I were piloting a luxury SUV. But when it was time to put the truck to work in 4WD low it handled rough terrain with ease and ripped through sand like snakes due in part to the added traction from the electronic-locking rear differential. Hill-decent control, off-road-calibrated shocks, and skid plates are also part of the aggressive 4×4 Off-road Package (standard on Rebel). Additionally, each engine is upgraded with the company’s eTorque mild hybrid technology which increases fuel economy through quicker starts and offers small power gains from brake energy regeneration to name a few. Stopping power starts with large 14.9” front brake rotors.
Inside, the 2019 Ram 1500 impresses even more with technological revisions (focuses on storage, function, and technology) that include the elongated 12” Uconnect infotainment system (4th generation) with both capacitive touch and large, redundant knobs, 360-degree surround view cameras, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system with striking stainless steel grilles. Uconnect is third on our list of infotainment systems behind BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI but number one when you compare it to the competitor pickup trucks. We could tap into Uconnect’s WiFi, sync up with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, remotely start or lock the vehicle with the Uconnect smartphone app, and much more. The new Ram also has two 8.4” multi-media options if you don’t want the look of the bigger screen.
Open pore woods, stitched leathers, a smartphone charge pad, phone slots and holders within the center console and atop the dash, integrated door cup-holders, and a multitude of USB connections including the new and faster USB-c ports elevate the comforts of your Ram truck. The 1500 also offers a dual pane sunroof, new HVAC system, new seats that are lighter with more comfort and function, reclining rear seats with storage underneath, a flat-loading rear floor, and two in-floor RamBins for storing things such as wrenches and drills. In fact, I wanted to ride in the back more than in the front because it was so roomy!
The 2019 light duty workaholic ships later this month starting at $31,695 ($1,645 destination fee) for a Ram Tradesman and can make its way up to $57,390 for a Limited Crew Cab 4×4 V8 with the standard 12” Uconnect touchscreen. You also have your choice of the Big Horn, Laramie, Longhorn, and the new Rebel which is now available with a Quad Cab. “In launching the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, we knew it was important to offer class-leading features and technology. But it’s also important to offer our great product at a competitive price,” said Mike Manley, Head of Ram Truck Brand – FCA. “We feel that we’ve delivered the right no-compromise mix that Ram Truck customers will appreciate.”