Designers tried too hard with 2019 Ram

The 2019 Ram 1500 delivers a smooth, compliant ride.

The 2019 Ram 1500 delivers a smooth, compliant ride.

FCA Media/ Contributed photo

American drivers love their sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, but sometimes, the biggest and best of these models give the impression their makers were trying too hard. That was the unmistakable impression our test drive of the 2019 Ram Limited Crew Cab 4x4 left us with.

This is not to say this Ram isn’t a fine truck. Its independent suspension, unique to the Ram brand among large pickup trucks, delivers a smooth, compliant ride, and the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, a $2,645 option, is quiet and powerful. The Ram can tow a trailer weighing up to 11,430 pounds, while transporting five or even six people in comfort. One might conclude, justifiably, that this Ram can serve as a strong, durable work truck by day and a luxury ride by night.

Our beef with this package is its incompatibility with ordinary duties, such as picking up some groceries or a prescription at the pharmacy. Owing mainly to its 12-foot wheelbase and 19-foot overall length, it resists attempts to park it in parking lots designed for compact and midsize sedans. And it gulps quite a bit of fuel, especially around town; we averaged no better than 16 mpg in mixed city and highway driving.

Quad Cab models, 4 inches shorter in wheelbase and overall length, are more manageable in tight quarters. And when equipped with the standard 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine, they average 22 mpg.

Like Ford and General Motors, Fiat Chrysler is fully committed to the lucrative pickup-truck market. Ram trucks range from the base Ram Classic 1500, $27,645, and Tradesman, $33,440, to the Limited Crew Cab, $56,990. With options, our test truck came in just short of the $70,000 mark.

Ram also offers heavy-duty (2500) and super duty (3500) trucks, as well as a model called the Rebel 1500 that’s suitable for off-road use. And the Classic and Tradesman models hearken back, albeit faintly, to the days when pickup trucks were all-work, no-play.

2019 Ram 1500 Limited Crew Cab 4x4

Price: $69,485

Engine: 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, 395 horsepower, 410 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Drive: 4x4

Weight: 5,077 lb.

Suspension: independent front; multi-link rear

Ground clearance: 8.1 in.

Wheels: 22x9-in. polished painted with inserts

Tires: 285/45R22XL all-season

Seating capacity: 5

Maximum payload: 1,820 lb.

Maximum towing capacity: 11,430 lb.

Fuel capacity: 26 gal.

Fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway

Fuel type: regular unleaded gasoline

Our Ram Limited was loaded to the rafters with luxury and technology. The highlight of the interior design was a massive 12-inch infotainment and climate-control screen — too big, according to some drivers, who felt the screen’s lower section pulled the driver’s attention away from the road. Luxury features included dual-zone automatic climate control; heated steering wheel, front seats and rear seats; ventilated front seats; rear under-seat compartment storage and in-floor storage bins; air suspension; power running boards; remote start; satellite radio; Apple CarPlay; Android Auto; and wireless charging pad.

Among the desirable safety features were rear back-up camera, ParkSense front and rear park assist with stop, and blind-spot and rear cross path detection.

Options added almost $12,000 to the truck’s price. They included adaptive cruise control and other safety features, tri-fold tonneau cover, panoramic sunroof, deployable bed step and multi-function tailgate.

The latter feature, reminiscent of the General Motors’ MultiPro tailgate, is split 60-40 and can be lowered or swung open on each side like a set of doors. The deployable bed step is accessed by reaching under the bumper with one’s foot.

Major competitors include the GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F150, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.

Steven Macoy ( is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel.