We've sat in, pored over and driven the new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck. It's the first of several all-new pickups slated to arrive this year from the Detroit Three and we definitely have some opinions on the new rig. So far, our exposure to it has been only a few variants of the Hemi V-8 version since that is what Ram plans to push during early production before rolling out other powertrains and variants later this year. But even our brief exposure to the new Ram at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and the truck's media launch in San Antonio has left a significant impression on us about what Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' team has created. Here are our five favorite things about the 2019 Ram 1500:
1. That Beautiful Interior
The exterior styling is handsome, but not all that groundbreaking. The interior, on the other hand, resets the bar to a very high standard for pickup trucks. Even lesser models feature outstanding materials and assembly quality, and the luxurious models are downright exceptional, rivaling vehicles from luxury brands. The silence inside is astonishing, thanks to both active noise cancellation through the audio system and a unique vibration damper affixed to the truck's frame.
2. That Massive Touchscreen
The most striking feature of the upgraded interior is the optional massive 12-inch touchscreen. It's reconfigurable; it's big and bright; and it provides all the information you could possibly need. And let's face it, it's just plain cool — it makes the Ram feel like a Tesla Model S.
3. That Retuned Suspension
The 2019 Ram 1500 has a new suspension with retuned shocks and springs that dramatically improve the truck's behavior over all sorts of surfaces. The new frequency response damping shock absorbers feel like a less expensive active air suspension, adapting to changing surfaces and driver demand with ease. The lighter weight of the pickup also helps with suspension tuning, holding the truck level and quiet over broken tarmac — a welcome change from the old model's choppiness.
4. That Quad Cab Rebel
The off-road ready Ram 1500 Rebel has been a big hit for Ram and the expansion of the trim to include the smaller Quad Cab with a steel suspension is a welcome one. It also now offers an electric locking rear differential. This means that there's now a less costly version of the Rebel; one that's easier for enthusiasts to modify with things like lift kits. We expect that we'll see even more Rebels at the off-road park once this one hits the streets.
5. That Hybrid eTorque System
The only powertrain we've sampled so far is the straight-up 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, but there are many more on the way, including a V-6 and V-8 with an eTorque electric hybrid system that boosts power on demand. It includes a 48-volt battery pack and an electric motor that will deliver 90 additional pounds-feet of torque to the V-6 and up to 130 pounds-feet for the V-8. It will be standard on the 3.6-liter V-6 when it arrives later this year and an option on the Hemi. Who doesn't love more guilt-free torque?
Manufacturer images; Laramie Sport photo (below), Christian Lantry