By on December 7, 2017

Two days ago we brought you a crop of spy photos of the next-generation 2019 Ram 1500. It won’t be long until we see the real thing in the flesh, either — the Detroit show’s just a month away.

As expected, the truck’s appearance in TTAC’s Slack chatroom caused no shortage of opinion. Negative opinion. Fiat Chrysler’s build quality and innovation never ranks high compared to its rivals at brand ranking time, but there’s no denying the company knows a thing or two about style. About designs that stand the test of time.

The fourth-generation Ram 1500, looking much like the third-generation Dodge Ram (itself not all that removed from the second-generation model) is one of those models. Joke all you want about quality and resale values, but in many eyes, including those of several TTAC writers, the truck just looks like a truck should.

There’s simplicity at work. That crosshair grille, those flowing front fenders — what’s not to like? To this author, the 2018 refresh of the Ford F-150 was a facelift too far. Give me a 2017 body any day. And to many authors here at TTAC, the 2019 Ram 1500, arguable the model’s largest change since the famous 1994 redesign, gets it wrong.

We’ll reserve our last word until we’ve seen the production model completely uncovered, but from what we’ve seen so far, it’s not a pretty story. Change for the sake of change. A design lacking cohesion, missing a central ethos. To these eyes, the Ram’s design, once self-assured, now lacks confidence.

Think of the teen who makes it as far as high school unbullied, only to discover — to his or her horror — that the qualities that kept mean-spirited people away no longer work the same magic. With so much riding on this new personality and wardrobe, FCA must feel that the redesign stands to attract at least as many new buyers as the group that now feels alienated.

What’s your take on the matter? Was Ram right to shed a design that’s served it well for decades, or is the 2019 styling revamp a mistake? Let your emotions guide you.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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58 Comments on “QOTD: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone?...”


  • avatar
    kcflyer

    The Dodge has been the best looking truck for years in my opinion. Now it will look like every other truck. Unforced error, again, in my opinion. I prefer Ford and GM trucks but Dodge style and their wheel offerings were always my favorite look. I’d like dodge style, aluminum ford assembled, and a 6.2l gm engine in my perfect truck.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Take it all the way back to the square front. The retro-hood of the past few decades was a gimmick that went too far.

  • avatar
    FOG

    I got a feeling that the vehicle in the “spy” photos was a prop from FCA to get the exact type of comments it got. Let’s wait until we see the actual vehicle before we make comments.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    The words pickup and style are mutually exclusive.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Much as I hate to admit it, the latest (’18) STX trim version of the Supercab F150, is about as stylish and struttin’ a vehicle as a young guy can get; perhaps short of a (very) few select 2 doors, most of them long out of production.

      While I agree the current Ram may still be the overall nicest styled half ton, it has simply been around long enough unchanged to no longer be terribly exciting. Long time, inevitably older, truck guys, may not care. Nor even some young guys. But there is a significant segment of the market who wants newer and fresher. Even Aston Martin occasionally update their cars, after all.

  • avatar
    deanst

    A good new design invites criticism, as it should stretch people’s opinion of what is attractive. Let’s wait until we actually see it.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    “QOTD: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Grill It’s Gone?”

    Fixed that for you.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    With all the trucks, I want the style of the 2500 but want the ride of the 1500s.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’m curious about the resale value reference, so I ask the B&B is that really true? Is a 3 yr old Ram significantly more depreciated than a similar Ford or Chevy?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I think so on paper. The problem is the ‘paper’ does not generally factor in the cash on the hood, which the RAM in my estimation has more of more often. So, when it comes down to actual dollars gained and lost, the RAM is just as good in the near term.

