the new leader of the pack

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The pickup truck wars have never been more fierce. Cheap gas, active lifestyles, and luxury-level creature comforts make full-size trucks viable family cars more now than ever before. For 2019, the Ram 1500 is new, and it came prepared to knock the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra 1500 down a few pegs.

With the 2019 Ram 1500, the truckmaker put all its focus on livability, from its interior layout, its design and the high-grade materials inside to its cossetting ride quality. Its focus isn’t to be the most capable, but rather to be the one that’s capable enough to live with every day.

The Ram 1500 nips at the ’s heels already. We gave it a score of 7.0 out of 10, which tops every light-duty truck on the market except for the Ford F-150. But there’s a catch: the Ram 1500 earns those marks with no safety score (we’re are still waiting on crash-test results), and a full set of EPA fuel economy ratings for the mild-hybrid V-6 and V-8 engines that haven’t launched yet. It’s early in the game and that 7.0 could easily be pushed past the F-150’s 7.2 later this year.

MORE: Read our 2019 Ram 1500 review

After a second look, we stand by our rating. It’s worth every point of that 7.0. I spent a full week—nearly 200 miles—hauling the kids around, running errands, and of course, hitting the local Home Depot and Menards for supplies. Here’s where it hit, and where it missed:

Hit: Luxury-car ride. The coil-sprung rear suspension and the two-valve shocks allow the Ram 1500 to smother the blacktop as it rolls down the road. Where some might find its optional air suspension to be too firm, the standard steel setup is just right with a compliant yet controlled ride.

Miss: It looks anonymous. Look, to date the Ram has stood on its own pedestal when it comes to design. The front-end had a big-rig feel to it that all started with the groundbreaking 1994 model. This new model completely loses that. It’s sharp enough, but it blends in, and that’s unfortunate.

Hit: A strong, smooth V-8. They say there’s no replacement for displacement, and sometimes they are right. The naturally aspirated 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is strong with 395 horsepower. It provides good acceleration and the ability to tow up to 12,750 pounds.

Miss: It’s huge. For some odd reason light-duty pickup trucks seem to continuously get bigger. The new Ram 1500’s wheelbase is four inches longer than before. This translates into more stretch-out room inside the cab, but at some point these trucks are going to get too big for even a Costco parking lot.

Hit: Class-leading interior. The interior is nothing short of something to write home about. Even in our tester’s middle Laramie trim, the materials are first rate with leather, metal, soft-touch plastics, and synthetic suede accents. There are no cheap bits like injection molding lines to be seen. It looks and feels worthy of its price tag, which is substantial.

At $55,335 as-tested, our 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie came equipped with an 8.4-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an anti-spin differential, a 26-gallon fuel tank, 20-inch alloy wheels, bucket seats wrapped in leather, and side steps among its other goodies.

The 2019 Ram 1500 should have the competition paying attention, and consumers questioning some brand loyalties in a segment where loyalty reigns supreme.

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2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4

Base Price: $33,340

Price as tested: $55,335

EPA fuel economy: 15/21/17

The hits: Terrific ride quality with a strong V-8 engine and nice interior

The misses: Looks little bit anonymous and parking can be a challenge in tight spots



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