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2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman Drivers' Notes Review | Basically great

Pure unadulterated Ram in basic Tradesman form

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  • Trim
    Tradesman Crew Cab
  • Engine
    5.7L V8
  • Power
    395 HP / 410 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    Four-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Placement
  • Towing
    12,750 Max
  • Seating
  • MPG
    15 City / 21 Highway
  • Warranty
    5 Year / 60,000 Mile
  • Base Price
  • As Tested Price
The 2019 Ram 1500 is the first major redesign for FCA's best-selling model since 2009. The outgoing truck was a favorite among the Autoblog staff, and this new model only looks to be a wholesale improvement. This Ram 1500 Tradesman may be the entry-level model, but it gives us a good baseline for the rest of the range.

Our truck was a crew-cab four-wheel drive variant. Options include the $795 sport appearance package, $545 trailer towing package, $450 for a spray-in bedliner and of course $1,195 destination charge. All-in, our tester rang up at $45,195.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: This was my first taste of the 2019 Ram, and FCA's truck guys did a solid job with the redesign. It's comfortable, powerful and has gutsy styling. Critically, I think the interior is best-in-segment. Regardless of trim or spec, the Ram offers an intuitive layout with nice materials and a pleasing, functional design. All of this comes through in the Tradesman, which is Ram's go-to-work truck. You get the basics and the grunt, without the frills.

Our tester still comes in at $45,195 thanks to a slew of options like the Hemi V8, rear power sliding window, satellite radio, sport appearance pack and trailer tow fittings. Plus, this one is a crew cab with four-wheel drive, which starts at a higher price point than a smaller, V6-powered Tradesmen. So it's not totally no-frills, but this work truck did give me a good taste of the new Ram in a clear, distilled manner. I like it.
Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: After getting out of the Ford F-150 and into the Ram 1500 Tradesman, I noticed a few things right away. I was especially taken by the thought put into the organization of the Ram's interior. There's a lot of useful space for storage throughout, including a clever cubby in front of the passenger seat. The center front seat folds down to serve as a console with cup holders, or folds up to create a true bench seat. Slide on over, baby.

Driving it, this is definitely more truck-like than the F-150 I had just been in. It's noisier, bouncier, and generally less comfortable. It feels like the real deal, though, and if you're driving a truck because you like trucks, this definitely scratches that truck itch better than the Ford.

Associate Editor Reese Counts: I love this truck. The Ram 1500 has long been my favorite full-size pickup. This new one only improves on an already solid product. I think it's handsome — though I do miss the crosshair grille — both inside and out. The interior is the best-in-class in terms of design and materials. Even this relatively spartan Tradesman impressed me. Aside from the minuscule infotainment screen, it doesn't look or feel cheap.

It drives well, too. The Hemi is wonderful and perfectly matched with this eight-speed automatic. The steering is lifeless but direct. There's not much play in the rack. The ride is firm but composed. It's not as quiet as I would have hoped, but it's far from loud or raucous. I haven't driven the new Silverado or Sierra, but it's going to be tough to win my heart over the Ram.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: The Ram 1500 that rolled into our parking lot was the bare-bones Tradesman model, and it's always cool to get a plain version of a vehicle since it isn't loaded up with a bunch of expensive stuff that only a fraction of people will select. It's a chance to evaluate a vehicle on its core merits, and the new 1500 has a number of them.

The first thing that struck me was that the steering and handling are more engaging than I expected. The steering is weighted nicely, and is fairly quick by truck standards. The front end feels more willing to turn in than expected, and the whole chassis feels planted and doesn't lean too much. The ride actually feels a tad firm, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Then there's the powertrain. It has the tried and true 5.7-liter Hemi V8, and while it's not the most modern and advanced engine, it still sounds superb. The Hemi V8s are, in my humble opinion, the best sounding American V8s right now.

Inside, I wasn't particularly impressed with the interior. It's comfortable, and the controls are easy to use, as they seem to be in almost every FCA product. But in Tradesman guise, the interior does feel a little on the cheap side. Everything's a black plastic of middling quality. But again, this is the basic model. Interior aside, I was impressed.

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