The ’19 Ram 1500 parlays value, outstanding connectivity, a broad range of driver-assistance technology and generous infotainment features into a Wards 10 Best User Experience award for 2018.
Summing up the only pickup among this year’s 25 entrants, data specialist and judge Amy Alexander writes: “First reaction when getting in is, ‘Wow!’”
Many of the qualities that earned the all-new Ram Wards 10 Best Interiors honors earlier this year are noted again in the Best UX judging, from the fourth-generation Uconnect touchscreen to the easy-to-program 3D maps.
The reconfigurable 12-in. (30-cm) vertical touchscreen in the Laramie Longhorn Edition tested by Wards judges is moved closer to the driver for ’19 and offers split-screen capability, big icons backed up by hard buttons surrounding the touchscreen, sharpened graphics and images, and quick response to both voice and manual inputs.
“Well done system in a market full of missteps,” Senior Editor James Amend says.
Infotainment options include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio with 360L, essentially providing on-demand content for a personalized listening experience and, in the Longhorn, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon Premium Sound Audio System, wireless smartphone charger and a bit of hardware becoming increasingly rare: a CD player.
Active noise cancellation enhances the audio quality in a crew cab claimed by manufacturer FCA US to be the biggest in the fullsize-pickup segment.
Available advanced driver-assistance features include adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, surround-view camera, blindspot monitor with cross-path detection and automated parallel parking. Judges give the ADAS package high marks for performance overall efficiency.
“Surprisingly good at finding lane lines and detecting a vehicle ahead, and then slowing me down,” Senior Editor Christie Schweinsberg notes.
Some of the judges’ most enthusiastic comments are reserved for the Ram 1500’s materials. The Longhorn was lush with leather, both grained and in a snakeskin pattern, and has Berber-carpet floormats, filigreed satin-metal trim and open-pore barn wood on the passenger’s side of the dashboard. “Longhorn” is burned into the wood, boosting the “wow” factor.
Safety and connectivity upgrades, a trailer-towing package and other options such as a panoramic sunroof and power running boards raise the price of the Longhorn edition some $13,000, to nearly $67,000. That nevertheless makes this particular Ram competitive in today’s premium-pickup market, several judges agree.
“Actually was shocked to see this is only $67k,” judge Schweinsberg comments.
The Ram 1500 is the product of FCA designers’ investment in detail and accessible technology, and it’s the customer who reaps the dividends.