2019 Ram 1500 eTorque first drive review: Hybrid help without trade-offs

    Ram launched its 2019 1500 pickup earlier this yr, and we’ve tested the Hemi-powered truck each on and off highway. However arguably probably the most noteworthy piece of the new truck’s puzzle is the eTorque delicate hybrid system, and that is what brings me to Lexington, Kentucky this week. From crowded streets via small cities to wide-open freeway runs, the Bluegrass State is an ideal place to check out the Ram’s new hybrid .

    Behind the scenes

    The 48-volt delicate hybrid system would not hinder the Ram 1500’s on-road manners. Some regenerative braking techniques are abrupt in engagement, making for jerky stops, and I’ve examined many a stop-start system with noticeable harshness throughout engine restart. However none of those are a difficulty within the Ram. Brake pressure is progressive, the regen useful in recharging the 430 watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, and the stop-start system works with the 48-volt belt-drive motor generator as a substitute of a conventional starter, for fast, seamless power-on transitions.

    On the expressways outdoors Lexington, cylinder deactivation can be principally imperceptible when cruising at a gentle 70 miles per hour. There’s nonetheless a slight shudder when the Hemi V8 switches forwards and backwards between eight- and four-cylinder modes, however lively frame-mounted dampers soak up most vibrations and noise cancellation snuffs out nearly all of the audible racket contained in the cabin. Actually, Ram’s integration of the hybrid system is superb and most of the people probably will not know it is working away behind the scenes.

    The brand new Ram 1500 eTorque has arrived, providing extra effectivity and efficiency.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    Do not want V8 energy? Ram has you coated. The bottom three.6-liter Pentastar V6 comes customary with eTorque, placing out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, and in a position to tow a decent 7,750 kilos. A really temporary drive within the V6 once more impresses with the hybrid integration, mirroring the expertise within the V8 with regular brake pedal habits and brisk engine start-ups. On the highway, the V6 eTorque behaves rather a lot just like the V8, in that you do not actually discover all of it that a lot. There’s a clear energy distinction between the 2 fashions, in fact, however the V6 is under no circumstances gradual.

    What is the major objective of all of the eTorque delicate hybrid sorcery? Effectivity, in fact. In keeping with EPA estimates, the eTorque system is nice for a 2-mpg enchancment within the metropolis cycle with the V8, for 17 mpg, in comparison with 15 mpg in the usual Hemi mannequin. On the freeway, the Hemi by itself returns 22 mpg with two-wheel drive and 21 mpg with four-wheel drive, however with eTorque will increase these figures to 23 mpg and 22 mpg, respectively. Official gas financial system numbers aren’t accessible simply but for the V6, however Ram engineers say the eTorque setup ought to lead to a small bump over the 2018 Ram 1500 V6’s 17 mpg metropolis and 25 mpg freeway EPA scores.

    The eTorque system provides 130 pound-feet of further launch torque to the Hemi V8.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    The opposite good thing about eTorque is, properly, torque: 130 pound-feet of further electrical launch thrust, although the truck itself has a complete output of 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet. Which means this 5,300-pound pickup is not any slouch off the road, and the Ram has no downside getting on top of things in a rush.

    Comfy and succesful

    Along with the slick drivetrain, my 1500 Restricted check truck options luxury-level trip consolation on its customary air suspension system that is non-compulsory on decrease trim ranges. It additionally takes corners with competence — for an enormous truck, anyway — with managed physique roll, good grip on the 275/55R20 Bridgestone Dueler H/L tires and satisfying steering heft and response.

    The cabin is extremely spacious, with the cab size rising by Four inches for this generation Ram 1500, with three of these inches benefiting rear passengers. Talking of back-seat riders, they’ll now get pleasure from a flat flooring and seat backs that recline as much as eight levels. Storage actually is not in brief provide, with cubbies and pockets within the doorways, and a middle console that is configurable in 12 other ways, relying on what you should stash. The inside is good and quiet, too, due to the Ram’s improved aerodynamics, acoustic windshield and entrance facet glass and lively noise cancellation, which is all the higher to get pleasure from within the Restricted’s comfortable leather-based seats.

    On the basis of all of it is a brand new body constructed from 98 p.c high-strength metal that is 100 kilos lighter and extra inflexible to assist enhance dealing with and all-out functionality. Max payload for the Hemi eTorque mannequin stands at 2,300 kilos and max towing will increase to 12,700 kilos.

    Gold star tech

    Whereas the 1500’s hybrid know-how is generally unnoticeable, the inside’s Uconnect 4infotainment tech, with an accessible 12-inch configurable touchscreen, is not possible to overlook. The large display is intuitive to work via with massive icons, crisp graphics and instantly reacts to instructions. In my Restricted tester, the Uconnect system controls a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation with 3D map imagery, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On decrease trim ranges, Uconnect Four works with an eight.Four-inch show, whereas Uconnect three is the bottom stage system with a 5-inch display.

    Charging choices are plentiful with three USB ports, a 115-volt plug and non-compulsory wi-fi charging pad up entrance, whereas there are an extra two USB ports and an ordinary plug on the again of the middle console. 4 of the 5 USB hookups are Kind C/A ports, permitting for faster cost occasions. No telephone or pill within the Ram 1500 ought to ever go lifeless.

    The Uconnect Four infotainment system might be optioned with a large 12-inch touchscreen.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    The protection tech menu can be in depth with adaptive cruise management, lane departure warning with lane-keep help, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree digital camera and ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, all of which work as marketed.

    V8s now and V6 later

    The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 begins at $33,390, together with $1,695 vacation spot, for the V6 mannequin that also would not hit dealerships for one more couple of months. When you’re one of many many individuals who don’t desire the V6 and like the massive 5.7-liter Hemi V8, that’ll value you an extra $1,195 and going all out for the V8 eTorque tacks on one more $1,450. Ram 1500 manufacturing has been off to a rocky start, however V8 fashions are in showrooms now.

    Like each full-size pickup, the worth tag can climb at an alarming charge; my very closely optioned, range-topping Restricted check truck is available in at $68,340. That seems like rather a lot, however is correct in keeping with the full-zoot Ford F-150 Restricted 4×4 that begins at $66,280.

    Like most vans, the 1500’s price ticket can climb rapidly relying on trim stage and choices.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    The pickup wars are fierce, with the Ram going through stiff competitors from the aforementioned F-150, to not point out the utterly redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. However no different truck provides electrical help proper now, and that may be sufficient to present Ram a bit extra aggressive edge on this extremely aggressive section.

    Editors’ word: Roadshow accepts multi-day car loans from producers with a view to present scored editorial evaluations. All scored car evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. Nonetheless, for this characteristic, the producer coated journey prices. That is widespread within the auto business, as it’s miles extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists.

    The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial crew are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material. 

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