It's not acceptable to make just a decent pickup truck these days since owners expect more than just utility. And if you hadn't noticed, trucks have come a long way. Plus, there are more of them coming into the hottest selling segment in America, especially with the rise of more unibody trucks. But as hardcore pickup trucks go, only one can rise to the top, and this year it's the 2019 Ram 1500, our selection for Truck Of The Year. Introduced in 2018 as a 2019 model, it's pretty much taken the segment by storm, and there are plenty of substantial reasons why.
Though some folks may not like the new truck's departure from the original crosshair grille that became so noticeable, it was time for a change. The new grille still has the logo front and center but opts for a more refined look. Upgrade to the higher trim levels, and the entire grille is bold in full chrome, and the Rebel off-road version gets its own dark grille that sets the model apart. Overall, the look of the truck is less blocky but still very masculine.
There's a large chrome bar that frames the top of the grille and also extends over the big headlights, while the entire bumper is chrome on most trim levels except for the Big Horn, the Laramie Long Horn, and the Rebel. Any trim level you choose, though, will result in a bold grille that gets attention without overdoing things, unlike the new Chevy Silverado that looks a bit too busy.
In terms of construction, the Ram 1500 is better and stronger than ever by using an all-new frame made of 98 percent high-strength steel. Durability and rigidity are up, along with width and height, while weight is down by 225 lbs. This means it moves better and is less truck-like to drive. The difference was palpable on our test drives. The Ram 1500 doesn't feel like a lumbering ox to drive, despite its 5,000 lb curb weight.
The frame isn't just stronger, it's also safer thanks to extra supports behind the front wheels that prevent damage to the cabin in an accident. There are now over 100 safety and security measures in
The last Ram 1500 was pretty darned comfortable and practical, but step inside the cabin of the new one and be prepared to jaw drop. Not only is the interior huge,
If you get the Crew Cab configuration, prepare to be treated like royalty. The new Ram 1500 has best-in-class legroom that's truly expansive. Tall adults can sit comfortably in
So, what about power? Well, not much changed at all, and it didn't need to. The optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine is a monster. It sounds great, pulls hard, and the 8-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly. 395 horses and 410 lb-ft of torque means 0-60 comes in a little over six seconds, and the beast tows up to 12,750 lbs. Wow.
On the miserly side, the Ram 1500 gets serious efficiency help with a more raked windshield, cylinder deactivation, and active grille shutters that close at highway speeds for better aero. Mpg numbers are up over last year, as a result. And it rides like a dream thanks to optional factory air suspension, as well as new frequency response damping shocks. It's as if FCA thought of everything.
There's no much that's lacking in the Ram 1500, and the other automakers will have to take notice. It's just that good in pretty much every way possible, and owners will notice that even in lower trim levels, the Ram 1500 is sublime. No more pickup truck compromises are acceptable since the Ram 1500 looks great, seats everyone in serious comfort, drives better than ever, and still provides the kind of utility owners expect. It's our choice for Truck Of The Year, hands down.