We render Ram’s next-generation pickup

A recent report from Automotive News potentially revealed the details of Ram’s next-generation 1500-series pickup. That’s thanks to an industry insider close to the Ram 1500 project who spoke anonymously with AN about the inner workings of FCA’s Ram division and what the design styling is said to look like come 2019.

Armed with that information, we had our rendering artist put together a vision of the 2019 Ram 1500.

Details from the inside source say Ram will continue evolving its current design theme, making only small changes for both form and function. The truck will continue utilizing steel over transitioning to aluminum as Ford did with the 2015 F-150. The steel body will also allow Ram designers the ability to incorporate more intricate bodylines and shapes, otherwise not feasible with aluminum.

The next-generation Ram will also have a new home. FCA is playing musical chairs with its manufacturing plants over the next few years, including killing off the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 to make way for the Ram 1500 at the Sterling Height Assembly Plant. Ram’s current home at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant will be retooled to produce future Jeep products.

Ram is also said to be running a new style of operations management in developing the 2019 Ram 1500. Gone are the days where small decisions must be passed up the chain of command, using valuable time and resources. Now Ram is allowing mid- and lower-level engineers and designers to call the shots with oversight from above. The source who spoke to AN says the new process is helping Ram adhere to its tight schedule. Production is set for January 28, 2018. That gives Ram just over a year to finish the design, build test mules, conduct a full battery of testing, and to ready its production facility and its third-party suppliers.

All that aside, let’s have a look at what Ram might have up its sleeve for 2019.

Continue reading to learn more about the next generation Ram 1500.

Exterior

The next-generation Ram 1500, according to the inside source, is said to be an improvement and evolution of the current truck’s design theme, not a complete re-think or an all-new look. That’s probably a good thing for Ram as its trucks are instantly recognizable regardless of its generation – at least since the theme was introduced in 1994.

"The next-generation Ram 1500, according to the inside source, is said to be an improvement and evolution of the current truck’s design theme."

Changes to the front fascia are said to include smaller headlights that are more integrated into the grille. This is said to lend a “toughened, squinty appearance.” The front bumper will include larger openings for improved airflow for powertrain cooling, along with larger, horizontal fog lights that closely match the theme of the headlights. A new horizontal character line will run rearward from the front fender, bringing more life into the truck’s side profile. This is likely the reason, at least in part, why Ram is continuing with steel construction over aluminum.

Around back, the source told AN that the taillights will become smaller in size, with the backup lights integrated vertically nearer the tailgate rather than in the bottom of the lighting lens.

There are also reports on Allpar.com citing some recent spy shots of a current-generation Ram1500 with the rear portion of its cab covered in camouflage. The camo certainly appears to be hiding a Mega Cab option, with increased interior space and a longer overall wheelbase and length. What’s more, the website mentions Ram’s previous patent filings for a split, multi-use tailgate. The patent drawings show a tailgate split down the middle. It can either open downward in the traditional manner, or can open sideways like the Honda Ridgeline’s tailgate.

It’s unknown if Ram will move forward with this unique tailgate design. Honda’s similar system seems to work rather well for the Ridgeline, so Ram would be smart to at least entertain the idea. After all, Ram scored a home run with its innovative Ram Box design.

Interior

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel - Driven - image 527566

Note: Current Ram 1500 pictured here.

The source feeding AN information gave only one small bit of info regarding the 2019 Ram’s interior. The center console will have a flatter design that allows for more storage. However, Allpar’s spy photographer was able to snap a picture of the Ram 1500 test mule’s interior. Partially uncovered by camo, the dash is rather familiar, with its center stack and infotainment system looking almost identical to the current truck. That could change further into the development process, however, so expect some updates.

"The center console will have a flatter design that allows for more storage."

The steering wheel in these photos is borrowed from the Chrysler Pacifica. A similar steering wheel design is likely, since it features updates controls, a thicker rim, and a generally more modern appearance. We can expect an updated gauge cluster with an enlarged center display with new graphics showing vehicle information.

Also included in Allpar’s report is another set of patent filing, this time for fold-flat rear seats. They are said to fold completely into the floor, with the back of the backrest acting as the new floor space. This is a completely new idea and a big departure from what other truck makers are doing. Even Ford, which boasts the industry’s largest flat rear floor space, uses hinges to fold the bottom of the bench seat upward. While it works, it does suck up some usable cargo volume towards the back bulkhead of the cab.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Ram incorporates these design ideas in to the 2019 pickup truck.

