RAM 1500 Matching Wins With Triple Crown Winner Justify

RAM 1500 With Triple Crown Winner Justify
Image Credit: James Groth  – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

This article first appeared in Truck Ride & Drive Reviews  December 28, 2018 by our contributor James Groth.

Words & Images By James Groth

Since the media introduction of the 2019 RAM 1500 in August, RAM 1500 is matching wins with its stablemate Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown Winner. With annual sales of 2.8 million, light duty trucks are the best selling segment of vehicles in the US and toughest category to win awards Announced at this years San Antonio Auto & Truck Show was the coveted Green Car Journal’s ‘Truck of the Year’ was awarded to RAM 1500. Equally significant at the LA Automobilty Show was Ram1500 being presented the award for Motor Trend Truck of the Year.

Perennial sponsor of the Kentucky Derby Ram Trucks are also the tow vehicle for Triple Crown winner Justify, both are stabemates at the Win Star Farm outside of Versailles, Kentucky.

RAM 1500 Winner of Motor ‘Trend Truck of the Year’ and Green Car Journal ‘Truck of the Year’
Image Credit: James Groth  – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

My original driving impression, comprehensive list of standard equipment and options of the new line of RAM 1500 trucks follows.

2019 RAM With e-Torque Seeks Benchmark Status 

Standalone truck brand RAM seeks to be the new standard by which all 2019 trucks will be measured. The categories singled out by RAM are Efficiency, Technology, Strength and Safety. Both the presentation and test drives demonstrated that RAM has made the financial commitment to build an extensive product line not just to contend but  win these categories outright.

Splayed Frame Rail Chassis Featrues Safety And Durabililty While Sheeding 120 Pounds
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)
The extent of development and unique features presented is what I would have expected to learn about a high-end luxury SUV or sedan, not a truck line. If you only looked at the specifications and performance figures of the top of the line RAM models they would match up or better many luxury vehicles. As we saw on display this all starts with a new frame that’s 98% high-strength steel and more durable. The chassis is 120 lbs lighter and overall weight is reduced 225 lbs.over the previous 1500. There is a patent pending on the splayed frame rail technology energy absorbing structure for all models that focuses on safety and durability. Cab length increased four inches with most going towards its spacious rear compartment.
Laramie Longhorn Interior The Flavor Is ‘Southwestern Hot’
Image Credit: RAM Media (2018)

I started out the drive as a passenger in the RAM 1500 5.7-Liter V-8 Laramie Longhorn Edition. Laramie gives you that luxury feeling as you enter. Greeting you are full leather seating, with an embossed alligator skin pattern on the center console, dash, seats and door panels along with a real barn wood accents, all done with traditional American craftsmanship. The flavor is ‘Southwestern Hot’ and I liked it. Unique to our Laramie Edition were its RV Match Walnut Brown paint, premium LED headlamps and tail lamps, front grill and 20” or 22” distinctive wheels. RAM Laramie couples timeless craftsmanship with advanced technology and it hauls.

Bluegrass Fields And Twisty Roads Provided An Ideal Setting For On Road Testing
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Rick Deneau, who heads the N. A. RAM Brand nnd Product Communications along with his team, staged the introduction in Lexington, KY. Lexington was an ideal location with it’s bluegrass fields and narrow twisty backroads, the intermittent showers only added to the setting. We had our driver switch at the WinStar Farm where the RAM Team made this a special occasion, an opportunity to meet up close the greatest living champion horse. Justify is an incredible Chestnut colored Thoroughbred, the 2018 Triple Crown Winner and the only American horse to do this with an undefeated record. Standing tall on the optional 22 inch tires Laramie too has the presence of a thoroughbred and showed it on these horse country roads. RAM a sponsor of the Kentucky Derby also has a run of Kentucky Derby Editions limited to 2000 trucks.

Optional Four Corner Auto-Leveling Air Suspension Provides Sedan Like Smoothness
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Cmmunications (2018)

Behind the wheel I immediately notice that this Laramie does not ride like a truck or my P38 Range Rover. It has a sedan like smooth ride due to Laramie’s optional four corner auto-leveling air suspension with link coil rear. This suspension lowers the 1500 0.6 inches for improved mileage and handling. Standard Frequency Response Damping front coil-over shocks play a large role too. I was deeply impressed with this suspension that has a sharper turn in through the corners keeping it stable and poised at all times. If your truck is used for family outings this option will be appreciated by all passengers.

Air Dam Grill Shutters And Air Suspenson Work In Concert To Achieve A .357 Coefficient Of Drag
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Cmmunicatoins (2018)

The second impressive thing I noticed with the Laramie is how exceptionally quite it is. This is due to the active noise cancellation on the V-8 models and acoustic glass reducing ambient sounds. The interior noise is rated at a remarkable 66.6 db. a low level even for luxury vehicles. Some to the quietness stems from the V-8 cylinder cutoff allowing it to run on four cylinders. Since coefficient of drag contributes to fuel mileage and highway handling the .357 cd posted by the 1500 is remarkable. The low figure is due to1500’s exclusive aerodynamics: air dam, grill shutters and air suspension working in concert. A lockable tri-fold tonneau cover improves fuel economy by 0,8%. EPA estimates for the 2WD hybrid are 17 city, 19 combined and 23 highway. The diving range is 437 to 494 miles.

