When it comes to full sized pickup trucks, it feels like the big three (sometimes four if we’re counting Toyota too) carmakers are just kids constantly playing a game of leapfrog. As soon as the newest F-150 comes out, sure enough there is a brand new Silverado, and possibly Tundra on its heels sporting just a liiiiiittle better gas mileage, a liiiiiittle more towing capacity and a liiiiiittle more attitude. Then after the Silverado, sure as death and taxes, comes a new Ram right behind the Chevy, with seemingly slightly better features and numbers all around. Then after only a few months or a year a most, there it is … another newer, better, F-150 and so on and so on …
For those of us that enjoy cars and trucks, this perpetual carousel of endless improvements is more fun than skipping school to go to the movies. And for 2019, the newest Ram on the block not only bests its 2018 self, but also sets the bar pretty high for the next company to try and leapfrog. The 2019 Ram continues to elicit comfortable confusion, as its sedan quality ride continues to be one of its biggest trademarks. But “soft” is only a word you’ll be using on the inside of this pickup, as the exterior gets a bolder grille and more aggressively styled front fenders, not to mention the “Ram” logo that looks like it is about to tattoo any middling hybrid that refuses to get off its battery pack.
The Ram gets a brand new frame that is almost entirely (98% technically) high-grade steel that also uses a front splayed rail setup to help it more effectively distribute forces during a crash. Extensive use of aluminum can be seen in the tailgate, steering gears, front suspension and transmission crossmember, as well as the front axle center section and engine mounts. That aluminum helps shave off 225 pounds from the previous model year, yet somehow the new truck is able to offer three different wheelbase lengths of either 140.5, 144.5 or 153.5 inches, the last couple are actually four inches longer than the 2018 Ram.
Under the hood, the standard motor is a very solid 3.6-liter V6 that produces a respectable 305-horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. An eTorque hybrid system is also on board, which helps twist up to 90 extra pound-feet of torque at launch. While currently unavailable, we can expect to see a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that produces a that’s-more-like-it 395-horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, and also gets the eTorque hookup, good for an additional 130 pound-feet at launch. All of that power and torque gets funneled through your choice of transmission, so long as you choose a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic.
There will be seven trims to choose from: Limited, Longhorn, Laramie, Big Horn, HFE, Tradesman, and Rebel. There will be a four-wheel drive off-roading package available to any trim and offers up a 1-inch lift kit, skid plates, off-road shocks, off-road biased rear suspension, electronically locking rear differential, 32-inch tires with a choice of 18 or 20-inch rims, and hill-descent control.
Inside the cabin the new Ram will offer up a host of fun driver and safety tech. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, ready-alert braking, and forward collision warning all help the driver stay the course, while the 12-inch touchscreen infotainment screen maintains all the fun inside. There is also an optional wireless charging pad as well as five USB ports (three up front and two in back) as well as a 900-watt Harmon Kardon sound system. Not bad for a full-sized work truck.
In fact the only real downside to the newest Ram in the lineup is that its base price of $31,695 is about four grand higher to start than its predecessor. But then, that’s the price of progress, and while we will enjoy this Ram for a little while, it sure will be interesting to see how Ford responds, and then Chevy, and then Toyota … Let the games begin! Again!