2019 RAM 1500, Motor Trend “Truck of the Year”

Perhaps you noticed that the 2019 RAM 1500 looks a little different than its predecessor. That’s because engineers of the 2019 model have placed incredible emphasis on quality over quantity. Fine-tuned perfection of the platform seems to have paid off, considering Motor Trend recently named the model its pick for Truck of the Year.

“The newest version, more than any other, seems poised to meet the needs of the 21st century truck buyer, with more variety, capability, comfort, convenience and value than ever before,” said Motor Trend. “The 2019 RAM 1500’s clean-sheet redesign throws out many of the design cues we’ve come to expect from a RAM pickup—while still being unmistakably RAM.”

Powerplants Ready to Perform

First, under the hood. You didn’t think stellar looks alone landed it in the top spot, did you? Prospective truck buyers have the choice of a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, or the 5.7 HEMI V8. As of now, RAM hasn’t released its EcoDiesel for the 2019 RAM 1500, but there are rumors it will make a debut by the end of summer. In the meantime, that HEMI is producing 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, with the V6 holding its own at 305 horsepower and 296 lb-ft of torque.

New for the 2019 RAM 1500 is the use of a hybrid eTorque system which replaces the alternator with a motor/generator unit that can freed energy to a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack.
Eide Chrysler points out the new e-Torque system, standard on the V-6 and optional on the V-8.

Though we are familiar with the engines above, expect a dating period with the new mild-hybrid system, engineered to increase towing capacity. The eTorque system is standard on the base 3.6-liter V-6 and is also available for a small premium on the top-level 5.7-liter V-8. It’s designed to not only take a load off the engine while driving down the highway, but also improve the torque output. It does raise the peak output of the engine, but the goal is to level off for a flatter, more powerful curve to help overcome increased load when towing, which Motor Trend describes further:

“These mild-hybrid powerplants, dubbed eTorque, use small starter-generators and a tiny 0.43-kW-hr battery stashed in the rear wall of the cab to aid the stop/start system and provide torque assist to allow the engines to lug around at cruising speed in four-cylinder mode longer and without having to downshift. The base eTorque V-6 is a lot of engine for the money. It makes its torque higher in its rev band, but it makes good use of the power it has.”

For those owners seeking a little more bark with their bite, aftermarket titan MagnaFlow offers a new MF Series cat-back exhaust for the 2019 RAM 1500. Featuring a straight-through flow design constructed of mandrel bent 409 stainless steel, the system promises increased performance and a deep throaty exhaust note worthy of a V-8. Available in either a polished or black-coated finish, it adds bang for buck with a simple bolt-on installation and competitive warranty.

Haul It Away

Such upgrades in the engine bay have created positive effects in other areas. “The maximum towing capacity of the 2019 RAM 1500 is 12,750 lbs. That’s a whole lot more than the towing capacity of the 2018 RAM 1500, which topped off at 10,150 lbs.,” said Motor Trend.

The new RAM 1500 has shed some weight, too—about 200 pounds to be exact. Thanks to powertrain innovations, RAM was “freed from the obligation (and expense) of chasing maximum payload and towing capacities with all-aluminum construction,” added Motor Trend. This allowed the design team to instead adopt a new high-strength steel chassis that incorporates lighter metals, offering roughly 4.0 inches more in length and 17% less weight than its predecessor.

The maximum towing capacity of the 2019 RAM 1500 is 12,750 lbs.
Photo Cred: Eide Chrysler

However, RAM kept the standard coil-spring suspension of the previous model, adding frequency dampers for 2019. While this move places ride quality a notch above towing and payload capacity, Motor Trend points out that its Truck of the Year offers a four-corner air suspension upgrade. With five different ride heights available as well as load leveling, it gives “the best of both worlds when it comes to ride and performance.”

Fine-Tuned Perfection

Along with all that power and strength is a visible shift in the shape of the 1500 versus prior generations. Actually, science is behind such a redesign. The company has always utilized the wind tunnel, and that’s exactly what they did for this makeover. The 2019 RAM 1500 has a coefficient drag of 0.357. This puts it right in line with the late model Challengers and Chargers. Not bad. Not bad at all, RAM .

