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Video review: 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4

by Drew Johnson

The Ram 1500 Longhorn is a luxury car masquerading as a truck.

Luxury automakers have abandoned the pickup truck segment -- at least here in the United States where we don't get the Mercedes X-Class -- but the concept of a luxury pickup truck is still alive and well thanks to Ram.

In fact, Ram builds two luxury pickup truck models -- the city slicker Limited and the western themed Longhorn. For the purpose of our evaluation, we decided to order up the latter.

What is it?

Longhorn is a luxury trim offered on several different models within the Ram lineup. Our particular test model was based on Ram's all-new 1500 light duty pickup truck -- the Crew Cab 4x4, to be precise.

What's it up against?

The Ram 1500 Longhorn goes head-to-head with other luxury trucks from mainstream brands. Ford actually offers a few different Longhorn-competing trims on its F-150 -- the King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. From General Motors, there's the GMC Sierra Denali and the Chevrolet Silverado High Country.

On the import side, Toyota offers the Tundra Platinum and 1794 Edition. If you want a luxury truck from Nissan, there's the Titan Platinum Reserve.

What's it look like?

Like all Ram 1500 models, the Longhorn is a handsome and modern design. The Longhorn's front end design has a certainly sleekness to it thanks to headlights that are incorporated into the grille design. A powerdome hood adds a bit of muscle while an all-chrome bumper adds a dash of class.

Obviously pickup truck designers are limited with what they can do with the rest of a truck, but a smattering of chrome on the door handles, around the windows and on the rear bumper help to brighten things up.

The look of the new Ram 1500 is growing on us, be we still wish the design was a little bolder. Elements of the semi-truck look that debuted in 1994 are still there, but we'd like to see Ram drum them up a bit more for this generation of the light duty truck.

And on the inside?

Step inside the Ram 1500 Longhorn and you'll find little to complain about. The materials are first rate with leather, metal and real wood covering virtually every surface. And the overall design is just as good with pleasing shapes, a giant touchscreen in the dash and tons of storage.

Space and comfort inside the Longhorn are also up to luxury standards. Not only are the front seats extremely spacious, but there's enough room in the back seat to really stretch out. And our truck's optional panoramic sunroof managed to make the Longhorn's cabin feel even more spacious.

There's also a lot of nice attention to detail. For example, instead of just using contrasting stitching on the dashboard, Ram also used a strip of contrasting leather. And the Longhorn badge on the dash isn't some stick on plastic piece, but an honest to goodness branding in the wood.

Though excellent overall, we did find a couple of nits to pick. Our tester lacked a power-adjustable steering wheel and a 360 degree camera. An around view camera is actually included with the safety pack, but our truck's towing mirrors are not available with that tech.

But does it go?

Ram now offers a mild hybrid system across its Ram 1500 line, but our test unit was equipped with the standard 5.7L V8. Though not as high-tech as some of the competition, the HEMI V8 is still a solid workhorse with 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. All 1500 models use an eight-speed automatic transmission and our test truck was equipped with a part-time four-wheel drive system.

Power is good throughout the rev range, resulting in snappy acceleration. The HEMI even lets out a pleasing V8 rumble when you stomp on the gas. Fuel economy isn't quite so pleasing, however -- during our week of city driving, we only averaged about 10mpg.

Even though the V8 has a nice rumble, the Longhorn's cabin is vault quiet at cruising speeds; we were delightfully surprised by how little noise the panoramic roof let in.

Ride comfort is also a Longhorn strong suit. The optional air suspension fitted to our truck did an excellent job of smoothing out the roadway. Handling is about what you'd expect from a big truck, but the air suspension helped to keep things relatively flat.

Another benefit of the air suspension is a load mode that can conveniently be operated from outside of the truck. With the push of a button on the key fob, the truck will lower to its lowest setting, allowing for easier loading of the bed or cabin.

Our test truck came with a lot of nice driver assistance technology -- things like adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane departure warning plus, front and rear parking sensors and a trick blind spot monitoring system that can also cover a trailer. That blind spot monitoring system also doubles as the truck's cross traffic detection system, which we found to work very well. We were impressed with not only the system's ability to detect cars not yet in our view, but also to work with parked vehicles partially obstructing its view.

Leftlane's bottom line

It may not have a traditional luxury badge, but there is no denying that the 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn is a bona fide luxury vehicle. The Longhorn's interior is truly one of the best in the class in terms of design, tech and quality of materials.

The only real miss is when it comes to the Longhorn's drivetrain -- the HEMI is powerful but also thirsty. However, a mild hybrid system is available and would likely remedy our woeful city mileage.

2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4 base price, $53,695. As tested, $66,650.

Diamond black paint, $100; Trailer tow group, $400; Advanced safety group, $1,395; Bed utility group, $445; Level 1 equipment group, $3,595; Tri-fold tonneau cover, $550; 3.92 rear axle, $95; 5.7L HEMI V8, $1,195; Panoramic sunroof, $1,295; 33 gallon fuel tank, $445; 4-corner air suspension, $1,795; Destination, $1,645.

Photos by Drew Johnson.

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