      The long term resale is a different story, 15 years +. Mopar products have notoriously been more expensive for parts etc than Ford and Chevy, so a 2002 150k mile Chevy 1500 is, in my mind, worth more than a 2002 150k Dodge 1500 as the Chevy parts are easier to find. The Chevy motor and transmission are ubiquitous across the entire GM line up: Sierra, Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban, Yukon XL, Savana Van a half million of them or more per year and plenty get wrecked and sent to the yard and are deconstructed and sold piece by piece very quickly at stupid affordable prices. The RAM engine was in a Ram, thats it, maybe a Durango. I honestly don’t know if the car (charger/300) drivetrain would work in the truck, tuning transmission gearing etc. The article from a few years ago by JB regarding you have to be rich to drive a hooptie or something or other was correct, except when it comes to old chevy trucks. They are pretty cheap to keep going as parts are almost free, if you can turn a wrench.

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        Don’t own a 2004 Chevy Suburban 8.1L. In 2008 a dog ate the rear wiring harness near the bumper. I had to hand build one, GM didn’t have any. Fuel pump went out on the road in 2010 in Colorado Springs. No dealer in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oklahoma or Texas had one. Couldn’t find an aftermarket unit either. Stranded for 4 days.

        U-joint went out a couple of years ago. Same issue, can’t find a u-joint anyplace. One would think they’be be as common as can of Pepsi.

        GM can be every bit as bad for parts.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        I find it is death by a thousand cuts with MOPAR. The engines and transmissions (on the trucks at least) are fine and go the distance. Heater cores that must be made of cardboard and the rest of the cost cutting parts that constantly fail are what drove me away.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Sounds like you were putting up with the Daimler models. They really cheaped out on certain materials. I couldn’t believe how much “pot metal” they used for less critical parts.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Oh this definitely predated anything Daimler had to do with. If anything Daimler gifted Chrysler a transmission that was finally the first one worth a damn since the old Torqflites (NAG-1). And as much as I hate the Daimler era “Rubbermaid” Chrysler interiors, at least they didn’t crack and crumble into a millions pieces like the ’94-’01 Rams. Chrysler quality issues go back decades IMO. Weak front ends, electrical issues, poor corrosion engineering, all started before the Daimler hook-up.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Rams are definitely noticeably cheaper across the board than a Chevy/Ford halfton of the same age/configuration, and Tundras are easily the most expensive. I would know as I’ve been poring over lightly used crew cab 4wd half tons for a while now. Titans seem to lose value fairly quickly as well, and seemingly for good reason.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Fiat Chrysler vehicle with the best resale is Jeep Wrangler (and I predict that will continue into the foreseeable future.)

        I have seen that the Silverado and Sierra usually make the “KBB Best Residual Value” list but not the other 1/2 tons (at least not consistently). What I find ironic is that brand new the Sierra trim for trim is a bit more expensive than the Silverado but in resale the Silverado beats it by a few % points. Same dang truck, different badge, different resale.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’m not privy to how KBB ranks them, but it’s damn near impossible to find a several year old Tundra Crewmax with less than 50k miles or so for less than $30k. Now it could just be a matter of available supply given how many fewer Tundras there are, and the Crewmax cabs. Even the early ’07-’09s are $20-22k for trucks with 80-100k miles. Complete insanity, but my understanding is that they do hold up extremely well with minimal known issues that crop up with age. Still, $22k for a 10 year old truck :/

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            In this corner of the country the Tacoma has ridiculous resale value but the Tundra not so much.

            However the Tundra TRD-PRO package is starting to get popular with the “all hat, no cattle” crowd.

            @ajla – the corollary of that observation is that a used truck is almost always worth SOMETHING. It takes much more for a BOF truck/SUV to get down to “just scrap value” compared to everything else.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Where GM truck resale gets good is when the truck is *really* old. They seem to have a higher floor than other makes as the years and mileage racks up.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            That much is true. A GMT400 4wd with rusty cab corners and 200k+ miles is still a $4000 truck around these parts. For good reason I suppose, they are just rock solid rigs.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    American pickups have looked like cartoon vehicles ever since Dodge started the trend early in this century. The fourth-generation Ram only looks good to people in relation to the outrageously ugly designs from the competition in recent years. GM held put the longest against this trend but has now finally given in. Oh, for a 1980s-early 90s F-150 with 300ci inline 6.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The part of the market looking for something unique will accept a lot of negatives in terms of utility, quality, and value to get the “look” they like – witness the success of overpriced and unreliable Minis, impractical Wranglers and “new” Beetles, and RAM has largely followed the same formula with a look that differentiates the truck from the mostly superior Ford and Chevy. Take away the unique look, and what will they have left to sell?

