The pickup truck market has always been an all-out war amongst automakers, but this segment has heated up even more in recent years with an influx in unique engine options. Diesels, twin-turbo V-6s and advanced V-8s are all helping to shake up the truck market, and Ram is right in the thick of things by pairing conventional gasoline engines with its all-new eTorque mild hybrid technology. In addition to the added benefits to fuel economy, we spent a week in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie 4×2 Quad Cab 5.7L eTorque to see what the other upsides were to this mildly hybridized pickup truck, and we were quite surprised.
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Exterior
The 2019 Ram 1500 is available in six trim levels with each receiving a distinctive front-end treatment including different grille, headlight and bumper designs. For the eTorque models, there is no specific call out (badges, stickers, etc) identifying the hybrid technology under the hood. Perhaps this was to prevent any ribbings from other truck owners, but whatever the reason, we’re just glad Ram resisted the urge to make any distinctions between the eTorque and non-eTorque trucks.
The overall styling of the new 2019 Ram 1500 is an evolution of the previous big-rig designs with a greater focus on aerodynamics (according to Ram, this is the most aerodynamic full-size truck you can get). This front end is easily the boldest Ram since the 1994 Dodge Ram rewrote the rules of pickup truck styling with a Charger-like forward-leaning nose, stylish headlights and a bold, in-your-face grille. Speaking of the grille, you’ll notice that the company’s signature crosshair grille and ram’s head logo has been replaced by the unmistakable “RAM” lettering.
Decked out in the mid-level Laramie trim, the 2019 Ram 1500 shows off a lot of chrome including the hood badges, door mirrors, grille, bumper and, of course, the chrome unibrow that spans the entire width of the front end. This tester added even more shiny parts with the $995 Chrome Appearance Group adding chrome tow hooks, window molding and side steps that stretched from wheel to wheel. There was so much chrome, in fact, that it made the silver-painted 18-inch wheels look out of place. The chrome did look especially nice when paired with the Delmonico Red Pearl paint ($100).
Other options this truck that you should consider include the $845 Bed Utility Group (four adjustable tie downs, LED bed lighting and spray-in bedliner) and the nifty $550 Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover.
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Interior
Pickup trucks, in general, have gotten nicer and more luxury-oriented in recent years, but Ram takes the 2019 Ram 1500 to the next level! This Laramie trim doesn’t get the real wood trim of the higher trims, but it still looks clean and upscale. The cabin is lined with a mix of beige and brown materials including the two-tone, perforated leather seats as well as stylish stitched accents on the instrument panel, center console and door panels. The highlight of this cabin, though, is the optional ($1,095) 12-inch vertical Uconnect infotainment screen and the large TFT gauge cluster with changeable side gauges and a leather-like pattern for the background.
The Quad Cab is between the two-door Regular Cab and the Crew Cab with its wider rear door openings, and while rear legroom is noticeably tighter than the Crew Cab trucks we’ve driven previously, it isn’t enough to detract from the passenger experience; tall adults can still fit in the back! Being a pickup truck, the 2019 Ram 1500 is as practical as it is stylish with plenty of storage capabilities (like the large center console with moveable cup holders and dual glove boxes) and a rear load floor that is completely flat when the seats are folded up.
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Powertrain
The 2019 Ram 1500 can be equipped with EcoDiesel, Pentastar and Hemi engines, but the eTorque mild hybrid might be the best way to enjoy this truck. The eTorque mild hybrid technology is actually standard on all 2019 Ram 1500 models since it’s equipped on the base 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and this feature is a $2,645 option on the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. The eTorque system consists of a suitcase-sized 48-volt battery is mounted behind the rear seats and the belt-driven motor generator unit (shown above) is mounted on the engine in place of a conventional alternator with an end result of improved performance, fuel economy, payload, towing capabilities and driveability.
With the Hemi, you get the same 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque ratings, but eTorque does add 130 lb-ft of torque in short-term (off-peak) situations. When coming to a stop, eTorque allows the engine to shut off (for stop-start) before coming to a complete stop, and it then allows for a slight amount of acceleration when it’s time to go. Being a mild hybrid, there’s no significant engine-off driving range, but allowing the engine to shut off sooner and start up later results in a more refined stop-start experience. This system also makes use of brake regeneration to recapture energy during deceleration and braking, and the whole package delivers improved efficiency with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway*, 2 mpg better in the city and 1 mpg better on the highway compared to the standard Hemi-powered Ram 1500. This tester added the $445 33-gallon fuel tank option for extended driving range!
The previous Ram 1500 already had a leg up on the competition in terms of ride quality thanks to its five-link, coil spring rear suspension (rather than leaf springs), and the new truck is 225 pounds lighter than the previous truck with a frame that is 98 percent high-strength steel. This enhanced chassis results in an even smoother ride on the road without giving up any of the capability expected from a truck. In fact, the Ram 1500 Quad Cab 5.7L eTorque 4×2 returns the highest tow rating of the 2019 Ram 1500 lineup with he ability to tow up to 12,750 and a 1,890 payload capacity.
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Safety
The redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 has not yet been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it still boasts plenty of safety features. This tester was optioned up with the $1,595 Advanced Safety Group, which added Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Advanced Brake Assist, full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, Lane Departure Warning Plus, Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist and Surround View Camera.
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Overall
Chrysler has been teasing a hybrid pickup truck before the Ram brand ever came into existence (in 2011), and the 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque mild hybrid is well worth the wait. It’s not the first hybrid truck on the market, but it sure is the best. Why? Because unlike GM’s two-mode hybrid pickup trucks from a decade ago, the 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque doesn’t feel like a hybrid. What you do get is improved stop-start functionality along with better fuel economy. The 2019 Ram 1500 is priced starting at $31,795**, but the mid-level Laramie starts at $42,740**. In addition to the eTorque option, this truck had a lengthy list of option packages resulting in an as-tested $54,480.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Ram dealership and test drive the 2019 Ram 1500 today!
* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.