By on March 20, 2018

2019 Ram 1500

The current-generation Ram 1500 is older than many people realize. As the recession and bailout drama fades further in our memories, it’s sometimes hard to believe the Ram half-tons you see in newspaper adds (“25% off MSRP!”) have barely changed since the 2009 model year.

Sure, Fiat Chrysler saw fit to bestow new engines, transmissions, and the RamBox on buyers, but with the crosshair grille and shapely flanks carrying over from previous generations, it seemed the Ram 1500 was incapable of significant change. And many liked it that way. It was a truck you could set your watch to.

No so, anymore. For 2019, the Ram 1500 undergoes its greatest transformation since 1994, piling on content and returning a familiar (though now electrified) engine lineup to the fold. Gone is the gunsight grille, replaced with new take on a design seen on uplevel Rams in recent years. The crew cab grows in length. Meanwhile, flatter flanks have relegating the mini Freightliner look to the history books. Well, almost.

The old Ram 1500 will continue in production for a couple of years, giving current-generation diehards a chance to add this dream pickup to their household. A majority of the TTAC crew prefers the looks of the old model to the new one. (One member, who’ll go unnamed, has it bad.)

With the 2019 model headed to dealer lots and the previous generation soldiering on for a time, Ram buyers are faced with a hard choice. The newest everything on one side, but classic style and attractive deals on the other. But maybe it isn’t a hard choice. There’s always some initial pushback when a new generation of vehicle eclipses a modern-day classic, but maybe the feelings aren’t so fickle in this case.

Tell us, B&B, is the new Ram too much of a departure for you? Will your next truck purchase be an older-model 1500, not the newer one (and not just because the dealer slashed prices)? Or, has growing familiarity with the 2019 model already turned you into a convert?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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67 Comments on “QOTD: Is This Relationship Just Based on Looks?...”


  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Buying a 2018 Ram is like owning a 15 yo truck. Similar to buying a 2018 Tundra, you’re buying a 15 yo truck. The 2019 Ram is an actual new truck, frame, with engine updates. If FSA can increase a little reliability and build quality it should be the best pickup in the market place. GM also looks like they have a winner in the new model Silverado and Sierra.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    The 4th gen. Ram was a thorough refresh of the 3rd gen. Ram that came out in 2003. Basically how the Superduty was from Ford, where you could buy a ’99 7.3L truck and use body panels like the doors, bed, tailgate, etc from a ’16 6.7L. Although it had 4 distinct front end clips to match the new diesel engine debuts, it was the same truck.

    I’m waiting to see what the heavy duty Rams look like; this 5th generation looks to be styled for people with basic personalities who buy half-ton trucks because of it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is it too much of a departure? No.

    Would the OLD Ram be an opportunity for a hell of a deal on a truck? Yes.

    Do you want all the latest toys or are you gonna fill the bed with mulch or throw a deer carcass in the bed and let the HEMI do its job?

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I actually favor the ‘81-‘93 D Series “Rams”, lovely trucks. But the new Ram is pretty sharp too, it’s not as radical a change as ‘93 to ‘94 was, but it’s substantial. The shock will pass though and if someone insults your new Ram you can always say “Hey, at least it’s not as hideous as the Silverado.”

  • avatar
    ajla

    I liked the old exterior design more. I think the new look is kind of boring.

    However, it is very unlikely I’ll ever buy a full-size truck so this change doesn’t cut me to the bone like the 2009 Jaguar XJ redesign or the Lexus LS losing its V8.

  • avatar
    NoID

    As I’m a slave to functionality and the precedence of needs over wants, barring a screaming deal on the new model I’d go for a 2018.

    That said, much as a slave prefers freedom, I’d prefer the 2019.

  • avatar

    That red shape up there is too bulbous and flashy. I think they’re gonna regret losing the gun sight grille. It was the one cue which said RAM, all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      I too like the old Ram better. But the new one is clean and handsome, and I think that will work well for FCA against the over-the-top caricatures that F-150 and Silverado have become.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      If you ask me, the gunsight grill said “Dodge”, not RAM. And since they aren’t Dodges anymore, it had to go.

