Bigger, lighter, and a dose of eTorque under the hood

Ram just dropped the new fifth-generation 1500 pickup truck for the 2019 model year, and it’s looking better than ever. Redesigned from the ground up, the 1500 once again hits dealers in a number of different trim levels and configurations. Higher in the range, the pickup can be had in all manner of upscale luxury and features, but the Big Horn, offered as the second model above the entry-level Tradesman, offers everything you need and nothing you don’t. Read on for all the good stuff this pickup has to offer.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior Styling

  • New, but familiar fascia
  • More aerodynamic
  • Active aero effects
  • Up to 20-inch wheels
  • New aluminum tailgate
  • Larger exterior dimensions overall
2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior
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From the off, it should come as no surprise that the new 2019 Ram 1500 looks the part of a tough truck thanks to a reworked exterior.

However, while the new style definitely feels new, it’s still easily recognizable as a Ram truck, with all the traditional cues you’d expect from the brand.

What’s more, the new look is functional as well, with Ram staking a claim as offering the segment’s most aerodynamic shape, with the 1500 posting a coefficient of drag rating set at .357. Helping it to achieve that figure is a variety of features, such as active grille shutters, a new active air dam that automatically extends downwards at speeds over 35 mph, and optional air suspension that lowers the truck at speed. There’s also a roof design that takes advantage of the venturi effect.

Up front, the classic Ram fascia is present and correct, now rocking a large central grille section that looks far better than the outgoing model’s pinched design. Of course, buyers will have a variety of optional grille designs to choose from, while the outer edges of the fascia will come equipped with a set of standard automatic headlights. Lower in the bumper, there are standard fog lights.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior
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The whole look is broad, bold, and upright, and definitely looks like a proper pickup truck design.

It’s stylish, but not overly done, which can be a tricky combination to find in this segment.

Moving around to the profile, the 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn comes with standard 18-inch wheels, but those looking for extra flash can buy into optional 20-inch rollers. The side view also reveals the extended cab design offered to accommodate additional passengers in the rear, with slim rear doors to aid in ingress and egress.

Finally, in the rear we have upright taillight housings with C-shaped graphics, plus additional chrome on the bumper and badges to complement the wheels and front bumper. Back here you’ll also find a new aluminum tailgate, which now comes with a new lift assist function and damping upon opening, plus an electronic latch-and-lock mechanism.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior
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Buyers get up to 11 different exterior colors to choose from, plus styling upgrades like the optional black exterior trim package, and the optional LED lighting group package.

Grab your tape measure, and you’ll also discover that the 2019 1500 Big Horn is now larger than the outgoing model. For example, the wheelbase is now 4 inches longer than before, while the truck’s overall width was increased by 0.5 inches and the bed height is now 1.5 inches taller.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior Dimensions

Cargo Area Bed Height 21.4 inches
Cargo Area Bed Length 67.4 inches
Cargo Area Bed Width Wall 66.4 inches
Open Door Angle 65 degrees
Open Door Trim to Body 25.1 inches
Overall Body Width 82.1 inches
Overall Height 77.5 inches
Overall Length 232.9 inches
Running Ground Clearance 6.7 inches
Wheelbase 144.6 inches

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Interior Design

  • Minor revisions inside
  • New button layout
  • Loads of storage compartments
  • Seating for up to six
  • Quieter cabin
  • 40/20/40 split rear bench
  • AppleCarPlay and Android Auto Optional
  • 151.1 liters of storage capacity
2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Interior
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Moving on to the interior, the 2019 Ram 1500’s cabin was also reworked to offer a fresh new look.

Anyone familiar with the 1500 will recognize the overall layout, but the new details stand out if you look for them.

For example, the center console was redesigned for the 2019 model year, with the rotating drive selector moved lower and closer to the steering wheel, and the array of hard buttons on the center stack is now simplified as well. The 1500 also now comes with more than 12 different storage combinations, including lateral cup holders (as opposed to the outgoing model’s longitudinal arrangement) and a large central bin on the transmission tunnel.

The 1500 can sit up to six passengers total (just push that central tunnel arm rest up to reveal the fifth seat position), with 5 passengers set as the standard capacity. There are seven interior colors to choose from, two of which are combination two-tone colors.

This time around, the 1500 is quieter inside the cabin thanks to something Ram calls active tuned mass modules, plus Active Noise Cancellation technology, both of which combine to yield 67.1 db for the ambient noise in models powered by a V-8.

We got a chance to sit in the Ram 1500 Big Horn at the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show, and we we’re definitely impressed by how hushed the outside convention center was with the doors closed.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Interior
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We were also impressed by the 1500’s fit and finish, which looked quite good for an entry-level pickup model.

Helping to keep it comfortable are standard four-way front headrests and a four-way manual adjustable driver seat. Extra utility is had with a 40/20/40 split for the rear bench, while passengers can keep important things close at hand thanks to the standard front center seat cushion storage. The front seats are all manually adjustable.

If you’re looking to spend a bit more, you can opt into the available Deluxe Cloth Bucket seating and sizable panoramic sunroof.

Keeping the passengers infotained is a standard Uconnect 3 system with a 5.0-inch display. Upgrade options include a Uconnect 4 system with an 8.4-inch display, and optional navigation as well. There’s also a standard black-and-white 3.5-inch digital display in the gauge cluster, with the option for a full color 7.0-inch TFT gauge display.

As for tunes, the 2019 1500 comes with a standard six-speaker audio system, plus the option for a nine-speaker system with a subwoofer. Additional features include a standard audio input jack and USB input, and there are infotainment system controls adorning the steering wheel at thumb’s length.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Interior
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Extra infotainment goodies can be had with the optional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, as well as available features like HD Radio, a single-disc CD player, and SiriusXM Traffic Plus.

In terms of convenience, the 2019 Ram 1500 comes equipped with Hill Start Assist and Remote Keyless Entry with All-Secure, both of which are standard.

All told, the 1500 offers a whopping 151.1 liters of storage capacity, including the standard second row in-floor storage bins. Finally, there are optional packages for added bed utility, if desired.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Interior Dimensions

Front Headroom 40.9 inches
Rear Headroom 39.8 inches
Front Hip Room 63.2 inches
Rear Hip Room 63.2 inches
Front Legroom 40.9 inches
Rear Legroom 45.2 inches
Passenger Volume 132.4 square feet
Seat Cushion Height 37.8 inches
Front Shoulder Room 66 inches
Rear Shoulder Room 65.7 inches

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Drivetrain And Performance

  • Standard 3.6-liter V-6 engine
  • Mild hybrid technology
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Optional 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, with or without hybrid
  • New high-strength steel frame
  • 225 pounds lighter
  • Up to 11,540 pounds maximum towing capacity
  • 1,930 pounds payload capacity
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Largest front brakes in the segment
2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Drivetrain
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Peek behind that revised grille, and you’ll find the 2019 Ram 1500 comes equipped with a standard 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine, which mates to one of two TorqueFlite transmission options.

The V-6 puts out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The standard setup mates to an eight-speed Automatic 850RE transmission, while the optional unit is an eight-speed 8HP75 Automatic transmission.

Both transmissions offer new controller systems for optimized shifting, including settings specifically tailored for the new eTorque mild hybrid system.

Speaking of which, the Ram 1500’s ‘6 now comes standard with the Ram eTorque mild hybrid system, and features a 48-volt battery paired to a belt-driven electric motor generator to offer extra twist when needed. The system also provides an engine start-stop function and brake energy regeneration or added efficiency.

Extra power and torque is offered with the available 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine option, which can be had with and without the eTorque mild hybrid system. On its own, the V-8 makes as much as 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, while the eTorque system adds on an additional 130 pound-feet of torque.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior
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Consumer Reports praised the Ram 1500’s V-8, lauding it as feeling “strong and seamless,” while also pointing out that it “produces an intoxicating muscle car soundtrack when the throttle is pushed hard.” Consumer Reports continues by saying “there’s nothing like the sound and feel of a big V-8, and the Ram’s 5.7 is one of our favorites.”

In terms of fuel returns, the V-6 should net you a combined 21 mpg, while the V-8 will return a combined 15 mpg

The drivetrain includes RWD as standard, while higher in the line, the 1500 is offered with 4WD.

Under the fresh body panels, the Ram 1500 is built on a new high-strength steel frame, which by itself shaves around 100 pounds from the curb weight compared to the outgoing model. Total weight reduction for the new generation comes to almost 225 pounds.

Helping to achieve this figure are aluminum components like a new tailgate, new engine mounts, a new front axle center section, a new front suspension crossmember, a new transmission crossmember, and a new steering system gear.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Drivetrain
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However, don’t think the diet burned off any of the truck’s capability, as Ram says the new 1500 is the strongest model to wear the nameplate to date.

Standard towing capacity is set at 6,520 pounds, while the maximum towing capacity set at 11,540 pounds. Payload capacity set at 1,930 pounds.

Putting the power down is a standard set of wheels sized at 18 by 8 inches. The suspension includes standard coil springs in front and a five-link setup in the rear, and now includes Ram’s new Frequency Response Damping technology, which will automatically adjust the internal damper settings based on road and driving conditions. For example, the dampers will close the internal bypass valve for more stiffness during hard cornering and braking, and open up the valve for cushier dampening over rough surfaces.

Complementing the technology are fresh suspension components in front, including new composite upper control arms, new aluminum lower control arms, and a new geometry, with the front stabilizer bar placed behind the front tires for 20 percent more roll stiffness. There’s also a new coilover shock design.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Drivetrain
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Ram is offering the 1500 with a new optional air suspension system as well, which improves the package with greater fuel efficiency, a smoother ride, better off-roading chops, and easier ingress and egress, not to mention an automatic load-leveling feature.

