Since breaking away from the Dodge nameplate in 2009 RAM Trucks has developed a very distinct image of its own, and rightfully so. A trip to Phoenix this week highlights that with a press preview of the all new Ram 1500. This introduction shows a collage of all new architecture, powertrains, and entertainment options highlight a new wave of half-ton pickups. My morning starts with a product presentation full chock full of mind boggling information, including an all new “eTorque” mild hybrid system, three infotainment configurations, second generation class exclusive air suspension, and an 8 degree reclining rear seat with a perfectly flat interior floor.
The 2019 Ram introduces a mild hybrid eTorque system inclusive of a belt driven generator and 48 Volt battery allowing for an additional 90lb/ft to the Pentastar V6 (Standard) and 130lb/ft to the Hemi ($800 option). This system also includes brake energy regeneration start/stop function; a true waste not, want not scenario. At this particular event all of Rams shown are the tried and true 395hp/410lb ft 5.7L Hemi without eTorque and with four wheel drive.
The Ram 1500 BigHorn above and below highlights unprecedented levels of consumer customization via the Mopar accessories catalogue. The truck as configured is featuring 35″ tires, beadlock wheels, fender flares, lift, Katskinz leather upholstery and topped off with RamRack that includes an integrated supplemental high mounted brake lamp.
Ram continues this configuration saga with chrome, body colored, and matte black bumper and grill options depending on the trim. The new corporate design language continues the tradition of refined handsomeness combined with great versatility (very much like myself).
This latest Ram generation now also includes three very distinct headlamps. Halogen on the entry Tradesman trim, static LED’s included on the lions share, and dynamic adaptive LED’s on upper-crust LongHorn and Limited trims. The latter two headlamp setups also include LED tail and fog lamps.
The Ram I spent most of my time with was a Laramie finished in Delmonico Red over Black Leather and $1,295 optional 20″ wheels, with an estimated MSRP of approximately $53,000.
The test rig I was given was fitted with the Alpine stereo which was pleasing, but an audiophiles dream Harman/Kardon stereo is inclusive in the Level 2 Equipment Group, which boasts remarkable metal speaker grilles.
Although the non e-torque equipped Hemi may not have quite the vigor as some of the other powertrain combinations, the noises are brilliant. Towing a boat just over three tons proved to be a breeze.
Fuel economy numbers have yet to be published by the environmental protection agency, but head of RAM Jim Morrison says to expect a 10% increase over the previous while both towing and payload capacities are up substantially over the outgoing model.
Ram model designation and engine configuration has now made its way from the lower front doors & fender up to the sculpted power dome, giving a more pronounced and prominent appearance.
I would be remiss to not mention the Ram Rebel, an off road ready configuration with bold interior and exterior styling, suited for the more rugged and outdoorsy lifestyle. I captured the image above on a portion of deep sand on the off-road course FCA organized to show capabilities in rapidly changing scenarios.
After hours in these trucks I can honestly say I can’t wait to give one a week long test! Long gone are the days of strictly utilitarian pickups, and here again are the posh days of “Fine Corinthian Leather!”
Thanks to RAM and the rest of the FCA team for flying me cross-country escaping the snow to give this new product a first look!