By Cars.com EditorsMarch 14, 2018
About the video
We finally did some driving on-road and off-road with the 2019 Ram 1500 - and even got a chance to do a little towing. Here's what we think.
(upbeat music) (upbeat music continues) We're here just outside San Antonio, Texas, where we're getting our first chance to get behind the wheel of the 2019 Ram 1500.
Now we've had a chance in Detroit to take a look at the mechanicals and the design details, but this is our first chance to drive. We did a little driving on-road. Off-road. And even got a chance to do a little bit of towing. We had the chance to drive around San Antonio city streets and highways. And we can say after some time with it, we would like more time. But for first impressions, we're very impressed with the frequency dampening shock. So these are new shock technology for the coil springs that are very impressive. They've also upgraded the air suspension package for the four corner air suspension. They're continuing that as well, but it's been upgraded to be a little bit smarter than it was before. Provide you a little softer ride when you need that cushion and get a little stiffer when you're driving more aggressively. One of the things that we didn't like, and it's a nitpick, is the adjustability on the steering wheel isn't electronic. It's still telescoping and adjustable, but it would be nice to have that electronic push button control like you do with the pedal control, that's all electronic. Also the performance on the engine side, they haven't changed any performance. So they've made the vehicle lighter, so the engine does feel a little more responsive, but it would be nice to get more performance out of that Hemi V8. During our very unscientific fuel economy run, we had the chance to drive through the city and on freeways. So that gave us a kind of a real world fuel economy of just under 20 miles per gallon. So that's very similar to what the previous generation Ram Hemi was doing before. But the big standout feature when we were driving was the big 12-inch screen. We're in a limited right now, but the 12-inch screen option on this new Ram is impressive. You get a giant screen. And you get access to all sorts of controls that give you tons of information about what's going on in the engine and to make your cabin more comfortable. Well, the Ram 1500 is quiet and comfortable on asphalt. If you're gonna do off-road, you've gotta get the Ram Rebel. This is the one that's made for off-roading. Four wheel drive, 33-inch tires. It has a slight air suspension lift. You can get either coils or four corner air suspension. It has a locking rear differential, if you need it. We're going up a steep section right now. Probably don't need it. But if we get stuck, we know we have there. And also an adjustable capability on the air suspension. So you can raise it up to off-road two level. Normal, sits right at off-road one, which gives you plenty of travel if you're coming over terrible obstacles. If you've got rocks coming up ahead too, you've got heavy duty skid plates in front and underneath the transfer case as well. Inside the interior of the Rebel is very, very cool. It's got these red accents throughout. The 33-inch tires are a Goodyear Wrangler DuraTracs. And the tread pattern is actually weaved right into the seats themselves. But the total package gives you superior off-road capability, better than any other trim package that Ram offers. (vehicle engine revving) As far as how this off-road package performs, we haven't been pushing it to its limits by any stretch, but over the section of dirt road and some of the off camber ruts that we've had to climb our way through, especially in the slick mud, it's been pretty impressive. Very flexible suspension. As long as you don't pack up the tires and wheels with mud, the grip seems to be incredible as well with the DuraTracs. We'd like the fact that there's a low range ratio that you can get into. And the rear locking diff, which is new for this package provides tons of traction, when you're trying to climb up rocks. We're doing towing right now with a mid-level to Laramie four wheel drive Ram 1500. We have about a 5,000 pound trailer behind us. So that's a decent amount of weight. And with the Hemi, it's got the 5.7 V8 Hemi right now, it's dealing very, very well. We've got the tow haul mode set that changes the mapping, both for the transmission and the throttle response. And obviously keeps it in a higher gear. So you can be a little bit safer when you're towing. Let off throttle and slow down. Also, it's got an integrated trailer brake controller. Very, very helpful when you're using either hydraulic or even electric brakes on anything that you're towing. And that it seems like we have the tongue weight set up very, very well. So I'm guessing maybe about 500 maybe 600 pounds of tongue weight on the coil springs in the back. And it's feeling very confident. The engines slow to ramp up a little bit, but that's exactly what I would expect with the shift patterns in the transmission changed a little bit in the 8-speed transmission. So far, the standout feature to me is still the suspension. It seems like the shocks are keeping things very, very stable. And like I said, our tongue weight is still just about right in the back, but I'm not getting any kind of wander or feeling any kind of pushing going on with the front end, no matter what kind of hills or declines that we are going through, through the hill country of Texas. Also really like the specialized temperature gauge for just about every feature going on inside the engine. So we have cooler temperature, transmission temperature, oil temperature, and oil pressure. All on one screen, so I can keep track to make sure there's no overheating going on. So that just about covers everything we did with this new 2019 Ram 1500. For more details, specs and photography, go to PickupTrucks.com.