While it might come as a surprise to some, one thing we continuously get a ton of e-mails on is the Canadian 2019 Ram 1500 Sport. We touched on the Sport a few weeks ago with a short clip from the Canadian International Auto show, and MoparInsiders co-editor Robert Miller wrote an article last week after being able to see one up close and personal for the first time at the same auto show.
Well thanks to our friends at White Rock Dodge, I was able to get my hands on a 2019 Ram 1500 Sport last weekend for a video review. This particular truck is a crew cab 4×4 finished in Granite Crystal Metallic, powered by the standard 5.7-liter HEMI V8 (the only powerplant in the Sport), backed by the wonderful ZF 8 speed spinning a 3.21 gear set. Options wise this truck had the Leather heated and cooled seats ($1,695), Level 2 equipment group ($1,025) which includes a 115-volt power outlet in the rear of the center console, dual zone auto climate control, rear media hub with 2 USB ports, front and rear park assist, rain sensing wipers, proximity key, and remote start. Also optioned were the panoramic sunroof ($1,595), Sport performance hood ($895), power running boards ($1,195), alpine speakers with sub ($495), 22-inch wheels ($995) and blind spot monitoring ($500). Options and destination charge all in MSRP for this truck came to $69.930. Keep in mind all prices are in Canadian.
Making this truck unique compared to other Sports is that White Rock Dodge has ditched those 22-inch wheels, added a 2-inch Mopar lift kit, 20-inch Fuel wheels and a set of 295/60/20 Toyo Open Country Extreme All-Terrain tires. I initially wondered how this particular truck would drive compared to a stock truck and just how much the larger tires would affect driveability considering the truck had the 3.21 gear ratio. My concerns were alleviated almost right away from setting off, this truck set up the way it is, drives just as good as a stock 1500 managing to keep a very smooth ride and even with the highway gears the truck still felt responsive.
Even on twisty back roads, I didn’t detect any more body roll than stock. This vehicle obviously isn’t a corner carver, but it never felt unsettled even cornering on uneven pavement. My concern about the larger tires with the highway gears was unwarranted as the Sport felt very responsive and felt quicker than my own 2016 Ram 1500 Sport with a little larger tire and the 3.92 gear. I do believe that through a combination of weight loss and tuning that these 2019 Ram DT trucks are noticeably quicker than the older Ram DS trucks even though the powertrain is mostly unchanged.
The cabin was as quiet as a tomb while cruising at city speeds with traffic. With barely a hint of powertrain noise and no noticeable wind or road noise to speak of the driving experience was serene. That starts to come apart on the highway though where I found the Toyo Open Country Extremes to be quite loud at highway speed, much noisier than the BFGoodrich K02’s that are on my own personal truck. Other than the tires, powertrain and wind noise was kept to a minimum on the highway even though it was an extremely windy day.
Exterior wise I have always been a fan of the Sport trim on Ram trucks and that continues with these new DT models. The monochromatic look and black accents make the trucks stand out and look aggressive compared to other trim levels. The Sport performance hood is fantastic to look out over from the driver’s seat and looks very aggressive with styling cues taken right from the 2016 Ram Rebel TRX Concept. A quick walk-around of the exterior revealed even panel gaps and body lines that fit well together with nothing seemingly out-of-place. New for 2019, is the aluminum tailgate that in the Sport model is dampened so that it doesn’t slam down on its own if you were to let go while lowering it. Due to being made from aluminum it is also extremely light when closing.
The Sport gets a unique interior treatment, utilizing the diamond plate looking inserts from the rebel along with a lot of satin finish aluminum trim. The only interior color offered is black, and that includes the headliner which I much prefer to gray pillar covers and headliners. The Sport gets unique seat coverings; this particular truck had the full leather perforated heated and cooled seats which I found very comfortable and had no issues with getting into a comfortable driving position. Sport models use the mid-level leather stitched dash shared with Rebel and Laramie models; all controls were easy to operate and felt right to the hand. Ram’s innovative sliding console is standard in the Sport trim and allows the user many different configurations depending on need; you could fit up to a 15-inch laptop or hang file folders in the center console with lots of room to spare for other things.
The large panoramic sunroof made the interior feel very airy on this bright summer day, but if you want to block the sun out the sunshade is power operated and can be opened or closed by a switch on the overhead console. The back seat is absolutely enormous, and even with the driver’s seat at my driving position (I’m 6’1) I could have sat behind myself and crossed my legs with room to spare. The bottom seat cushion in the back seat is also high enough that you don’t feel cramped with your knees way up in the air which oddly enough is a problem I seem to have in the back seat of the F-150. Rear passengers get 4 cup holders (2 in the rear of the center console and 2 in the fold-down armrest), 2 USB or USB-C ports, a tablet holder where you can place a tablet in the cup holder section of the center console to watch movies, etc, and a 115-volt power outlet. In the floor under the rear floor mat are the Ram bins (1 on each side) that are almost twice the size of last year that can be used to store items or filled with ice and drinks for camping. The rear floor is flat, and the rear seats lift up for even more in-cab storage.
There are two 8.4-inch Uconnect radios available for 2019, one with navigation and one without. Non-Navigation models can be easily identified by having the matte black plastic surround with the screen inset in the bezel. Navigation-equipped models feature a piano black surround and a flush mounted screen. Personally, I find the non-navigation radio setup to look a little cheap, while still using Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAs) excellent Uconnect software and featuring good graphics and ease of use, the bezel seems a bit out-of-place in the interior, and the resolution isn’t quite as high as on the navigation-equipped units. You also do give away a few other features compared to the Navigation units such as SiriusXM Guardian which allows you to control specific functions of your vehicle through your phone, (remote start, lock/unlock, WiFi hotspot) and more. At this price point and with the fact that the 12.1-inch Uconnect system is still available as an upgrade they should do away with the non-navigation equipped Uconnect screen as it seems to confuse customers.
Speaking of that 12.1-inch Uconnect screen, the Sport is the entry trim in Canada to get the 12.1-inch Uconnect screen, Harmon/Kardon stereo, and the advanced safety group which includes adaptive cruise and more available as an option. I have personally built countless 2019 Ram 1500s online on Rams build and price tool and can honestly say that the Sport presents the best value for your dollar of all the trim levels. You can get one from reasonably basic to pretty much loaded with all the technology and safety features that are available, that combined with its aggressive looks makes the Sport a compelling choice for Canadians.