By on December 5, 2017

2019 Ram 1500, Image: ©2017 Spiedbilde

Fiat Chrysler executives have made it very clear: the next-generation Ram 1500 needs to move away from the styling cues of the past, no matter how hard the transition will be for brand traditionalists — or Ram execs.

We’ve already seen movement in this direction. Several 1500 trims — Rebel, Laramie Longhorn, Limited — have already ditched the signature crosshair grille for a new design, positioning the Ram name dead center, flanked by two U-shaped ribs. If you’re still unsure of what kind of truck you’re looking at, the 10-foot-high chromed letters adorning the tailgate provide a second subtle hint. Hashtag branding.

As seen in these spy photos, the next-generation 2019 Ram 1500, due for an unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, has a face that’s bound to stoke controversy.

Besides the recently revealed 2018 Jeep Wrangler, no project is more important to FCA’s bottom line than the Ram 1500 update. There’s been no shortage of cash ($1.48 billion) thrown at the project. Production models should start rolling out of the retooled Sterling Heights assembly plant in January.

2019 Ram 1500, Image: Spiedbilde

This pre-production model, spied tooling around Michigan, is our most uncamouflaged look yet at the next 1500. Brightwork remains cloaked by sticky film, but there’s no hiding that grille.

Now the shape of an elongated hexagon, the grille shows no vertical crossmember, preferring instead a number of thin horizontal ribs and a larger piece running across the center. No doubt we’ll see the Ram badge affixed to the distinct center section. Above it, a chrome unibrow, thicker in the middle, runs atop the headlamps and grille. Below it, the new Ram’s bumper rivals Swiss Cheese for holes. There’s openings for tow hooks, foglamps, and a wide, thin, mesh-filled opening for airflow.

2019 Ram 1500, Image: Spiedbilde

It seems the full-figured front fenders remain to some degree, though they clearly aren’t as obvious as before. Overall, the truck’s flanks appear far more more slab-sided. The roofline is Pure Ram. Looking at the rear bumper and taillights, that old feeling of familiarity starts flooding back. While the taillight shape remains the same, the backup lights have split into an over/under design.

There’s a fairly thick dropcloth obscuring our view of what should be a mundane part of the body: the tailgate. Perhaps they don’t want us to see that it’s more than one piece?

Nothing’s come along, engine-wise, to sideline the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or 5.7-liter Hemi V8 from continued full-size duty, so expect to see those familiar mills under the hood when the 2019 model arrives. There’s also talk of FCA fielding a fuel-sipping turbocharged four-cylinder model. We’ve seen no proof of it as of yet.

Viewed from the front, this is a pretty radical change to what came before. If this new truck seems like a travesty to you, something you wouldn’t set foot in if your life depended on it, something that ruins your memories of the movie Twister, fear not. The previous-generation 1500 isn’t saying goodbye anytime soon. The older full-sizer continues in production for the 2018 and 2019 model years.

[Images: ©2017 Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars]

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53 Comments on “Spied: 2019 Ram 1500, Now With Less Camo (and Tradition)...”


  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Yup, if that is indicative of the final shape, they ruined it. Headlights and grill look like they ripped off a Tundra TRD Pro, and that is not a compliment.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      https://tinyurl.com/yauyuzfv

      My visual reference.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Looks like a Tundra snout with a Raptor styled grill.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          I thought F150 upon seeing the grille as well. Which looks fine to me, as I never though the grille was Ram’s strongest point (the side profile is). The C pillar area is still far and away the nicest, most cohesive looking of halftons. Not so obvious on crewcabs, more so on extended cabs, and very obvious on reg cabs.

          Talking about cabs, aren’t they supposed to do a megacab halfton this time around? I can’t help but shudder at what will remain of bed length, if something like that is forced into a standard 19 ft OAL….

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Good thing I just bought my new 2017 Ram 2500.
      At least it looks like traditional Ram with the “big rig” stying that Jim Morrison said they’d never forego.
      Guess he got over-ruled by FCA do-do birds who seem not to know a golden egg when they have one.

      This proposed stying is a disaster. If I wanted a Ford truck, I’d buy a Ford truck…

      ==================

  • avatar
    igve2shtz

    The front end looks like a Ford Edge.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    You can try to make it look like an F150 or Toyota but in the end it’s a Chrysler product… I’ll pass.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      A Chrysler product with very well proven (Ford guys may say outdated..) mechanicals, though….. Which, as long as there are people who don’t automatically associate newer with better, may not be such a bad place to be.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Eh, the engine has never been the Ram’s issue (the transmission use to be a problem, not sure about the 8 speed used now). It has been the quality of everything wrapped around the engine and the Ram’s rather poor max payload.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Even the other stuff is being left alone long enough to sort out immediate issues now. They’re still using the same Uconnect that Fred Flintstone used. While Ford ran out of numbers on revisions to Sync, and had to start over form the beginning. And Uconnect still works fine, for what it is. Lacks radar cruise, lane keep assists etc., but are otherwise just fine.

