In the popular North American pickup truck market, 2019's model year has brought a variety of updates to the lighter end of the spectrum while work goes on to update and relaunch heavier-duty trucks in coming years. Both full-sized and midsized pickups have received plenty of improvements, however, with a little bit of everything coming to the table.
From hybrid systems to innovative tailgates, manufacturers have added interesting and innovative features to their popular trucks, along with a good mix of models and trim levels to meet the needs of every buyer.
The heavy-duty truck market may have some major updates coming in 2020; for 2019, here is a look at the updates from each of the major manufacturers.
"Mild hybrid" feature on Ram 1500 adds torque and improves efficiency
Another company that has targeted the broad pickup purchasing market is Ram, which has focused for 2019 on introducing a variety of models and trim levels for its popular 1500 series.
It has also introduced an interesting new electrical system that essentially makes the truck a hybrid – the eTorque feature. Ram calls the system a "mild hybrid" system that is paired with the second-generation 305-hp 3.6L Pentastar V6 and 395-hp 5.7L HEMI V8. eTorque replaces the traditional alternator on the engine with a belt-driven motor generator unit that performs several functions.
The motor generator unit works with a 48-volt battery pack to enable quick and seamless start/stop function, short-duration torque addition to the engine crankshaft in certain driving situations and brake energy regeneration, which improves responsiveness and efficiency.
The benefits are quick to be seen – the eTorque gives the V6 up to 90 lb.-ft. more torque, while the HEMI gets up to 130 lb.-ft. from the system. Updated TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmissions are also available.
"The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 delivers a no-compromise approach to the full-size truck segment with strength, durability, technology and efficiency," said Mike Manley, Head of Ram Brand. "The Ram 1500 offers truck buyers leading-edge innovation with 225 pounds of weight reduction, 12,750 pounds of towing capability, a stunning Uconnect 12-inch touchscreen display and active systems that improve fuel efficiency and assist drivers."
The V6 and V8 powertrains in the 2019 Ram 1500 also reduce fuel consumption with an Interactive Deceleration Fuel Shut Off (iDFSO) feature that pauses fuel flow to the engine cylinders when the vehicle is decelerating. For the 2019 model year, the iDFSO feature is improved to be active in third gear and higher.
Ram has brought a variety of models to the market, including the Tradesman, which is designed for businesses, construction and commercial fleets, the company states. Canadian buyers have made Ram's Sport trim one of the most popular truck models in the country, so the company has introduced an exclusive version for Canada. At the top of the lineup is the Laramie Longhorn edition, designed with power, performance and luxury in mind.
On the technology side, Ram has put a lot into the 1500, including its fourth-generation Uconnect system and 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen display featuring split-screen capability for dual-application operation. An available navigation system accommodates one-step, voice-controlled destination entry and enhanced 3D navigation map graphics.
Safety features in the 2019 1500 include standard or available features like Adaptive Cruise Control, blind spot monitoring, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus, and various others.