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “Fiat Chrysler’s build quality and innovation never ranks high compared to its rivals at brand ranking time”

    People are extremely ignorant. But if someone wants to buy a truck with a body that corrodes and a high strung gas guzzling V6 over a truck with the best transmission, best in-cab electronics, best pricing, and best style, that’s on them. Small minded people are nothing more than sheep.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Anyone that doesn’t agree with your opinion, has a different experience or expectations is “small minded”. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Somebody doesn’t understand sheep. Sheep go where they’re led. Sheep are being led to GM and Ford, made obvious by the huge comparative sales of those to brands over Ram.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    I thought the 2nd gen (1994-2001/02) Ram was the best looking. I didn’t like the 3rd gen as much, especially after the 2006 redesign with the bigger headlights. The 2007 taillight design was a particularly poor choice because they looked exactly like Chevy taillights of the same era.

    When the 4th gen debuted for MY2009 I thought they finally made one that looks better than the 2nd gen. My biggest beef is the different grille designs on the Rebel and Laramie Limited. I’m not a huge fan of the crosshair grille, but these alternatives are just ugly.

    From what I’ve seen, I’m okay with the look of the new grille. Not so crazy about the headlights. I’d prefer if they looked more like the Durango or Grand Cherokee units. The hood on the red one that had the cover blow off in mid-October looks a lot like a Chevy.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    New RAM looks like an update of the current Tundra design. While Toyota might be someone to emulate in certain practices – design is not one of them.

  • avatar
    arach

    I think the spy photos don’t show enough to draw conclusions. There’s no way to know if thats actually the production grille ( although it may be because they need room for the radar sensors and stuff they have to be coming out with). Other than the grille, for all i can tell it might be the SAME as the current one. Headlights maybe seeing a minor revision, but it doesn’t look very different to me… So what is everyone REALLY complaining about, just the grill?

    If it is just the Grill, ram has multiple grill designs, so do we really know which one we don’t like? haha.

    I’ve owned 3 rams, and I would love to own a used one today but I can’t believe how expensive they are! Here in the midwest I wanted like a 2009/2010 Ram and I couldn’t find one under $15 grand. On the contrary, I was able to buy a Ford F150 for $5000. Rams don’t drop that cheap unless you get to 2nd gen.

    Its true that 2-3 year old rams may be worth less than 2-3 year old Ford and Chevy’s, but 10 year old ones are worth a heck of a lot more, and I’m not sure why, except that I always assumed they appeal more to kids.

    I figured:
    Rams are designed for 18-35 year olds
    Chevy’s are designed for 35-50 year olds
    Fords are designed for 50+

    While that might offend people, the facts do support that. Older truck buyers by far flock to Ford, middle aged to Chevy’s, and young buyers to Ram. I’m just not sure which is a product of which?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “While that might offend people, the facts do support that. Older truck buyers by far flock to Ford, middle aged to Chevy’s, and young buyers to Ram. I’m just not sure which is a product of which?”

      I’m an ‘older people’ and I’m far more attracted to the looks of the Ram over the Ford. Problem is, only Ford offers the access to the back seat area I want… with rear-hinged doors, not front-hinged.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I like the looks of the ram too, but I drive a Ford (I’m the “middle aged” group myself) Largely because I dislike chevys without much merit, and they are functionally fantastic (We don’t always have to be rational do we?)

        The average ford buyer is 22 years older than the average Ram truck buyer and 13 years older than the average chevy truck buyer… But your decisions make sense.

    • 0 avatar
      OzCop

      At almost 75 years old, I suppose I’m the odd man out…of course, I’m still an active senior, still involved in motorsports, and possibly have more friends below the age of 45 than older than 50. I buy a truck to tow a minimum of 7.5 K pounds, which generally includes a car trailer and a car and other track necessities aboard.

