Ram has brought full-size pickups to another level with the 2019 iteration of its full-size truck. The Ram 1500 Limited I tested was a real joy in almost every way imaginable. A few highlights include the cushy air-suspension, impressive infotainment setup, and all the modern safety and convenience features you could dream of, which means a truck that is as comfortable as it is capable.
The Ram 1500 was completely redesigned for 2019, although the previous generation truck is still sold under the name Ram 1500 Classic. Essentially, the new Ram builds on that otherwise excellent predecessor by adding refinement, innovation and mechanical improvements. The 2019 Ram 1500 has added “lightness” into its production equation, greater use of light-weight materials, such as high-strength steel and aluminum, mean the new Ram is roughly 225 pounds lighter relative to its predecessor.
However the 2019 Ram 1500 Limited is not for the cost conscious. While the entry-level Ram 1500 Tradesman starts at a reasonable $31,795, the base price of the Limited Crew Cab 4×4 was $56,990, and the model I tested came in at a hefty $69,585. A near-$70,000 price tag on the Limited is going to scare a lot of people off, however it’s not hard to see it as a bargain, considering what you get.
The Limited’s considerable cost-of-entry isn’t without its luxuries, though, and the high-end model nets buyers standard niceties such as a proximity key with push-button start, power-operated running boards, a leather-lined interior, and segment-exclusive features such as a mammoth 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a four-corner air suspension.
We consider the Ram 1500 a handsome truck, and the Ram 1500 Limited is a fancy looking thing thanks to its trim-specific textured grille, six-spoke 20-inch wheels (22-inch on our test vehicle), and LED headlights and taillights. Exclusively offered with the larger crew cab body style and a five-foot, seven-inch bed, the Limited’s conservative use of chrome on the door handles, mirror caps, and side-window surrounds gracefully calls attention to the truck’s larger cab and taller bedsides.
The additions of a $200 coat of Granite Crystal metallic gray paint and $195 worth of body-color front and rear bumpers (in place of the standard chrome units) provided my test truck with an extra splash of panache and curb appeal.
Despite the list of fancy trimmings, function doesn’t take a backseat to form. The cabin is astonishingly roomy and full of storage compartments, like the rear under-seat compartments and the in-floor Ram Bins. The cabin of the Ram 1500 Limited is a fine place to while away miles. Well-bolstered, leather-lined bucket seats offer 12-way power adjustment (including four-way lumbar), as well as standard heating and cooling functions, while swaths of leather and copious amounts of real wood-trim cover the dashboard, door panels, and center console.
Regardless of trim, every Ram 1500 features a rotary shift knob, plentiful interior storage, and clear gauges. Models with front bucket seats (a three-across front-bench is standard on Tradesman, Big Horn, and Laramie models) feature a center console with 1.4 cubic feet of storage space, or 0.6 cubic foot more room than the previous Ram 1500’s. For the latest edition, Ram has doubled down on comfort, convenience, and style.
Thanks to a cab that’s four inches longer than before, the Ram 1500 crew cab serves up 45.1 inches of rear legroom. A manual-recline function allows rear-seat riders to make the most of the available room, while folding up the rear seat-bottom proffers additional space for cargo storage. Ram offers two bed lengths throughout the model line: a five-foot, seven-inch box or a six-foot, four-inch unit. It also included the $445 Bed Utility group (adjustable cargo hooks, LED bed lights, and a cargo divider), as well as a $550 tonneau cover, which kept items in the bed out of view from prying eyes and assisted in improving fuel efficiency by a reported 0.8 percent. Also note that while there are two bed lengths, there are also two tailgates: a standard one and the optional multifunction split design ($995) which came equipped on our test truck and was very useful.
It’s difficult to ignore the giant, portrait-oriented 12.0-inch touchscreen dominating the center stack of the Ram 1500 Limited. Standard on the flagship trim (and optionally available on Rebel, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn models), the massive infotainment screen is a nice parlor trick that provides little additional function compared to the smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen that’s available on Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn models. (A smaller 5.0-inch touchscreen comes standard on the Tradesman, Big Horn, and Rebel.) In fact, the only real benefit to the 12.0-inch screen – besides wowing your passengers – is its ability to display two different infotainment functions simultaneously (such as navigation and radio settings). In that way, it’s simply a more cohesive take on the two-screen systems featured throughout the industry.
Otherwise, both the 12.0- and 8.4-inch screens run the latest Uconnect infotainment system. Dubbed Uconnect 4, the setup offers crisp graphics, quick reactions to inputs, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. (The 5.0-inch screen runs Uconnect 3 and does not include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.) There are also USB ports aplenty (including modern USB-C ones), as well as a wireless phone charging pad. Three USB ports call the front-passenger area home and another two residing in the rear-passenger space. (The latter two are standard on Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited trims.)
