2019 Ram Big Horn Crew Cab: Stylish practicality
Manufacturers capitalizing on the truck craze are offering so many innovations, it's hard to keep them all straight. In the course of a few weeks, I've driven a full size GMC pickup with a tail gate that can be reconfigured as a step or work bench, a full size Chevy pickup with turbocharged 2.7-liter four cylinder engine, and now a full size Ram pickup that's a hybrid — sort of.
The 2019 Ram 1500 came with an optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 eTorque engine. Basically, it's a V8 with an belt-driven alternator bolted on top that restarts it quickly when the automatic stop/start feature is used, and provides mild assist when taking off from a stop. It's designed to save a little fuel and add 130 foot pounds of torque when it's most needed.
The set up works so flawlessly, I didn't even realize it was included until a read the build sheet after driving around for a few days. I just thought it ran great and got decent mileage for a full size truck. But it's standard on the V8 and also on the base 3.6-liter V6, where it boosts mileage slightly while adding 90 foot pounds of torque off the line.
Of course, there was a lot else to notice about the truck, too. Ram's light truck line has been completely redesigned for 2019. The 1500 is bigger but better driving, with an improved suspension and an active noise cancellation that makes the cabin whisper quiet, even at freeway speeds.
But on top of that, my test truck was a special all-black Crew Cab edition of the mid-range Big Horn trim level. And by black, I mean everything, including the grill, bumper and wheels. It really stands out, even in the stampede of upscale full size trucks on the road today.
The truck had a number of other comfort, convenience, infotainment and safety features that made driving it remarkably easy, considering its size. They included running boards on both sides, which were necessary for getting in and out easily. Our 1500 sat very high for being a rear-wheel-drive truck.
But the 1500 is also ready for work, with a payload limit of more two tons and a towing capacity of 7,520 pounds, properly equipped.
The fifth generation Ram (formerly Dodge) 1500 is competing against new and updated models from Chevy, General Motors and Ford. It has been winning awards, including being named the 2019 Motor Trend Truck of the Year.
Prices start and $31,795 and increase up through five trim levels, with available packages and options that can make the high-end models as expensive as luxury cars. A mid-level Big Horn model like the one we tested starts at $38,395 and was $52,025 as equipped.
2019 Ram Big Horn Crew Cab
Base price: $38,395
Price as tested: $52,025
Style: Full size truck
Engine: 5.7-liter V8 eTorque (221 hp, 284 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy: 17/23
Length: 229-242 inches
Weight: 4,798 to 5,372 pounds
Final assembly point: Sterling Heights, Michigan