The pick up truck market is fierce but here's why I think the new Ram 1500 is the best truck you can buy right now.
I know I’m going to get a lot of slack from the truck buying world for this one, but I’m being serious. I don’t think there’s a better truck out there than the Ram 1500. I think it’s the best packaged truck and is class leading on multiple fronts. In other words, it’s the best in the segment. FCA (Ram trucks parent company) has done a great job with a design that’s new, refreshed and elegant at the same time. Looking inside the Ram 1500 has some luxury cars beat with great materials throughout, amazing UI/layout and heavily updated technology. Lastly, on the capability front there is not only great space inside, but also great pulling power and some new tech introduced under the bonnet. I’ll be honest I never really gave trucks a chance, I always considered them as work trucks and that’s it. But there is this evolution in the market where trucks are being made to not only get the work done during the day but also be a truck to meet with clients and take the family out for a nice steak dinner in the evening. They are becoming more of a dual-purpose vehicle and thus commanding a dual-purpose price. If you spec out a Limited version of the Ram 1500, it can get close to the $70,000 mark. Oh yeah. That’s Mercedes money. Any who, let me break down why I like this truck so much.
One of the defining features of the truck is its smooth and elegant new design. The proportions are still big, as should be for a full size truck with a big grill and optional 22” rims, but it’s not overly blocky. It possesses smooth curves installed along the full stretch of the bonnet (hood for some) and smooth lines flowing along the truck from the front going down past its sides. There are also nice curves from the space between the front wheels to the back. There is a bit of chrome on the truck, but it doesn’t look distasteful. In the Limited trim, the chrome is visible on the front grill, a badge on the hood that says “1500 RAM”, the trim around the windows, the wheels, a small strip along the side of the car, the rear bumper and finally, some badging on the tailgate. You can opt to keep the front bumper as chrome, as standard, or pay $200 to make the bumper the same color as your paint.
It also has sleek LED lights that surround the block looking Bi-Function LED Projector headlights. It’s done well and looks sleek. Other distinguishing features include the optional Ram Box storage, which provides a lockable storage area over each rear wheel built into the walls of the truck bed, and a drag coefficient rating of 13.0 CdA, which means this thing slips through the area better than any other vehicle in its class. All of this adds up to a truck that is really handsome looking. I think it’s more tastefully designed over the F-150 or the GMC Sierra Denali. Sorry Chevy lovers, the Silverado 1500 is too ugly to compare too.
Let’s talk interior now. My god what a nice place it is to be in! FCA hit it out of the park in this area. Just take a moment and look at that interior. The materials quality seem to have gotten a boost with leather on almost every surface you can touch. In the Limited trim, you get the upper and lower dashboard area and the door panels with leather instead of the traditional plastic, and the seats are also trimmed out with leather and are super comfortable. You can opt to get this gorgeous indigo and frost color combo that really gives this truck luxury-car feels. There’s even nice wood veneered on the steering and across positions of the dash and door panels. There’s so much to like.
The one thing that gets most peoples’ attention, however, is that screen! It’s huge! It’s only second to the one you can find in a Tesla. At 12” it is like having a laptop screen flipped to portrait mode built into your car. The resolution on it is great and it supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a must these days. The cool part about the screen is that the real estate offers different ways to view your content, either in full screen or separating the screen in two parts. For example, you can have your air controls on the bottom with Apple CarPlay along the top screen. Shifting behind the steering wheel is the second screen. This screen is a nice large 7” display with more information you can access such as the audio, trip information and some vehicle settings. It’s a clear display with two physical gauges showing your speed and RPM’s flanking either side of it. I would like to see the gauge cluster area as one large screen, but that may take some time to implement. For now, the gauge cluster looks a little chunky, it is a truck after all, but it’s still nice to look at as the text is clean, easy to read and different areas are logically laid out.
"With class leading rear leg room and under seat storage, and reclining seats with the ability to heat and cool, I could legitimately spend hours back there staring up through the massive panoramic sunroof."
