A trio of terrific engines. The base engine for the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that produces 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The next engine is a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that generates 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. Lastly, there's a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 that's good for 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque coming in the first quarter of 2019.
The engines may be getting old, but they're refined, powerful, and quiet. The V8 motor makes a sound that resembles a muscle car when pushed. The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and efficient, capable of finding the engine's sweet spot in little time.
Modest towing and payload capacity. While towing and payload capacity should be more than enough for the majority of consumers, the 1500 Classic lags behind the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. When properly equipped, the 1500 Classic can tow up to 10,760 pounds and has a max payload capacity of 1,880 pounds.
The F-150 can tow up to 13,200 pounds and has a maximum payload capacity of 3,270 pounds. The Silverado 1500 is rated to tow up to 12,200 pounds and has a payload capacity of 2,500 pounds. However, the carryover Chevy Silverado 1500 LD can only tow up to 9,400 pounds, so the Ram has the edge there.
A comfortable cabin. Pickup trucks aren't known for being comfortable machines for long hauls, but the 1500 Classic's range-topping Big Horn trim comes with some high-end features that make long drives more enjoyable.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power 10-way driver's seat, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a universal garage door opener.
Decent fuel economy. If you opt for the diesel motor, the 1500 Classic is one of the more fuel-efficient full-size pickups on the market. Last year, the engine was rated by the EPA to get up to 23 miles per gallon combined. That's only slightly behind the Ford F-150's 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder engine (25 mpg combined), and better than the Chevrolet Silverado's 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (21 mpg combined).
Final thoughts. With the introduction of the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic is outclassed by its newer counterpart. If you're on a budget, though, the 1500 Classic is a great option, offering you a great lineup of engines, a comfortable cabin, and decent fuel economy.
With newer, stronger options on the road, the 1500 Classic can't compete with competitors – or even the new Ram 1500 – when it comes to towing and payload capacity. But the pickup truck is still immensely capable. If Ram would increase the amount of advanced safety features on the truck, it would be a better value proposition.
All of the 1500 Classic's competitors are newer, more advanced, and more capable. The new Ram 1500 is probably the 1500 Classic's largest competitor, and it comes with more technology, a nicer interior, and efficient hybrid powertrains. Even with that in mind, buyers on a budget will find a lot to like with the pickup.