      I tow at least 8 K miles per year to various autocross and track events, occasionally 700 to 800 miles one way. I have done that for many years, and have towed with all three major makes, and the only truck that has never left me stranded on the highway is the Ram…I have owned two of them. I have never had an engine or transmission failure on the Ram, nor either of the two Fords I have owned. The Ford did leave me stranded with a busted fuel pump when it had only 16 hundred miles on the odo. The Chevy(s) on the other hand have eaten one engine and one transmission, and one diff. The same truck with the tranny issue also had the differential issue, plus a power steering pump failure while on a trip, all at different times.

      My last two vehicles I use to tow have been Dodge or Ram. The Dodge was the 2011 Durango AWD with Hemi, and the current 2014 1500 with Hemi. I suspect my next one will be a Ram as well. I was recently offered 35 K trade in on a discounted 2017 model Longhorn Ram nearly a carbon copy of mine, so I don’t see the big difference in loss value between the Chevy and Ford. Similarly equipped Chevy’s of the same year model are priced (in the DFW area) 39 to 41 K, the similar equipped Fords are about the same, while the cheapest price I have found on a similar Ram of the same year model and mileage as mine is 39 to 41 K as well.

      I’m not going to dis any of the new pickups since in my opinion they each have their good and bad attributes. The biggest difference in the Ram, Chevy, and Ford is the price of entry. A new Ford F150 King Ranch is priced 65 K plus, the top of the line Chevy is also stickered in the mid 60 range, while the Laramie Longhorn edition of Ram is usually 2 K less than either of those, and the year end discounts are usually a couple thousand more than Ford or Chevy… Other opinions may vary.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Come now, what could go wrong?

    Chrysler owned the convertible market and then redesigned the Sebring w/ high slab sides.

    And today Chrysler is sitting pretty. Wait.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The original plan called for the continuation of the cross-hair grille spread into the headlamps, and it looked great. Amazing what a front end treatment can do

    This:

    http://www DOT 2018carmodels DOT com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/2019-RAM-1500.jpg

    Not a fan of the production grille, myself. Looks too subdued. Luckily this could be changed with additional grille options. I like the look of my 2017, but the 2019 DT truck will have a lot of new features to attract new buyers, looks aside.

  • avatar
    phoon

    Lack of innovation from ram??? Really? They have slowed down in the last couple years while developing the next gen but overall that opinion is almost completely unfounded. They have the first coil springs, first air suspension, first 1/2 ton diesel, first 8 speed auto…. the list goes on.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The 2019 Ram looks more like the current generation, when you take a step back and not focus on individual features, than the current generation looks like the its previous generation, and none look much ’94+ gen. Yeah maybe it is change for the sake change but the use of words like “cohesion” and “confidence” seem to be misplaced.

    So the next gen Ram (face) does resemble other Dodge and Chrysler products, and that can be a good thing, with certain cues tying them together, but what exactly is a truck supposed to look like (from the front, and let’s see it from the rear!), and why can’t it break the mold?

    The new 2015 F-150 was highly controversial, but now widely accepted. The next gen Ram just might be the preferred look, down the road.

  • avatar
    MLS

    “Fiat Chrysler’s build quality and innovation never ranks high compared to its rivals at brand ranking time, but there’s no denying the company knows a thing or two about style.”

    Say what you will about quality. It will take time for FCA to improve its poor reputation on that front, regardless of the current reality.

    But to suggest that the company also lags in innovation is disingenuous. See, for example, independent rear suspension, Ram Box, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “independent rear suspension”

      I think you’re thinking of their coil sprung 5-link rear axles. It’s still a solid rear axle, just not on leaf springs.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I also agree that Ram has VERY high levels of innovation. I’ve always thought of them as the innovation leader in trucks.

