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2019 1500

All-new for the latest model year, the Ram 1500 is a well-sorted full-size pickup with bold styling and a refined interior. Along with a surprisingly accommodating ride, it boasts punchy engines (including an available mild hybrid powertrain) and user-friendly tech features.

Looking the part

When it was still part of Dodge, Ram revolutionized the truck segment in 1994 with its redesigned 1500 model. That truck ushered in unique styling that mimicked the look of a big-rig semi and put the brand on the map. The company has stuck with that same general design ever since.

The 2019 Ram 1500 retains some of that semi influence but it's been watered down a little. It's subtler and not as easily recognizable, which is good or bad depending on your perspective.

Life aboard

Despite what its muscular sheet metal suggests, the Ram 1500 is really a big softie. A powerful, highly capable softie, but a softie nonetheless. The materials used feel premium, even in the entry-level Tradesman model, and the range-topping variants feature real wood accents and genuine leather upholstery on the seats, the door panels, and the dashboard.

Ram has also upped the 1500's tech quotient. Top-end variants benefit from a Tesla-like 12-inch touch screen embedded in the dashboard. 4G Wi-Fi connectivity, five USB ports, plus available heated and cooled rear seats keep passengers happy on long road trips.

Another highlight is space, both for people and stuff. Ram added four inches to the Crew Cab's cabin. The extra sheet metal clears up more space for the passengers sitting in the second row. Up front, there's a massive center console big enough to swallow a 15-inch laptop.

Under the hood

Like we mentioned above, Ram offers a mild hybrid system named eTorque. It's offered on both the six- and the eight-cylinder engine. It consists of a belt-starter generator fed by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery. It can't power the truck on its own, but it provides an acceleration boost and helps keep fuel economy in check. It's the only system of its kind in the truck segment.

The standard engine is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 equipped with the eTorque system. It delivers 305 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 269 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The six-cylinder can tow up to 7,590 pounds.

Next up is, of course, a V8. The 5.7-liter Hemi ups the ante with 395 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 410 pound-feet of torque at 3,950 rpm. Its maximum towing capacity checks in at 11,690 pounds.

Finally, Ram offers an electrified version of the 5.7-liter Hemi with its eTorque system. It doesn't improve horsepower or peak torque but it delivers 130 pound-feet of torque at launch, helping the Ram get up to speed faster. Combining Hemi and eTorque gives the truck a maximum towing capacity of 12,750 pounds.

Every variant regardless of engine comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost. The exception to the rule is the off-road-focused Rebel model, which Ram only offers with four-wheel drive.

The turbodiesel-powered 1500 will return later in the production run.

Trim level breakdown

Ram offers the 1500 in six trim levels named Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Rebel, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited, respectively. Buyers can choose between a Quad Cab model with a 6'4” box or a Crew Cab model whose box stretches either 5'7” or 6'4”. Note these body styles aren't offered on every trim; the limited isn't offered as a Quad Cab, for example.

The Trademan's list of standard features includes the 3.6-liter engine, 18-inch steel wheels, a five-inch display in the dashboard, and vinyl upholstery. It's an unabashedly basic, work-focused truck. Moving up in the trim hierarchy adds more standard features. The mid-range Laramie offers the Hemi V8, leather upholstery, an 8.4-inch display for the infotainment system, a CD player, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, tinted windows, and alloy wheels.

Options include a hitch, a larger fuel tank, an engine block heater, alloy wheels, off-road tires, and power running boards. Buyers also have several option packages to choose from. Some give the truck a sportier look, some add more chrome, while others bundle electronic driving aids like automatic high beams and a blind spot monitoring system.

Occupant safety

Every 1500 regardless of trim level comes standard with dual front, side, and curtain airbags in addition to stability and traction control systems.

Parking sensors on both ends, a blind spot detection system with cross traffic alert, trailer sway damping, a surround-view camera, collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning are available either on upmarket trims or on the list of options.

Key Competitors

Rivals to Ram 1500 include the rugged Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the Ford F-150, which has been the best-selling vehicle in America for decades. The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan are also worthy competitors, and both are built in United States.