The rough, tough new Ram 1500 pick-up is here

Published: 16 January 2018

► Ram 1500 is FCA's flagship pick-up and biggest show debut
► Pick-up trucks are huge business in the USA, and this is a serious challenger
► It's designed to be quieter, faster and more efficient than ever before…
► ...and larger than your house

In case you didn't know, the USA is crazy about full-sized pick-ups, and Detroit's largest media launches by a county mile at that of the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado. The 2019 Ram 1500 made a splash by shedding 100kg, picking up a mild-hybrid system, and turning in a better set of performance figures.

Okay, so what's under the hood of this new pick-up?

You get a choice of Chrysler's well-regarded 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 or the legendary 5.7-litre Hemi. The smaller of the pair isn't exactly lacking in power – it's good for 305bhp and 269lb ft, and is combined with the company's new eTorque mild-hybrid system, with 48-volt electrics. You get stop-start and the conventional starter motor has been dropped. 

The range-topping 5.7-litre Hemi is available with or without the mild-hybrid system. In standard form, it puts out a whopping 395bhp and 410lb ft, and if it's specified as a hybrid, you get at an additional 130lb fit. 

Both engines are mated to an upgraded eight-speed automatic transmission, which has been programmed with more than 40 shift maps. Ram claims that this means the 1500 will be capable of dealing with any situation that's thrown at it.

What other efficiencies does it gain?

Ram 1500

Amazingly, the Ram 1500's aerodynamics have been carefully honed. It may have the streamlining qualities of a semi-detached, and a similar frontal area, but the 0.357 drag coefficient isn't half bad. It also has active aero in the form of adjustable grille shutters.

It's safer, too, with new adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, Blind-spot Monitoring and ready alert braking systems now available. The new 14.9-inch front brake discs help it stop more efficiently, too –  to put that size into perspective, the smallest wheelsize available on the Ram 1500 is 18 inches. 

Is it more sophisticated inside, too?

Absolutely! Given that most pick-up owners have these instead of a family car, drivers want all of the creature comforts. You get up to a 12.0-inch touchscreen display, with even the lowliest model featuring an 8.4-incher. 

Other niceties include an optional 900-watt stereo system, 360-degree view camera and five standard USB ports. That optional adaptive cruise control, comes with 'Stop, Go and Hold,' functionality, forward collision mitigation and a lane departure system. There's even an electronic parking brake.

And refined?

It's all relative, but Ram says that the 1500 is the most refined pick-up in its class, and its engineers have worked hard to keep the cab as quiet as possible. It gets side-frame-mounted active-tuned mass dampers, and that slippery body is said to significantly reduce wind noise. If that's not enough, you also get active noise canceling available as an option for the Hemi version, and self-levelling air suspension.

There's nothing refined about the model designations, though – it's available in Tradesman, Bighorn, Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited versions. Yes, really. It's expected to go on sale later this year, with pricing to be announced later. 

Will we be seeing them in the UK any time soon? Not likely – besides, it won't fit in your parking space.

Ram 1500

By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR