Mar
20
2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

2019 Ram 1500 Limited Crew Cab 4×4 in Delmonico Red Pearl (a $100 option)

2015 Audi Q52019 Ram 1500 Limited Crew Cab 4X4

Class: Large Pickup Truck

Miles Driven: 222

Fuel Used: 15.2 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 14.6 mpg

Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/22/19 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Mid-grade gasoline recommended

Base price: $56,195 (not including $1695 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 ComfortA
Power and PerformanceA-
Fit and FinishA
Fuel EconomyD
ValueB
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
Big GuyA
Tall GuyA

Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($100), body-color bumpers ($195), Off-Road Group ($795), Level 1 Equipment Group ($2695), 3.92 rear-axle ratio ($95, replaces standard 3.21 ratio), 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine with eTorque mild-hybrid assist ($2645), panoramic sunroof ($1295), trailer brake control ($295)

Price as tested: $66,005

 

Quick Hits

The great: Excellent ride quality; luxury-grade interior trim

The good: Quietness; super-spacious cabin

The not so good: Disappointing observed fuel economy with Hemi V8’s eTorque system (at least with optional axle ratio)

More Ram pickup price and availability information

 

John Biel

To summarize the narrative about the 2019 Ram 1500 pickups, not only was the manufacturer bringing out a new generation of its full-size truck, it was bringing out a new way to power it, too. That was eTorque, which was supposed to be a fuel-saving “mild hybrid” system—when it wasn’t an acceleration-pricking low-end torque booster.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

Bedside “4×4 Off Road” decals are included in the $795 Off-Road Group, which also includes functional hardware such as undercarriage skid plates, hill-descent control, and an E-Locker rear axle. Body-color bumpers add another $195.

Having tested several ’19 Rams—now including one with eTorque—on their home ground, Consumer Guide editors can say that while the system clearly doesn’t hurt anything about the truck’s performance, it doesn’t substantially help it either.

As a quick refresher, eTorque uses a 48-volt motor/generator in place of a traditional 12-volt alternator to provide quick start/stop capability and a modicum of increased low-end torque in pursuit of better acceleration and improved fuel economy. As it transitions from engine shutoff to restart, it gives the wheels just a bit of a turn until it hands off acceleration duties to the engine. Other eTorque tasks are to run accessories while the engine is shut off at stops, smooth out shifts from the automatic transmission, and recharge the system’s 48-volt battery, mostly during deceleration.

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eTorque Hemi

High-class cabins are a Ram 1500 strong point; and the Limited trim level’s interior puts some luxury-brand models to shame. Attractive satin-metal-look accents and impressive contrast stitching are among the eye-catching details.

Ram includes eTorque with the standard 3.6-liter V6 and makes it available for the extra-cost 5.7-liter Hemi V8. CG’s eTorque test truck had the 395-horsepower V8. In this application, the mild hybrid spins out 130 lb-ft of supplemental launch torque. However, the Hemi is hardly a 98-pound weakling without eTorque. This engine boasts a substantial base 410 lb-ft at 3950 rpm. (Note that the V6 gets less added twist from eTorque.) Similarly, the 8-speed automatic used in all Ram 1500s is a fairly slick item as is, so it’s not like its operation with eTorque registers as an epiphany. However, eTorque’s operation as a stop/start device is exceptionally quiet and seamless.

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2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

The vertically oriented 12-inch touchscreen certainly looks impressive, but it can still be a bit bewildering to find some functions quickly. The 8-speed automatic transmission uses a handy rotary gear selector that is mounted on the dash–this frees up even more space in the already-huge, multi-level center console.

The EPA ratings for a 4-wheel-drive 1500 with an eTorque Hemi are 17 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 19 combined, all at least a couple of mpg better than a non-mild-hybrid V8. However, when piloting the truck for 222 miles with 55 percent city-style driving, CG editors averaged an aggregate 14.6 mpg. Perhaps the winter-blend gas sold in the Chicago area had a hand in that subpar performance, but other 2019 Ram 1500s previously driven have also undershot projections when the majority of miles have been in city operation. Another factor affecting fuel economy was our test Ram’s optional 3.92 axle ratio, which replaced the standard 3.21 ratio. It provides quicker access to the engine’s muscle—useful for towing or accelerating—but requires the engine to rev at a higher rpm at any given speed, thus hurting fuel economy.

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eTorque Hemi

The eTorque-equipped 5.7-liter Hemi V8 tacks on a hefty $2645 to the bottom line, but it also includes an active noise control system and an aluminum spare wheel. Twenty-inch polished wheels are standard on Limited models.

The Ram that was wrapped around our eTorque powertrain was a line-topping Limited with a full-length 4-door crew cab, the like of which we’ve approvingly sampled before. There is generous space for five passengers on comfortable leather-upholstered seats that are both heated and cooled (optionally ventilated in back). Attractive, upscale materials on the doors, dash, and console surround that fortunate five, and they have lots of places to stash their stuff, including compartments under the back seats and covered “Ram Bin” boxes in the rear floor. Big windows make for an airy cabin—with the shade for the optional panoramic sunroof retracted fishbowls spring to mind—and excellent sightlines for drivers.

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Ram 1500 Sunroof

An extra-large panoramic sunroof is a $1295 option.

Infotainment is managed by the highest version of the corporate Uconnect system, the 4C with a vertically oriented 12-inch touchscreen and navigation. The big viewer absorbs control of more functions—including the dual-zone climate system—onto the screen, which can present drivers with a fairly crowded menu of choices to sort out while driving. However, most of the virtual buttons mean what they “say” and get the job done without ambiguity or maddening deep dives into the system. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility and wireless device charging are standard, too. Just outside the lower left of the Uconnect installation is the easily reached control dial for the automatic transmission and keypad for driveline settings.

The Limited comes with 4-corner air suspension, which enhances the Ram’s already-celebrated reputation for ride comfort and quiet among large pickups. The system is adjustable and automatically hunkers down a little at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics and, ostensibly, fuel economy.

The well-turned-out 4×4 Limited Crew Cab starts at $56,195, but CG’s eTorque tester stickered for $66,005 with options and delivery. That included $2645 for the mild-hybrid engine, which is a $1450 jump from the conventional 5.7 Hemi. Consider that one more load an eminently capable Ram 1500 can carry.

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Ram 1500 eTorque

Though we’re a bit disappointed in our real-world economy results with the Hemi V8’s eTorque system, the Ram 1500 still impresses for its outstanding ride composure, beyond-ample interior room, and excellent cabin appointments.

First Spin: 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

2019 Ram 1500 with eTorque