Our favorite automotive spy photographer Brian Williams is giving Trucks.com a first look at the 2019 Ram 1500, which he caught for the first time out on public roads just outside of Detroit.
The Ram Trucks division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is working to launch the next generation Ram and take advantage of booming truck sales in the U.S. Ram pickup truck sales topped 119,000 for the first five months of this year. Sales are running about 5 percent ahead of last year’s pace in an overall U.S. auto market that has dipped 1.5 percent.
The new generation Ram 1500 is expected to hit the market with further innovations and refinements that have helped the current truck gain on its competitors.
The wheelbase on the model undergoing tests provides a preview into a vastly roomier model that offers more cabin space for passengers and cargo. Ram also is looking at improving the interior, especially on the popular, more expensive trims. It will have latest UConnect infotainment systems and other technologies previewed in the FCA’s 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
The new Ram 1500 also is expected to offer an innovative split tailgate as an option, based off the new tailgate seen in our images. The versatility of the new feature will give owners more control when hauling oddly-shaped loads. The truck will build on the current model's technical traits. Expect air suspension and the iconic Ram Boxes for storage.
The V6 and V8 engines should carry on in the lineup, but with a few updates. The 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel will should stay put, but FCA’s ongoing problem with the Environmental Protection Agency over diesel emissions could alter those plans. The next Ram will also gain a mild hybrid system with a 48-volt electrical system, which sounds like the perfect configuration for a fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine – already spied.
The new Ram truck will likely make its debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, with sales beginning shortly thereafter.
Editor’s note: Photos and story by Brian Williams for Trucks.com.