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2019 Ram 1500 Classic

$27,645 - $49,200
Price Range (MSRP)
Ram 1500 Classic

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Review: A Familiar Comfort Zone

by Roger Biermann

While Ram's all-new 1500 truck impresses with more luxury and impressive towing capabilities, the marque has decided to keep the previous-generation light-duty truck going under the 1500 Classic designation. So, while the 1500 Classic can't compete with the brand new model, it offers a tried and tested, cheaper, stripped-down option for buyers who need a dependable truck, but want to spend less. It's a pretty smart move, if you ask us. Offering a combination of V6 and V8 gas engines, a torquey Ecodiesel, and either rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive, the 1500 Classic is ready to get to work. While lacking the latest driver-assist safety gear, the 1500 Classic still has a comfy and spacious cabin, while cruising along on the highway more smoothly than many newer rivals. Alongside the likes of the even older Toyota Tundra, the Ram still feels surprisingly fresh, but you will miss some of the advances Ram has made with the all-new 1500.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 1500 Classic?

For 2019, the 1500 Classic continues as a more basic version of the 2018 Ram 1500. So, barring the unavailability of a few high-end features you would have found on the 2018 Ram 1500, this year's 1500 Classic is very much the same truck. However, there is new 'Classic' badging on the fenders to set this year's model apart, while three new packages are available: Chrome Plus (with smarter exterior trim for the Tradesman trim), Tradesman SXT (new features and trim for the Tradesman), and the Express Black Accent Package (offered on the Express trim).

Pros and Cons

  • Good value for a well-loved truck
  • Comfortable and quiet on the open road
  • Handling is solid and reassuring
  • Spacious cabin, especially in the crew cab
  • User-friendly ergonomics
  • Build quality is sound
  • Brand new Ram 1500 is more appealing
  • Most driver-assist safety features are absent
  • Towing capacity lags behind newer rivals

1500 Classic Exterior

While not the most cutting-edge design any longer, the 1500 Classic is still a tough-looking truck, with the higher trim levels featuring smart detailing. The base Tradesman looks like the cheapest trim that it is, with 17-inch steel wheels and lots of black plastic exterior detailing. But as you progress through the range, you get alloy wheels, fog lamps and LED lighting. The Warlock trim is particularly aggressive with a unique black grille and black wheel flares.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Front Angle View FPI Studios
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Rear Angle View FPI Studios
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Side View FPI Studios
See All 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 1500 Classic's dimensions differ depending on whether you opt for the regular, quad, or crew cabs, and which box sizes you choose. Common to all variants is a width of 79.4 inches. Height varies between 74.4 inches for the regular cab 4x2 with an eight-foot box to 77.7 inches for the 4x4 quad cab with a 6'4" box. Length differs markedly, with the shortest variant being the regular cab (with a 6'4" inch box) at 209 inches long, and the crew cab with the same-sized box being 237.9 inches. The wheelbase varies between 120.5 inches and 149.4 inches depending on the variant.

Of course, being a worker truck, the 1500 Classic will often be called upon to carry lots of cargo, so bed size is key. Wall-to-wall bed width and bed width between the wheel housings are 66.4/51 inches, respectively, for all models. Bed length varies between 67.4 inches for the crew cab with a 5'7" box and 98.3 inches for the regular cab with an eight-foot box.

Exterior Colors

Ram has made a wide color palette available for the 1500 Classic range. 13 shades form the basis of the palette. Bright White and Flame Red are the only no-cost options for the base Tradesman. The other shades are Diamond Black Crystal, Brilliant Black Crystal, Maximum Steel, Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Bright Silver, True Blue Pearl-Coat, Patriot Blue Pearl-Coat, Blue Streak Pearl-Coat, Delmonico Red Pearl-Coat, and Walnut Brown. Up to 20 low-volume exterior colors are also on offer, each costing an additional $450, and among them some hard-to-miss shades, like Detonator Yellow and Hills Green. Higher trims have more standard color options available, whereas the Tradesman will require an added cost for these. A range of special editions add a few extra wild colors to the mix, with Hydro Blue and Ignition Orange on the list.

