September 7, 2018

2019 Ram 1500 Goes Hybrid, Gains Capability

2019 Ram 1500 Goes Hybrid, Gains Capability

Imagine a full-size pickup that’s super aerodynamic, rides on an air suspension, has a 12-inch touchscreen that taps into all of the latest infotainment features, and runs with a hybrid powertrain. 

Whoa, back that tuck up.  A hybrid powertrain?  Yep, and the rest of the truck is pretty impressive too.  We’ve already tested versions of the redesigned 2019 Ram with 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engines, but it’s now time to get eTorqued!

Light Hybrid = Increased Capability

eTorque is Ram’s name for light electrification or mild hybrid.  Unlike regular hybrids where maximum fuel economy is the aim, eTorque is primarily engineered to increase torque for towing and hauling without a penalty to fuel economy. It employs an electrical system with lithium-ion batteries to add 90 lb.-ft. of torque with the 3.6-liter V6 or 130 lb.-ft. to the 5.7-liter HEMI V8.  Regenerative braking helps recharge batteries when decelerating at speeds above 10 mph.  Variable displacement shuts down cylinders under light loads to further conserve fuel while the 8-speed transmission keeps the engine in an efficient rev range. 

Ram 1500 is capable of towing up to 12,700 pounds or hauling 2,300 pounds.  While final ratings have not been released, city and combined fuel economy are expected to rise 2-MPG.  Engineers even worked to eliminate sounds and vibrations that can occur when variable displacement kicks in by installing frame-mounted active tuned mass modules that electronically counteract vibrations in the frame.  Drivers get a substantial boost of capability and slight boost in fuel economy.  Nice. 

Look close at the sleek body, adorned with available adaptive LED headlamps and new R A M grille, to notice deft sculpting on the nose, an air dam that deploys from behind the bumper at speed, and creases in the roof that move air efficiently over the truck.  An aluminum hood and tailgate, plus frame that’s 98 percent high-strength steel, help save about 225 pounds. 

Roomy Longer Cab

You might not notice the 4-inch longer crew cab until you slide inside.  Second row passengers will think they’re in the back of a large European luxury SUV when they stretch out and recline their seatbacks. Tech-savvy buyers should choose the configurable 12-inch touchscreen that both looks cool and is easy to use for conjuring satellite radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth-enabled devices, and navigation.  Crank up the optional 900w Harman Kardon audio system!

Safety was a paramount consideration in the redesigned Ram, which is available with a full suite of crash avoidance systems.  Adaptive cruise manages forward travel while a parallel/perpendicular parking system slides the big truck into tight parking spots.  There’s also forward collision warning with auto brake, lane keep assist, and blind spot warnings that adjust to accommodate trailer lengths.

Driving the big truck through horse country outside of Lexington, Kentucky, there was slightly more oomph off the line, shifts were smoother, and there was no trouble kicking it through the hills with either V6 or V8, though I’d choose the V8 if heavy loads are part of regular life.  Base suspensions do a competent job of controlling motion and soaking up bumps, but the air suspension glided the truck over all surfaces.  It can be raised up to 2 inches for off-roading or lowered 2 inches for entry/exit.  Even on tight roads, the truck never felt overwhelming.

Here’s the really good news.  The V6 with eTorque is now the standard powertrain for Ram.  Prices rise from $33,390, but add $1,195 for a HEMI V8 without eTorque or $2,645 for a V8 with eTorque.  Expect to pay about $65,000 in the top trim with the V8 eTorque.

Storm Forward!

Send questions and comments to Casey at; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.


2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

  • 5 passengers, 4WD Pickup
  • Powertrain: 3.6-liter V6, 5.7-liter V8, 8-spd auto trans, Li-Ion batteries/motor
  • Suspension f/r: Ind/Solid axle
  • Wheels f/r: 18-20”/18-20” alloy
  • Brakes f/r: disc/disc                  
  • Must-have features: Style, Capability
  • Towing Capacity:  12,700 lbs.                                                                                                      
  • Payload:  2,300 lbs                                                                                                                      
  • Fuel economy: TBA
  • Assembly: Sterling Heights, MI
  • Base price: $33,390
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