2018 Ram 1500 vs 2019 Ram 1500: Two Very Different Beasts

Are you considering a used Ram 1500? You should know that the 2018 Ram 1500 and its 2019 replacement are very different trucks. The 2018 truck is the final model of Ram’s fourth generation. Some aspects of the 2018 had not been reengineered for ten years. The 2019 version is the first year of Ram’s fifth-generation truck and was one of the most technologically advanced pickups of its day.

2018 Ram 15002019 Ram 1500
Premium engine5.7L HEMI V85.7L HEMI V8 with eTorque
Max curb weight5,713 lbs5,372 lbs
Max payload capacity1,923 lbs2,302 lbs
Max towing capacity10,150 lbs12,750 lbs
Fuel mileage (HEMI 2WD)17 combined mpg
15 city/22 highway
19 combined mpg
17 city/23 highway

The 2018 Ram 1500 was the last year of the truck’s fourth generation

A silver 2018 Ram 1500 parked on a road in front of some trees. This is a quad cab with an EcoDiesel.
2018 Ram 1500 | Stellantis

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The fourth-generation Ram 1500 actually started life in 2009, as a Dodge product. The next year, Chrysler chose to split Ram off as its own brand.

Over the truck’s ten-year lifespan, Ram upgraded many components. By 2018, the fourth-generation Ram 1500 rode on coil springs both front and rear. It even had an eight-speed automatic ZF transmission.

By 2018, buyers could option their new Ram 1500 trucks with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6. They could order air-ride suspension and “RamBox” toolboxes. They could also opt for an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a wireless hotspot on select trim levels.

Despite all the advances during the Ram’s fourth generation, a 2018 Ram 1500 might feel “dated” today. This is because Ram overhauled the truck’s interior, ride comfort, and drivetrain for its fifth generaiton.

The 2019 Ram 1500 offered an “eTorque” mild-hybrid drivetrain

Silver 2019 Ram 1500 parked in a field. This fifth-generation pickup truck wears a Big Horn badge.
2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn | Stellantis

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Ram redesigned many aspects of the 1500 for the truck’s fifth generation. But some things stayed the same: the 2019 Ram 1500 retained every engine option from the 2018 truck–with one important twist.

For the 2019 model year, Ram debuted a mild-hybrid system called eTorque. While many traditional hybrid drivetrains feature an electric motor/generator between the gas engine and transmission, a mild hybrid does not. Instead, a mild hybrid simply consolidates an internal combustion engine’s starter and generator into a single unit, capable of moving the entire vehicle.

An eTorque Ram 1500 has an electric motor/generator capable of turning out 130 lb-ft of torque. This unit is attached to its V6 or V8 with a heavy-duty serpentine belt.

The eTorque’s electric motor/generator unit does two things: Firstly, it augments the engine start/stop feature by getting the truck rolling while the internal combustion engine is still starting up. Secondly, the unit turns into an engine brake when you hit the traditional brakes, both helping slow the vehicle and recharge the batteries.

The result is improved fuel efficiency, especially around the city. The eTorque also smooths out the engine start/stop operation. What the eTorque unit cannot do is increase the internal combustion engine’s top-end horsepower and torque–even in tow/haul mode.

Ram’s eTorque system comes standard on the 1500’s base model V6. It is also an option on the 5.7L HEMI V8. You cannot order eTorque with the EcoDiesel engine.

Other changes to the 2019 Ram 1500

The leather interior of a special edition 2019 Ram 1500 truck, complete with 12-inch infotainment touchscreen.
2019 Ram 1500 Limited special edition interior | Stellantis

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For the 2019 model year, Ram redesigned several other aspects of the truck. Firstly, the company completely redesigned the truck’s chassis. The result was up to 341 pounds of weight savings with a higher payload and towing capacity. This was the first chassis engineered specifically for the new coil suspension: Consumer Reports fawned over the smooth-riding truck.

The 2019 Ram 1500 also enjoyed a top-of-the-line interior. The completely new Ram interiors offered some of the nicest materials and most thoughtful design in the pickup truck market. Again, Consumer Reports raved about the storage space and the fit-and-finish.

That said, the fifth-generation Ram also lost some options. Ram only offered its all-new truck with four doors, as the smaller Quad Cab or larger Crew Cab. In addition, the final full-size American pickup truck with a manual transmission was the fourth-generation Ram 2500: every fifth-generation Ram truck has an automatic transmission.

The 2018 Ram 1500 is a great used truck. But you will enjoy upgraded materials, ride quality, capacity, and efficiency if you can find a 2019 Ram 1500 instead. Note that a used 2019-2022 Ram 1500 “Classic” is nearly identical to the 2018 Ram 1500. Check out all the differences between the fourth and fifth generation Ram 1500 in the video below:

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