2018 Ram 1500: Last look

    2018 Ram 1500 Tungsten (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

    Ram Trucks revealed the 2019 1500 at the Detroit Auto Show a couple weeks ago, and the media drive for the all-new vehicle happens this week.

    Thus, I was both surprised and pleased when a 2018 Limited Tungsten Edition showed up in my driveway so that I could get a last look at this iconic truck.

    My first thought was this 10-year-old truck is holding up pretty well. It’s no wonder that they’ve waited so long for a complete redesign – it didn’t really need it.

    The test vehicle was a crew cab with smooth leather seats, a heated steering wheel and Berber carpet inserts. With an as-tested price of $63,870, the test vehicle spared few expenses, which made this more of a luxury cruiser.

    Equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi engine, the test vehicle delivered 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. Even though the test truck was large enough that it wouldn’t in my garage, this engine provided plenty of power to accelerate easily.

    The other engine option available on the 1500 is a 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.

    With the large side mirrors, rearview camera and parking sensors, the 1500 is surprisingly easy to maneuver in tight spaces – even though with the crew cab and 5-foot, 7-inch box, it took up more than one parking space at the grocery store.

    And, for such a large vehicle, I was surprised at how comfortable it was for a petite person. Of course, that’s with the available running boards.

    I also appreciated the numerous cubbyholes that fit my purse, sunglass case and various and sundry gadgets.

    However, after having a sneak peek at the 2019 model, I will say there are some features I won’t miss.

    Such as the oddly placed USB ports. The test vehicle had two, and it was like an Easter egg hunt to find them – which only ended with the designer of the vehicle chiming into a query on my Facebook page. They are located inside the top level of the armrest, facing toward the back of the vehicle. Not easy to see from the driver’s seat.

    In the 2019 model, they are very visible on the center stack.

    Something else I’m looking forward to? The tablet-sized display screen.

    Don’t get me wrong, the 8.4-inch display screen on the 2018 model is really good. The touch points are easily visible, and I love the adjustable home screen that allows you to move the widgets similar to how you move apps on your mobile phone.

    But the new screen will be a whopping 12 inches, and it will be vertical rather than the traditional horizontal. Visually it’ll take some getting used to, but it’s gorgeous.

    ZOMG. Check out this 12-inch screen in the new @ramtrucks 1500 #naias #naias2018

    A post shared by jill ciminillo (@jillciminillo) on

    Plus the functionality is pretty nifty, allowing you to have one large full screen or a split screen with two horizontal spheres of differing data.

    While the 2018 model still works, the 2019 model appears it will just work better.

    Some changes of note:

    • The 5.7-liter engine will add an eTorque mild-hybrid system that will increase fuel efficiency and add 130 pound-feet of torque.
    • Maximum payload increases to 2,300 pounds, and the maximum trailer tow to 12,750 pounds.
    • The 2019 model is 100 pounds lighter.
    • It will have the largest front brakes in the segment at 14.9 inches.

    The base price for the outgoing 2018 model is $27,095 – less than half of the test vehicle price! This is with the base 3.6-liter engine and a 4X2 regular-cab configuration.

    Truck intro onslaught continues with 2019 @ramtrucks 1500 #naias #naias2018

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    One of the things that Ram does really well with the current 1500 is create a truck for everyone. Need a basic work truck? Go with the Tradesman or Express models.

    Want something that can do a little work but has more amenities? Upgrade to the Laramie Longhorn or Limited trims, which add things like leather seats, passive entry and push-button start.

    The current-generation 1500 has been a great truck for Ram for more than a decade, and since we are only at the beginning of 2018 you can still get this model – likely with a good deal attached to it.

    Expect to see the 2019 truck hit dealers this spring, and stay tuned for my first-look review in the next couple weeks.

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