          As for payload, Ford and Ram just have different philosophies. Ford maxes out ratings on their half ton, for people who want to tow heavy on occasion, while pushing the Superduties ever further into pure commercial and dedicated heavy trailer puller territory. The latest of the latter which no longer fit in almost any parking structure in 4wd guise, can be delivered with PTO in any trim and spec etc. IOW, fewer concessions to commuter versatility, with the beefiest F150s designed to cover that kind of dual use buyer.

          While Ram made the 2500 more daily driver friendly (coils, general suspension tune), overlapping to some extent in usage with the heavier half tons Ford are selling. Which allows them to focus on making the 1500s even more daily driver friendly. With coils, 4 corner air suspensions, Ramboxes etc.

          Aside from commercial accounts; from where I’m sitting, it looks like Ram are the ones with the most accurate and realistic read on the pickup market. Ford’s F250 and F350 are basically exactly the same thing. Just nomenclature differences, artificially delineated for registration/taxes/whatever ratings purposes. While by far most truck buyers would seem better practically served with Ramboxes and 4 corners air, than with another 400 lbs payload capacity, in a harsher than coils and air riding leaf sprung daily driven commuter truck. Just to allow for tongue weight of trailers big enough to be better towed by a proper 3/4 ton anyway.

  • avatar
    gasser

    It’s so generic appearing that little Calvin won’t know what to pee on.

  • avatar
    mason

    Durango called, he’s looking for his headlights.
    The Fiatslerization of Ram continues.

  • avatar
    derekson

    Looks more like a Ford than anything.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…a face that’s bound to stoke controversy”

    Doesn’t bother me. I’d say the 1994 Ram was far more controversial. Perhaps you mean it’ll bore people to death?

    I love the irony of that scene in Twister where they jubilantly watch the Ram fly up into the funnel cloud. That movie did for the Ram what Back to the Future did for the DeLorean DMC-12. Bizarrely, the Ram was destroyed in a tornado and sold like crazy, and the DeLorean survived time travel and died in the market.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      The DeLorean died in the market years before BTTF, that was part of the joke of using it in the movie.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        …and it actually made the car somewhat legit again, so the joke was on them.

        In any case, that was definitely an upgrade on the first idea they had for the time machine…originally, it was mounted on a fridge that was exposed to a nuclear test, and the time traveler would get in the fridge. If that sounds familiar, Indiana Jones did that in his last film appearance.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Ah, so THAT’S the grille that will start showing up in alarmingly close proximity to my rear bumper while doing 60 in rush hour traffic…

  • avatar
    cicero1

    huge mistake to dump the grill – thats what makes a Ram, and what gets it market share. Chrysler product that is not unique = no sales, see the bland failures that were the midsize cars. unique grand Cherokee sells, blend-in durango does not.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      It may end up being a mistake, but it makes sense. The crosshair grille is a Dodge thing. Since the Ram trucks are their own brand now, they are trying to develop their own identity.
      Maybe what they should have done was keep the crosshairs on the Ram and ditched it on the Dodges.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        I agree, the crosshair grille should’ve been kept on the Ram, Dodges have no history with it prior to the 90’s. Getting rid of that grill is the biggest mistake FCA has made IMHO. People wouldn’t care too much how it looked if it’s still had the huge crosshair on the front.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Dodge is already far along in the process of ditching the crosshairs. More and more trims of the brand’s core models are adopting the crosshair-less SRT facias. So I don’t understand why Ram would also ditch them.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Dodges didn’t have the crosshair on any model until the truck division separated out to Ram. The crosshair on cars showed up with the Charger and later with the Dart. I don’t recall seeing on any other car (except the Caravan, which still semi-qualified as a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          kefkafloyd

          I mean, I can start digging stuff up but many Dodge cars have had crosshairs going back decades. I mean… have you seen the front grille of a late 80s K-car derivative?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Considering my wife’s grandmother had a K-wagon and a big Diplomat, I would say I’ve seen a few Dodges in my day. In the cars, with the more recent exceptions, the crosshair was never as prominent as it was in the Dodge Ram pickups from what I recall.

            I do have to admit, though, that I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to the 90’s vintage models but even the late-90’s Neon didn’t have it. Maybe I didn’t notice because they weren’t so exaggerated in size as to make them a dominant part of the vehicle, like they are in the trucks. I always hated that fake Big Rig look that developed in around ’04 and is still dominant on trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      The Durango sells well around here. (Upper midwest)

  • avatar
    ajla

    “the next-generation Ram 1500 needs to move away from the styling cues of the past”

    Why?!

