The American full-size pickup truck segment is brutal. Many enter, but few ever find victory thanks to four decades of Ford F-150 dominance. However, that doesn’t mean the Big Three are sleeping at the wheel. Both Ram, Chevy, and GMC debuted all-new pickups for the 2019 model year. While all three are packed with innovations and new technologies, only one could earn Motor Trend’s coveted Truck of the Year Award. For 2019, that truck is the Ram 1500, which beat out both the 2019 Silverado 1500 and 2019 Sierra 1500 for top honors.
That’s not to say either of GM’s trucks are demonstrably worse than the Ram. Many of these awards are subjective, and it’s unlikely Ram’s new title will sway many pickup buyers as many lifelong truck owners are brand loyal. And it’s not like GM hasn’t earned accolades for the two pickups. The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali did take first place in a Pickuptrucks.com comparison test.
But there was just something about the 2019 Ram 1500 that persuaded Motor Trend editors that the 2019 Silverado 1500 or Sierra 1500 didn’t have.
“It’s really a surprise on the road,” said testing director Kim Reynolds of the Ram’s air-ride suspension. “It’s way more refined and sophisticated than the GMs. Steering is fluid and quality-feeling.”
Even the standard suspension won praise. “The coil-spring suspension is better in the Ram than the ride in any of the GM trucks,” MotorTrend en Espanol managing editor Miguel Cortina said.
The Ram also earned praise in other areas. The 12,750-pound towing capacity bets Chevy, GMC, Nissan, and Toyota. Only the Ford F-150 bested the Ram—and it did so by 450 pounds. Editors also praised the Ram’s powertrain options, especially the mild-hybrid powertrain the automaker is calling eTorque. The system is standard on the base 3.6-liter V6 engine and an available option with the top-tier 5.7-liter V8.
However, while the Ram 1500 does earn the coveted TOTY award, editors did find a few demerits. In the bed, there’s a lack of tie-downs compared to the GM trucks. Both the new 2019 Sierra 1500 and 2019 Silverado 1500 sport 12 standard tie-downs while the Ram 1500 only offers four tie-downs as standard.
Motor Trend picked the Ram 1500 for several reasons, including its styling, interior options, and powertrain combinations. Pickup trucks are utility vehicles first and foremost. People use them for a wide range of activities, such as using them as commuter vehicles or using them to the full capability, towing, hauling, and getting dirty. To Motor Trend, the Ram 1500 best exemplified those various possibilities.