The folks at Ram finally pulled the covers off the 2019 Ram 1500 at this year’s winter truckfest, also known as the Detroit auto show. The new pickup sheds 225 pounds, gets a logo redesign, an eTorque mild-hybrid boost and massive front brakes. The weight loss is mainly thanks to an increase in high-strength steel in the frame and body, plus the use of aluminum in the tailgate, the engine mounts and the front axle center section, among other components.
Under the hood, base Ram 1500 pickups will use a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 for oomph, which churns out 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of twist. The V6 will come standard with Ram’s new eTorque mild-hybrid tech — the system ditches a conventional starter and alternator and puts a 48-volt motor on the accessory drive. The motor is responsible for starting the engine, providing some extra torque when necessary and charging the truck. It also enables start/stop, which might help save some gas, especially if your truck sees mostly city use.
You can still get a Hemi with or without the mild-hybrid system: The 5.7-liter Hemi makes 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of twist, but Ram says it can get a 130 lb-ft boost with the eTorque motor. Both engines come standard with an upgraded eight-speed automatic transmission that has more than 40 shift maps. That means the truck’s computer can better plan for the situations thrown its way. For the four-wheel-drive trucks, there is also an upgraded transfer case.
Helping make the most of its power, the 2019 Ram was styled with aerodynamics in mind. The new sheetmetal is rated at a 0.357 coefficient of drag, which is about as aerodynamic as a 2004 Ford Focus. The Ram also uses some active aero by way of grille shutters and an air splitter at the truck’s nose.
Responsible for slowing the truck down is a pair of massive 14.9-inch front rotors helping the rear brakes do their thing. The rotors are big enough that the smallest wheel available for 2019 is an 18-incher. There’s also an electronic parking brake instead of a mechanical brake. The power steering is also electrically assisted.
Inside the truck’s cabin, you might find the massive 12-inch touchscreen display if you spring for it — the standard-issue touchscreen is only 8.4 inches. There’s also an optional 900-watt stereo system, 360-degree view camera and five standard USB ports. Add that to the optional adaptive cruise control, with “Stop, Go and Hold,” forward collision mitigation and a lane departure system and you might as well sell your luxury sedan.
Though this Ram is as posh as it’s ever been, it still can do truck stuff. You can throw about 2,300 pounds worth of junk in the bed or haul 12,700 pounds behind you. If you need more space, the interior’s RamBins are 5.5 inches longer, which might help you if you have to take this thing out camping.
Hoping to keep the cab as quiet and luxurious as possible, Ram engineers added side-frame-mounted active-tuned mass modules. What that means is there are a couple of electronically controlled shake weights to help counteract vibrations from the road. There is also active noise canceling available for Hemi owners because every truck needs to be Mercedes-Benz quiet. With that in mind, you can also opt for the self-leveling air suspension.
As far as trims go, Ram will offer its 1500 in Tradesman, Bighorn, Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited. The farther up that list, except for the youth-spirited Rebel, the more luxe the truck will be.
The new Ram 1500 will start rolling into dealerships later this year, with pricing to come closer to that time. But, knowing what we know about pickups, it’s safe to say that the base pickup won’t be too much more expensive than the current model. However, the extra options, better materials used in the higher trims and added features might inspire a price hike for loaded rigs.