Redesigning A Legend: The All-New 2019 Ram 1500

When Ram released their all new 1500 back in 2009, trucks started flying off the showroom floors. The quality and finish of the trucks were light years beyond the previous generation they were replacing. These new Ram’s turned out to be a massive hit and continue to be. Over the years since then, design changes have happened but for the most part, the trucks remained relatively the same. We all knew eventually a full redesign on the Ram would happen but wondered when. Well, that time is now. For 2019, Ram has fully redesigned and just released their brand new 2019 1500.

“The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 delivers a no-compromise approach to the full-size truck segment with strength, durability, technology and efficiency,” said Mike Manley, Head of Ram Brand. “The Ram 1500 offers truck buyers leading-edge innovation with 225 pounds of weight reduction, 12,750 pounds of towing capability, a stunning Uconnect 12-inch touchscreen display and active systems that improve fuel efficiency and assist drivers. The Ram 1500 stands out as the benchmark in a very competitive segment.”

The new 2019 1500 is different in all ways from the previous model years. Practically every square inch of this new truck has been massaged in some way. We’re going to start at the bottom and work our way to the top; taking a look at the various categories and break everything down.

The new 1500 uses the longest, lightest and most efficient frame in the half-ton truck market. When the 2019 1500 was designed, the folks at Ram didn’t even re-use the frame from the previous model years; it’s all new! The chassis has been reduced weight by 120 pounds from the frame alone; a part of the truck’s overall 225 pound weight loss from the previous 1500. This 98% high-strength steel frame is the strongest Ram 1500 frame ever produced.

Along with this new lighter frame, Ram is also offering three new, longer frame lengths for the 1500; a 144.5-inch wheelbase on the Crew Cab short beds and a 153.5-inch wheelbase on Crew Cab long beds; both four inches longer than their predecessors. The Quad Cab long bed has a wheelbase of 140.5 inches. With this new design, the payload capacity of the 1500 is bumped up to 2,300 pounds and it has a maximum trailer tow capacity of 12,750 pounds.

Suspension, Braking and Steering
Like the previous model years of Ram, the new 2019 will also have the option of four-corner air suspension. As with the past air suspension, it will feature automatic load-leveling capability, various height modes and a button on the key fob allowing you to lower the truck for entry and exit. Frequency Response Damping (FRD) technology has found its way into the shocks on all four corners. When the new 1500 experiences a slower input, common during cornering and heavy braking, the bypass valve is closed for more aggressive damping, which provides additional stability. When driving normally or exposed to faster shock inputs; which is common on rough roads or at higher speeds, the valve will open to soften the damping, giving the driver more comfort, confidence and control.

New independent front suspension components combine lightweight composite upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry for improved responsiveness and handling. The front stabilizer bar is relocated behind the front tires, further improving roll stiffness by 20 percent. A new front coil-over shock design is standard equipment on all Ram 1500s regardless of configuration. The third generation, exclusive rear five-link coil suspension design provides better articulation over obstacles than a leaf spring system and feature new progressive coil springs.

The braking system on the new 1500 has been beefed up for better stopping power. With 18 percent more pad area, the 2019 features the largest front brake rotors in its class at 14.9 inches. A new electric parking brake eliminates 20 pounds from the previous system and works jointly with the truck to identify automatic engagement events. The next generation electric power steering system reduces weight by 6 pounds and is tuned for lighter and quicker steering. By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack-and-pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8 percent and adding 5 horsepower.

Engine choices for the 2019 1500 remain the same as the previous model years with either the choice of the 3.6L Pentastar V6 or the legendary 5.7L HEMI V8. We did notice the 3.0L EcoDiesel was missing from the press release but have heard it will be available in later 2019 without the eTorque system. The upgraded Pentastar V6 is the standard engine in most trim levels of the 2019 1500 and is rated at 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The performance numbers for the 5.7L HEMI remain unchanged at 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque and still feature performance-enhancing and fuel-saving technologies that include variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation (MDS).

The V6 and V8 powertrains in the 2019 Ram 1500 also reduce fuel consumption with an Interactive Deceleration Fuel Shut Off (iDFSO) feature that pauses fuel flow to the engine cylinders when the vehicle is decelerating. For the 2019 model year, the iDFSO feature is improved to be active in third gear and higher. The exhaust system has been re-engineered to reduce weight. Changes such as optimizing the thickness of the exhaust pipes and using aluminum for the hanger brackets cut more than nine pounds from the system.

