It’s a pickup truck bonanza this week under the roof of Detroit’s Cobo Hall, where GM has introduced the new Chevy Silverado, Ford the new Ranger, and FCA the new Ram 1500.
You can tell the new Ram is new just by looking at it. Gone, for example, is the crosshair grille that carried over from when it was still a line in the Dodge portfolio, and the bodywork looks altogether more modern and muscular. But there’s a lot more going on with the new truck than some fresh sheetmetal.
To start with, it’s lighter than the model it replaces – nearly 225 pounds lighter, which means it can haul more and consume less fuel in the process. The new bodywork is also more aerodynamic, and even incorporates some adaptive aero in the form of a electrically deployable spoiler in the front bumper.
More fuel economy gains will come from under the bulging hood, where the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 now delivers 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 a solid 395 hp and 410 lb-ft. The bigger news is the arrival of an optional new eTorque system – FCA’s term for a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist, contributing an extra 90 lb-ft to the V6 and 130 lb-ft to the V8 (which also features a smoother cylinder deactivation system as well).
The engines come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Look for details on the EcoDiesel V6 (which Ford’s chasing with its new six-cylinder Power Stroke) to be detailed later. But for now, the 2019 Ram 1500 can haul up to 12,700 pounds on a trailer, or carry up to 2,300 pounds on its back. The brakes are bigger – the largest in the segment at 14.9 inches up front – and an electric parking brake come standard.
The interior is all new as well, with more space, better ergonomics, and upgraded equipment. Available infotainment screens measure up to 12 inches (separate from the 7-inch display in the instrument cluster). There’s more USB ports and power outlets, available onboard wifi, and all the safety systems you could ask for: 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-keeping assist… the works.
Of course, this being a full-size pickup, buyers will be able to choose between a staggering array of configurations and specs. There’ll be six trim levels, 12 exterior colors, 15 wheel designs, three cab styles, three bed lengths (which are longer than before). And you can rest assured that FCA has taken the opportunity to load the top trims with ever-more luxurious equipment, like real leather, wood, and metal trim.
The Rebel is back for the rock-crawling set with 33-inch tires, a lifted suspension with Bilstein shocks, and locking rear diff, and there’s a 4×4 Off-Road Package available for other trim levels as well. So whatever you might want to use your truck for, chances are you’ll be able to order a 2019 Ram 1500 just the way you want it, and enjoy all the improvements once you do.