“The light-duty pickup truck is the new midsize sedan,” proclaimed a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles official as he introduced the fifth-generation Ram 1500 to the press. Indeed, the ’19 Ram is more refined—more car-like—than ever, with real wood-and-leather interior trim, an adjustable air suspension, active noise cancellation, a 12-inch infotainment touch screen, a suite of high-tech safety features, reclining rear seatbacks, and a dual-pane sunroof—normally, the stuff of a luxury sedan.
But the latest Ram can do the grunt work expected of a full-size pickup, too. A 20 percent increase in towing capacity translates to the ability to pull a 12,750-pound trailer. There’s more cargo space in the bed, and “RamBoxes” in the bed sides provide secure storage. The base V6 powertrain incorporates a mild hybrid (“eTorque”) system for improved mileage and performance; the up-level V8 has eTorque as an option. On the highway, the V8 Ram is a powerful, yet peaceful, cruiser. Still, it’s a pickup truck, and, bed empty, the ride can be unsettled.
Six trim levels and a truckload of extra-cost options (including most of those luxury features) mean the new Ram has a mind-boggling number of possible build combinations. A Ram in Tradesman trim starts at around $33,000, while a loaded, top-of-the-line Limited can sticker for north of $60,000.
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Vehicle layout: 5.7-liter V8 (395 hp), 8-speed automatic, 4WD
MSRP, base model: $33,490; (as tested: $50,525)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 15/21/17
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: not yet rated; IIHS: good (all ratings)
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Final assembly: United States
Spare tire: Full-size spare