  • Blue Streak Pearlcoat
  • Delmonico Red Pearlcoat
  • True Blue Pearlcoat, Build Out: 10/04/2018
  • True Blue Pearlcoat, Build Out:01/08/2019
  • Diamond Black Crystal Pearlcoat
  • Patriot Blue Pearlcoat
  • Billet Silver Metallic Clearcoat
  • Granite Crystal Metallic Clearcoat
  • Maximum Steel Metallic Clearcoat
  • RV Match Walnut Brown Metallic Clearcoat
  • Bright Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Build Out:01/08/2019
  • Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat, Build Out:01/08/2019
  • Bright Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Build Out: 10/04/2018
  • Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat, Build Out: 10/04/2018
  • Case IH Red, Late availability
See all 99 colors

1500 Classic Performance

Three distinct powertrains span the 1500 Classic range, providing varying levels of performance: a 3.6-liter V6 starts things off with 305 horsepower, a 5.7-liter V8 delivers 395 hp, and a later addition to the range is the Laramie trim with a 3.0-liter V6 Ecodiesel delivering 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, the highest torque output in the range. All engines can be paired with either 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains.

While the 3.6-liter V6 is a good performer in town, it's down on torque relative to the diesel and the V8, so these two models are more suited to serious hauling. The diesel doesn't have a ton of power, accelerating to 60 mph in only around nine seconds, but the good torque output serves it well once up to speed. For brisker acceleration, the V8 is the model to choose, as it should see off the benchmark sprint in comfortably under eight seconds. Still, the 1500 Classic isn't the fastest truck in the segment.

Maximum loaded trailer weight varies between 4,390 pounds for variants equipped with the gas V6 engine, to a maximum of 10,710 lbs for the 5.7-liter V8. The newer Ram 1500 surpasses these numbers, but the 1500 Classic will still be enough for most needs.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Front View FPI Studios
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Wheel FPI Studios
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Badge FPI Studios

Engine and Transmission

All models use an eight-speed automatic transmission, barring the SSV, which has a six-speed auto. Engine options comprise the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 305 hp and 269 lb-ft, a 3.0-liter Ecodiesel V6 with 240 hp and a strong 420 lb-ft, and the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft. Both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations are available.

The Pentastar V6 engine provides the 1500 Classic with good responsiveness and acceleration, while passing power is reasonable considering the truck's weight. The V8 will be the choice for many, though, as not only is it considerably more potent, but it emits an appealing snarl that is a better fit for the truck. The HEMI pulls cleanly from low down, and both motors pair well with the smooth eight-speed automatic. For more leisurely driving, the Ecodiesel is a fine choice, as its high torque output improves its towing capability over the gas-fed V6. While not very quick from a standing start, the diesel's strength is in providing smooth and easy passing power once up to speed. However, if you can live with the V8's higher fuel consumption, it's undoubtedly the most satisfying of the three available power plants.

  • Engines
    3.0-liter Turbo V6 Diesel, 3.6-liter V6 Gas, 5.7-liter V6 Gas, 5.7-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While it may have first been introduced back in 2009, there's nothing wrinkly about the 1500 Classic's driving dynamics. It's always been one of the smoothest-riding trucks around, and that hasn't changed one bit, despite the introduction of newer competition. It's all down to the 1500's standard coil springs both front and rear, where many other competitors use a more rudimentary leaf-spring setup at the back. Bumps and road scars are soaked up with confidence, the Classic always composed and steady, and proving a well-sorted cruiser, so covering long distances isn't an issue at all. It's also nicely refined, with noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels kept to a minimum. Steering feedback and responsiveness are also excellent for a truck, the 1500 being easy to keep on track, with the helm remaining accurate.

1500 Classic Gas Mileage

EPA economy figures vary from 20/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined for the rear-wheel-drive turbodiesel to 15/21/17 mpg for a four-wheel-drive equipped with the 5.7-liter V8. In-between these two is the 3.6-liter V6 gas model, which returns 17/25/20 mpg in 4x2 guise. A 26-gallon gas tank is standard on most models, with a 32-gallon tank optional on select models but standard on the regular cab with the eight-foot box. Expect a mixed cruising range of around 598 miles for the diesel model, dropping to about 442 miles for a 4x4 V8 model. A V8-engined Chevrolet Silverado returns a slightly more efficient 16/22/18 mpg in 4x4 guise.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    26.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 17/25 mpg
* 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Express 4x2 Regular Cab 6'4" Box

