Not to be outdone by other truck makers, most of whom have unveiled new pickup trucks over the past year, Ram rumbled into Detroit with a new 1500 half-ton pickup. The unexpected debut from Ram definitely turns heads and makes a statement up on its car show pedestal.
The 2019 Ram 1500 has a look that's only marginally different from the previous-generation, with the signature Ram grille and more pronounced Ram's head logos. What's changed, though, are the differences between individual models in the Ram 1500's lineup, with each getting more or less stuff – mostly in terms of lighting, striping, and logo markings.
The new Ram 1500 is longer and wider than the previous-gen. Cab length increases by about four inches (101.6mm), wheelbase by up to four inches (depending on cab configuration), bed height increases by about 1.5 inches (38.1mm), and overall vehicle width increases by half an inch (12.7mm). Other body changes are subtle and aimed towards improved aerodynamics. The Ram 1500's coefficient of drag is now .357, with the truck utilizing active grille shutters and air suspension.
Underneath all that new bodywork is a huge amount of engineering. Despite growing in size, the pickup actually loses weight while gaining a much heavier-duty frame. The new frame is made of 98 percent high-strength steel, making it stronger than ever, improving payload capability to 2,300 pounds (1,043.2 kg) and towing to up to 12,750 lbs (5,783.3 kg). These gains don't mean more weight though, with the Ram 1500 weighing about 225 pounds (102 kg) less than its outgoing generation. Some 100 pounds (45.3 kg) of that weight loss came from the frame itself.
To all of this updated framework comes improved ride and handling, Ram says, thanks to a newly-designed air suspension system, frequency response dampening shocks, and re-tuned chassis components. A new off-road package utilizes an electronic locking rear axle, tuned shocks, hill-descent control, and a full inch (25.4mm) of lift as standard. There's also a heat exchanger system for the rear axle to warm its gear oil to improve its efficiency.
The standard 3.6-liter V6 remains the base engine, but now includes engine stop-start and short-term torque assist powered by brake energy regeneration. These same features are found on the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine. This mild hybrid system adds up to 90 foot-pounds (122 Nm) of torque to the V6's output and up to 130 lb-ft (176 Nm) of torque to the V8. The V8 engine also features cylinder cut-off when cruising for better fuel economy as well as active noise cancellation in the cabin. A new generation eight-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Inside, the 2019 Ram 1500 is a bit larger, but most of the focus is on new technology. The fourth-generation of Fiat-Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system is featured prominently, sitting on an huge 12-inch touchscreen display that dominates the central dash.
The 12-inch screen can be split for dual application use, and 4G WiFi through SiriusXM's Guardian Connected Services, plus a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a 900-watt surround-sound amplifier is available. Navigation can include voice-controlled destination and 3D maps, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available on both the standard 8.4-inch Uconnect and the upgraded 12-inch screen.
Driver-assistance options include parking assistance, lane departure warning and mitigation, as well as trailer sway damping control.
The 2019 Ram 1500 will become available in the United States and Canada in the second quarter of 2018 and has entered production at FCA's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan.
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