Drivetrain

2017 Ram 1500 Night Package - image 687047

Note: Current Ram 1500 pictured here.

Things under the hood will likely remain familiar, though updates will come. First, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 will probably get direct fuel injection and a retuned ECU to make more power while getting better fuel mileage. This will continue to be the standard engine in the Ram lineup.

"The SUV-like suspension gives the Ram a smoother ride than its GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota rivals."

Stepping up, the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is also likely to get direct fuel injection. This, on top of its current cylinder deactivation technology and variable valve timing, should make the engine slightly more efficient while adding power. That’ll make the Hemi one of the most powerful V-8 in the pickup market. It currently makes 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque.

Those wanting 30 mpg on the highway will opt for the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. This engine could see some slight improvements, but nothing major is due. The turbodiesel V-6 currently makes 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.

Allpar also speculates a twin-scroll V-6 is in the works. This could slot between the 3.6-liter Pentastar and the 5.7-liter Hemi. The new V-6 would surly join the EcoDiesel in achieving at least 30 mpg on the highway in select 1500 configurations.

Transmission wise, the familiar ZF eight-speed automatic will continue its tour of duty for Ram trucks. Slight changes to the transmission will accommodate the different engine choices, just as it currently does. Of course, the Ram will continue to come standard in RWD. Optionally, customers can choose to have 4WD with Ram’s two-speed transfer case. In lower trim models, the transfer case is manually operated via a floor-mounted shifter. Mid- and upper-grade trucks will continue to offer electronic operation via dash-mounted buttons.

Likewise, Ram will surely continue using its solid rear axle supported by a multi-link and coil spring suspension. While this does sacrifice payload and towing capacity, the SUV-like suspension gives the Ram a smoother ride than its GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota rivals.

Prices

It’s far too early to speculate on official pricing, but Ram will continue to stay competitive against its competition. That means prices for base trucks will start around $25,000 and grow towards a cap around $65,000. Of course, Ram will continue to off the main cab, bed, engine, and trim level choices its customers have grown to expect.

Competition

Ford F-150

2017 Ford F-150 - image 682155

The F-150 has long been the leader in the half-ton truck segment. That hasn’t changes with the current generation of F-150, despite Ford gambling on aluminum for the F-150’s body structure and a more crossover-like interior. Introduced for the 2015 model year, don’t expect to see a new generation of F-150 when Ram debuts its 2019 1500. That means the current F-150 – minus the facelift coming for 2018 – will directly compete with Ram’s newest product.

The F-150 offers a slew of powertrain choices, including a 3.5-liter V-6, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, the 5.0-liter V-8, and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. New for 2017 is a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Prices vary as widely as Ram’s prices do, with the base F-150 starting around $25,000, while the range-topping Platinum trim with all the options can cost upwards of $60,000.

Read more about the Ford F-150 here.

Chevrolet Silverado

2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 648480

Chevy is the next largest player in the half-ton segment, edging out Ram for the second place slot. GM last redesigned the Silverado, along with its GMC twin, the Sierra, for the 2014 model year. Though only a year older than the F-150, rumors suggest GM is working on the next generation of its half-ton truck. Ironically, aluminum is said to be extensively used, counteracting all that “steel is better than your beer can aluminum” marketing we’ve seen in the last two years.

Anyway, the GM twins have three engine options: the 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6, the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8, and the 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8. All three engines use variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, and active fuel management to make power while keeping fuel consumption down.

Again, prices are competitive, with the base Silverado starting around the $25,000 mark.

Find out more about the Chevrolet Silverado here.

Conclusion

2019 Ram 1500 - image 689361

The 2019 Ram 1500 should be a big improvement over the current truck. Out since the 2009 model year, the current Ram 1500 has proven success comes with different thinking. Things like the Ram Box, EcoDiesel, rear coil spring suspension have all proven extremely valuable to the truck brand in setting itself apart form the competition. Now Ram has to continue that tradition of making headway into uncharted territory.

That new twin-scroll V-6, along with a more aerodynamic front fascia, fold-flat rear seats, and multi-action tailgate could be game changers for the truck. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this plays out over the next year.

As always, stay tuned to TopSpeed.com for all the latest in truck news.

  • Leave it
    • Evolutionary changes seem mild
    • No official details at this point

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