1500 Classic Interior

The 1500 Classic's interior has held up well, with a neat design, clear controls, and a spacious feel from the front two seats. Go for the crew cab, and there's plenty of space in the back for adults, too. There's also a decent standard of build quality, with no unwelcome rattles to intrude and good textures to the materials used. Controls for often-used features such as the infotainment system and air-conditioning are easy to figure out. It's effortless for the driver to get comfortable, and with good general visibility, no awkward maneuvers are needed to clearly see out of the 1500. While the Tradesman does feel quite basic inside, more expensive trims have better materials.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Front Seats FPI Studios
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Dashboard Copyright © 2019 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Speaker Ram
See All 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Seating ranges from three in the regular cab models to six people in a two-row configuration in the quad cab and crew cab models. All 1500s offer good headroom and legroom for front-seat passengers, while the crew cab is especially spacious for rear-seat passengers, with lots of legroom. Well-positioned grab handles make it easy to enter and get out of the truck, and in general, there's an airy feel to the expansive cabin. The comfortable ride quality is matched by seats that are well-padded - Ram has done a great job of ensuring driver and passenger comfort here. The crew cab's rear doors are large enough to make ingress and egress nearly as simple as in front.

  • Seating capacity
    3-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Ram has gone for a much more restrained approach with regards to interior colors, with far less choice than is available for the exterior. As befitting an entry-level truck, the Tradesman comes standard with heavy-duty vinyl upholstery in a dreary gray, while cloth can be specified at no extra cost. The steering wheel is finished in urethane. Still, this may be just what owners with more demanding expectations of their 1500 will need. The Express trim has the same interior, while SLT upgrades the bench seat to cloth. Warlock trim adds a Black/Diesel Gray interior with seating options for five (two in front) or six. The Lone Star/Big Horn and Laramie trims get cloth seats in Black/Diesel Gray or Canyon Brown/Light Frost Beige. The SSV has cloth-trimmed bucket seats in front, with the rear seats upholstered in vinyl.

1500 Classic Trunk and Cargo Space

As with any pickup, there's a lot more cargo space than in a traditional sedan. Bed cargo volume for the regular cab is 57.5 cubic feet with the six-foot-four inch box, and 74.7 cubes with the eight-foot box. Moving to the quad cab, there's 57.5 cubes of space, with just one box size available. Finally, the crew cab offers the most passenger space, but the lowest bed cargo volume, with 50.3 cubes in the 5'7" box and 57.5 cubes in the 6'4" box. The regular cab has extra packing space behind the front seats. An available RamBox cargo storage system provides covered, secure, and weatherproof storage options and is a worthwhile upgrade.

Small-item storage is taken care of by rear, under-seat compartments (quad and crew cabs only), dual gloveboxes (not on the Tradesman and Express), and well-sized door pockets. The 40/20/40 split-bench front seat houses three cup holders in the middle - these can be accessed when the center seat isn't being used.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Rear View FPI Studios
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Charging Ports Ram
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Badge FPI Studios

1500 Classic Infotainment and Features

Features

The base Tradesman trim starts things off with manual air-conditioning, a 3.5-inch driver information display, power heated mirrors (not on the regular cab), a rearview camera, and six airbags. The Express adds fog lamps, the SLT gets an overhead console, while the Warlock stands out with a rear sliding window, LED fog lamps, rear park assist and an overhead console with map lights. Top-line trims get welcome amenities like a power driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a larger driver information display.

Infotainment

At base level, the 1500 Classic's rudimentary infotainment setup comprises an AM/FM radio with six speakers, auxiliary input jack, and USB port. The next level is the Uconnect 3 system with Bluetooth and a five-inch display, before progressing to Uconnect 4 with an 8.4-inch display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Uconnect 4C with navigation is the top-tier infotainment system and is available only on higher trims - it also includes SiriusXM radio, and SiriusXM traffic plus along with travel link. A ten-speaker sound system can be optioned on selected quad cab and crew cab models. Overall, from Uconnect 4 upwards, the Ram's infotainment system is competitive in its features availability while being easy to understand.

1500 Classic Problems and Reliability

With a predicted reliability rating of four stars for the 2018 Ram 1500 (upon which this model is based) and proven mechanicals which have been in production for a number of years, the Ram 1500 Classic is expected to be a dependable ownership prospect. There have, however, been quite a few recalls for the 2019 model, issued by the NHTSA. Among the issues were a bed step which may cause a fuel leak, driver warnings which may not adequately illuminate on the display, incorrect spare tire information, disabled airbags in the event of a crash, a fractured rear driveshaft, a steering wheel which could detach from the column, auxiliary battery terminals which may overheat, a brake pedal which could separate from the assembly, the loss of power steering assistance, a seat tracker sensor which could be out of position, a rear axle failure, and cruise control which potentially may not cancel. There were fewer recalls in 2018, with the primary issues relating to the powertrain.

