2019 Ram 1500: Luxury + Capability = No Compromises [First Look]

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2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

From behind the wheel of the 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn, there are a lot of details to take in. There’s etched scrolling on the gold metal accents, reverse stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and a gargantuan 12-inch display screen on the center stack. You need to sit for a minute and take it all in.

After all, this is a pickup truck.

A very capable pickup truck with a maximum payload of 2,300 pounds and a maximum trailer tow of 12,700 pounds.

And yet, the luxurious finishing touches and up-level safety features available on the all-new 1500 are undeniable.

Whether you’re looking at a base truck or the top-tier trim, you’ll find clever features, soft-touch surfaces and well-designed spaces.

The 2019 model will have three engine options: a 3.6-liter V-6 and two 5.7-liter Hemi V-8s – one with Ram’s new eTorque system and one without.

Both the V-6 and V-8 will be well powered, with the V-6 delivering 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque and the V-8s delivering 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque.

New for 2019, Ram adds a “mild hybrid” system called eTorque to the 1500. This is standard on the base V-6 engine and available on the V-8. The system’s primary function is to increase efficiency with auto stop/start functionality and torque assist.

The surprise benefit is the system increases launch torque by 90 pound-feet in the V-6 and 130 pound-feet in the V-8. That translates to faster passing ability without giving too much of a ding to fuel economy.

We were driving the regular V-8 without eTorque during the press launch, and it was remarkably smooth and fast. For such a large – and heavy – vehicle, it merges with fast-moving traffic quite well, and highway passing maneuvers are a breeze.

It’s hard to imagine that the power equation will get even better when equipped with eTorque.

Overall ride and handling was also smooth. There was just enough shimmy when turning to remind you that you’re driving a truck. But mostly, if you didn’t look out the rearview mirror, you could think you’re driving an SUV.

The cabin is quiet with very little road or engine noise that seeps into the cabin.

During the daylong test, we primarily drove the Longhorn and Laramie trims, and the handling didn’t deviate too much between the vehicles. Both were comfortable and planted on the road.

We also drove a short and mild off-road coarse in the Rebel, having fun blasting through sand and climbing some small, rocky hills. We felt the Rebel’s standard skid plate in action and appreciated the thick 33-inch tires that gripped every surface.

We also loved the bright red interior accents.

One of the best things about the new 1500 is all the storage capability within the truck. There are plenty of bins and cubby holes to hide everything from groceries and briefcases to a 15-inch laptop.

And that’s without the available RamBox.

I particularly appreciated the rear seats of the Ram 1500, which fold up and provide a flat load floor. Available features in the back include reclining rear seats as well as heated and cooled outboard seats.

The exterior design gets a little more aerodynamic and adds some refinement, but the overall look is still undeniably Ram. The biggest change comes to the grille, with the removal of the crosshairs.

The 2019 1500 also has a high level of tech feature availability. It has three standard USB ports, with the availability to get up to five as you level up through the trims. Plus, the gorgeous 12-inch display screen is available starting at the Laramie trim and standard on the Limited.

The base Uconnect system includes a 5-inch screen with AM, FM and Bluetooth connectivity. The 8.4 inch system is available starting at the Big Horn trim and standard on the Laramie model.

My driving partner and I tested the phone system while driving (hands-free, of course), and found that calls were easily made and the person on the other end of the line was clear through the vehicle’s speakers. What’s more, the person on the receiving end of the call said both my drive partner in the passenger seat and I were also clearly heard.

Ram will have six trims for the 2019 model year. Pricing listed below is for the quad-cab models with the 4X2 drivetrain and V-6 engine.

Tradesman ($31,695): Standard features at this trim include 18-inch wheels, push-button start, 5-inch radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity and power locks and mirrors.

Big Horn ($35,695): This trim adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, chrome bumpers and handles and a leather steering wheel with audio controls.

Rebel ($43,995): This is the off-road-ready model in the bunch and adds 18-inch off-road wheels, LED lamps, keyless entry, remote start, 33-inch tires and vinyl/cloth bucket seats.

Laramie ($40,690): This trim starts to add in more lux-level features including leather seats, the 8.4-inch radio, a 7-inch driver’s display cluster, a class IV hitch, heated front and rear seats and power rear windows.

Longhorn ($51,390): This trim upgrades to 20-inch aluminum wheels and adds premium LED headlights, side steps a tailgate release and premium leather.

Limited ($53,890): This top-tier trim adds the 12-inch radio display screen, air suspension, power side steps, a wireless charging pad and blind spot monitoring with trailer detect.

The all-new Ram 1500 will start hitting dealers this spring.

The Bottom Line:

There is so much more I could say about this truck from the box, bed and cabin configurations to the incredible list of available Mopar accessories. But at the end of the day, Ram has done a really nice job with its 15th-generation pickup truck.

It’s chockfull of clever features, high-level technology and impressive capability.

The folks at Ram have been calling this all-new 1500 a “no compromises” truck since it’s reveal in January at the Detroit auto show, and after a day behind the wheel, I believe them.

Editor’s Note: Driving impressions in this “First Look” review are from an invitation-only automaker launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Ram covered our accommodations, meals and transportation costs.