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Diving into the 2019 Ram 1500 (again)

by David Zatz on

Yesterday, the head of Ram pickups, Jim Morrison, and the chief designer of Ram and Dodge interiors, Ryan Nagode, talked up the new truck in Manhattan.

Jim Morrison - Ram

One new tidbit from Jim Morrison was how the blind spot monitor works with trailers. The system is trained not by entering data into the touch-screen, nor by a series of complicated moves; the driver simply makes two turns (e.g. 30°) while towing, and the blind spot monitor system senses the length of the trailer and asks the driver to confirm it.

During the presentation, Jim Morrison pointed out that the new Ram hybrid will let you have your cake and eat it too, with double-digit fuel economy gains (presumably, percentage-wise) — a safe bet since the Durango Hemi Hybrid raised economy by 20%.

360 degree camera

Ryan Nagode’s talk came at a good time: Ward’s announced that the Ram had taken a spot on their global Ten Best Interiors list. It had competed with all new cars and trucks, from economy to luxury.  He talked about how the Ram team put an extra three inches into the back seat, and made both front and back doors one inch longer. That extra space let the designers put an 8°-adjustable tilt on the rear seats; Ram also has the only pickup with both heated and cooled rear seats.

longhorn

There are now six “really differentiated” trims; “the Rebel is really our image truck.”   Each trim level was upgraded inside, prioritizing storage, function, and tech.  The trims are separated not just by features and options, but also by “skinning” — materials and graphics, extending to the digital displays.

The dashboard has a “chest up” feel, with the center stack closer to the driver for easier access. There’s a new climate control system, with new seats that saved 35 pounds. The in-floor storage bins are unique for the class.

Some of the lesser-known features include the phone system switching from satellite to Internet transmission when going through tunnels, to avoid dropping calls; and having CarPlay or Android Auto take up just half of the optional 12” screen, so people can still show, say, the climate controls on the lower half — even though there are redundant manual controls.  Truck owners can even plug in three different phones at once, and switch between them in the system as needed.

Nagode also called our attention to the Longhorn logo, impressed into each dashboard cover by a person with a branding iron.  Answering a question, he pointed out that they have speakers and microphones in the ceiling, partly for the noise cancellation system.

The center gauge screen has seven customizable areas and 3D graphics; the graphic theme varies with the trim level.  Tablet storage for the rear passengers lets them watch movies.

2019 ram sketches

Overall, the interior has 151 liters of storage, vs 78.5 liters for the F-150 and 68.4 for the Silverado, according to Ram.

Nagode also pointed out some of the exterior styling choices. He said they tried to synchronize the side lines, for a cleaner, more integrated look; that was helped by raising the bed sides by one and a half inches, so it lined up with the front/rear “A” line. They kept the big rig styling, or “stepped side look,” using it to display the powertrain badges. Styling cues were also interlocked, where possible.

ryan nagode

The company went from five-lug wheels to six lugs not for the look, but to allow for larger brakes — for better stopping power and longer use.

When a new pickup is launched, it’s easy to miss many of the clever details; engineers can labor on fine points of usability, and find that only a few owners notice them. The Ram seems to have leaped forward not just in checking items off feature lists, but in little features that help owners live with them from day to day.

 


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