A new, forward-facing air intake mounted behind the grille of the 2019 1500 feeds cooler air to the intake for improved performance. The intake system for both powertrains includes a hydrocarbon adsorption filter to reduce evaporative emissions. The filter is good for the life of the vehicle and does not need regular maintenance. A new feature for the 5.7L HEMI is a new 850-watt electric cooling fan using Pulse Width Modulation to tailor the fan’s energy draw to the cooling demand. Eliminating the traditional fan blade mounted to the front of the engine helps improve fuel economy by reducing parasitic losses and fan noise.

New for the 2019 model year is the addition of the eTorque mild hybrid system. The eTorque mild hybrid system replaces the traditional alternator on the engine with a belt-driven motor generator unit that performs several functions. The motor generator unit works with a 48-volt battery pack to enable quick and seamless start/stop function, short-duration torque addition to the engine crankshaft in certain driving situations and brake energy regeneration, which improves responsiveness and efficiency.

With the engine running, the eTorque’s generator unit feeds 48-volt current to a 300 watt-hour lithium-ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)-Graphite battery. The small-suitcase-sized, air-cooled battery pack mounts to the rear wall inside the Ram 1500’s cabin. In addition to spinning the engine for restarts, the eTorque unit also recaptures energy during deceleration and braking to feed charge to the battery pack. The eTorque system adds up to 90 lb.-ft. of torque to the 3.6L Pentastar V6 and up to 130 lb.-ft. to the 5.7L HEMI when it kicks in.

Starting for 2019, every Ram 1500 will be equipped with a fully electronic TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Trucks equipped with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 will use a TorqueFlite 850RE transmission and trucks with the 5.7L HEMI V8 will use an upgraded TorqueFlite 8HP75 transmission. Both transmissions use a new generation of computer controllers that process data faster and coordinate transmission operation with the eTorque mild hybrid system. There are more than 40 individual shift maps to optimize shift changes and points for fuel economy, performance and drivability.

Transfer Case and Axles
BorgWarner is producing two transfer cases that will be available for the new 1500; the 48-12 for part-time 4WD operation with Hi and Low ranges; and the 48-11 for on-demand 4WD. Both transfer cases engage via a push-button control center-mounted underneath the rotary gear selector on the instrument panel. These transfer cases have been upgraded internally for higher strength with the increased payload and towing capabilities of the new truck.

Powertrain engineers reworked the rear axle for the 2019 with the aim of increasing performance, durability and efficiency. All four wheels now use a 6-lug bolt pattern. Sixteen new wheel designs are available from 18” up to 22” in diameter. Three gear ratios are available on 2WD and 4WD models; 3.21, 3.55 and 3.92 and each combination is available with a traditional open or limited-slip differential.

New for 2019 is an electronic locking differential, available on 4WD trucks with the 3.21 and 3.55 gear ratio and lifted suspension, and 2WD and 4WD trucks with the 3.92 ratio with the base or lifted suspension (Rebel and 4×4 Off-road Package). The electronic system gives the driver the ability to lock or unlock the differential on demand, providing maximum traction to the vehicle when needed.

Exterior Design
The all-new Ram 1500 is lighter, longer and wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase and cab are up to four inches longer, its width is increased by .5 inches and the bed height has been raised by 1.5 inches. The new 1500 has sculpted body lines with a much larger and more aggressive, forward-leaning, front grille opening. An interlocking theme reveals itself in the grille, headlamps and hood. Catering to a variety of buyers, six different grille styles are available. The new Ram 1500 also employs an active grille shutter system, which automatically closes the airflow through the huge grille when cooling is least needed.

The hood is fully aluminum and is designed to better direct air away from the wiper area; improving overall aerodynamics and reducing wind noise. A new badge finds itself interlocked with the stamping of the side hood pocket but we aren’t fans of it. It seems too Chevrolet-ish for our liking. The new aluminum tailgate not only features damping during opening but also integrates a lift assist measure using a nitrogen- and oil-charged strut. The latch-and-lock mechanism is now electronic; allowing owners to drop the tailgate with the interior switch, remotely with the key fob or unlock/open with passive entry.

The rear bumper has been completely redesigned; something that hasn’t been done since 2009. The design integrates a larger stepping pad on the corners and creates a lower step-in height on the center of the bumper for easy access to the bed. Over all, the entire exterior of the new 1500 has been shaped and molded for better aerodynamics. We are slowly learning to like it but our first thoughts were that it seemed like a mix between the Toyota Tundra and the Chevrolet Silverado.