The Ram's basic warranty coverage is for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. The diesel model also gets a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, with the gas-engine models' powertrain coverage being for five years or 60,000 miles. Roadside assistance is offered for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

1500 Classic Safety

While the 2019 1500 Classic has not been tested by the NHTSA, the 2018 1500 achieved a four-star overall safety score, missing out on the usual five-star rating that has become commonplace. The Classic's age also shows in the IIHS crash tests. Whereas the all-new Ram 1500 was named as a Top Safety Pick, the 2018 1500 (upon which the 2019 1500 Classic is based) had mixed results, with a Marginal score for roof strength and the small front overlap on the driver's side. The headlights were also rated as Poor or Marginal depending on the level of equipment.

Key Safety Features

The Classic misses out on many of the latest driver-assist safety gear. However, every model comes with six airbags, a rearview camera, electronic stability control, and tire pressure monitoring as standard. Higher trims offer rear park assist, while a trailer brake controller is an option. You can't have the likes of blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert, features that you'll find on more modern trucks.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic a good Truck?

By giving the previous-generation 1500 a new lease on life under the Classic moniker, Ram will please loyalists who simply want a capable, comfortable, and tough truck at a more affordable price. In that light, the 1500 Classic makes a lot of sense. Starting at over $4,000 less than the new 1500, the saving is quite substantial. In many ways, the 1500 Classic remains competitive with far newer rivals. The ride is really comfortable, while the well-designed cabin offers plenty of space for passengers. Three strong engines also provide a good combination of pace, with only the V8 being quite heavy on juice. However, the Classic's age does show in some ways. You won't find the latest safety technologies that are available in the new 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and some poor results from the latest available IIHS crash tests are shown up by the competition. Otherwise, the hardworking 1500 Classic makes a lot of sense as an accomplished and proven cargo-hauler.

What's the Price of the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic?

The cheapest 1500 Classic is the no-frills regular cab Tradesman, at an MSRP of $27,645. Next is the Express at $29,345, then the SLT at $31,595. The regular, three-seater cab is only available in these three trims.

The Warlock comes in at $35,795, the Lone Star at $38,445, the SSV at $40,425, the Big Horn at $40,445, the Lone Star Silver at $41,995, and the Laramie at $45,300. All prices are for 4x2 models, with optional 4x4 being an additional $3,600 to $4,600 depending on the variant.

Upgrading from the regular cab to the quad cab costs $3,900 for the Tradesman 4x2. Expect to pay around $300 extra for a crew cab with the larger six-foot-four box. The priciest 1500 Classic is the Laramie 4x4 crew cab with the larger box, at an MSRP of $49,300.

All prices exclude a destination charge of $1,695 as well as tax, licensing and registration.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Models

The revised Ram 1500 Classic range comprises nine trims: Tradesman, Express, SLT, Warlock, Lone Star, SSV, Lone Star Silver (a special edition trim), Big Horn, and Laramie.

The Tradesman and Express trims are the workhorses of the range, with the three-seater regular cab only available in these two trims. The Tradesman features 17-inch steel wheels, manual air conditioning, a six-speaker audio system, quad-halogen headlamps, and a rearview camera. The Express features all of these items plus 17-inch alloys, fog lamps, carpet floor coverings, and a body-color grille. The regular cab with the larger eight-foot box is only available in Tradesman trim, not Express.

Next is the SLT. Along with the Express trim's equipment, it also gets the Uconnect 3 infotainment system with a five-inch screen, a cloth front bench seat, and SiriusXM satellite radio, while bed rails become available as an option. Moving up in the range is the aggressive-looking Warlock, with either quad cab or crew cab configurations. Outside, it gets LED fog lamps, sport LED taillamps, sport halogen projection headlamps, 20-inch black alloy wheels, and black wheel flares. Inside is a rear sliding window, the Uconnect infotainment 3 Infotainment system, and premium vinyl trim door panels. The Big Horn and Lone Star trims are identical but it carries the Lone Star name solely in Texas. Highlights for this trim include 20-inch wheels, Uconnect 4C radio, a ten-way power driver's seat, and automatic dual-zone climate control. The Lone Star Silver differs only slightly, with unique bucket seats and wheels. SSV models are special service 1500 Classic models with an emphasis on towing and hauling, and features the HEMI V8 engine exclusively.

