I recently had an opportunity to test drive the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman model and compare it to its predecessor model. Without question, the new Ram 1500 Tradesman is head and shoulders above the prior generation model in every comparison metric.
The 2019 model offers vocational fleets varied configurations from which to select the model best suited for their fleet application. The Ram 1500 Tradesman is available in two cab styles, and two bed lengths: Quad Cab with 6 ft., 4 in. bed; Crew Cab short bed (5 ft., 7 in.); or Crew Cab with optional 6 ft., 4 in. bed.
It has three powertrain selections: the standard 3.6L Pentastar V-6 with eTorque mild hybrid system, the optional 5.7L HEMI V-8, or optional 5.7L HEMI V-8 eTorque. The mild hybrid eTorque achieves a 10% improvement in fuel economy adding up to 90 lb.-ft. of launch torque to the 3.6L Pentastar V-8 and up to 130 lb.-ft. of launch torque to the 5.7L HEMI V-8. The pickup is also available in either a 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain.
The Ram 1500 offers up to 2,300 pounds of payload in a four-door Quad Cab configuration, which is a 22% increase compared to its predecessor.
New Chassis, Reduced Weight
Using high-strength steels, composites, and aluminum, the 2019 Ram 1500 reduced its weight by nearly 120 pounds from the chassis (100 pounds from frame alone) and nearly 225 pounds overall when compared to the prior generation.
The new frame is 98% high-strength steel. The frame improves torsional stiffness, which increases stability and handling precision while decreasing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
Although the prior-generation Ram 1500 hood and select chassis compo-nents were aluminum, the Ram 1500 achieved notable weight reductions by increasing the use of aluminum, such as the tailgate, engine mounts, and steering system gear.
Ram Tradesman features a standard Class III trailer hitch and lighted, above-bumper four- and seven-pin trailer wire connectors. Properly equipped Tradesman models provide towing capability up to 12,750 pounds.
Roomy Interior, Three Cabs
The Ram 1500 cab is very spacious due to longer frame lengths. There are three new, longer frame lengths offered: a 144.5-inch wheelbase on Crew Cab short beds and a 153.5-inch wheelbase on Crew Cab long beds — both four inches longer than their predecessors. The Quad Cab long bed has a wheelbase of 140.5 inches.
Compared to the prior generation model, the 2019 Ram 1500 cab is stronger with 54% high-strength steel. Standard interior features include Uconnect 5.0 with 5-inch screen and hands-free calling, a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, three USB ports, and one auxiliary port. Fleets can choose vinyl or cloth 40/20/40 split bench seats with six-passenger seating.
The second row includes slide reclin-ing seats to eight degrees, with a flat-load floor with integrated RamBins and tie-down rings. There is expandable under-seat storage.
Despite the longer wheelbases, the Ram has a tight turning radius at just 46.2 feet curb to curb — an improvement over the previous model — which is appreciated at constrained job sites.
All 2019 Ram 1500 models have impressive stopping power. With 18% more brake pad area, the pickup features the largest front brake rotors in the segment at 14.9 inches. It also offers a new electric parking brake.