2019 Ram 1500: 5 Things We Love (and 5 We Don't)

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Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry

By Brian Normile

We didn't name the 2019 Ram 1500 our Best Pickup Truck of 2019 on a whim. There's a lot to like, but at the same time it only managed third place when we put the Ram against its chief competition in our 2018 Best Half-Ton Truck Challenge last fall, including the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150. It handily won the subjective scoring portion but didn't perform well in measured testing.

Related: 2019 Ram 1500 Review: Top Luxury or Work, But Not Both

What makes the Ram 1500 so good? Where is it still lagging behind competitors? You can check out Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman's full review of the 2019 Ram 1500 above. In the meantime, we've compiled five things we love about the redesigned half ton and five things it could do better from his review.

The Good

Interior Luxury

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The luxurious interior available in the Ram 1500 stands out not just from truck competitors like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500, but ostensibly from American luxury automakers like Lincoln and Cadillac. Bragman praised the Ram for its use of high-quality materials including leather and wood, as well as the luxurious cabin isolation:

"I'd go out on a limb to say that this is perhaps the nicest American luxury vehicle interior built today," Bragman claimed, "challenging the Lincoln Navigator for that title and better than anything coming out of Cadillac."

Electrified Engines

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With a choice of an electrified 3.6-liter eTorque V-6, gas 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 or an electrified version of the 5.7-liter Hemi, the Ram 1500 offers a variety of engine options for truck buyers. While none of the available engines propel the Ram like a hot rod — something GM's Silverado and Sierra 1500s do with the 6.2-liter V-8 — the available power and torque is more than adequate for daily use and always accelerates the truck with a sort of unperturbed smoothness that remains even when hauling a significant payload or towing a trailer.

Multimedia Technology

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The jewel in the Ram 1500's technological crown is the available 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but even without that giant screen it still has user-friendly Uconnect options in either 5-inch or 8.4-inch displays. Higher-trim models also feature a configurable central display in the gauge cluster. Since its debut, Ram has added to the 2019 1500's bag of tricks with the newly available Multifunction Tailgate.

Storage, Inside and Out

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Bragman praised the storage offered by the Ram 1500, particularly when equipped with the optional RamBox bed compartments:

"Storage inside the cabin is plentiful, with all sorts of cubbies and clever holders for things like cellphones. ...The RamBox bedside storage compartments are also improved for 2019, as they now have interior lights, 115-volt grounded outlets and pressure-touch latches," Bragman wrote.

Safety

Ram improved the 1500's crashworthiness ratings for 2019, scoring the highest rating in every Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test, and for its available front crash prevention technology. Thoughtfully, much of the safety tech has been moved away from the front bumper, potentially saving owners from a costly repair in the event of a crash.

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The Not So Good

Weight

The Ram 1500 can be a very heavy truck. The Ram 1500 Limited outweighed its Ford and GM competitors by hundreds of pounds in the 2018 Best Half-Ton Truck Challenge. With that weight comes good things including entertainment technology, luxury materials and soundproofing, but it costs things including payload capacity and fuel economy.

Braking

For all the ease with which its powertrains get the Ram 1500 going, its brakes can be less than confidence-inspiring. Bragman stated that, "the brakes have a mushy feel to them, without much initial bite" which is ... not what you want when trying to bring 3 or more tons to a halt.

Payload

At its maximum, the Ram can haul 2,300 pounds, a couple hundred pounds shy of the GM trucks and in line with the F-150. The loaded test vehicle from our Challenge, however, topped out at 1,180 pounds. Or, in Bragman's words, "Put five 200-pound guys in the cabin, and anything more than two big bags of dog food in the bed would exceed the safety ratings."

Hidden Information

The available eTorque powertrains improve fuel efficiency, but there's not much that tells the driver that the system is working. Ram says its consumer research indicates that sort of thing is unnecessary but, given the wealth of other information that can be displayed on the Ram's screens, it's a shame that the eTorque remains almost invisible.

Unavailable Powertrains

The Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter Hemi are good, but it's a shame a buyer needs to step up to a three-quarter-ton Ram 2500 to get the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. Nor are any of the performance-oriented powertrains from other Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands available in the Ram 1500. Didn't you guys put a Viper V-10 in a 1500 once upon a time? Where's that "can-do" spirit? Put the Hellephant crate motor in it, or even just a Hellcat motor. Or even just the 6.4!

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