      That said, I miss it already.

      • 0 avatar

        Do you think there’s much differentiation on that fact in the consumer’s mind generally? (Not asking sarcastically.)

        To me Dodge is Ram is Dodge. There isn’t a difference, and if I say in a lineup “that’s a Dodge truck,” everyone will know I’m looking at the one that says RAM on the front.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          That’s exactly the point Ram is trying to make; it is NOT Dodge any more.

          I’m getting the impression that Dodge, as a brand, is about to fade, though FCA is still working to keep the Charger and the Challenger going.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Most people I encounter still think “Dodge Ram”.

          I’ve run across a few meme’s that would indicate that it is best to bury the association, case in point:

          Crash photos with the caption, “Too much Ram and not enough Dodge” or “Dodge the father and Ram the daughter”.

        • 0 avatar
          FerrariLaFerrariFace

          Nope. Not one bit. I am admittedly in that camp, too. I still see Dodge Ram trucks. But I think that’s what FCA is trying to change. The crosshair grille was a hallmark of the Dodge brand. I guess it should be noted that the current Dodge lineup no longer has that grille, either.

          I seem to remember that when FCA separated the brands, they had the intention of making Dodge the budget/performance brand, and the trucks didn’t really fit into that mold. Not really sure how that’s been working out for them, but that’s what the goal was as I recall.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Other than the bulging hood, this is truly a good-looking truck… for a full-sized model. Still too big and certain shapes could still be modified without hurting the appearance any, but if I were in the market, I’d at least consider it… then get the back doors re-hung correctly on the “Quad Cab” version.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I greatly prefer the new model. Maybe it’s because I have seen them so much but the old Ram just looks…old, especially in the headlight department (the more “premium” headlights just look like cheap and tacky aftermarket units).

    I don’t mind the lack of the gunsight grille, the new one is attractive enough. Its far better than the “nostrils” you see on some of the current trims.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    All of the major full-sized trucks now look the same.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Im a fan of the new RAM, and its not just based on looks alone. The new RAM will have a 12″ touchscreen, advanced technology, and e-assist powertrain packages that will help vault it back into prominence. I haven’t liked any full size pickups in a long time. The new RAM is starting to change my mind.

  • avatar
    NN

    Current RAM is IMO the best looking truck on the market. It is timeless, and has a quasi-Harley Davidson look to it with all the chrome and ‘merica.

    Interestingly, outside North America, I believe the RAM is the preferred choice in US big pickups. Sure, they are niche markets, but in Europe, Australia, etc. you will see these RAM’s more frequently than F150’s and Silverados. This is simply because the design is more iconic. I’m not sure this new RAM will carry that torch.

    I think that’s a bit of a clue. In 25-30 years, when we look back on this era of American dinosaur cars, the RAM’s in good condition will hold value and maintain their desirability, as icons of an era.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The redesign is much better looking than the old truck. The Rebel model is the exception, though. The old model is more distinctive.

    The new Ram will win everyone over. The interior is excellent according to reviews, and since Dodge still participates in the fullsize RWD family sedan market, they are acutely aware that CAFE is putting that segment to death. The new RAM has a cab configuration that looks about as roomy as an S-Class to accommodate for the loss of fullsize family sedans.

    Smart move to neutralize dumb regs.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I find that the new Ram is design by committee. As @TW5 has said, “The new Ram will win everyone over.” It is a nice design but has lost individuality in its quest for “mass appeal”.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Why does everyone want their truck to look like a Tacoma now? This one certainly does. And the Ranger, too.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Tacoma’s styling, coupled with its reliability have made it a best-seller for decades.

      By styling their trucks to look like a Tacoma the truck makers hope some of that illusion will rub off on their products.

      But for a full-size pickup truck in any class there remains only ONE American truck maker; Ford.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Why is everyone calling the crosshair grille a “gun sight” grille? I’ve never heard that term and my gun sight is either a needle in a circle, a little dot by itself, or one block between two.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    All things equal, yeah I might go for the prettiest pony, but otherwise looks are irrelevant, especially the front clip of a truck, for frick’s. I’ll spend way more time staring at the dash, wheel, interior, even the back end.

