It’s unusual, but two brand new pickup trucks are being unveiled within just 24 hours of each other — the 2019 Silverado/Sierra 1500, currently the #2 best selling pickup in North America, and the 2019 Ram 1500, the #3 best seller.
We’re still waiting to see what the Ram holds, but it will be hard to top the Chevy/GMC, with its new straight-six diesel, 450 pound weight loss, greater cargo volume, power tailgate, and longer wheelbase. The company is providing six different powertrains, including a 3-liter diesel, and a choice of two V8s, both with the ability to shut off any number of cylinders (rather than the Hemi’s four-at-a-time). There are to be six engine options — three already mentioned, and presumably either hybrid or turbocharged four or six cylinder additions. The diesel and 6.2 V8 come with a ten-speed automatic and stop-start systems.
The touch screen will be up to eight inches, not quite matching Ram’s current 8.4 inch displays; there is more room for passengers, given a four inch gain in length, with new concealed storage in the rear seat area. The ten-speed is an option. The company has also redesigned the suspension and brakes.
Ram was the first out with a diesel engine, built by longtime supplier VM; Ford’s first diesel will appear this year, apparently alongside GM’s. The diesel allowed Ram to set industry-wide standards for fuel economy.
The Chevrolet lineup will copy Ram’s in a way: the models will be differentiated more, and there will be three “off-road” models (two Trailbosses and one Rally Sport Truck). Production starts in the fall, while Ram production may start this month; the Chevy and GMC Sierra are built in Indiana and Mexico, while the Ram 1500 will be made entirely in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
GM upgraded their locking cargo space over the wheel wells (converted by Dodge into “Rambox”); and twelve fixed tie-downs, with double the force of the old ones, and nine moving tie points. Amenities include LED headlamps on most models.
The weight savings include gains from switching to aluminum for all moving body panels (fixed panels are still steel) and high-strength steel from the frame, which is 80% high-strength steel and 88 pounds lighter than before. The bed floor is high-strength steel, and stronger than in the 2018s; the suspension uses forged aluminum upper control arms, and the live-axle rear suspension includes composite second-stage springs on the LT. Front air curtains reduce aerodynamic drag, lowering noise and increasing highway economy.
The cargo box is larger in volume than that of any competitor, in every size, with the short bed now 20% larger (in volume) than one competitor. The model lineup is:
- Work Truck (large Chevrolet graphics, blacked out trim, 17-inch steel wheels, vinyl or cloth seats, 7-inch screen)
- Custom (body-color styling, 20-inch wheels, LED tail-lamps, optional dual exhaust)
- Custom Trailboss (Custom plus two-inch lift, off-road package, 18 inch wheels)
- LT (chrome accents, LED headlamps, eight-inch color screen)
- RST (body-color trim, full LED lighting, up to 22-inch wheels)
- LT Trailboss (two-inch lift, off road package, 18 inch wheels)
- LTZ (extensive chrome, standard leather)
- High Country (different grille, two-tone finish, body-color accents, standard power tailgate).
The author of books on the Dodge Viper, Jeep pickups and wagons, and Chrysler minivans (as well as a kid’s book about early Jeeps), David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s; he also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.com and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. His latest book, for kids, is Meet the Jeep.
David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. You can reach him by using our contact form.