In the automotive industry,the saying “out with old, in with the new” is a standard practice, as companies churn out new year models like clockwork.
Apparently, Ram doesn’t believe in that saying.
Even with the launch of the new 2019 Ram 1500, the older model gets an extended production run as the Ram 1500 Classic. Both generations will be sold throughout the calendar year.
The old-new 1500 will come in four trim levels: Tradesman, Express, Big Horn and the SSV (Special Service Vehicle) designation. More importantly, the Classic model retains the regular cab body while providing a longer 8-foot bed option. In contrast, the newer DT model is only available in quad and crew-cab versions, with the bed maxing out at 6.4″.
Powerplant options for the Classic include the 3.6L Pentastar V6 or the beefier 5.7L Hemi V8, with an 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 set to follow later. The 2019 version carries the same plant under the hood, but benefits from a 225lb lighter frame and 400lb greater payload capacity thanks to aluminum and composite use in the tailgate, front suspension, engine mount and steering system.
The 2018 1500 Classic (top) vs the 2019 1500 (bottom)
The previous gen was regarded as the best-riding truck in its class, thanks to a five-link live axle setup in the rear, available with either coil or air springs. The newer generation retains the link-coil system and pairs it with an active air dam that automatically deploys at speeds above 35mph to improve underbody airflow.
While the 1500 was previously built in Mexico, this year’s 1500 Classics will roll off the Warren assembly line in Michigan, where parent company Fiat Chrysler moved Ram’s operations amid the Trump administration’s stance against overseas-made vehicles. The newer DT model, meanwhile, will be built in Ram’s Sterling Heights plant (which previously churned out the Chrysler 200) after a $1.5 billion investment to retool the factory.
While pricing for the Classic has not been announced, the 1500 ST starts at around $26,000 whereas the 2019 model costs over $33,000, making it the cheapest truck in Ram’s current lineup. The 1500 Classic should be available sometime in the 4th quarter.