    Especially the back end! That’s what I’ll be showing the most of.

    Although I’d lose all the chrome. Immediately.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ve had three 4th gen Ram 1500s so far, they look good. It’ll be known as a classic truck design. It was consistently updated to keep it competitive to a point where it is still winning awards over trucks that had had 2 major refreshes to their sheetmetal. There’s more to a truck than sheetmetal, evidently.

    That being said, I didn’t care for the new exterior initially. After spending some time with them, I’m completely over it. The Limited grille looks the best, but that Longhorn interior…

  • avatar
    Michael S.

    When I was looking at trucks in 2016, the Ram was on my list. The EcoDiesel and looks were big plusses for me. The crash ratings and lack of a true full-sized rear door turned me away.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      After driving Chevy, Ford and a RAM Cummins over the years I found it helpful to list all the pros and cons of each truck when I shopped for a new one. There wasn’t much choice back then.

      That’s how I got to buying my first Tundra in 2011, and then again in 2016.

      Even though Tundra is by now an old design, I’d buy another one because people choose to drive classics all the time, because there is nothing like them.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Lots of advantages with the old classics, especially when they’re still selling them brand new.

        Except the price should really reflect the old tech/tooling/R&D and the “old money” it took the automaker to get there, long since paid back.

        Toyota has its fan base, but typical buyers might be deeply insulted by what Toyota is “asking” (demanding) for the 2018 Tundra.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Tundra is not cheap. And that limits exclusivity.

          Tundra buyers have to want one real bad when you can get a similar RAM 5.7 for a hell of a lot less, especially now with a new model coming and up to $11,500 off MSRP.

          Even Jeep is seeing the light and puts as much as $3500 on the hood of a 2018 Grand Cherokee.

          Scary good!

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        There is a big difference between the Tundra and the 2500 trucks. Perhaps you should have compared driving a half ton version of the domestic(ish) three.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I owned a 1/2-ton Silverado and F150 before buying my first Tundra in 2011.

          I test drove a 2010 Tundra and was smitten. So I ordered a 2011 Tundra.

          Then I had to drive home in my 2006 F150. What a difference!

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      Did they not offer the EcoDiesel in the crew cab? They have regular cab, quad cab (short rear door), crew cab (full rear door), and mega cab (full rear door plus extra cab behind it) options.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    My favourite RAM was the 1994-2001 iteration, until the outgoing bodystyle debuted in MY2009. For me, that is still the high water mark. I don’t like the look of the MY2019 as much, though it wouldn’t be a deal breaker itself. (After all, I own an ’07 now and it’s not my favourite bodystyle either.)

    Unless I warm up to the 3.0L EcoDiesel however, my next vehicle will probably be a used RAM1500 with the Hemi and 8-speed or not a pickup truck at all.

    I am disappointed that, with all the updates they made to the outgoing bodystyle over its run, they never bothered to retrofit adaptive cruise control. That’s the one hi-tech feature addition that I think I’d really like in a new vehicle.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    For me the 09-17 Ram 1500 has been a non-starter in the search to replace my 2002 Ram 1500 for towing duty. I need a crew cab as I have 3 kids and a 70lb dog, cannot take less than a 6′ bed, plus tow a 5,000 lb camper. I’d even like to upgrade campers without having to upgrade trucks again.

    Late-model Ram 1500s completely lack appropriate payload rating for my purposes. They’ll barely handle what I already do with my 16yo truck even though I may be surpassing its ratings. I don’t want to upgrade only to be at my limits again.

    The 2019 appears poised to remedy the inadequate payload ratings. They still haven’t published an in-depth payload/tow rating matrix that I’ve been able to find so I’m still thinking the more cost-effective path will be to get a gas-engine 3/4-ton truck.

    The 2019 Ram style looks ok. I think they’re trying to do for Ram what Subaru did for themselves; neutering the quirkiness to expand mass-market appeal. I always thought the Durango was attractive for the market it was in and FCA has leveraged that look onto a 1/2-ton truck in an attractive package that dials way back on the aggro. I’m not sure I see it working for a heavier-duty truck, so I’m still waiting. Should this show up as a full-size 3-row SUV with 10klbs towing looking as it sits right now I’d be all over it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Based on your needs list, might I recommend a 2500 instead?

