Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
One of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., the Ram 1500 holds its own against the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 by being tech-savvy, comfortable and capable, and appealing to a wide spectrum of buyers. The 2019 Ram is now lighter, stronger, more comfortable, more capable and more efficient, shedding its well-known cross-hair grille.
You'll Like The 2019 Ram 1500 If...
Choice of three powertrains, including two mild hybridsPremium interior with variety of themesTech-centric features like 12-inch infotainment screenComfortable ride and handling
You May Not Like The 2019 Ram 1500 If...
Tow rating maxes out at 12,750 pounds – slightly less than Ford F-150Fewer towing-specific features
2019 Ram 1500 is all-new from the ground up
Each of the Ram’s six trim levels has its own unique themed interior. For example, Laramie Longhorn: high-zoot Western. The off-road Rebel: bold colors and precise angles. Whatever the trim, controls have been reorganized and are easier to use. An optional 12-inch screen is the centerpiece. It’s big, vibrant, surrounded by plenty of redundant controls, and is easy to reconfigure. The Crew Cab is four inches longer, which means the rear seats can recline and there’s more legroom. Another feature of the new cab layout is that the rear floor is flat, providing welcome foot room to the middle-rear passenger.
Whether it was to separate Ram from Dodge or to make the truck look fresh and modern, the cross-hair grille is gone. In its place is a narrower grille flanked by slim headlights on most models. The exception, the Ram Rebel, has a grille that resembles a handlebar mustache. The Ram uses a 6-lug axle (5-lug last year), so wheel options are all-new for 2019. There’s a choice of three types of headlights: halogen, LED and LED with adaptive front-lighting. In back, the tailgate is now damped and has lift assist, and the RamBox bed storage contains a 115-volt outlet.
The Ram is available with three engine choices: a 395-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, that same V8 with an eTorque mild hybrid system, and an eTorque V6. The regular V8 has a healthy rumble, a not-so-subtle indication that there’s plenty of V8 power under the hood. Acceleration is smooth, and power delivery ramps up quickly without being jarring. The eTorque system offers the increased fuel economy of a hybrid without losing performance in the process. Both eTorque engines use a motor to briefly add power when accelerating. Transitions from motor to engine are wonderfully smooth, as are transmission shifts, and auto stop/start. You quickly forget you’re driving a hybrid. Ride quality, already one of the Ram’s strong suits, is even better for 2019, thanks to the use of new 2-valve Frequency Response Damping shocks, which automatically adjust to changing road conditions. They also improve the truck’s poise when cornering. The cabin is noticeably quiet, and the previous Ram’s top-notch interiors have been eclipsed by new designs that are tough, yet beautiful. Controls are easier to use, and the massive center storage area can hold nearly 1.4 cubic feet of cargo. The rear seats can recline, and the rear floor is now completely flat.
The 2WD Quad Cab Tradesman V6 has a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $33,340 including destination. Next up are the Big Horn ($37,340) and Rebel ($46,340) V6s. In the realm of the V8s, the 2WD Quad Cab Laramie starts at $42,335. The other two V8 trim levels, Longhorn and Limited, are only available as Crew Cabs and start at $53,035 and $55,535, respectively. Adding 4-wheel drive to any of these models costs $3,500 more. Pricing is comparable to the Ford F-150, which starts at $33,090 for the 2WD Super Cab, and Chevy’s 2WD Silverado 1500 Double Cab, which starts at $33,405. As a lower-priced option, some trim levels of the previous-generation Ram will continue to be sold through 2018. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new truck.
Ram hasn’t announced whether there will be a regular cab, so for now the base model is a Quad Cab Tradesman, with an eTorque V6 and an 8-speed automatic with dial-type gear selector. It comes with a 23-gallon gas tank, active grille shutters, coil-spring suspension, trailer-sway control and a rearview camera. Heated, power-adjustable side mirrors are standard, as are 18-inch steel wheels. Inside, the Tradesman comes with air conditioning, vinyl floors and seats, push-button start, cruise control, electronic parking brake, and manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The base version of Uconnect is controlled through a 5.0-inch screen.
Top-level V8-powered Crew Cabs are available with a 33-gallon fuel tank, active-level 4-corner air suspension; oversize, power-folding trailer-tow side mirrors; and a dual-pane moonroof. Deployable side steps, damped tailgate with a power release, 22-inch wheels and dual exhaust tips finish off the exterior. Top-line interior displays are more elaborate: The driver gets a 7.0-inch TFT (thin-film transistor) display, and the top-level Uconnect and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto operate through a brilliant 12-inch screen. Leather seating, memory, heated seats and a variety of wood, leather and metal interior accents are offered. A surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control and hill-descent control are available.
ETORQUE SYSTEMThe seemingly too-good-to-be-true eTorque system improves fuel economy by 2-3 mpg without sacrificing any performance. The system was designed to keep powertrain performance smooth – including transmission shifts – while adding extra oomph with initial acceleration from a stop.ALL-NEW FRAMEMade almost entirely of high-strength steel, the new frame is lighter, stronger, and designed with new safety measures. It’s a big reason why the Ram can tow and haul more. Mounted on the frame are active tuned-mass modules that help reduce ambient noise in the cabin.
Under the Hood
The 2019 Ram 1500 will initially be offered solely with a 395-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 with variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation, backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. Later, a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with the eTorque mild-hybrid system will serve as the base engine, and eTorque will be optional with the V8. The mild-hybrid system uses a 48-volt battery pack and a motor generator to add torque when specific driving situations call for it, while improving the truck’s fuel economy. The system is designed to speed up the restart part of the truck’s start/stop system, and will add up to 90 lb-ft of torque to the V6 and 130 to the V8 in brief bursts. The Ram 1500 comes in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel-drive (2WD, 4WD) configurations. We expect a diesel engine will eventually be offered.3.6-liter V6305 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm269 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/25 mpg (2WD), 19/24 mpg (4WD)5.7-liter V8395 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm410 lb-ft of torque @ 3,950 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (2WD), 15/21 mpg (4WD), 17/23 mpg (eTorque, 2WD), 17/22 mpg (eTorque, 4WD)
One of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., the Ram 1500 holds its own against formidable foes like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 by being tech-savvy, comfortable and capable, and by appealing to a wide spectrum of buyers. To fight off the ever-evolving competition, Ram has made significant changes to its half-ton for 2019. Building on what already made this truck so appealing, the Ram is now lighter, stronger, more comfortable, more capable and more efficient than the previous truck, all while sporting a rugged new look that no longer includes the characteristic Ram (and Dodge) cross-hair grille.