As part of our online series on 2019 trucks, Chris Hemer reviews the new Ram 1500 and its towing features
Dodge changed the face of its trucks in 1994, with a big-rig look that created wide appeal as well as class-leading ride quality and thoughtful interior features. Later, resurrecting the legendary Hemi name and dropping the Dodge moniker in favor of Ram, Chrysler’s management steadily improved its trucks, making them among the most desirable on the market. It remained good enough for second or third place in light-duty truck sales for many years (depending on GM’s ranking at the time), but for the 2019 Ram 1500, the truck maker pulled out all the stops, putting forth its best effort yet.
Strategic use of aluminum and composite materials throughout enabled an increase in maximum payload to 2,300 pounds and a maximum tow rating of 12,750 pounds, while a sleeker profile makes the new Ram the most aerodynamic in its segment, according to Fiat Chrysler America (FCA), with a coefficient of drag of .357 — a 9 percent improvement over the outgoing model.
Three new, longer frame lengths are offered: a 140.5-inch-wheelbase Quad Cab, as well as a 144.5-inch Crew Cab shortbed and a 153.5-inch Crew Cab longbed, both of which are 4 inches longer than their predecessors for extra cab room. The rear floor is now completely flat, which allows larger items to be stored inside, and integrated D-rings help secure heavier cargo. One in-floor RamBin per side makes it easy to store smaller items, like tire chains or tools.
Engine choices remain the same as last year, but with a twist: The eTorque mild hybrid system. eTorque replaces the traditional engine alternator with a belt-driven motor generator unit and a suitcase-size, air-cooled 48-volt battery pack mounted to the rear wall inside the cabin. eTorque enables start/stop function, brake energy regeneration, and most importantly, short-duration torque addition. eTorque adds up to 90 lb-ft of torque to the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and up to 130 lb.-ft. to the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 “in certain driving situations,” according to FCA.
Still wish you could get the “old” Ram? You can. It’s called the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic, with a max tow rating of 10,620 pounds.
FCA deserves credit for making the 2019 Ram 1500 more capable, comfortable and refined, but compared to the domestic competition, it didn’t place a lot of focus on new towing features. Still, the truck offers several features that RVers will find useful.
Trailer Tow Group: Power trailer-tow mirrors with manual fold-away, supplemental signals and courtesy lamps, integrated trailer-brake control and a Class IV hitch receiver.
Max Towing Package: An option with the 3.92 final drive ratio offering up to 12,750 pounds of towing capability.
Blind-Spot with Cross Path and Trailer Detection System: Protects from blind spots on the truck, but also automatically senses and accounts for the trailer, making lane changes easier and safer while towing.
Trick Tailgate: Made from aluminum, this component is not only lighter but features damping during opening and closing with an integrated lift-assist feature. The latch and lock mechanism is now electronic, allowing the driver to drop the tailgate with an interior switch or remotely with the key fob.
360-Degree Surround-View Camera System: This available feature provides a bird’s-eye view around the vehicle to make parking, loading and hitching a trailer safer and easier.
2019 Ram 1500
3.6L V-6: 7,750 lbs.
5.7L V-8: Hemi 11,690 lbs.
5.7L V-8 Hemi eTorque: 12,750 lbs.
2019 Ram 1500 Classic
3.6L V-6: 7,050 lbs.
5.7L V-8 Hemi: 10,620 lbs.
2019 Ram 1500
Big Horn/Lone Star: $42,295
Laramie Longhorn: $50,595
2019 Ram 1500 Classic
Big Horn: $46,445
A frequent contributor to Trailer Life, Chris Hemer is the former technical editor of Trailer Life and MotorHome, and has been an RV and automotive journalist for more than 20 years. An outdoor enthusiast who now makes his home in Portland, Oregon, he enjoys camping, motorcycle riding, mountain biking and hiking.