Critics are impressed by the result.

In fact, the 2019 Ram 1500 earned MotorTrend’s 2019 Truck of the Year Award, and with it, all kinds of praise, including hype for the new suspension.

“It’s really a surprise on the road,” said Kim Reynolds, MotorTrend’s testing director, after taking a ride in a 2019 1500 equipped with the optional air ride system. “It’s way more refined and sophisticated than the GMs. Steering is fluid and quality-feeling.”

Details on the stoppers include standard four-wheel ABS, Brake Assist, Rain Brake Support, and Ready-Alert Braking. It’s also worth noting that the Ram 1500 offers the biggest front brakes in the segment with sizable 14.9-inch discs.

Finally, the 1500 is offered with an optional trailer tow package. Unfortunately, the Big Horn model doesn’t come with an available off-road package - you’ll need to look higher in the model range for that one.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Drivetrain Specifications

Type and Description 60-­degree V-­type, liquid-­cooled 90-­degree V-­8, liquid-­cooled 90-­degree V-­8, liquid-­cooled
Hybrid battery 48-­volt, 12-­cell lithium-­ion, nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) graphite chemistry, .43 kWh 48-­volt, 12-­cell lithium-­ion, nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) graphite chemistry, .43 kWh
Belt-­starter generator 9kW power, 90 lb.-­ft. launch torque 12kW power, 130 lb.-­ft. launch torque
Displacement 220 cu. in. (3,604 cu. cm) 345 cu. in. (5,654 cu. cm) 345 cu. in. (5,654 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 3.78 x 3.27 (96.0 x 83.0) 3.92 x 3.58 (99.5 x 90.9) 3.92 x 3.58 (99.5 x 90.9)
Compression Ratio 11.3:1 10.5:1 10.5:1
Power 305 HP @ 6,400 RPM 395 HP @ 5,600 RPM 395 HP @ 5,600 RPM
Torque 269 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM 410 LB-FT @ 3,950 RPM 410 LB-FT @ 3,950 RPM
Max. Engine Speed 6,400 RPM (electronically limited) 5,800 RPM 5,800 RPM
Fuel Requirement Unleaded regular, 87 octane Unleaded mid-­grade, 89 octane — recommended
Unleaded regular, 87 octane — acceptable
Unleaded mid-­grade, 89 octane (R+M)/2 — recommended
Unleaded regular, 87 octane (R+M)/2 — acceptable)

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Pricing

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior
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The 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn is the second model in the range, slotting between the Tradesman and the Laramie in the Ram lineup.

Pricing for the 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn starts at $38,795. Interested buyers can get theirs financed at around $553 per month, or leased at $325 per month.

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Competition

Ford F-150

2018 Ford F-150 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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If you’re talking pickup trucks, you’ve gotta at least mention the Ford F-150. Not only is it the Blue Oval’s best-selling model to date, it’s also the best-selling vehicle in America - full stop. The latest iteration brings new aluminum-intensive construction for a substantial weight savings, as well as the very latest technology features in Ford’s catalogue. The engine lineup is crowned by a twin-turbo V-6 doling out as much as 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, with a new 10-speed automatic transmission onboard to swap the cogs. Pricing starts at $29,200 for the entry-level XL model, while the range-topping Limited is offered at $62,855, with four other trim levels offered in between. Bed and cab configurations are plentiful.

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-150.

Chevrolet Silverado

2019 Chevrolet Silverado Interior Exterior
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Chevy is certainly no stranger to this fight, and its big contender is the Silverado 1500. Offered with either a V-6, a turbocharged four-cylinder, a V-8, or even a diesel, the Silverado lineup is adaptable to just about any need out there. Either an eight-speed automatic or a 10-speed automatic route the muscle. The big blocky front fascia certainly looks the part of a workhorse, while the cabin is offered in three cab sizes and three levels of trim. The rear seat also offers an additional three inches of legroom with the latest model, while a 7.0-inch touchscreen is standard. Pricing starts at $29,795 for a regular cab model, and ranges up to $54,495 for the High Country Crew Cab model.

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

Final Thoughts

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Exterior
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Long story short, the 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn is one truck that definitely takes the fight to GM and Ford, and even if you’re a diehard in either of those opposing camps, this is a truck that could very well change your tune.

We like the way it looks, we like the comfortable cabin, and we like the technology as well, from the air ride suspension to the standard mild hybrid powertrain.

Truth be told, it’s all quite nice, but pulling sales from the F-150 or Silverado is no easy feat. Still, we think Ram has the goods to make it happen all the same.

  • Leave it
    • Very strong competition from Ford and GM
    • Possible reliability issues
    • More capability offered elsewhere

Further Reading

All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit
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Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.

2018 Ram 1500 Classic
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Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic.

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12.

Jonathan Lopez
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