Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram Truck division has kept a tight lid on its plans for the next-generation 1500 pickup truck, but recently, spy photographers have caught prototypes (some found recently outside of FCA facilities in Chelsea and Auburn Hills, Michigan) during testing revealing a brand new, from the ground up, light duty truck (codenamed DT).
Despite heavy camouflage, some features of the truck are somewhat visible. A possible new tailgate design could be featured that folds down and splits in the middle to provide closer access to the bed. A sleek, modern style to the headlights with a thin LED strip on the lower part of the headlight housing (indicating that Ram will utilize a similar style to the current model) is visible. Horizontal fog lights integrated into the front bumper will largely mimic the styling of the headlights above. Some new taillights appear to be even more distinct and will be slightly smaller, with backup lights integrated vertically nearer the tailgate. Dual, horizontal LED strips are located within the taillight housing for an updated look. A new body line swoops into the truck’s C-pillar behind the rear window. The pickup’s side panels are said to feature a styling line — front-to-rear including around the top of the wheel wells — to evoke a more muscular stance. The new 1500 retains the current model’s crosshair grille. It’s highly likely that the Mega Cab body style will return on the 2019 1500.The new truck will also feature a new 6-lug wheel design. Ram will continue to use steel on the 1500’s body panels instead of aluminum.
It seems that the new 1500 may get a longer wheelbase than the current model.
Engine and Performance
The new Ram 1500 is expected to get an upgraded 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine with direct injection as well as a turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine that will be optional. The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 may also power higher trim models, but this is still an uncertainty. FCA plans to incorporate fuel-saving belt-start generators in its next-generation pickups to further improve fuel economy. However, Ram’s 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel option might not return in light of the recent emissions cheating software scandal.
The new 1500 should receive FCA’s rotary gear selector from the current model as well as a new, flattened center console layout that will allow for additional storage space, and an infotainment system upgrade to the latest versions of FCA’s Uconnect system.
The next-generation light-duty 1500 pickup is to be revealed in January, 2018 at the Detroit auto show (North American International Auto Show). Fiat Chrysler will begin production of the truck the same month at a retooled Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant. FCA will continue building the current version, the DS Ram 1500, at the nearby Warren Assembly plant in suburban Detroit while production of the DT starts up.
There hasn’t been a brand new Ram 1500 since the 2008 Detroit Auto Show when the current generation 1500 was revealed. A facelift was given to the 1500 in 2013, but the truck is in need of a newer replacement.
(Photo credits: Brian Williams: Spied Blinde Photography, Glenn Paulina: Trucks.com)