ALL NEW 2019 DODGE RAM PICK-UP
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Headline upgrades of the all new 2019 Dodge Ram include 48-volt mild hybridization, a claim to the longest and strongest chassis plus class-leading 0.357 Cd aerodynamics.
The Pentastar V-6 and Hemi V-8 engines both employ a new eTorque starter/generators that store deceleration energy in a 0.43-kW-hr battery pack. The energy is then fed back to the powertrain in such a way as to optimize fuel economy—like helping sustain a cruising speed without downshifting or reverting from four- to eight-cylinder mode. More than 40 shift maps allow the eight-speed transmission and the eTorque motors to cooperate to wring every possible mile from a gallon of gas. The V-6’s unit is water-cooled and contributes 12 hp and 90 lb-ft; the V-8’s is air-cooled and delivers 16 hp and 130 lb-ft. These motors start the engine in 0.55 second after an auto stop, and they’re used on initial starts except in cold conditions, when a conventional starter does the job
The entirely new, 98 percent high-strength-steel ladder frame chassis features a taller, narrower boxed cross-section that improves bending strength. Despite a 4-inch wheelbase stretch (to a claimed longest in class), the new frame dropped 100 pounds for a 17 percent weight savings. Max payload increases by 420 pounds to 2,300, and towing capacity increases to a massive 12,700 pounds.
Other chassis upgrades include a novel upper control arm made of reinforced nylon molded around a steel stamping which adds the strength needed to permit a 22-inch wheel option on 4×4 models. New frequency-response dampers from Hitachi—a Ram exclusive feature—greatly improve ride quality, especially on high-frequency chatter bumps. (Rebels still get off-road-optimized reservoir shocks.) New variable-rate rear coil springs help comfortably shoulder heavy loads without bottoming out.
Available off-road options include an electronic-locking rear differential and unique rear-axle-locating geometry to raise the coil-spring suspension’s ride height by an inch. This setup becomes standard on Rebel models, lowering the entry cost relative to the 2018 model with standard air ride. Upsizing the base wheel from 17 to 18 inches allows the front brakes to grow from 13.2 to 14.9 inches in diameter, which shaves a claimed 7 feet from the 60–0-mph stopping distance. (We’ve measured 122 to 138 feet.).
Six price classes plus HFE are now offered: Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited. These are amply differentiated, thanks to three headlamp and taillamp designs, the aforementioned array of grilles, 15 wheel designs spanning 18-inch steel through 22-inch aluminum (all of which now attach with six bolts, up from five), and the choice of chrome, blackout, or body color for various trim pieces. Also new: Sport (body color trim) and Black appearance packages are available across nearly all of the lower price classes instead of occupying a single rung on the price ladder. Speaking of ladders, a motorized running board is now available.
New electrical architecture brings all the expected safety gear, including available adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot detection with trailer sensing, and 360-degree camera view. Parallel and perpendicular parking assistance is offered, but trailer-backing assistance is not. Ram expects to achieve best-in-class safety ratings.
Interior space, comfort, and noise levels will all take a big step forward in 2019, we’re assured. On crew cab models, the aforementioned 4-inch stretch amounts to an extra inch in the front and rear doors plus 2 inches behind the rear door. (The eTorque battery and a subwoofer reside behind the rear seat.) The rear floor is now completely flat and features four tie-down rings and in-floor stowage bins that are enlarged to fit the receiver drop hitch. The seat bottom flips up as before to facilitate carrying large items indoors. Beneath it is a 1.4-cubic-foot storage area (twice as big as before) that can now accommodate rifles or fishing rods. On upper trim models, the rear cushion can slide forward 3.1 inches, reclining the backrest 8 degrees in the process. The entire center third of the seat back folds down as an armrest and cupholders, forming both a more comfy armrest and a better third-passenger backrest.
All of the price classes look classier, with even the cloth or vinyl-lined Tradesman variants getting some contrast stitching and a 3.5-inch color driver-information screen in the cluster. These bench-seat models get a three-point center front seat belt for 2019. Big Horn models add the option of two-tone interior trim. Rebels get red anodized trim and other red accents, seats with inserts patterned after its new Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire tread, and a larger 7.0-inch info screen in the cluster. Laramie leather seats get suede bolster inserts, and Longhorn models add filigree accents in the leather and wood trim.
The Limited trim is what happens when a company has no Imperial sedan with which to separate rich folks from big money. The wood veneers have argent stripes laminated in, and there’s all sorts of fancy embroidery. Leather covers the dash, console sides, and seat backs, and the navy blue and “frost” two-tone leather treatmentS are offered. These trucks reportedly offer more real wood, leather, and metal trim than any other. And between acoustic-laminated glass and active noise cancelation on all models, Ram claims this will be the market’s quietest truck. So much the better to enjoy the top 900-watt 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
A choice of three touchscreen infotainment systems is offered—two 8.4-inch versions (with and without navigation) and five USB ports.
The front console offers a smartphone/tablet docking slot with Qi wireless charging, and in the rear of the console there are two cupholders across which is a slot sized to hold a tablet at a comfortable viewing angle for rear-seat occupants. Cool. Similarly, the centre console incorporates a hanging file folder area in the back with room for purses or laptops (which can be plugged into a 110-volt outlet—there’s another in the rear and one in the optional deeper cargo Ramboxes). There’s also a sliding lid with cupholders and a shallow stowage bin. Inside is an Easter egg image of the four generations of “big-rig” Ram trucks.
The steering wheel now telescopes as well as tilts, the pedals also still adjust for reach, and the front power seats now feature four-way headrests and four-way lumbar adjustment.