Full-size pickup trucks are by far the best selling vehicle class in the country, and have come a long way since their spartan tool-like existence that was typical of the previous century. Now pickups are competing with each other not only for payload capacity and durability, but for interior refinement as well. The completely redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 is particularly good at being a livable pickup truck, with better fuel economy, a wide variety of trim flavors, and a fantastic interior, all while maintaining the macho look and strength that is required of a pickup.

Best Value

While every trim level of the 2019 Ram has its own distinct flavor, the best value to be had is probably with the mid-grade Laramie trim if you're looking for something that is a combination of a luxury car and a pick up truck. The Laramie gets luxury touches like leather, a bigger touchscreen, heated and ventilated front seats, and dual zone climate control. We'd also stick with the standard 5.7-liter V8, and skip most of the other mechanical extras to save some coin.

Other options we'd add would be the Advanced Safety Group for the driver assistance features, and the Trailer Tow Group that is required to accompany it. The Level 1 Equipment group also brings a significant number of features to the Laramie, including features that add to the automatic driver assistance features like automatic headlights and windshield wipers, parking assistance, and blind spot detection. Finally, bench seats may be nostalgic for some, but we'd prefer the front buckets that are a part of the five-passenger seat combination.

  • Model: 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8
  • Output: 395 hp/ 410 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: Not yet rated
  • Options: Advanced Safety Group ($1,595, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, automatic highbeam control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, park assist) Level One Equipment Group ($1,600, blind spot monitoring, rain sensitive windshield wipers, remote tailgate release, front/rear park assist, foam bottle holders for doors, single disc CD player), Trailer Tow Group ($300, trailer-tow mirrors, trailer brake control), Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats ($695)
  • Base Price: $42,335 (including a $1,645 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $46,525


RAM 1500

The Ram 1500 has a wide variety of performance options for 2019, capable of meeting a variety of criteria. The bottom of the range is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that's found through out the FCA range. It does just fine as a base engine, as 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque is plenty for most light-duty applications. Any real heavy lifting will require you to upgrade to the 5.7-liter V8 with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. This is enough power to make the Ram feel quick and tow up to a whopping 12,750 pounds. Interestingly, both the V8 and the V6 have an optional partial hybrid system that can boost low-end torque and help save some gas around town, although we haven't yet experienced it in action.

All wheel drive is optional on most models, as is an air suspension that helps with ground clearance and aerodynamics at high speeds. The Ram 1500 feels composed on both roads and rough terrain, the suspension helping to separate the driver from discomforts for a smooth ride on almost all terrain. Sound deadening works wonders to provide rest to the weary driver after a long day's work.

If you're planning on getting the Ram Rebel off-road trim level, it's definitely worth upgrading to the V8 as a naturally aspirated V6 doesn't really scream "rebellion" in our minds. All wheel drive is standard in this model, as is as a higher suspension set up, off-road Goodyear tires, and an electronic locking rear differential. The Ford F-150 Raptor will still leave you in the dust out in the desert, but you'll also be a bit more equipped for run of the mill off-road challenges.

Interior and Exterior

The new Ram 1500 departs from the barrel chested look that has defined the model for as long as recent memory can hold. The hood and grille have been toned down a bit, sculpted to be a bit more friendly to the air while still remaining decidedly masculine. It's a decidedly sleeker look for the Ram, and we welcome it. The look will continue to look good long after the imposing grilles of the F-150 and Silverado go out of style. Interestingly, each trim level has it's own variation to the style, with the no-nonsense Tradesman, chromed-up Big Horn, aggressive Rebel, and conservative-but-upscale Laramie. The top of the line Limited trim would feel more at home parked in a high end suburb, while the Laramie Longhorn will feel at home on the biggest ranches of the west.

The interior is where the Ram 1500 really shines. Even the basic Tradesman model is leagues ahead of fleet-spec base models of its competitors, with high quality materials and comfortable seats. A front bench is standard on most models, but bucket seats are optional for a reasonable sum. Higher end models come with real wood trim and leather upholstery, and there are plenty of niceties for today's working man on the go like well-placed USB ports. Storage options abound with the Ram, including a huge center console on bucket seat-equipped models, storage cubbies throughout the cabin, and option Ram Box bins integrated into the sides of the bed that are a perfect length for storing shotguns and hunting rifles when equipped with a genuine Mopar gun-rack. Don't ever accuse Ram of not knowing who their customers are.

The Best and Worst Things

RAM 1500

The best thing about the Ram 1500 is how refined it is. Luxury trucks have been a thing for more than a decade at this point, and Ram executes this concept better than anyone else at this point. There are high quality materials, thoughtful designs, and amenities that can make even the weariest cowboy feel at ease.

At the same time, the Ram Rebel models in particular could use a more aggressive performance engine to fully compete with the Raptor that it pretends aren't in its sights. The Raptor has an advantage of over 50 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque, making it the undisputed champion in off road high speed shenanigans. While Ram hasn't said anything about adding a crazier powerplant to the Rebel, we can remind ourselves that Ram is part of a company that is seemingly bent on turning every vehicle they own into a muscle car.

Right For? Wrong For?

The Ram 1500 is a great vehicle for those who have earned their keep by working hard. The interior is a refuge from the toughest days in the fields or job sites. It is a bit more expensive than the competition, but you get a better sense that your money has gone somewhere.

However, like most full-size pickups these days, this isn't a vehicle for urbanites who don't have the luxury of a driveway. These trucks are big, and finding street parking in the city or navigating cramped parking decks can be a real pain. Instead look at smaller trucks like the Chevy Colorado or Toyota Tacoma.

The Bottom Line

A large swath of the truck-buying masses are dead set on what brand they'll buy. A big chunk are Ford people until the day they die, many others live and breathe GM trucks, while a smaller group are diehard Ram fans. We'll never convince these people to try the other trucks, but those who can be swayed should give the Ram a serious look. It's a seriously comfortable and competent truck that easily beats the others when it comes to refinement even at lower trim levels. While it's unlikely to unseat the Ford F-150 anytime soon, the benefits of the Ram are certain to cause some sweating among Ford product executives.