It seems like right about now, every pickup truck is getting a new powertrain or a completely new design, and the Ram 1500 is leading the charge. Each trim level comes with such a different looking front end that you might think that they are all from different model years. The handsome looking blue beast that found its way our this time around is a 2019 Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4×4, with the short box configuration.
With the F-150 (reviewed here) going all-aluminum several years ago and GM touting a new design in 2019 using lighter materials, Ram needed to come out with a new design that showcases fuel efficiency. Until this year, the Ram was the only 1500-class truck you could get with a diesel engine, a market advantage that is no longer a unique trait to this brand.
Like all full sized trucks, the Crew Cab on the Ram is cavernous. It’s big enough to comfortably seat five adults in comfortable, well-bolstered seats, with a nice dual-pane sunroof (optional) over everyone to make the cabin feel even bigger. Some models come with a new 12” Uconnect infotainment screen, but the 8.4” standard with the Sport is still fantastic and was arguably the best in the business until that one-footer came along.
The center console hosts some neat features that some drivers might enjoy. There’s a perfect spot to stick your phone, while hiding all of the wires deep down, and little slots to route the wire through so there’s no mess. The pieces of the console are all movable and configurable so you can accommodate whatever junk you typically keep around there or move the cupholder to just the right spot. To top it all off, there are common measurement conversions, formulas and a protractor stamped into the underside of the armrest for quick assistance when on the jobsite.
The Canada-only Sport trim (reviewed here) brings unique exterior and interior styling to the Ram. This includes a lot of body coloured parts, heated front seats, and standard 20” wheels starting with an MSRP of $60,795. This particular Ram Sport was optioned up even further with leather seats ($1,695), Advanced Safety Group ($2,300), Level 2 Equipment group ($1,025), anti-spin rear differential ($525), powered dual-pane sunroof ($1,595), nine-speaker amplified sound system with subwoofer ($495), air suspension ($1,895), and more for a total of $75,020.
To keep overall vehicle size down, crew cabs typically come along with a short box, and the Ram is no different, with a bed length of 1.7m (5’7, as tested) or optionally 1.9m (6’4). For 2019 the cargo bed gets wider inside at least, even if the Ram Box storage boxes are optioned in. Using the air suspension to lower the truck (using the key fob) to a nice loading height is a great bonus, as is the LED lighting in the bed at night.
Engine options on the Ram trucks are the same as most of the other large FCA vehicles; a 3.6L V6, 5.7L V8 HEMI, or a six-cylinder EcoDiesel. The Sport package is only available with the HEMI engine, but that’s not a bad thing. We had the opportunity to tow a U-haul U-Box around town during the time we had the Ram, and of course it was no sweat for the HEMI engine. Something neat the Ram does once it detects trailer wiring being connected is it uses the blind spot cameras to determine how long the trailer is and adjusts the blind spot warnings accordingly.
Behind the brawny V8 is strapped an eight-speed automatic transmission and 4×4 transfer case. Shifting is smooth and kept the engine revs in check so well that it takes effort in every day driving to get to hear the roar of the HEMI. Gear selection is done via a knob on the dashboard that takes some getting used to. Our biggest complaint is that there is no physical resistance in the knob between the R and P positions. As a result, sometimes while quickly switching directions while trying to back up a trailer, the truck ended up in “Park” annoyingly.
Towing capacity as usual is based on powertrain and cab configuration, and for trucks equipped with this specific configuration, that rating is a very nice 3738kg (8240 pounds) and a payload rating of 835kg (1840 pounds). A max towing package and higher axle ratio is available to boost these numbers up by at least 35%.
When not towing, the Ram as equipped is rated for 16.1L/100km city, 11.0L/100km highway and a combined rating of 13.8L/100km. These numbers are certainly a bit higher than some of the competition, but note that not only is this the thirstiest of the three powertrain options Ram offers, there is a mild hybrid option for this powertrain known as eTorque with this new generation truck that makes a big dent in those numbers.
The 2019 Ram 1500 Sport brings an interesting angle to the latest truck refresh cycle, putting more energy towards interior design and tech, than to major weight loss. The new Silverado and Sierra from GM have a more utilitarian design and focus on utility, while the Ford F-150 is an all-aluminum truck that was the first to get the latest refresh, so it has some of the kinks worked out already. The Toyota Tundra is a great option too, for those who prefer a more classic truck feel and have no need for tons of tech.
Running around town, towing, or tossing a couch in the bed are all very easy and enjoyable with the 2019 Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4×4, and the looks of the Sport package help to put a smile on your face when it’s just parked in the driveway. This is a serious contender for top spot on your shopping list, depending on what your needs are in a truck.