Three headlamp variations are available: Halogen, full LED and full LED with an Adaptive Front-lighting System that points the headlamps in the planned direction the vehicle is traveling using the steering wheel input to point light around turns, driveways and parking lots. All-new tail lamps come in three different configurations: Halogen, LED and LED with Blind-spot Monitoring. New for 2019, the standard antenna mast on the front fender is now gone. All navigation, Wi-Fi, radio and SiriusXM tasks are fitted with a new shark fin antenna on the roof. Another new feature available is a 33.3-inch by 43.4-inch panoramic sunroof; giving passengers a spectacular 10 square feet of sky view and additional natural light. The roof also receives aero treatments to flow air over the bed to the tailgate.

The RamBox option on the 1500 is back and better than ever. It now features a 115-volt outlet and relocated overhead lighting in the box lids to improve illumination. The RamBox includes versatile, weatherproof, lockable, illuminated and drainable storage bins built into the bed rails. The 2019 Ram 1500 is available in 12 colors, including four new colors, and the first use of Tri-coat paint with Ram: Billet Silver, Tri-coat White, Patriot Blue, Diamond Black Crystal. Three two-tone color options carry through the fender flares and the lower body.

Interior Design
Like the exterior, the inside of the 2019 Ram 1500 has been completely redesigned and features a ton of cool perks over the previous model years. Featuring the largest cab in its class, the 1500’s cab length has increased a total of four inches inside. The B- and C-pillars have been moved an inch rearward, and the rear of the cab is pushed an additional two inches; giving the new 1500 151 liters of interior storage volume; nearly 100 percent more storage capacity versus closest the competitor.

A true flat-load floor provides increased rear passenger comfort and usability. Folding up the rear bench seat reveals 20 liters of additional contained storage space with under-seat compartments. With the clever fold out feature, contained storage doubles to 40 liters. Like the previous model years, the rear floor is home to two RamBins that are now 5.5 inches longer than the previous version. These covered in-floor storage bins can hold larger items, including up to a four-inch drop hitch! On top of each Ram Bin are two tie downs to keep cargo secure.

Upfront, you’ll find bolstered bucket seats that hug you nicely and feature cooled and heated seat options. In the rear, the back seats are also available with heated and cooled features and have eight degrees of slide-recline and best-in-class leg room of 45.1 inches. An exclusive SmartFold center armrest creates a captain’s chair experience for the ultimate comfort!

The dash has been completely redesigned for the ultimate in quality and driver usability. Not a single part of the dash was left unchanged. Across all trim levels, the 2019 1500 features push-button start and a redesigned rotary e-shifter dial. The new shifter area also intelligently groups new feature buttons, including engine stop-start from eTorque, Hill-decent Control, axle lock and transfer case controls; when equipped of course.

The center stack has been raised and brought closer to the driver to accommodate a 12-inch UConnect touchscreen and improve the overall reachability of the system controls. The dash also features a newly designed HVAC system that gives out nearly 25 percent more air flow at lower noise levels and has larger front defroster vents for better and quicker clearing of the glass. Improved vents give the rear passengers 50 percent more airflow when compared to the previous generation.

The new center console is truly a piece of art and has been designed for ultimate use; with more than 12 different storage combinations. You will find a wider docking area with optional wireless charging that can hold a small tablet or smartphone. A three-position sliding cup holder tray can be stowed under the center armrest to reveal a deep storage tub designed to hold a 15-inch laptop. Lifting the lid of the center armrest also reveals an additional lined storage compartment sized to fit a tablet and/or hang a full-size file. At the rear of the console, there are two additional cup holders, which include a tablet holder for rear passengers.

To keep your devices charged, five USB ports reside in the center console; three up front and two in back. Two three-pronged 115-volt household plugs can be found in the first and second rows so you can plug in a laptop, portable DVD player or what have you. The rear view mirror has even been loaded full of technology and houses a 9-1-1 Call/Assist Call feature for emergency services, roadside assistance, UConnect Customer Care and non-collision related emergencies.

The redesigned upper glove box acts as an open shelf for smaller items. On higher trims, the upper glove box is covered by a wood and metal accent that can slide upwards, hidden in the dash. You will also find the detailed badge displaying the model of your Ram. The Laramie Longhorn features an actual burned-in branded “Longhorn.” Sweet!

