16 Vehicle Spotlight • 2019 RAM 1500 P erhaps you noticed that the 2019 RAM 1500 looks a little different than its predecessor. That’s because engineers of the 2019 model have placed incredible emphasis on quality over quantity. Fine- tuned perfection of the platform seems to have paid off, considering Motor Trend just named the 2019 RAM1500 its pick for Truck of the Year. “The newest version, more than any other, seems poised to meet the needs of the 21st century truck buyer, with more variety, capability, comfort, convenience and value than ever before,” said Motor Trend. “The 2019 RAM 1500’s clean-sheet redesign throws out many of the design cues we’ve come to expect from a RAM pickup—while still being unmistakably RAM.” Powerplants Ready to Perform First, under the hood. You didn’t think stellar looks alone landed it in the top spot, did you? Prospective truck buyers have the choice of a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, or the 5.7 HEMI V8. As of now, RAMhasn’t released its EcoDiesel for the 2019 RAM 1500. Though, there are rumors that it will make a debut by the end of summer. In the meantime, that HEMI is producing 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, with a V6 holding its own at 305 horsepower and 296 lb-ft of torque. Though we are familiar with the engines above, expect a dating period with the new mild-hybrid system, engineered to increase towing capacity. The eTorque system is standard on the base 3.6-liter V-6 and is also available for a small premium on the top- level 5.7-liter V-8. It’s designed to not only take a load off the engine while driving down the highway, but also improve the torque output to . It does raise the peak output of the engine, but the goal is to level off for a flatter, more powerful curve to help overcome increased load when towing, which Motor Trend describes further. “These mild-hybrid powerplants, dubbed eTorque, use small starter-generators and a tiny 0.43-kW-hr battery stashed in the rear wall of the cab to aid the stop/start system and provide torque assist to allow the engines to lug around at cruising speed in four-cylinder mode longer and without having to downshift. The base eTorque V-6 is a lot of engine for the money. It makes its torque higher in its rev band, but it makes good use of the power it has.” Such upgrades in the engine bay have created positive effects in other areas. “The maximum towing capacity of the 2019 RAM 1500 is 12,750 lbs. That’s a whole lot more than the towing capacity of the 2018 RAM 1500, which topped off at 10,150 lbs.,” said Motor Trend. The new RAM 1500 has shed some weight, too—about 200 pounds to be exact. Thanks to powertrain innovations, RAM was “freed from the obligation (and expense) of chasing maximum payload and towing capacities with all-aluminum construction,” added Motor Trend. This allowed the design team to instead adopt a new high-strength steel chassis that incorporates lighter metals, offering roughly 4.0 inches more in length and 17% less weight than its predecessor. However, RAM kept the standard coil- spring suspension of the previous model, adding frequency dampers for 2019. While this move places ride quality a notch above towing and payload capacity, Motor Trend points out that its Truck of the Year offers a four-corner air suspension upgrade. With five different ride heights available as well as load leveling, it gives “the best of both worlds when it comes to ride and performance.” Fine-Tuned Perfection Along with all that power and strength is a visible shift in the shape of the 1500 versus prior generations. Actually, science is behind such a redesign. The company has always utilized the wind tunnel, and that’s exactly what they did for this makeover. The 2019 RAM 1500 has a coefficient drag of 0.357. This puts it right in line with the late model Challengers and Chargers. Not bad. Not bad at all, RAM. “Gone are the crosshair grilles, mini-Mack fenders, and even the traditional RAM badge in most places. Instead, the 1500 provides buyers a choice of seven grilles and three head- and taillamp designs. Its 15 wheel designs feature stronger six-bolt hubs, ranging from an off-road-friendly 18 inches to an urban cowboy 22-inch style,” said Motor Trend. The body lines have been tweaked to complement the updated panels. Likewise, the taillights have undergone alteration, and buyers now have the choice of three different headlights. For this model year, the beloved crosshair grille has been ditched in favor of a newer, more modern one (seven consumer choices, to be exact). Though a disappointment to see the iconic facia undergo such a transformation, the redesign is said to be, “Best-in-class: sophisticated without going over the top,” commented Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief, Ed Loh. Trimmed to Size The last generation of RAM 1500s was paired with more than 10 trim packages, an overwhelming number of features for any buyer to comb through. RAM trimmed the fat for 2019, with a total of six offerings: Tradesman, Limited Big Horn, Lonestar Laramie, Laramie, Longhorn, and the Rebel. “We were particularly impressed by the level of fit and finish. Every trim, from the base Tradesman up to the Limited, furnishes at least one two-tone cabin treatment, injecting a bit of personality and style into the cabin at 2019 RAM 1500 MotorTrend Truck of the Year