Change of the Guard: The 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4
The 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4.
There's a saying (no idea who said it first) that it's not hype if you can back it up.

All that hype you've been hearing about the 2019 Ram 1500?  It's not hype.

Ram (formerly Dodge Truck) has been playing the long game.  They revolutionized pickup truck styling 25 years ago.  That massive, macho thing that pickup trucks have now elevated to an art form?  Ram (then Dodge) did it first.   And now that some trucks have taken it to an illogical extreme, Ram has found a way to do massive, imposing...and elegant.  The front of the 2019 Ram 1500 is just plain gorgeous.

Rear 3/4 view of 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4
2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4.
And it stays that way over the entire truck.  There's not a single bad line, not an awkward proportion.  It's like Ram played rope-a-dope with the rest of the truck world, leading them right up to the line where "macho" became self-parody, then let them step over that line while slipping into a perfectly-tailored tuxedo.

Interior view of 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4
2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4 interior.
Ram trucks, especially in Crew Cab form, have always been tremendously roomy.  I've made the remark once or twice that I've had smaller apartments---and I'm not sure I was joking.  This time around is no exception.  Rear seat passengers not only have limo-like legroom, they have heated seats (upgraded to heated and ventilated with the optional Level 1 Equipment Group in our tester), in-floor storage bins and rear climate control vents.

Instrument panel in 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4
2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4 instrument panel.
The interior is clear, logical and intuitive.   In the Longhorn, it's also a uniquely luxurious place to be.  Our tester was done up in Mountain Brown and Light Mountain Brown with Premium Filigree Leather seats and an accent trim that resembled rattlesnake skin.  It felt and looked special.

Center stack in 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4
2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4 center stack.
The Ram's center stack is a stroke of genius.  A Tesla-style, iPad-inspired big touchscreen that splits into two displays that you configure.  Bright, clear and readable at a glance.

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab
2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4.
And it's not all for show.  Under the hood, the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 putting out 395 horsepower and 410 pounds per foot of torque is 40 horses stronger than the 6.2-liter GMC Sierra we tested last month, equals the Ford F-150's 5.0-liter in horsepower, but beats it in torque by 10 pounds per foot.

In terms of mileage, the Ram's EPA estimate of 17 city/22 highway is within a hair of the Ford's 17/23 and tromps all over the GMC's 15/20 (we only saw 14.1 in a mix of urban freeway and city streets).

It also has---hands down---the best ride and handling of any pickup truck I've ever driven.  And it's better than a lot of SUVs and some cars. 

$53,695 is the starting price for the 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4.  Our tester had optional Rugged Brown Pearl-Coat paint ($100), Customer Preferred Package 27K, which is the trailer towing group ($400), the Advanced Safety Group with adaptive cruise control, stop & go, advanced brake assist, full-speed forward collision warning, lane departure warning, parallel and perpendicular park-assist with stop and a surround view camera that was deleted because of the mirrors in the trailer towing group ($1,395).

The Bed Utility Group, with four adjustable cargo tie-down hooks was $400.

$3,595 went for the Level 1 Equipment Group---SiriusXM, the 12-inch touchscreen display, an upgraded 19-speaker Harmon Kardon premium audio system, blind-spot and cross-path detection, power running boards, navigation, ventilated rear seats and a wireless charging pad.

A tri-fold tonneau cover was $550, the anti-spin differential rear axle added $495, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 was an extra $2,645 which also brought an 18-inch aluminum spare wheel and active noise control, the panoramic sunroof was $1,295 and the upgraded 33-gallon fuel tank was $445.

The destination charge was the highest I've ever seen for any vehicle--$1,695. 

The bottom line, though, was $66,755, which is right in the zone for this kind of truck loaded to this level.  The GMC Sierra above was $800 more.  The last Ford F-150 4X4 SuperCrew King Ranch we tested was a 2017--- but it was $66,474 before discounts.

The REAL bottom line is that the Ram is not only our pick for best pickup, it makes the list of TireKicker's Best Cars on the right side of this page.  And our bet is that it will stay there for a good long time.  No hype.