The 2019 Ram 1500 Offers Higher Payload and New Off-Road Package

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is now shipping the brand new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck to dealerships nationwide. As promised, the new pickup is both lighter and stronger and features several enhancements compared to previous models. The improvements give the 2019 Ram 1500 a maximum trailer towing capacity of 12,750 pounds and a maximum payload rating of 2,300 pounds, a figure high enough to easily haul a well-equipped pop-up truck camper like the Four Wheel Camper Hawk, the Outfitter Caribou Lite, and the EarthCruiser GZL. The truck will even be able to haul heavier, better-equipped pop-ups like the Alaskan 6.5 Cabover and the brand new BundtecUSA Wild.

“The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 delivers a no-compromise approach to the full-size truck segment with strength, durability, technology and efficiency,” said Mike Manley, Head of Ram Brand. “The Ram 1500 offers truck buyers leading-edge innovation with 225 pounds of weight reduction, 12,750 pounds of towing capability, a stunning Uconnect 12-inch touchscreen display, and active systems that improve fuel efficiency and assist drivers. The Ram 1500 stands out as the benchmark in a very competitive segment.”

Three new, longer frame lengths are being offered by Ram for the 2019 models: a 144.5-inch wheelbase on Crew Cab short beds and a 153.5-inch wheelbase on Crew Cab long beds—both four inches longer than their predecessors. The Quad Cab long bed has a wheelbase of 140.5 inches. Ram’s newest pickup offers an impressive turning radius of just 46.2 feet, curb to curb.

Improvements have been made to the Ram 1500’s suspension as well. New independent front suspension components combine lightweight composite upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry for improved responsiveness and handling. The front stabilizer bar has been relocated behind the front tires, further improving roll stiffness by 20 percent. A new front coil-over shock design is now standard equipment on all Ram 1500s regardless of configuration. Moreover, the rear five-link coil suspension design provides better articulation over obstacles than a leaf spring system, and the new progressive coil springs are more than up to the task of handling the improved payload and towing ratings.

Even the Ram 1500 shocks have been improved with frequency response damping (FRD) technology on all four corners. When the truck experiences a slower input, common during cornering and heavy braking, the bypass valve is closed for more aggressive damping, which provides additional stability and poise. When driving normally or exposed to faster shock inputs—which is common on rough roads or at higher speeds—the valve will open to soften the damping, giving the driver more comfort, confidence and control.

The addition of the eTorque mild hybrid system is one of several changes made to the 2019 Ram 1500. The eTorque system replaces the traditional alternator on the engine with a belt-driven motor generator unit that performs several functions. The motor generator unit works with a 48-volt battery pack to enable quick and seamless start/stop function, short-duration torque addition to the engine crankshaft in certain driving situations and brake energy regeneration, which improves responsiveness and efficiency. In addition to spinning the engine for restarts, the eTorque unit also recaptures energy during deceleration and braking to feed charge to the battery pack.

The upgraded eTorque version of the Pentastar 3.6L V-6 is the standard engine in most trim levels of the 2019 Ram 1500, specifically tuned for truck duty and rated at 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The newest Pentastar V-6’s advanced technologies, such as wide-range variable valve timing and two-step variable valve lift, deliver an optimal blend of power and fuel economy, based on the driver’s input.

The HEMI 5.7L V8

Customer’s can still get the brawny 5.7L HEMI V-8. The V8 combines the muscle of 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of twist in a smooth, broad power band that avoids the hesitation and peakiness of turbocharged engines. The HEMI features fuel saver (cylinder deactivation) technology, which turns off fuel and spark, and closes the intake and exhaust valves on four of the engine’s eight cylinders during light load operation. In addition, variable camshaft timing helps maximize fuel economy by reducing the engine’s pumping work via a delayed closing of the intake valve, which increases the expansion process of the combustion event.

Every 2019 Ram 1500 is equipped with a fully electronic TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with a wide spread of gear ratios that keeps engine rpm in the right range for the task—whether putting in a full day of off-road work or highway cruising. Trucks equipped with the 3.6L Pentastar V-6 use an FCA-produced TorqueFlite 850RE transmission. The 5.7L HEMI V-8 uses an upgraded TorqueFlite 8HP75 transmission. Both transmissions use a new generation of computer controllers that process data faster and coordinate transmission operation with the eTorque mild hybrid system. There are more than 40 individual shift maps to optimize shift changes and points for fuel economy, performance and drivability.

Ram is also offering a robust 4×4 off-road package for the 2019 Ram 1500 on nearly every trim. The new package is welcome because not everyone wants to shell out the big bucks for a more capable Ram Power Wagon. The off-road package includes a 1-inch suspension lift, with or without the available four-corner air suspension, an electronic-locking rear differential, and 32-inch all-terrain tires on 18- or available 20-inch wheels. Hill-descent Control, an off-road-biased rear suspension geometry (Rebel and 4×4 off-road package) and unique off-road-calibrated shocks bolster trail capability. The new package also includes robust skid plate protection (transfer case, steering, engine and gas tank) and tow hooks. Rear-fender decals denote trucks equipped with the 4×4 off-road package.

Also new for 2019, the Ram 1500 Rebel is even more capable. The new Rebel is now available in Quad Cab configurations and features new 18-inch wheels with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires driven by an electronic-locking rear differential. The Rebel predecessor came standard with Ram’s Active-level four-corner air suspension and a 1-inch suspension lift. While the air suspension is still available, the new Rebel comes standard with coil spring suspension and a 1-inch factory lift. Newly designed Bilstein shocks feature remote reservoirs to keep the shocks cool and work with unique rear suspension geometry to keep the tires in traction. The new Rebel also includes hill-descent control for more off-road prowess. Hefty tow hooks feature wide bumper openings to ease use and the underbody protection features skid plates on the transfer case, steering system, oil pan and gas tank.

The MSRP for the 2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman starts at $31,695 plus a $1,645 destination fee.

The 2019 Ram 1500 is being built at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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About Mello Mike 502 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. He currently owns a 2016 Northstar Laredo truck camper hauled on a diesel-powered 2013 Ram 3500 pickup truck. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management several years, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side.