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Kind Sir, enough of this nonsense. You’re a real truck owner who uses his truck to do truck things (gasp). Some of the B&B will quote specs from websites whilst you have loaded bicycles and sundry items in your truck bed while towing your real camper on real roads. May you and yours have enjoyable times in your truck and at the campsite.

  • avatar
    86er

    As I mentioned in the other “RAM” post, this is far too generic of a design. The application of the prominent RAM on all sides of the vehicle underscores this point.

  • avatar
    slap

    Not a fan of the old Ram styling, but if you took the “RAM” nameplate off of it you might think it was a Toyota.

  • avatar
    phoon

    I have owned a third gen and 3 fourth gen rams, as well as a few chevys. Even though the current truck is getting old, it still drives and rides better than the latest fords and chevys for what i use it for. That said, this new truck ticks all of the boxes for me. Even better ride and interior, increased payload and towing, less weight, better efficiency and i love the look. They were smart to play on their strengths, most trucks are multi purpose rigs that are used for road trips and grocery runs as well as towing and hauling, for this type of use the ram is great. Now give us the 392 already so we can out drag the 6.2 and 3.5 ecoboost! The 5.7 is adiquate but i wouldnt turn down another 95 hp.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I prefer the look of the outgoing model but the ‘19 is still a good looking rig, in Rebel or even Tradesman trims. Using this blinged out luxo-barge in Grampa Garnet isn’t the best way to sell it. At least not for my tastes.

    Im leaning towards the ‘18 if I were buying a new truck. For one, Id want a single cab 4×4…’19 is crew/quad only as of now. The ‘19 doesn’t really have anything I just gotta have. In fact, it has some things I don’t want at all: an even bigger touch screen where I want none at all, and most importantly those DAMNED STUPID WORTHLESS 6-BOLT HUBS!!!!! The wheel/tire package makes or breaks your rig and the aftermarket choices will be limited initially. The 6 hole setup means a 2wd is out of the question for me since I would want to do like my ‘05 Rumble Bee and immediately install 17” old school Torq Thrust TTO’s. Inability to customize as I want is a dealbreaker.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I prefer the look of the outgoing model but the ‘19 is still a good looking rig, in Rebel or even Tradesman trims. Using this blinged out luxo-barge in Grampa Garnet isn’t the best way to sell it. At least not for my tastes.

    Im leaning towards the ‘18 if I were buying a new truck. For one, Id want a single cab 4×4…’19 is crew/quad only as of now. The ‘19 doesn’t really have anything I just gotta have. In fact, it has some things I don’t want at all: an even bigger touch screen where I want none at all, and most importantly those DAMNED STUPID WORTHLESS 6-BOLT HUBS!!!!! The wheel/tire package makes or breaks your rig and the aftermarket choices will be limited initially. The 6 hole setup means a 2wd is out of the question for me since I would want to do like my ‘05 Rumble Bee and immediately install 17” old school Torq Thrust TTO’s. Inability to customize as I want is a dealbreaker.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This one is vastly better than the old one, which always looked pointlessly overstyled to me. Although I prefer the new one in trims with less chrome than the one you’ve got above.

    Who cares what I think, though? I’m not about to buy a pickup. The only thing that would make me buy a new pickup would be a move to a rural area.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Trucks are one of the few segments with EXTREMELY loyal owners. I get that the manufacturers don’t (didn’t?) like to tinker much with something that sells for fear of alienating the faithful. Witness F-150 “Classic” in 1996 because the 97’s were totally new. I believe that GM, Ford and Chrysler were all guilty of that “classic”.

    I just had a ’17 Ram 1500 2wd for a week as a rental(Hotwire at $10 a day through National!). Crew cab, V6 and 8 speed, SLT trim. For someone who drives a Golf, the hardest part was trying to park it, get used to its size. The rotary knob shifter was different and I did confuse it for the HVAC fan once.

