Ram 1500 Limited 2019 Review
Ram 1500 Limited 2019 Review By Auto Critic Steve Hammes
The pickup truck segment is no longer just about flaunting muscle and capability; far from it. For top-end models like this you’d better be bringing smarts and a heaping dose of luxury if you want to compete. And for this all-new Ram Limited, the bar has just been raised.
Is this the golden age of pickup trucks? No matter what you’re need or desire there’s something out there that fits the bill straight from the factory. And so in charges the new Ram 1500. Trimmer, more aerodynamic, stronger…not to mention more efficient, spacious and techy; when the competition zigs Ram zags and that’s how they’ve been making the competition sweat. Whether it was the introduction of a rear coil spring suspension, the debut of the clever Ram box or the next generation air suspension here, this is a truck that’s been blazing its own trail and that’s something I can appreciate. With Ram, you always know you’re going to get something smart and a little different.
From the meat and potatoes Tradesman model all the way to this remarkably lavish Limited, Ram has a truck that’ll suit your needs. So who needs all of this? Well, you can think of the Limited as a raised 4X4 luxury sedan. It can expertly serve families for their day-to-day duties, tow over 11,000 pounds, and impress the truck expert and novice alike. Modern connectivity takes center stage with this 12” tablet-like touchscreen, an active noise cancellation system makes it the quietest truck I’ve ever been in, and with a 4” longer cab and reclining rear seats, it makes the Mercedes S-Class look like a compact.
What’s not to love about this cabin? Superb details and exquisite material choices combined with luxury car amenities make it the perfect big rig space. It looks good and is super smart.
5 USB ports of mixed types with fast-charging capability, a really cool wireless charge pad that can accommodate multiple smartphones at once or a tablet, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a hard-hitting 10” subwoofer for unbelievably rich sound…there are oh-wow moments everywhere you look. The detailed embroidery, the masculine wood and leather decor, the huge panoramic roof…this is really something else, especially for a truck. I will say though that this new UConnect screen is a little bit of reach and now more distracting to the driver. I also wish some of the climate settings such as the heated steering wheel and seats had external controls. It’s bigger and cooler looking with an awesome surround view monitor but it’s busy and not as intuitive as the regular sized system.
OK, back to normal truck talk for a moment. This HEMI-powered Crew Cab 4X4 has another new trick up its sleeve; eTorque. With a small 48-volt battery pack located on the inside rear wall feeding energy to a motor generator and vice versa, eTorque adds up to 130 pound-feet of torque to the V8 at launch. It also allows for a faster acting engine start-stop system. The 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque feel really lively, especially on this truck fitted with the most aggressive rear axle ratio. And you know I love having a 4-wheel drive system with an auto setting for variable road conditions.
You pay more for the mild-hybrid technology which comes with a number of benefits, but mostly it’s here to bump up fuel economy. But despite possessing it and a host of weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements, I’ve still only averaged 15 mpg this week.
The EPA rating is 17mpg city/22mpg highway on recommended midgrade gas like all HEMIs. That’s an over 10% improvement from the HEMI without eTorque. It adds $1,450 to the price. Then again, you could just stick with the standard eTorque V6 which runs happily on regular unleaded and returns 21mpg in combined driving.
The 4 corner air suspension provides a pillow soft ride and also offers multiple height settings benefitting aerodynamics and ease of getting in and out.
Spanning nearly 4” from lowest to highest with up to 10.8” of ground clearance in Off-Road 2 mode, this is a great feature to have. At speeds over 35mph it automatically drops down to a more aerodynamic ride height.
It’s amazing how far these trucks have come since I first started test-driving over 20 years ago. And when you read the press materials and talk to the engineers, it’s readily apparent that Ram wants to be the best. The advanced frame, the air suspension, the eTorque powertrain, the lavish interior – you might be a Ford or Chevy guy but you’ve got to at least respect what Ram has built here. Though my mileage during this cold snap has been disappointing, the powertrain is robust, the truck’s high IQ is impactful and the cabin quietness is ridiculously impressive. But I’m not sure the ride quality is any better than the new Silverado’s and the handling is definitely not. Still, this Limited is the kind of dream rig truck lovers would beg, steal or borrow to own.
It drives beautifully but it just seems like the new shocks don’t handle singular road impacts quite as well as the Chevy and it requires a little more muscle from the driver to get it through the backroads. But really, it’s splitting hairs. It’s beyond good from behind the wheel.
You can configure this truck with the smaller Quad Cab and longer 6’4” box and that might work best because this 5’7” cargo unit is pretty small and made even narrower with the intrusion of the Ram Boxes. There is a power remote tailgate but no assist step feature other than the bigger corner bump-outs for your foot.
Adaptive cruise with stop and go, automatic parking assistant and other collision mitigation features are present leading to an as-tested price of $69,140. Big money for a big truck but commensurate with the exceptional amount of features.
Other than the mothballed Tundra, if you’re shopping for a half-ton truck you’re going to leave with a winner and the new Ram is arguably the best of the bunch.