Larger and lighter

The new 2019 Ram offers innovative updates that don’t disappoint

May 31, 2018
by Howard J Elmer

Images: Howard J Elmer

From the April 2018 print edition

The 2019 Ram 1500 is just the second generation of this half-ton brand that has been a stand-alone company under the FCA umbrella since 2009. Despite often still being referred to as the Dodge Ram it’s been on its own for a decade now—a very successful decade with sales up by 191 percent since inception and hitting almost 700,000 sales worldwide in 2017. While there was a mild Ram refresh in 2014 (along with the introduction of the 3.0L diesel engine), this new Ram promises innovative updates in line with an incubation period this long. At first glance it doesn’t disappoint.

The look of the new sheet metal is just different enough to announce this new generation with LED adaptive front lighting anchoring a flatter, swept-back hood that now wears the brand badge. Well, that and the new grille. The iconic cross-hair grille, long associated with the Ram, is fully retired. From now on Ram will lead with its name squarely embossed on its nose.

This truck is slightly larger than its predecessor yet its 225lbs lighter. Weight savings are thanks to the use of more high-strength steel and a wider use of aluminum. This stronger frame, larger brakes (14.9-in) and retuned suspension components also offers gains in payload and max trailer towing. Payload has increased to 2,300lbs and the top tow rating is now 12,700lbs; numbers that make it competitive with any of its rivals.

The new aluminum tailgate is now damped and has an integrated lift-assist feature. Inside the cab the rear floor is now flat. Both of these features have been found in other trucks for a few years now—so, while noteworthy, these and a dozen other small things are just examples of Ram catching up to the field. In some cases though, they’ve done that and more. This new Ram also offers: adaptive cruise control with stop; blind-spot monitoring including trailer coverage; forward collision warning with active braking; ready alert braking; trailer-sway control; lane departure warning with lane keep assist; parallel and perpendicular park and hill-start assist which uses ultrasonic sensors to help the driver perform technical manoeuvres.

What is unique though is the four inches added to frame which results in a huge new crew cab backseat—one in which the seatbacks will even recline eight degrees. This feature was previously found only in the HD MegaCab. Supporting that frame at all four corners is a new shock system called frequency response damping (FRD shocks). This technology employs a bypass valve in the shock that opens and closes as needed to soften the ride or offer firmer control during cornering.

Other tech innovations include: updated multilink coil spring rear suspension; active-level four corner air suspension, next-gen TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission; auto-retracting front air dam and frame-mounted active tuned mass modules along with active noise cancellation that makes this Ram interior the quietest ever.

On the inside
Ram’s cabin design and decor has always been good—but now it gets even better with new materials and features like an all-new switch bank with toggle

Ram’s cabin design and decor gets even better with new materials and features like a switch bank with toggle switches, wireless charging dock and up to five USBs.

switches, wireless charging dock and up to five USBs, including four type C/A ports. The new centre console also has 12 different storage configurations above which you’ll see the first 12-in fully configurable touchscreen (optional) that includes tailor-made graphics for various Ram models. It features the fourth-generation Uconnect multimedia system with SiriusXM, in-vehicle connected services including 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and 360-degree surround view camera with bird’s-eye view.

A new powerful Harman/kardon audio system is now available as well, with 19 premium speakers, 900-watt surround sound amplifier, 10-inch subwoofer and active noise cancellation.

Canadians buy twice as many Ram pickups (per capita) as do Americans. This fact went a long way towards the request—and creation of a Canadian exclusive model for 2019—the Sport. This truck will include all the most commonly ordered appearance features in one package. It includes a monochromatic exterior theme, body-colour door handles, mirrors and grille with all-black badging. Also a sport performance hood, dual black exhaust tips, 22-inch black accent wheels and all-black Sport-themed interior design. This includes cloth/vinyl bucket seats, black satin chrome, black headliner and a seven-in centre cluster with Sport splash screen.

Engines and transmissions in this next generation remain mostly unchanged with the 3.6L V6 Pentastar still being the standard. The 5.7L Hemi V8 is still the most popular choice in Canada, however up to 20 percent of buyers are now ordering the 3.0L EcoDiesel. Pricing for the new Ram starts at $46,095 MSRP for the 4×4 Quad Cab Tradesman and walking up through the trim packages to $74,195 MSRP for the 4×4 Crew Limited edition. New Ram’s are available to order now.

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