    How does turning the Ram into a Chevy and sh*tting on 25 years of recognizable brand heritage do anything positive?

    I hope this fails miserably and FCA has to go grovelling back to the past.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Perfect car for Alabama Republicans to drive to their fundraiser for Roy Moore!

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    That’s a nice GMC Sierra. Seems like a poor decision, but I’ll still applaud the death of those stupid f*cking nostrils I’m seeing all over on the higher trim trucks. I didn’t think anything could make the front end of the Titan XD look acceptable, but Dodge proved me wrong.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    It looks like there is some foam under the camo hiding the extent of the hood/fender transition on the updated model.

  • avatar
    Fred

    That’s an awfully small grill, the bigger is better crowd is not going to like it.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think it looks handsome, like an updated version of the current one. It seems like it was a mistake to throw away the cross-hair grille, but perhaps the RAM designers considered it a dead end.

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    I LOVE it! All cars have the same open fish face. All CUV’s look identical. It is TIME for all P-ups to be identical. If you can’t do your own…steal the look.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Still overkill all around, but especially on the hood and grill. By no means does it need such a huge opening, nor does it need such a high hood. That hood could easily be a smooth slope right down to eyebrow level on the headlights and not affect the engine bay significantly. The end result would likely be a 10% improvement in fuel mileage as well as better driver visibility.I could see some lowering in other areas too, improving both economy and accessibility.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Irrelevant, at least to actual pickup buyers. What matters is what they look like from behind! Yeah the “business end”.Besides, most that buy Rams only care that it’s the cheapest deal on a fullsize and or fleet buyers, diehard Mopar nuts or just there for the Cummins and don’t care what it comes wrapped in.

    It looks fine to me and an improvement since the current Ram nose never looked right to me.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I’ve always thought that, looks wise, Chevy rules from the front, Ram from the side, and Ford from the rear. At Ford, there are PhDs writing theses in visual perception, on how to make a half ton truck look, from behind, like a Stetson wearing cowboy riding, high in the saddle, off into a mythical sunset. If that’s the only angle that matters to buyers, no wonder Ford’s number one.

  • avatar
    RS

    Styling could use an update and it’s hard to comment with that amount of camo in the images. Any changes to the suspension? My 2014 was the best riding/handling truck I drove when shopping back then. Also loved the Hemi/8sp combo. That may still be the best powertrain combo in 1/2 ton pickups. Hopefully they didn’t mess with that too much. Interior design was much better in the lower trims than either the Ford or Chevy too.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Noooooooo. Don’t do it …

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I thought it was a Ford and almost skipped the article altogether. There’s no point in looking like a Ford. Ford’s sheep would keep buying Fords if they listed all the mechanical flaws on the window sticker. They buy a new one because their current one’s engine costs more to repair than the down payment on the next one. Always do business with people who drive Ford trucks. You’ll have the upper hand in any negotiation.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Has anyone remembered that Jeep and/or Chrysler are rumored to be getting SUV versions of this vehicle?

    That may have something to do with the truck losing some of it’s signature styling.

    It’s a play right out of GM’s book— and it may help explain the split tailgate engineering. Barndoors on the rear of the wagons may be a differentiating factor?

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      “SUV versions of the this vehicle” just means they would be sharing the platform. It doesn’t mean it is required to have the same body. Having barndoors on an SUV does not require have a split tailgate on a pickup.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    Oh look, a hexagonal grill. That’s different.

    Said no one at Ford, Hyundai, or Toyota.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    It’ll need an extra large and shiny set of “Truck Nutz” to set it apart from the crowd.

  • avatar

    Maybe in a few years it’ll be a HYUNDAI Ram.

    http://www.autoextremist.com/on-the-table1/2017/12/4/december-6-2017.html

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      On paper, it makes sense, but in reality, there is a HUGE amount of overlap between the two brands in the U.S., particularly in the dealer networks. They’d have to spend a bundle to buy them out.

      Then there’s the huge amount of overlap between Hyundai and Fiat in Europe.

      I could see the two companies making some kind of arrangement to platform-share (FCA gets compacts and midsizers, and Hyundai gets more CUVs and trucks).

      A merger with a Chinese company makes a lot more sense, if you ask me…assuming there’s a Chinese company out there that wants FCA.

  • avatar
    George B

    It would look better if you sectioned out 2 or 3 inches of excess height above the wheel arches from headlight to taillight. The 1994-2001 model year Ram 1500s are the nicely proportioned ones that will be restored in the future.


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