To add to a luxury touch and keep the ride as comfortable as possible, the 2019 1500 now features an active noise cancellation system on the 5.7L HEMI equipped models and acoustic glass reduces ambient sounds down to a low 67.1 db. This is truly the quietest Ram 1500 ever. If you want to add aftermarket exhaust to your 1500, this may be a challenge to get the full potential out of your exhaust note.

The new 2019 Ram 1500 houses the most technology loaded into any Ram ever built; period! The new 1500 features the first application of UConnect 4C NAV on a 12-inch fully configurable touchscreen; like one you’d find in a Tesla. The touchscreen can display one application, such as the navigation map across the whole screen, or it can be divided in half, operating two different applications at once. An all-new toggle switch bank lies below the touchscreen giving physical control of specific features. Besides the 12-inch screen, the new 1500 also offers UConnect 4 (with or without navigation) on an 8.4-inch display and UConnect 3 with a 5-inch display.

The navigation system has one-step, voice-controlled destination entry and enhanced 3-D navigation map graphics for the highest quality available. In the touchscreen, you will also find applications such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even the HVAC controls (there are still physical controls though) on the touchscreen. Available for the first time on a Ram is a 360-degree Surround View Camera system providing a birds-eye view via four cameras positioned around the vehicle. This feature makes parking a breeze! In the new 1500, you’ll also find the all-new SiriusXM with the 360L personalized listening experience that has more variety, smart content, recommendations and thousands of hours of on-demand audio. It also features SiriusXM Traffic, SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Guardian Connected Services that delivers advanced in-vehicle connected services; including 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability.

For 2019, Ram has loaded the 1500 full of cool features that are designed to make life just a little easier. The new 1500 features a tailgate ajar notification that notifies the driver that the tailgate is not fully closed with a warning light in the gauge cluster. Do you hate filling your tires up and having to guess exactly what PSI to fill it to? Ram has an answer for that with their new Tire-fill Alert feature that chirps the horn once you have reached the recommended pressure! Like most FCA products, designers love to put the best audio systems available in their products and the 2019 1500 is no exception. The all-new 1500 offers four high-quality audio systems to give passengers the ultimate sound experience, including Alpine and a class-exclusive premium Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers and 10-inch subwoofer.

Safety and Security
With more than 100 available safety and security features, the 2019 Ram 1500 is packed full with features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive Front-lighting System, Advance Brake Assist, Blind-spot Monitoring, Brake-Throttle Override, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, ParkSense Park Assist with Reverse Stop, Rear Cross Path Detection and Ready Alert Braking and Trailer-Sway Damping Control.

Off-Road Capability
For the 2019, Ram is now offering a 4×4 Off-road Package for nearly every trim level. This package includes a one-inch suspension lift; with or without the available four-corner air suspension. An electronic-locking rear differential and 32” tires on 18” or available 20” wheels provide additional grip. Hill-descent Control, an off-road-biased rear suspension geometry and unique off-road-calibrated shocks add to the 1500’s trail capability. The package also includes skid plate protection (transfer case, steering, engine and gas tank) and tow hooks.

The Rebel; Ram’s Best-Selling Off-Road Based Truck
Back for 2019 is the Ram 1500 Rebel. This new Rebel stays true to the Rebel styling but is completely redesigned as well. While the previous Rebel was only available with a Crew Cab, the 2019 is now also available in Quad Cab configuration. The previous 17” wheels and Toyo Open Country tires have been replaced with new 18” wheels with 33” Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. All new is an electronic-locking rear differential.

The Rebel predecessor came standard with Ram’s Active-level four-corner air suspension and a one-inch suspension lift. While air suspension is still available, the new Rebel comes standard with coil spring suspension and a one-inch lift. The previous Rebel’s air suspension was notorious for problems so we will see how the new one works out. Newly designed Bilstein shocks feature remote reservoirs to keep the shocks cool. Both the exterior and interior have been completely redesigned but pay heritage to the previous Rebel; both with the off-road durability you’ve come to expect from a Rebel and the Rebel only design ques on the interior such as the tire-tread seat inserts and red finishes.

The 2019 Ram 1500 is backed with a five-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. Coverage includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The standard three-year/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.

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Cody Krueger

Car Feature Editor – Since the age of 4, Cody has been obsessed with everything Mopar. On Christmas of 1998, Cody's parents gave him a rusty '69 Charger shell that his father saved from a field. Cody's garage still features that '69 Charger as well as the additions of a '71 Charger R/T, '71 Super Bee, '73 Duster, '08 Challenger SRT8 and a '13 Ram 3500. Cody can truly and proudly say that he is a true Mopar nut in love with all types of Mopars!

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