Having sold a record 703,023 Ram trucks in 2019, the truck maker has debuted some new additions to its pickup line.
The first is their multifunction tailgate that opens in split 60/40 swing-out fashion, in addition to traditional dampened drop-down mode for its 1500 half-ton line.
While Honda’s Ridgeline pickup has a swing-out and drop-down tailgate, Ram’s twin swing-out doors are unique in that they allow easy bed access, makes curbside loading easier, makes loading bulky items easier, allows easier washout, and does not require a trailer and hitch be removed before loading/unloading the cargo bed. It has four configurations of open flat, open left door only, open right door only and open both doors, all of which swing open 88 degrees. It also comes with a 2,000-lb load rating.
New too is a reimagined center console that has 12 different storage configurations. Plus, the second row seats now recline up to eight degrees for better long trip comfort. Since the seat bottoms fold up against the bulkhead, it opens up 151 liters of interior storage capacity or nearly 100 percent more than the closest competition, says Ram.
Powertrain wise, the Ram 1500 features a new eTorque mild hybrid system on the Pentastar V6 and HEMI V8 engine. The eTorque mild hybrid system replaces the traditional alternator on the engine with a belt-driven motor generator unit that performs several functions. The motor generator unit works with a 48-volt battery pack to enable quick and seamless start/stop function, short-duration torque addition to the engine crankshaft in certain driving situations and brake energy regeneration, which improves responsiveness and efficiency.
With the engine running, Ram says the eTorque’s motor generator unit feeds 48-volt current to a 430 watt-hour lithium-ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)-Graphite battery. The small-suitcase-sized, air-cooled battery pack mounts to the rear wall inside the Ram 1500’s cabin.
In addition to spinning the engine for restarts, the eTorque unit also recaptures energy during deceleration and braking to feed charge to the battery pack.
Returning in more powerful form, the 2020 Ram 1500 can be had with a new 3.0L, EcoDiesel V6 that generates a whopping 480 lb/ft of torque and 260-hp for an impressive tow rating of 12,560 pounds.
Aside from these, Ram has received awards from several car buff magazines and sites. Most point out Ram’s interior with its 12-inch touchscreen with voice control that offers everything but the kitchen sink as they say. In addition to Wi-Fi hotspot capability, it offers five exterior camera views of forward, rearward with surround view, front with surround view, forward wide angle and trailer hitch view.
Another unique feature of the Ram is its rotary electronic automatic transmission shifter positioned next to the 4WD selector. If coming off a console or steering column gearshift, it takes some getting used to.
There’s more, but we should mention that Ram 1500 comes in Classic, Tradesman HFE, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited that was tested.
Whatever trim model selected, it also comes in Quad Cab with three-quarter size rear doors that can seat up to six passengers, or, Crew Cab that has four full-size doors.
Back inside the cabin, that has a low 9.5-inch step-in to the powered running boards, the cockpit is comfy and the visual effects are jet-like. Included is the huge 12-inch touchscreen and array of function switches that includes air suspension, power adjustable pedals, trailer controller plus a huge console box that can easily accommodate a six-pack of canned beverages – and then some. There’s also dual glove boxes.
Back in the rear seat, that can hold three adults with class-leading legroom and ample head room, they fold up against the bulkhead and when doing so, there’s a full-length storage bin underneath. And hidden beneath the rear floor mats are a pair of 8.5-inch deep storage bins, another neat feature Ram engineers used dead space for as they did for the RamBox’s in the rear fender wells. Bet competitors wished they had thought of those useful features.
The test truck was powered by a 5.7L, HEMI V6 with eTorque. Coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the combination generated a total of 395-hp and 410 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 17 city, 22-highway mpg. There’s certainly no want for power. Floor the accelerator and the roar from under the hood and tailpipes gives goose bumps. There’s no mistaking a HEMI.
Ride wise on 22-inch, 9.5-inch wide Goodyear tires, the Limited rode better than some luxury cars. That can be attributed to its coil spring suspension. Load the bed with mulch or topsoil, and it rides even smoother. And it does do ever so quietly.
Loaded with a long list of standard safety features and amenities, the options list reads as follows:
Diamond Black Crystal paint ($100); body-color bumper group ($195); advanced safety group ($1,695) that includes adaptive cruise w/stop-go, advanced brake assist, full speed forward collision warning, lane keep assist, parallel and perpendicular park assist w/stop, surround view camera; tri-fold tonneau cover ($550); 3.92 rear axle ($95); 5.7L eTorque HEMI V8 ($2,645); panoramic sunroof ($1,495); deployable bed step ($195); Multifunction Tailgate ($995); 33-gallon fuel tank ($445); 22-inch polished wheels and all season tires ($2,095); trailer brake controller ($295) and delivery brought the base price of $56,990 to $69,485. Forego some of these goodies and it brings the bottom line down somewhat.
To its credit, Ram was a 2019 Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and was named 2020 Green Truck of the Year by Green Car Journal. And the government’s 5-Star safety rating awarded Ram five stars for driver and four for passenger frontal crash; five stars for front/rear seat side crash; and four for rollover. All impressive safety ratings.