CARS.COM — Pickup trucks are the talk of the town at this year’s 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, with the new 2019 Ram 1500 and redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 competing for attention, while the resurrected 2019 Ford Ranger made its U.S. comeback after going on hiatus in 2011.
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While all three trucks impressed, the Ram climbed to the top of the heap for its blend of capability, comfort, technology and efficiency. Cars.com editors Aaron Bragman, Mike Hanley, Fred Meier and Brian Wong weigh in below on why the Ram took top honors.
Bragman: There were a lot of good contenders for Best in Show, but the new Ram 1500 stands out for multiple reasons. It’s not the most boldly styled pickup in a show full of boldly styled new pickups, but the interior absolutely knocks one out of the park. The Limited super-luxury model — with its embroidered, beautifully trimmed leather seats, massive 12-inch touchscreen, brain-bursting premium audio, and impeccable fit and finish — sets the new standard for luxury truck interiors. The powertrains are now all electrically assisted hybrids with a high-tech 48-volt boost, and it remains the only truck in its class with an adjustable air suspension. Ram made a great truck even better, modernizing and updating 1500, and it certainly wins my Best in Show.
Hanley: Pickup trucks were the stars of the Detroit auto show, but none shone more brightly than the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500. Innovation is a must in the hotly contested full-size truck market, and the Ram 1500 has it nearly everywhere you look. From its mild-hybrid engine technology to its available 12-inch touchscreen multimedia system, the redesigned truck continues to push the segment forward with useful technology that customers will appreciate.
Meier: Tough choice. The new Silverado is one handsome truck and much improved, but … Ram seems to be working hardest to get and keep new buyers. Payload and towing are increased, but that’s the ante you’d expect for a truck redesign. Meanwhile, the nicest cabin got nicer — and also roomier, more comfortable and more creative in the practical uses of all the space. The smoothest ride got smoother and less fatiguing for a long day. The infotainment tech got not just more competitive, but leapfrogged the competition with a new 12-inch screen and other system options that are a cut above the others’ top offerings. Impressive attention to the details includes such things as a clever new bed step and tweaks to improve the RamBox for buyers who need that utility and secure storage more than ultimate bed size and payload. Most impressive for me, however, is Ram engineers beginning to harness the potential of the latest 48-volt mild-hybrid technology — just making its way into high-end luxury cars — to boost efficiency in the general-use gasoline versions of the truck and to save buyers a buck. Not all the redesign was progress, though; I already miss the crosshair grille.
Wong: Each of the three U.S. automakers brought a new or redesigned truck to the show this year, but the one that made the largest impression on me was the Ram 1500. We’ve had to wait a bit longer than we would have liked to see the updated half ton, but it seems to have been worth the wait. Each area of the truck has been improved markedly: Technology takes a big leap, advanced safety features are finally available and a mild-hybrid system helps with fuel economy.
While the changes are extensive to each of the Ram 1500’s seven trim levels, what really sold me on it was the upscale Laramie. That truck is truly a step above the competition, from the luxurious details and materials to the giant 12-inch touchscreen and the highly configurable center storage bin — its attention to detail should have the other manufacturers nervous. It’s a worthy rig to sit atop the half-ton throne.
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