The latest RAM pickup makes quite a statement
Words by: Adam Allen
So, the perpetual cycle of truck wars begins anew…
Yes, and stickers of Calvin urinating on Ford and Chevy logos should see a increase in sales as 2019 RAMs hit showrooms across the country. The F-150 was completely redesigned a few short years ago, and while the RAM isn’t the newest truck on the scene- that distinction goes to General Motor’s recent unveiling of their newest lineup of pickups- it’s still wet behind the ears and warrants a thorough once over. We tested the last of the previous generation RAM trucks earlier this year, we were eager to get our hands on a 5th generation. While the curb appeal of our tester is undeniable, aside from the front and rear lights only those die hard RAM fans will be able to tell the new from the old. Think evolution instead of revolution. Despite that, the 2019 RAM really does feel new from the ground up- and most importantly, it feels like a meaningful upgrade over its predecessor.
Excellent! I live in Plano, Texas and so I’ll be seeing my local dealer about this sweet looking Sport model.
Not so fast, cowboy. The Sport trim level- perhaps the sweet spot of the lineup- is exclusive to us Canadians. Our Sport was extremely well equipped, and despite the lengthy options list there really isn’t anything frivolous on the menu here; it’s pretty much how we’d spec one were we looking to make one a permanent fixture the Carpages Garage. Must haves include the 4 corner air suspension (a class exclusive at $1,895), handsome 22” wheels (a bargain at $995) and a 9-speaker stereo system with a subwoofer (a great value at $445.) Also included on our tester was the 5.7 litre HEMI V8 that shuts down four cylinders under light loads. Razor sharp graphics on the Uconnect 8.4 inch infotainment screen as well as the display on the dashboard make a strong case for the industry’s best, and we wonder- is anyone doing LED headlight and taillights as good as FCA these days? They offer a combination of slick styling and high visibility, and a few transport drivers who’d tricked out their own rigs looked longingly at our truck. Mission accomplished, then.
Hard to imagine, but it’s even more luxurious than before…
Any truck that can manage 67 decibels while cruising is a huge achievement, no doubt aided by the .357 coefficient of drag which claims the title as slipperiest across the entire pickup segment. Our Sport model is by no means fully loaded, but it felt like it could go toe-to-toe with many luxury focused offerings, truck or otherwise. It featured excellent build quality and stitching (in a pickup!) that runs the expanse of the dash. Thanks to the rotary shift dial which has been around for a few years now, there’s a huge amount of space in the console area that RAM engineers have put to good use. Everything is highly configurable and willing to accept your life’s detritus whether that includes your laptop, cell phone, coins for your favourite drive thru- no matter what you’ve got, the RAM is willing to swallow it in neatly arranged fashion. Speaking of swallowing, the RAM’s interior is a veritable black hole for all your stuff. On a recent trip to Costco where we went a little crazy- stowing the rear seats yielded more than enough room for our massive haul, and we didn’t have to put anything in the bed. And while it may seem like overkill to utilize a pickup to do the morning school run and pop over to the market for a crate of eggs and some milk, we began to see why so many people love trucks like this- “Will it fit?” is simply never an issue. And when you’re not hauling debatably useless stuff for your entire household, the RAM’s cavernous interior offers up all the creature comforts you want plus room for even you biggest passengers in sublime comfort. And when you do ask it to tow or haul serious stuff, the RAM will rise to the occasion, making short work of whatever you ask of it.
With all these luxury bits- and factoring all it can haul- please tell us that it hasn’t gone soft.
Not in the slightest. While the 4 corner air suspension will spoil all those on board- no pickup in existence shrugs off nasty frost heaves and pot holes like the RAM does- this is no 1970’s Dodge Monaco complete with nautical body motions, of which the RAM shares a very distant relation to. We can tell you that this truck’s ability to console its occupants even when it’s not towing or hauling anything heavy is astounding. Thanks to the air suspenders, it doesn’t float or wallow in any situation- actually, when the sensors see that your settling in for a long highway slog, they lower the RAM’s ride height to make it more aerodynamically efficient. And while the HEMI V8 might be outgunned by the top shelf turbo V6 from Ford and the 6.2 litre V8 from GM’s stables, its hardly a shrinking violet, providing respectable urge to motivate the RAM’s curb weight. It can run on four cylinders under light loads in the hopes to achieve the ever tightening fuel economy mandates full size pickups are subject to, even if it sounds like a UPS delivery truck in the process. For a truck with all this capability, the RAM proves itself quite capable of handling itself as a daily driver.
What might go wrong?
Since we were recently discussing the HEMI’s relative prowess as a fuel sipper, it seems fitting to groan about the sound, or lack thereof. Yes, we praised the RAM’s ability to cruise in commendable silence, but when you put your foot down you expect to hear the textbook American V8 soundtrack, and it just doesn’t happen. Some folks will be quite pleased with that, but we would rather hear the HEMI sing. Also, until the eTorque models arrive- which promise to add a whopping 130 lbs/ft of torque to fill in the gaps of the 5.7 litre V8 power delivery- the HEMI will concede numerical supremacy from its crosstown rivals. And although it didn’t bother us, some folks might complain that it doesn’t feel radically new as is the case with its Ford and GM counterparts.
Should I buy a RAM 1500 Sport?
Since truck brand loyalty is fierce, chances are you’ve already answered this question- if you count yourself among the Mopar faithful, the signature on the dotted line is as good as done. If you find yourself defecting from the Ford and Chevy corrals, you’ll find an extremely well sorted, comfortable and decadently equipped truck waiting for your test drive. Go on, give it a try; who cares what Calvin thinks anyway?
2019 Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X4- Specifications
- Price as tested: $77,665
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger truck
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/four-wheel drive
- Engine: 5.7 litre V8, OHV, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 395 @ 5,600 rpm
- Torque (lb-ft.): 410 @ 3,950 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 2,440 kg (5,379 lbs)
- Observed Fuel consumption: 15.6L/100km (15 mpg)