Car News

Bigger, Stronger, Lighter Ram 1500

Ram has unveiled their new 2019 1500 pickup. The new truck is lighter and stiffer, with better aerodynamics and the ability to haul and tow more than before. It's also adding a hybrid system for better economy.

It's an all-new truck this year, starting from the frame up. The new frame is 99 percent high strength steel, and it trims 45 kg off of the old frame. It has new outwardly splayed frame rails to increase impact absorption in a collision.

Building from that, Ram trimmed another 57 kg from the rest of the truck, bringing total weight savings to 102 kg. That's not the massive weight savings Ford got with the switch to aluminum, but it's still significant.

The engines are Ram's familiar 3.6L V6 and 5.7L Hemi V8, but there is a big addition for the new truck. A 48-volt mild hybrid system that uses a belt-driven motor-generator to add regenerative braking, improved stop-start, and add power and torque. Absent from the reveal, though, was any mention of Ram's EcoDiesel V6 engine.

The two engines make the same power as last year, 305 hp and 269 lb-ft for the V6 and 395 hp with 410 lb-ft for the V8. But the eTorque hybrid system adds 90 lb-ft to the V6 and 130 lb-ft to the V8. A new eight-speed automatic is more efficient to further help save fuel.

The redesigned pickup scores what Ram calls a best in class coefficient of drag. This is still a big brick to push through the air, so Ram has also added active grille shutters and a movable air dam to help make it more slippery. Air-suspension trucks will lower the body 13 mm on the highway to help more. New active noise cancellation and tuned mass dampers make the truck quieter, while also allowing more extensive use of the cylinder deactivation.

The suspension is all-new with new geometry and revised shocks front and rear. The new frequency responsive shock design allows more compliance and ride comfort. The Ram still has a coil-spring rear suspension which means it will likely continue to have best in class ride. Brakes are upgraded to massive 14.9-inch rotors which Ram calls the largest brakes in the segment.

Inside, the Ram 1500 gets Chrysler's newest Uconnect 4C, with a 12.0-inch touchscreen available. It can hold a truck-size map, or display two applications split-screen.

The 1500 line gets push-button start, an electric parking brake, and a new rotary shift dial. Four-wheel drive controls have been moved to be near the shifter.

Five USB ports live in the multi-configurable center console. There are also two 115-volt electrical plugs and the console is designed to hold a 15.0-inch laptop.

That cab is 102 mm longer, with half of that going to rear seat passengers. That means more recline for the rear seat and more leg room for rear passengers. The Ram 1500 offers a flat rear cab floor for cargo and 40L of storage space under the rear seats.

New safety features include adaptive cruise control, adaptive front lights, brake assist, blind spot monitoring, and available self-parking assist.

While it's easy to confuse the cabs of top trim Rams with luxury cars, the new Ram 1500 is still decidedly a truck. That means more cargo and towing capacity. Max payload is 1,045 kg, up from 853 kg. Thanks to a new Max Tow package with a stronger rear differential and axles, the new Ram will tow up to 5,795 kg. A big increase from 4,826 kg of the current truck.

The 2019 Ram 1500 is expected to launch in the next few months, with pricing and fuel economy figures available closer to the on-sale date.