eTorque A Mild Hybrid System Adds 130 lb.-ft. of Launch Torque
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Cmmunications (2018)

Two lane passing was effortless with the 5.7 liter HEMI V-8 eTorque given the 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft torque. I found Laramie to be as silent as a submarine, effortless and comfortable to drive quickly. If your require more torque the Ram 3500 Cummins Turbo Diesel delivers 950 lb.-ft. Lo oking for economy chose the EcoDiesel for 27 mpg on the Ram 1500. The optional 5.7 liter HEMI  V-8 with eTorque a mild hybrid system in the 1500 adds 130 lb.-ft. of launch torque. This RAM has th e stopping power to match its horsepower with class leading front rotors of 14.9” and rears of 14.8” a long with an increase pad area of 18% from previous.

Penstar V-6 With e Torque Adds 90 lb.-ft Of Launch Torque
Image Credit: James Groth -Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The Pentastar V-6 with eTorque adds 90 lb.-ft of launch torque. The standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 produces 305 horsepower and 289 lb.ft.. I drove a base model after lunch and felt it had the power for  all occasions except heavy towing. Compared to the air suspension model ride and handling was noticeability different. It’s still very competent and quiet but more truck like, not as quick or as effortless through the twisty roads. This was to be expected since it was running on the standard 18- inch wheels and narrower tires. This is not a fault, merely a different execution for all around on/off road use, at a very fair price point.

Base Model V-6 e Torque Mild Hybird Starts At $31,695
Image Credit: James Groth -Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The base models Tradesmen, Big Horn and Rebel with 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 eTorque mild hybrid starts at $31,695. You can opt for the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 8-speed auto for $1,195. Technology-leading Ltd. Crew Cab 4×4 V8 with 12-inch connect touchscreen starts at $57,390. The eTorque      HEMI option will add $1,995 to sticker price. Fuel figures for the V-6 have not yet been released. Both power plants add an Interactive Deceleration Fuel Shut Off that pauses the fuel flow when     decelerating and is active in third and higher gears. Our presenter held up a vial of fuel to show how much fuel this saves at a three minute stoplight and it was significant. Briefly, the eTorque mild    hybrid does away with an alternator and has a belt-driven motor generator. The generator works with a 48-volt battery pack that enables quick starts and seamless start/stop and brake energy regeneration.

 PSU Motor Generator Unit Maintains Battery And  Coverts 48 volts to 12 volts
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Technically per RAM “…engine running eTorque’s motor generator unit feeds 48-volt current to a      300 watt-hour lithium-ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)-Graphite battery. The small-suitcase sized, air cooled battery pack mounts to a rear wall inside the cabin. The eTorque unit recaptures energy during deceleration and braking to feed charge to the battery pack. Additionally, the battery pack includes a 3-kilowatt DC-to-DC converter to maintain the battery’s state of charge and convert 48 volts to 12 volts to power assessors and charge the 12 volt battery.” Bottom line – eTorque improves efficiency and produces a more responsive drivetrain.

TorqueFlight 8HP75 Has 40 Shift Maps for Efficiency And Performance
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018) 

The upgraded TorqueFlite 8HP75 trans has 40 individual shift maps for added economy and performance. Towing capacity increased to12,750 pounds and is designed to pull a horse trailer i n comfort and safety. Need more towing, then choose the 2500 with best in class towing of 16,320 pounds. Max payload on1500 increases to 2300 pounds.

Uconnect System Features Class Leading 12-inch Touchscreen Wiht Split-Screen Capability
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

RAM in rightfully proud of its award winning fourth generation Uconnect System with class exclusive 12-inch fully configurable touchscreen display, featuring split-screen capability. Uconnect allows hands on the wheel convenience to keep you safely engaged and connected, while being faster, sharper and more supportive. This is also the debut of the all new SiriusXM with 360L, considered to be the finest audio system available in a pickup. It features a Harman Kardon 900 watt surround sound amp with 19 speakers, personal device integration and in-vehicle connectivity.

Wheel Packages Of  20″And 22″  Give RAM 1500 Its Dominant Stance
Imge Credit. : James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Another first is the 360-degree Surround View Camera that provides you a birds-eye view via four cameras for a fully stitched image of your surroundings. This is a welcome safety feature for pedestrians and animals. If your ‘old school’ there are redundant controls allowing you to bypass the touchscreen.

Heated Full Leather Rear Seat With Ventilation Is A Class Exclusive
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Any accouterment or cutting edge safety feature offered on advanced SUV’s or sedans seems to be available along with some industry exclusives,  One class exclusive would be heated full leather rear seat ventilation. Second row seats recline to 8 degrees or provide a flat load floor. The aluminum tailgate can electronically be dropped by an interior switch or remotely with the key fob, very cool.

EPA Estimated Fuel Milage Figures
The Aluminum Tailgate Can Be Lowered With An Interior Switch Or Keyfob
Image Credit: James Groth – Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

In total there are over 100 safety and security features. RAM comes with a 3-year/36K Basic Ltd. Warranty and is backed with a 5-year/60K Powertrain Ltd Warranty.  Space will not allow coverage of the six distinct classes of RAM trucks, so let this be the catalyst for you to spec your version according to the 200 plus options offered.