I usually start truck reviews with a disclaimer, I don’t know much about trucks. For some honest to goodness real truck advice, go check out Pickup Truck + SUV Talk. Tim actually knows what he’s talking about. For me, I typically review a truck exactly the same way I review a car or SUV, so if that’s something you’re interested in with regard to this 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Sport Crew Cab 4×4, let’s get on with it.
Ram trucks are damn near as old as I am, the first of five generations arriving in showrooms back in 1981. Whereas I still haven’t made it to any showrooms, not sure where things went wrong. Back then Dodge used the same 150, 250, and 350 designations that Ford used, and uses currently, for their trucks. Today they’ve just added a zero with 1500, 2500, and 3500, which is obviously more, and therefore better. In the automotive business, more is better, at least in the truck world. The same goes for the inside, back in the 80s Dodge would sell you a regular cab, club cab, and crew cab with a choice of 6’5″ or 8′ beds. Today this Laramie is available with a choice of a 5’7″ or 6’4″ bed, or “box” as they call it. Wait, that’s less, isn’t it? That tells part of the story here, the pick-up truck of today is less about the bed and more about the passenger compartment, with the majority of owners primarily using the latter.
And man what an interior. Living with a modern day full size truck means having a near luxury car interior. Sure, I wasn’t a big fan of the gold hue dividing the dashboard, but the materials all felt solid and it was an incredibly comfortable place to spend time. Gone are the days of rough riding spartan work trucks, today’s crop of big trucks are worlds apart. Here’s a sampling of the standard features that just related to seating.
- 4 Way Front Headrests
- 40 / 20 / 40 Split Bench Seat
- Driver Seat Memory
- Heated Front Seats
- Occupant Classification System
- Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar Adjust
- Power 4-Way Passenger Lumbar Adjust
- Power 8-Way Driver/Passenger Seats
- Rear 60/40 Folding Seat
- Three Rear Seat Head Restraints
- Under-Seat Lighting
- Ventilated Front Seats
Like you, I’m curious what an Occupant Classification System is, and where I would land in the sorting process? But feudalist class assignments aside, just look at all that! You get lights under your seats, so you can more easily find those dropped cell phones and french fries. You also get a big ole 8.4″ touchscreen with the UConnect system, easily one of the best in the industry. Which pales in comparison to the available, and massive, twelve inch touchscreen. Just look at that!
Like most trucks, there is storage everywhere. Ram cites all of these storage options inside the truck – 2nd-Row In-Floor Storage Bins, Front Center Seat Cushion Storage, and a Premium Overhead Console. So you have plenty of room for your stuff, whatever your profession.
But this Ram has options. A lot of them. The regular ole 2019 Ram Laramie starts at a reasonable $40,040. This tester that Dodge, or Ram, or someone…RFD to review for a week rang in at $63,485 including the $1,695 “destination charge”. So we’re talking another car’s worth of options in this case. The most expensive element is the near $4,600 Level 2 Equipment Group and of that, it’s pretty much all interior and safety kit that gets added. The Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4-Inch screen is standard in this package and the stereo system is updated to a massive 19-Speaker Harman Kardon system with a CD player (for some reason). Ram also adds something called a RamCharger Wireless Charging Pad up front, which let’s face it has a cool name.
Elsewhere in the cabin you get more good stuff for the back seat passengers including a reclining, heated, second-row that can split 60 / 40 as well as some additional under-seat storage. The driver gets some convenience features like Rain-Sensitive Windshield Wipers,Automatic High Beam Headlamp Control, Tailgate-Ajar Warning Lamp, and a Remote Tailgate-Release. You even get standard Acoustic Front Door Glass, a handy Rear Power Sliding-Window as well as power folding heated exterior mirrors.
Finally, conventional safety features, helpful in a truck the size of a small moon, like Blind-Spot with Cross-Path Detection and ParkSense® Front and Rear Park-Assist with Stop are also added. The last bit was quite annoying, like many of these systems can be, because with the slight dip in my driveway it would auto-brake to keep me from hitting absolutely nothing. I imagine for every accident prevented, systems like this anger their drivers another several hundred times and they eventually switch them off. But the future is here, and I suppose it’s a good trade-off for now.
So it’s near-if-not-actual luxury on the inside, how are things on the outside? Well, it’s a truck. Personally, I think Ram have come a long way design-wise. Gone are the days of the semi-truck front end in favor of something sleeker and more attractive. The big Ram is painted Diamond Black Crystal Pearl-Coat, which is a long way to say “black”. It also came equipped with the $2,495 Sport Appearance Package which includes:
- 20-Inch x 9-Inch Premium Painted Wheels w/Inserts
- 275/55R20 OWL All-Season Tires
- Black Interior Accents
- Body-Color Door Handles
- Body-Color Front Bumper
- Body-Color Rear Bumper
- Laramie Body-Color Grille
- Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats
- Pwr Heated Mirrors w/Fold-Away N/A w/Towing Mirrors
- Sport Performance Hood
Those are all pretty solid upgrades and makes for a pretty attractive Ram. The 20″ wheels replace standard 18″ x 8″ wheels and fill out the wheel wells much better. And mercifully the black front grill and bumper replaces the standard brightwork; I especially don’t miss the stock front chrome grill. LEDs are throughout, as standard including the Front LED Fog Lamps, LED Automatic Reflector Headlamps, LED Dome Lamp, LED Tail Lamps, and Overhead LED Lamps. That’s a lot of Light Emitting Diodes!
So we’ve established that you get a lot of stuff for your $63,458, but how is it to drive? Well, like everything else I tested the Ram like it was just another passenger vehicle. And it did quite well. Literally the only thing the Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab cannot be, is small. Driving in-and-around the Washington DC area meant that there were times that I literaly ducked as I entered parking garages. That does nothing by the way, but I felt better. The Ram is massive, of course, as it’s supposed to be. So squeezing between parked cars on my street or making the tight u-turn in a parking lot meant some patience and attention on my part. So if you live somewhere that requires a less wide, tall, and long vehicle, this isn’t your next daily driver.
For the rest of you, the Ram performs just about every other task with near perfection. It’s large 5.7L HEMI has 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, including an additional 130 lb-ft of supplemental launch torque enabled by something called the eTorque system. What the hell is that, and where can I get one you are saying? It basically replaces the Ram’s alternator and the 48 volt system uses a small motor/generator to act as a sort of hybrid system which restarts the motor when the automatic stop/start system is used. So it gives you an extra boost, and yes this makes the Ram a hybrid of sorts. I typically disengage start-stop systems unless they are ridiculously smooth and unobtrusive, and as good as the 5.7L engine is, you can feel it restart on you.
Few vehicles get more invested in them from and R&D perspective than American trucks. Dodge/Ram sold 536,980 Ram trucks last year. That’s an ungodly amount of vehicles moving off of dealer lots. For perspective, the Toyota Camry, seen as a sales success, only nabbed 343,439 American buyers last year. So Dodge, well Fiat-Chrysler, has a lot riding on the big Ram. Competition from Ford and GM is fast and furious, easily some of the most heavily competitive in the automotive market. But Dodge, OK Ram, brought their A-game with the Ram, it’s quite good and worth a look if you want, or even need a full size truck.