“Gone are the crosshair grilles, mini-Mack fenders, and even the traditional RAM badge in most places. Instead, the 1500 provides buyers a choice of seven grilles and three head- and tail-lamp designs. Its 15 wheel designs feature stronger six-bolt hubs, ranging from an off-road-friendly 18 inches to an urban cowboy 22-inch style,” said Motor Trend.

The body lines have been tweaked to complement the updated panels. Likewise, the taillights have undergone alteration, and buyers now have the choice of three different headlights. For this model year, the beloved crosshair grille has been ditched in favor of a newer, more modern one (seven consumer choices, to be exact). Though a disappointment to see the iconic fascia undergo such a transformation, the redesign is said to be, “Best-in-class: sophisticated without going over the top,” commented Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief, Ed Loh.

Trimmed to Size

The last generation of RAM 1500s was paired with more than 10 trim packages, an overwhelming number of features for any buyer to comb through. RAM trimmed the fat for 2019, with a total of six offerings: Tradesman, Limited Big Horn, Lonestar Laramie, Laramie, Longhorn, and the Rebel.

“We were particularly impressed by the level of fit and finish. Every trim, from the base Tradesman up to the Limited, furnishes at least one two-tone cabin treatment, injecting a bit of personality and style into the cabin at any price point,” commented Motor Trend.

As for truck bed lengths, consumers can choose from 5.7 and 6.4 foot. RAM carried over its innovative cargo management system, featuring lockable storage compartments built into the side of the bed. Great for stowing small cargo and emergency supplies, they’re also illuminated. Obviously, those with the organization system have a slightly narrower bed, which is a modest sacrifice to make in the name of organization, don’t you think? As an added bonus, RAM also features its clever RamBins hidden underneath the rear floormats, great for stowing everything from hitch receivers and ratchet straps to ice cold drinks (they’re drainable) and garbage (they’re also removable).

RAM carried over its innovative cargo management system, featuring lockable storage compartments built into the side of the bed. Great for stowing small cargo and emergency supplies, they're also illuminated.
The Lone Star RAM dealership highlights the unique cargo management system in the new 2019 RAM 1500.

For those of you who are really gettin’ down with the Marie Kondo method this new year and seek EVEN MORE organization, check out UnderCover’s SwingCase storage bin for the 2019 RAM 1500. Constructed of lightweight, high-impact, ABS plastic, the SwingCase does precisely what its name implies. Swinging in and out of the way for easy access, it offers weather-resistant, lockable and removable storage that requires only a simple, one-tool installation.

Interior Improvements

The RAM 1500 has long been synonymous with heavy-duty capabilities and for years, the aftermarket has catered to this reputation. Companies like Curt Manufacturing develop towing accessories that ensure RAM trucks can transition seamlessly from job site to campsite, offering products like powerful brake controllers for smooth, controlled stops, weight distribution hitches for heavy-duty loading, and sway control units for safe driving. Meanwhile, others like TigerTough understand that dirty jobs require dependable protection. The company’s durable seat covers are designed to stand up to industrial wear-and-tear, preserving the truck’s interior—and resale value.

And speaking of interiors, thanks to its dramatic overhaul, the inside of the 2019 RAM 1500 has vastly improved as well. RAM is still renowned as a work truck but make no mistake, the new top trim level makes you feel as if you’re stepping into something far classier than a traditional rig. Comfortable leather seating, impressive LCD displays, and upgraded sound systems round out some of the many interior upgrades.

“When it comes to technology, RAM provides three versions of its Uconnect infotainment system, including a choice of an 8.4-inch or Tesla-like 12.0-inch touchscreen. The center stack layout is a combination of Volvo (screen), Audi (switches), and Jaguar (rotary shifter). The clever center console (phone charger/pocket, sliding bins, and side pockets) is something Honda would do. RAM has done its homework on picking the benchmarks for both design and packaging,” said Motor Trend.

Bold is Beautiful

The 2019 RAM 1500 is different alright, and the redesign might take some getting used to, but new features like the bigger cab and more powerful engine options are sure to keep badge loyalists eyeing an upgrade. With ample performance, comfort, and good looks—the new RAM 1500 heads straight to the front of the class. And thanks to a vibrant aftermarket, it’ll stay there.

Remember to check The Engine Block often for news and updates about other 2019 RAM 1500 accessories from some of your favorite brands!

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