It’s a big year for one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) biggest products, the Ram 1500 pickup truck, which gets an all-new look for 2019 and a raft of engineering changes aimed, as always, at stealing buyers from its key competitors, the Ford F-150 and General Motors’ Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Ram has cut the 1500’s curb weight by more than 100 kg through the use of high-strength steel, much of which went into the truck’s frame, which is more than 45 kg lighter on its own. That allowed engineers to boost the truck’s towing capacity to more than 5,780 kg and payload to more than 1,040 kg.
Ram says the new 1500 is also the most aerodynamic pickup in the full-size segment thanks to active grille shutters, an air dam and a new-generation air suspension.
A late addition to the Ram 1500 is a two-piece, multi-function tailgate that opens four different ways.
Behind a new fascia live familiar engines, including a 3.6L V6 (305 hp; 269 lb-ft of torque) and a 5.7L V8 (395 hp; 410 lb-ft), but with a twist: both come with an eight-speed transmission and FCA’s new eTorque mild hybrid system, which adds 90 lb-ft of torque to the six-cylinder and 130 lb-ft to the V8. The 48-volt hybrid system also brings auto start/stop to the 1500 and brake energy regeneration.
While these mild hybrid setups aren’t as good at reducing fuel consumption as full hybrid powertrains are (this one won’t run on electricity alone), expect trucks fitted with this system to boast better economy than last year.
Conspicuous by its absence is the 3.0L Ecodiesel V6 offered in last year’s truck.
Like last year’s model, the new 1500 uses an engine coolant heat exchange system to help bring the transmission fluid and engine oil up to temperature more quickly. New for 2019, though, is an extension of that system that circulates coolant to the rear differential to speed its warm-up process too.
Ram seems proud that the new 1500 offers the most powerful stereo ever available in a pickup, a Harmon-Kardon setup boasting a 900-watt amp feeding 19 speakers, including a 10-inch subwoofer.
Available safety gear includes a 360-degree exterior camera system, and the Uconnect infotainment system will support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay through 8.4- and 12.0-inch touchscreens.
Other upscale touches include available full LED adaptive headlights and rear seats that recline up to eight degrees. There are practical elements inside, too, like a flat load floor and expandable underseat storage.