Finally, the Laramie trim was a later addition to the range and is only available in crew cab format and with the 3.0-liter Ecodiesel engine. Luxury features that make it onto this variant include a leather front bench seat with heating and ventilation, power-adjustable pedals and deluxe door trim panels.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Tradesman
3.6-liter V6 Gas
5.7-liter V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$27,645
Express
3.6-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$27,645
SLT
3.6-liter V6 Gas
5.7-liter V6 Gas
5.7-liter V8 Gas
TBC
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$31,845
Lone Star
5.7-liter V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$35,595
Big Horn
5.7-liter V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$35,595
See All 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The basic Tradesman can be spruced up with the $695 Chrome Appearance Group, adding some glitz to the otherwise drab exterior. A more comprehensive Chrome Plus Package costs $1,295, while the Tradesman SXT Package adds 20-inch wheels, a bright grille, a cloth bench seat, front fog lamps and an upgraded infotainment system for $2,895.

On the Express trim, the Express Black Accent Package sounds exactly like what it is. For $595, you get black-painted wheels, black exterior badging and other black exterior accents. The Express Value Package is $2,395 and adds 20-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, carpeted floor coverings, and the Uconnect 3 infotainment system. The SLT gets two packages as optional which you can't get on the lower two trims: the Heated Seats and Steering Wheel Group, and the Trailer and Traction Group.

On the sporty Warlock, a $795 Luxury Group looks like decent value and packs in a seven-inch cluster display, power-folding mirrors, a garage door opener, and auto-dimming exterior mirrors, among other items. Big Horn trim packages encompass the Black Appearance Group for $595, with several trim elements sporting the blackened look. The RamBox Value Package goes for $2,945, and with it, you get Ram's superb cargo management system for increased versatility and security when transporting cargo.

Interesting additional options are heated seats and a heated steering wheel, while owners intending to tow often would be interested in the trailer-tow mirrors with trailer braking pack for $480.

What Ram 1500 Classic Model Should I Buy?

Of course, if you're after a workhorse, you'll go for one of the regular cabs. If you need to carry passengers in the back, the quad or crew cabs would make more sense.

Being the older-generation 1500, our choice would be the Warlock trim. If you're spending more than this trim, you may as well go for the all-new 1500. Warlock adds just enough goodies to increase driver and passenger comfort, with superior trim, a better infotainment system, and appealingly aggressive looks. It's also available with both the 3.6-liter V6 and the HEMI V8. By adding the $795 Luxury Group to the Warlock, you can drive off in a high-value truck that looks the part and that can be used to haul cargo or carry the family around equally well.

Check out other Ram 1500 Styles?

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Comparisons

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Ram
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Ford

2019 Ram 1500 Classic vs Ram 1500

How does the older 1500 Classic stack up against the newer 1500? Well, as good a truck as the Classic is, the new 1500 is a true class-leader. To start off with, the 1500 is a really handsome sight to behold, with Ram doing a fantastic job of updating the design. While the V6 and V8 engines are used in the new generation too, they both get a mild-hybrid boost and are more rounded and efficient performers. Inside, the newer 1500 offers an even higher standard of build quality, along with a fresher design and far more technology than the Classic. Driver-assist features like lane departure warning are sorely lacking in the Classic, but the 1500 makes it available. There's also an optional 12-inch infotainment screen in the new 1500 that makes the Classic's setup feel positively ancient. Unless you are buying one of the basic-trim 1500 Classics and taking advantage of their high-value price tags, you should get a new 1500 instead - it's by far the better truck.

See Ram 1500 Review

2019 Ram 1500 Classic vs Ford F-150

One of these wears a Classic badge, but the other is a true American classic. The Ford F-150 continues to rule the sales charts, and has proven a mountain too big to climb for all competitors. Although they start off at a similar price point, the F-150 has a broader range and stretches all the way to over $70k. Both are excellent trucks with powerful engines, although the F-150's turbocharged motors have the edge for overall performance. The F-150 also has greater maximum towing capacity, outdoing the Ram by over 2,000 lbs in this aspect. Both are comfortable trucks, but here the Ram has the edge with its smooth and stable ride. The Ford, however, leads the way with much better safety scores than the Ram, as well as the availability of driver-assist safety features that you can't have on the Classic. Neither comprehensively outduels the other, but the F-150 has the edge.

See Ford F-150 Review

Ram 1500 Classic Popular Comparisons