2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4
Class: Large Pickup Truck
Miles driven: 332
Fuel used: 23.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 14.3 mpg
Driving mix: 70% city, 30% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15/22/17 (city/highway/combined)
Base price: $46,890 (not including $1645 destination charge)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||A-|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Options on test vehicle (U.S.-market equivalent to Canadian-market test vehicle): bucket seats ($695), Bed Utility Group ($795), Level 1 Laramie Equipment Group ($1600), anti-spin differential ($435), 20-inch wheels ($1295), rear wheelhouse liners ($195), navigation system ($795), trailer brake controller ($295)
Price as tested: $54,640
The great: Outstanding ride quality and suspension composure for a full-size pickup
The good: Cavernous interior, easy-to-use controls
The not so good: Despite fuel-economy measures, Hemi V8 is still thirsty
The Ram brand of full-sized pickup trucks isn’t waiting to get its act together for 2019. Instead, it’s making an impression right out of the box, with plenty more to come once the model year gets into full swing.
Consumer Guide® sampled an early production version of the all-new ’19 Ram 1500, a Laramie Crew Cab—one of two cab styles available—powered by a well-known 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and 8-speed automatic transmission, the only powerteam initially available. (The test truck was a Canadian-market example with some equipment applications that don’t exactly correspond to U.S.-spec models.) In time there will be additions of a regular cab, a V6, engines with the mild-hybrid “eTorque” low-end torque enhancer, and the return of a turbodiesel V6. However, even without those components the new-generation Ram is undeniably impressive for its ride, interior quiet, room, and features.
The earliest cab configurations available are a pair of 4-doors, the Quad and the Crew, the latter with full-length rear doors. For 2019, the Crew’s cab length grows by four inches, which makes for a cabin that couldn’t be roomier if it were in a large “executive-class” sedan. Rear legroom checks in at 45.2 inches, which leaves plenty of space even if front-seat occupants need all of the ample room granted to them. Three adults, non-fashion-model variety, can fit comfortably on the rear seat. They’ll all sit comfortably, too; even the middle position displays some contouring clearly intended to accommodate a human backside. Headroom rises majestically over the interior. Doors open wide for unencumbered entry and exit, but step-in height in 4-wheel-drive jobs like the test truck will seem high (though steps can be ordered to mitigate that).
Ram’s sterling reputation for ride quality continues to shine. The coil-spring rear suspension makes it possible to forget that it is supporting a large pickup. Whether empty or with a moderate load, the test truck—with 20-inch alloy wheels—maintained its composure in this driver’s experience. There was no hop from the rear when contacting road imperfections, and little squeaking or banging. Indeed, the 2019 Ram is very quiet for a truck, and the absence of suspension noises contributes to that.
A new generation of any motor vehicle is almost invariably accompanied by different styling. The ’19 Ram 1500 follows that time-honored path, with looks influenced in part by a desire for improved aerodynamics. It’s been lightened, which stands to improve fuel economy, and payload and towing ratings have increased. For example, a comparison of CG’s tested 2019 Laramie Crew Cab with 4-wheel drive and the “short” 5-foot, 7-inch bed to a comparable ’18 model shows a payload gain of 260 pounds (to 1770 pounds) and a 1290-pound hike in maximum towing capacity (to 11,430 pounds).
The test truck’s Hemi V8 made the same 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque as in recent years. (A coming eTorque version will generate an additional 130 lb-ft.) With the help of the dial-controlled automatic transmission, it emits plenty of ready, smooth power, and pulls away from a standing start as smartly as it cruises the highway. While the 5.7 in the 2019 Ram might be a little better on gas than this engine previously was, it will still be a regular at the corner gas station. This reviewer averaged 14.66 mpg after going 213.4 miles in the truck, with 55 percent city-type driving. That’s about one mpg more than he got in a 2018 Limited Crew Cab 4×4 with the same powerteam under roughly similar circumstances.
The well-optioned test truck came with extra-cost goodies like front bucket seats and console (a 40/20/40-divided bench seat is standard); navigation; electronic trailer-brake controller; antispin differential; a cargo-bed utility package with adjustable tie-down hooks, LED bed lighting, and a spray-in liner; and a Laramie equipment group with blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, parking assist, remote tailgate release, and a single-disc CD player. In the U.S., a Ram Laramie like the tested truck starts at $46,890, but the aforementioned gear (and more) pushed the figure to $54,640. Standard equipment at this level includes leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch screen, satellite radio, and a media hub with two USB ports and an auxiliary input located below the dual-zone automatic climate controls.
Residing roughly in the middle of the Ram 1500 lineup, the Laramie doesn’t sport the plushest of interiors, but it’s still a very nice environment, with plenty of soft-surface material throughout. Driving gauges and vehicle information displays show up well in the instrument cluster, and controls are easy to access and use. (At the next FCA all-brands coffee klatch, the contingent from Alfa Romeo should ask the Ram folks for their recipe for a blessedly straightforward audio system.) The cabin is peppered with useful storage facilities: upper and lower glove boxes, a covered bin atop the dash, bi-level door pockets—with bottle holders in the long lower ones, and pouches on the backs of the front seats. The broad optional console has a shallow covered space under the padded armrest, but beneath this is a vast open bin with a sliding panel that contains a pair of cup holders. Narrow pockets are cut into the sides of the console as well. Two more cup holders are found in the pull-down center armrest. The floor under the rear seat is flat, which creates copious in-cab storage when the seat cushions are flipped up. Covered “Ram Bin” boxes are in the rear floor, too.
Utility, performance, and ride make the 2019 Ram 1500 a compelling choice in the big-pickup market. And that’s true now—even before it’s had the chance to come to full fruition.
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