A 7.0-inch gauge-cluster-mounted screen comes standard on Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited trims (a 3.5-inch display greets Tradesman and Big Horn drivers). Like other FCA products, it provides an assortment of menus for the driver to toy through by way of a D-pad mounted on the left-spoke of the steering wheel.
Every variant of the 2019 Ram 1500 is available with the brand’s eTorque mild-hybrid system. Also known as a belt alternator starter, or BAS, the eTorque system replaces the alternator with a compact but powerful electric motor/generator. Standard fare on the base 3.6-liter V6 and a $1,450 extra on top of the 5.7-liter V8’s $1,195 fee, eTorque is able to add up to 90 lb-ft of torque to the six-cylinder engine and 130 lb-ft to the V8. Every model features Ram’s Active Tuned Mass Modules, these vibrate at the exact opposite frequency of the engine to cancel vibrations to allow more operation and improve fuel economy. Combined with standard noise-canceling technology, they make even the low-spec interiors surprisingly carlike in their quietness and smoothness.
This truck featured the V8 for momentum and proved plenty powerful thanks to its formidable 395 horses and 410 lb-ft of torque. An electric radiator fan reduces load on the engine, and improved aerodynamics (including an automatically deployed air dam) mean the engine doesn’t have to work as hard at higher speeds. All told, the cylinder-deactivation system is undetectable save for a tiny grumble from the exhaust when you lift off the throttle. In conjunction with the infallible eight-speed automatic transmission, the V8 was able to move the hefty four-wheel-drive (a $3,500 option) Ram with ease.
Despite weighing well over 2.5 tons and casting a shadow more than 19 feet long, the Ram 1500 Limited never feels particularly unwieldy. The Ram 1500 Limited offers four adjustable height settings: the low-slung entry/exit position, an aerodynamic setting for fuel efficiency, the self-described normal position, and the high-riding off-road option. The air-suspension’s most impressive trait is its ability to eliminate any wallow or harshness from the Ram 1500’s ride. Body-roll is kept in check, which allows the titanic truck to tackle twisting turns more fervently than its size suggests.
The air suspension system is also a boon for towing, as the setup can automatically level the rear-end in order to offset any sagging caused by the trailer’s weight. And thanks to my test truck’s 3.92:1 final-drive ratio (a $95 option), this four-wheel-drive Ram was rated to tow 11,290 pounds: 3,100 pounds more than a V8-powered Ram 1500 with the standard 3.21:1 rear gear, but 910 pounds less than a four-wheel-drive 2019 Chevrolet Silverado. Equipped with optional towing mirrors, visibility around the truck and trailer is excellent, and the lines overlaid on the reverse camera screen make lining up the hitch a breeze. Likewise, the ability to extend the optional blind-spot monitor to cover a trailer up to 35 feet long is an appreciated safety net. This Ram also included a $295 trailer-brake controller – a nice addition for frequent towers.
Accompanying the Ram’s redesigned frame and body are a number of available active safety features aimed at preventing, or limiting the effects of, a collision. Opting for the Limited trim nets buyers standard safety kit such as a blind-spot monitor, a rear cross-traffic alert system, and front and rear parking sensors. Opting for the $1,695 Level 1 Equipment group – an option on this truck – brings additional active safety equipment such as adaptive cruise control, automatic front braking, a lane-departure warning system, lane-keep assist, and surround-view monitor that offers a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings. The package also nets a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, ventilated rear-outboard seats, and a self-parking system that’s capable of nestling the truck into parallel or perpendicular parking spots.
Full-size trucks aren’t purchased for their fuel efficiency. The 5.7-liter V8 of this tester nets just 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined, while adding four-wheel-drive pushes the highway figure down to 21 mpg. Adding the eTorque system to the V8, though, raises the city figure to 22 mpg and the combined number to 19 mpg.
Although crew cab Ram 1500 models come standard with a 26-gallon fuel tank, this truck included a 33-gallon tank (a $445 option), which allowed for a theoretical highway cruising range of almost 700 miles.
The Ram 1500 Limited may well be the most impressive American luxury car on sale today. Sure, it may not be a Rolls Royce or a Bentley, but it packs all the luxurious features most folks would come to expect in a high-end vehicle, and provides enough room for five full-grown adults to travel in comfort. And, on top of all that, it can still tow six tons, crawl through mud, gravel, and snow, or haul hundreds of pounds of anything in its bed…and it looks great doing it.