In the last couple years, Ram has built pickup trucks focused not only on towing, hauling and off-road capabilities but on comfort, technology and refinement. This has led to an increase in market share. For the 2019 model year, Ram decided to double down on this strategy in its new 1500 pickup.
Recently, we had the chance to take a couple different versions of the latest Ram full-size truck for a drive in the Arizona desert. We drove it through some challenging off-road terrain and on the road to see if it was really as good as it looks.
Modern, Masculine and Extremely Comfortable
Ram completely redesigned its pickup from the frame up. The new frame is 98 percent high-strength steel, which improves rigidity and durability. The body is mostly made of steel with the exception of the hood and the tailgate. The exterior has a masculine appearance but despite its bold fascia, the Ram 1500 has a .357 drag coefficient, which is best in its class.
The 3.6-liter V6 and 5.7-liter HEMI V8 have both been redesigned and now feature eTorque technology, Fiat Chrysler’s new mild hybrid engine tech. This improves efficiency and capability. The new Ram 1500 has a payload of up to 2,300 lbs and a towing capacity of 12,700 lbs. The suspension has been upgraded and air suspension is offered, making it an extremely smooth-riding truck.
Inside, the vehicle features an attractive layout. In the top trim levels, you get real wood trim, top-notch leather and some beautiful touches on the doors and dash that hint at the model’s deep American roots. The big news for the Ram 1500 is its optional 12-inch infotainment screen. It’s the largest screen in any pickup truck and is a true pleasure to use. Ram also offers an 8.4-inch Uconnect system and a 5.0-inch system on lower trim levels.
The seats are wide and supportive and even the base model’s cloth upholstery feels soft and sturdy. Upgrade to the higher trim levels and you get buttery-smooth leather. The rear seats offer ample room and a flat load floor, making it possible to fit three grown adults in across the bench. The rear seats even slide forward and recline for added comfort.
Impressive On-Road and Off-Road Performance
On the road, the Ram 1500 is one of the smoothest pickup trucks we’ve ever had the pleasure of driving. It soaks up bumps and gaps in the pavement with ease. It also corners well for a machine weighing over 5,000 lbs, meaning Ram has tuned the suspension well.
For getting off the beaten path, you can either buy a 1500 with the Off-Road Package, or you can buy the Ram 1500 Rebel, which comes with a one-inch increase in ride height, Bilstein shocks in both the front and rear, an electronic locking differential, Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, and numerous skid plates for scraping over big rocks. The Off-Road Package has similar equipment with noticeable exclusions being the Bilstein shocks, Goodyear tires, and fewer skid plates.
We drove the Ram Rebel through Arizona desert trails and found that the terrain hardly challenged the machine. It powered through deep sand, climbed steep inclines and forced its way over rocky trails with ease. If you want a true off-roader, the Rebel is it. If you want something a little more civilized any of the other trim levels of the Ram 1500 will do just fine from the basic Tradesman trim all the way up to the luxurious Limited model.