        Rambox? Yes.
        coil sprung rear suspension for a smooth ride? Yes.
        Uconnect infotainment? Yes (before Fords’ Sync… plus Sync 1.0 was bad)
        First half ton with a diesel? Ram Ecoboost Small Displacement Diesel? yes.
        First to offer a quad cab? Yes (small crew cab at much lower prices than crew cab)
        First to offer a mega cab? yes

        Lets see…
        First exhaust braking to low class trucks? Yes… First Bluetooth system? yeah… First Light Truck with LED lamps? yes…First to bring the modern pickup style? yes… First to integrate 120v outlets? yes…

        Clearly NO innovation there. None. zero. Zilch.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Back in the 60s Chrysler was seen as having a strong engineering culture (unfortunately not always reflected in the build quality). Personally I’d love to see Chrysler again being synonymous with “innovative engineering” as long as they could also raise their QC game.

        • 0 avatar
          Carilloskis

          Just being devils advocate here but Ram box is a trade mark for an integrated bed side lock box. Avalanche had those in 2001 as well as coil sprung rear end. You could get a GMT 400 with a diesel it wasn’t very good in any area but you could still get it it wasn’t small displacement. .
          Quad cab yes but they were last to offer a traditional crew cab in a half ton and didn’t have a crew cab until 2009 (2006 for mega cab on the hd Trucks). GM and Ford had offered crew cabs for decades at that point. I have Sync 1 in my 2010 it’s not terrible. And the Sync plus came out in the F150 in 2013 same year as the connect came to the Ram. My brothers F150 has that system and it’s on par with u connect. The Sync 3 in the 2017 and newer F150 is amazing.
          Ram still doesn’t offer LED headlamps the projectors on the 2013 are the same time that ford offered them. The 2015 F 150 and 2017 superduty we’re first to market.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            For me, a crew cab is a waste of space and money; the “quad cab” extended cab design with the “suicide” back doors was a much more efficient design for my purposes… but they were and are still much too big for me needs and wants.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Part of Chrysler’s poor reputation came from pushing out the new technologies before they were well-tested; they tended to break down in the first-year models and become rock solid by the third year… but already reputed as questionable and as a result turned away customers that would have brought them much closer to Ford and GM in sales.

      FCA seems to be doing much better today. Their biggest failures (the Dart in particular) were more due to mandated specifications in fuel mileage and a couple other areas that forced FCA to compromise quality and safety for light weight. Their more recent vehicles are quite strong and reliable by comparison.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hey, on the topic of FCA prototypes…where’s the 2019 Chrysler CUV?

    My suggestion: call it the Chrysler Vapor and be done.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Another pothole in the ongoing Sergio sh!tshow.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    Some designs should never change much over the years. Evolution is important to several vehicles. The 911,Miata, Mustang, Wrangler and the Ram 1500. Cross the Ram off that list and shake your head at FCA for continuing to make dumb headed decisions.

    The upcoming Ram will sell fine. It will upset a lot of purists of the Ram club. But it’s a truck. It will sell a bunch.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’m obviously an outlier, but I’ve felt the current Ram is the ugliest of the Big Three pickups since the day it came out. It’s bulbous and looks fat. On top of that, the illusion of forward tilt on the grille and headlights just looks dumb. (You can see that they were going for “aggressive,” but they got “pointless.”)

    Through the camo, the new Ram reminds me a lot of the current GM trucks, which I think are better-looking even with square wheel arches. Conservative (except for the over-the-top grille and headlight treatments) but functional and handsome.

    But my favorite pickup for styling remains the GMT400. If I had both time and money to spare I’d love to do a GMT400 restomod.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    From what I’ve seen of the ’19 model, it’s the best looking one–and the best looking pickup–of the last 20 years, barring one. The Chevy Colorado is a lot less pretentious than any of the other trucks and is just about the only AVAILABLE pickup on the market I would consider… but not buy. With what they did to the floor of the back seat, they destroyed any real usability in that space.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I certainly remember when the 1994 Ram trucks came out. At the time I had a lowered 1971 Dodge half-ton, and it was a complete change from the low, squared hood of my 71 to climb up into the 1994 truck and look out and down over that huge rounded thing. But I liked the style of the 1994 and still do, better than the subsequent generations.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    True compact pickups are gone and there are a LOT of people complaining about it–even more now that the mid-sized trucks have grown to near full-sized proportions.

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