Moving back to the middle of the car, you have some very innovative features. Some of my favorites are in the central cubby area between the front seats. There’s a large expansive area where you can store many items and that area extends all the way back and under the central arm rest. You could store a small dog in there. Ram’s website says you can store a 15” laptop under there or hang some file folders. Really, who’s hanging that in there? The cavernous area also features a central sliding bin which can accommodate 2 large cups of your favorite beverage and a pop-up storage area for your other knick-knacks. Near the front of this large area, immediately under the 12’ screen, you have a very innovative stand where you can slip your phone into the lip to make your smartphone stand upright and face out so you can see it from either seat and easily reach and grab for it. Best part is there’s a wireless charging pad right behind it, so when you slip your phone in, it will start to charge your device. That’s the coolest integration I’ve seen yet.
Another area where RAM paid extra attention to is the back-seat. There are USB ports all over the truck with 2 USB-A and 2 USB-C ports reserved for the rear passengers. They are located right under the vent controls in the central console. The rear seat occupants have it almost as good as the front. With class leading rear leg room and under seat storage, and reclining seats with the ability to heat and cool, I could legitimately spend hours back there staring up through the massive panoramic sunroof. Oh yeah, did I mention it has a massive 10 square foot panoramic sunroof. It basically stretches from the front all the way to the back. You need to see it in person to appreciate it. This interior is many levels higher than any of its rivals. The quality, the details, the ergonomics, the tech and even the color choices, that whole package, just gives you that sense of exclusivity. It’s something you can’t feel when in a F-150 or a GMC Sierra.
Ram has outfitted the truck with basically all the modern safety features you can ask for. It has Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning and Assist, an Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Forward Collision Warning, Parking Assist and a bunch of cameras around the car to give you a 360 view. Now this is not groundbreaking to see as the rivals have this capability also, but it’s annoying that you have to pay for most of the safety features for the Ram. Silver lining is, you have to pay for these features with the rivals too. Again, it’s a draw here. But there are areas where we start noticing a difference. Mainly in the capability aspect. A key area where the Ram really shines is the ride. This is literally the only truck in its class that offers a four corner air suspension. It helps not only in fuel efficiency, by lowering itself during highway travel, but also levels itself when hooked up to a trailer. My favorite feature is you can lower the suspension from your key fob to make access into the cabin easier for the shorter folk in our life. Brilliant.
Next up, towing and payload. This is what trucks are built for and gauged on and I’m happy to say Ram is very competitive here too. Ram 1500 is rated as best in class for towing using a V8 Motor. Currently it is rated at 12,750 pounds, but it is down a little from the F-150 on payload capacity. Currently it can take a max payload of 2300 pounds. Thing is, these guys are always topping each other year after year. As of this writing though, these are the numbers. Where I feel the Ram lacks in payload it makes up for with its engine's options. There are 3 to choose from, a 3.6L V6 ETORQUE, a 5.7L Hemi V8 and a really cool 5.7L HEMI V8 with ETORQUE. This is the first pickup with a mild hybrid system on board. No V6 with a turbo engine here. The 2 ETORQUE engines provide the best in class fuel economy for their respective categories in the 4X4 configuration. That’s pretty big also, considering some people buy these as their primary vehicle. The next logical step, I guess, would be to go the way of Rivian and make a fully electric pickup truck. And we all know that’s on the horizon.
Considering the amount of times I used “best in class” in this post, it’s pretty obvious now that this truck is truly a great vehicle. It looks good, it rides great, it is made with great attention to detail and it’s a pretty capable dual-purpose machine. Honestly what’s not to like here. This is the part where all the Ford and Chevy people chime in and say that the “Ram is all looks” and “while its capable now, it’s not a going to be a dependable truck”. Well as far as I can tell, that’s all nonsense too. There are many places where I looked up the new Ram 1500 dependability ratings and it always hovered at the top. It always did better than the Ford and Chevy (and the GMC Sierra, which is basically a Silverado). A lot of publications I looked up also seem to put the Ram at the top of their list as the best truck out of Detroit. I don’t know about those Ford and Chevy guys, but I trust these avid car reviewers and testers more. Seriously, just go and take a look for yourselves. If there’s something all car guys/gals know, it’s that the pickup truck arena is fiercely competitive as it’s a high margin, high sales game. And the market is always changing and adapting to meet people’s needs and wants. Who knows what kind of truck GM or Ford will put out next year to stop the Ram from stealing its sales today. Regardless of all that, the fact remains while Ford and GM were resting in their pickup truck laurels these past couple years, the 2019 Ram ran out of the gate and just obliterated them.