It won Motor Trends’ 2019 Truck of the Year plus other automotive publication awards based upon its latest technology, increased payload, increased towing capacity, mild hybrid system, plus overall driving comfort and quiet cabin. That’s just some of the high points of Ram’s fifth generation half-ton pickup.
Offered in seven trim levels and in Crew and Quad cabs, we tested the top-line Limited Crew Cab that came outfitted to the hilt with a huge 12-inch configurable touchscreen, powered running boards and RamBox bed storage system to name a few features that immediately grab the eyes. Ram also announced a nifty 60/40 split tailgate open option that allows easier loading, especially with a trailer in-tow.
With the Limited model, you’re treated to powered running boards upon opening any door. This reduces a 23-inch step-in to a mere 9-inches. The standard air suspension system in the Limited raised the body height from 22.5 inches to 24.5 when carrying heavy loads and traversing deep snow or mud.
Once in, you’re cuddled to heated/cooled front perforated leather seats that are sumptuously padded and supportive. Your eyes will then be taken by a huge configurable 12-inch touchscreen with voice control that offers the latest Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Uconnect connectivity, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability and a host of other features including a four-view camera system that includes a bed and frontal camera views. The console also houses a wireless smartphone charger. Luxuries not all sedans offer nor competitive pickups which includes Rams’ ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular parking assist. And for drivers with short legs, powered pedals lessen the stretch.
Ram Limited’s interior is as posh and comfy as most luxury sedans, but with the exception of a higher stance.
Then there’s the huge two-tier console box can easily hold a six pack of canned beverages, iPad or other essentials.
Somewhat unique for a half-ton pickup is the electronically controlled rotary transmission shifter dial for the 8-speed automatic transmission. That’s flanked by the 4WD selector offering 4WD Auto, 4WD High, 4WD Low and 2WD plus an off-switch for the auto start/stop engine system that is designed to conserve fuel at stoplights and traffic pauses.
Ram’s heated back seat can easily seat three large adults in complete comfort. It offers class-leading leg and head room and when folding the 60/40 seat bottoms up against the bulkhead, the flat load floor provides a huge amount of secured storage space. Beneath them is a full-length bin to stow small items out of sight.
Back in the cargo area the fenders have lockable RamBoxes that offer space for tools, tow straps, long hunting guns, two-piece fishing rods and a multitude of other items. The boxes have no competition and are extremely useful. You wonder why others didn’t make use of this wasted space. There’s also a dampened tailgate which most truck makers now use. Ram also has one of the best cargo dividers that can be secured along the entire length of the bed and doubles as an extender. Added to this, adjustable tie-downs complete the package.
Ram is available with either a 3.6-liter, V6 with 305-hp and 269 lb/ft of torque or the tested 5.7-liter V8 with 395-hp and 410 lb/ft of torque. Both are paired with a slick shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. The 5.7L garnered EPA mileage estimates of 17 city, 22-highway mpg with a 3.92 rear axle. So configured, the Ram can haul a payload of 2,300 pounds and carries tow ratings of 11,200 pounds for a 4X4, or 11,500 with a 4X2. This allows towing a sizable trailer with a boat, ATVs or equipment trailer.
Performance wise, the 5.7 has loads of grunt. There’s certainly no want for power from a standing stop or during highway passing maneuvers. The engine growl under hard acceleration is music to a truck enthusiasts’ ears.
Ride and handling for a large pickup is exceptional. Ram is void of the “trucky” feeling you get in most trucks. It’s smooth and quiet shod with Bridgestone 20-inch tires. Thanks to 5-link coil springs in the back, the suspension smooth’s road imperfections and major bumps with ease. The cause is helped by Frequency Response Damping shocks that softens damping on rough off-roads while providing added stability. In other words, when most shocks have aggressive damping, the FRD shocks slow the up/down motion for improved ride.
For a base price of $58,195, you get a long list of standard items and safety features. This includes ParkSense Park Assist, remote start, rear backup camera, 4-corner air suspension, tailgate ajar warning, blind spot with cross-path detection warning, heated seats/steering wheel, receiver hitch, sprayed in bed liner, LED headlamps and about 20 more. On the extensive options list, Granite Crystal metallic paint ($200); body color bumper ($195); 4 adjustable tie-downs ($545); Level 1 Equipment Group ($2,695) adds harmon/kardon audio, advanced brake assist, full-speed collision warning, lane departure warning, park assist, ventilated rear seats, surround view camera; tri-fold tonneau cover ($550); plus, 3.92 rear axle ($95); anti-spin rear axle ($2,645); 5.7 V8 engine ($2,645); panoramic sunroof ($1,295); RamBoxes ($995); trailer brake control ($295); extra large 33-gal. fuel tank ($445) and delivery ($1,695) took the bottom line to $68,340. If you can live without some of these niceties, this price can be shaved down somewhat.
Ram also comes with a 5-year, 60K mile powertrain warranty, 3/36K mile basic limited warranty.
Considering the price of todays new luxury sedans, the Ram is the better deal in that it can haul more, seat more, tow more and go places a sedan cannot. Of course this is if you need these outstanding qualities.