    It was quiet, rode well and at 15 mpg average in mostly short drives/city driving around Cincinnati, okay at economy for as big as it was. But it felt old, which you could blame on the 20k rental miles, but the 2011 refresh of FCA vehicles could only cover so much. The ’19 looks nice but in my opinion the Ford is probably a better truck.

    In short, it was OK, but I’d probably be at the Ford store first. But I’d be at the Ram (ugh) store before Toyota or Nissan. Now, if it was an Ecodiesel with air suspension, that might change my mind. But owning one for a week reminded me of why I don’t have this kind of vehicle. Just too much for the rare times I need a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      SLTs are pretty work grade, Longhorns are exquisite.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Oh, no doubt. The high level trucks are amazing no matter who builds them. But so is their price tag, now that it’s 50k+ for anything nicer than mid trim 4×4. But those high end trucks are amazingly equipped and seem very comfortable. And, if it’s your only vehicle, trucks are so civilized now that it’s a car, minivan and truck in crew cab form, so I guess 50k isn’t unreasonable for something that does the work of three vehicles.

        But the SLT was basic, but basic in 2017 terms, not 1997 terms. Not so much that I was wanting for anything, anyway. I built a similar one on Rams website and it was around 35k. Reasonable, again, but my ideal truck for my purposes is Toyota(or Nissan) truck 2wd from the 90’s until it became Tacoma(Frontier). I love the Tacoma X-Runner too.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    The new Ram sure looks better than the hokey Baby-kenworth look. But some of the underlying available ‘advancements’ are very questionable. “Composite” suspension pieces and coolant lines that run all the way back to the rear pumpkin? Uh, no thanks.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I think I’d rather look at any previous Ram than that gaudy thing with tiny tires in the picture. But I’m sure some of the trim levels look okay.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      That’s obviously only a highway runner. And as I’ve stated before, those low-profile tires mean less rolling resistance and better cornering ability (but harsher ride.)

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Tire profile is practically unrelated to rolling resistance. Tread mass is the most important factor there.

        And they’re definitely not optimizing cornering ability with those OE tires that sacrifice grip in order to have a low tread mass tire with acceptable tread life.

        The important thing is that it will feel like it handles well to most because of the lack of sidewall flex. Plus, it looks flashy and expensive to those who haven’t figured out that Laramies have been using plastic wheel covers instead of spending money to properly finish the aluminum underneath.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “Tire profile is practically unrelated to rolling resistance. Tread mass is the most important factor there.”

          That seems counter-intuitive, considering how almost every car made today (with limited exceptions only) are on much larger wheels which much lower shoulders. Low profile means stiffer sidewalls means less flex, means less resistance. While i agree that tread pattern and thickness and even tire material itself are all factors, the simple fact that there is less flex in the tire means less rolling resistance. I’m quite sure if we could figure out how to get away with steel tires (like the railroad) we’d see those on the roads in a heartbeat.

          Oh, and low profile means less tire roll on curves, meaning better grip and less risk of rollover in an accident.

          Overall, I would need to see a comprehensive study confirming your conclusions before I can accept them, because the driving characteristics of cars have improved, not degraded, on good road surfaces. Car suspensions, unfortunately, aren’t as good as a good cushion of air for absorbing bumps and irregularities in the road, ergo handling under rough-road conditions will degrade while the ride is worse (as evidenced by more complaints of rough-riding cars, especially among smaller cars with less weight.)

          As far as “look(ing) flashy and expensive,” that never appealed to me and I personally believe they ruin the look of the vehicle.

          Oh, and plastic wheel covers were a thing for roughly 20 years. Before that they were metal wheel covers over bone-stock steel rims. I do question your statement of (FCA) not “spending money to properly finish the aluminum underneath (in the Laramie.)

          All and all I hear prejudice with little to no empirical evidence to back it.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    That truck is just a padded vinyl roof and stand-up hood mascot away from being a Ram Royal Monaco Brougham, but, I suppose black wheels, peek-a-boo brake calipers and copious arrays of LEDs are today’s version of 1970’s “Brougham Kit”.


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