Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
This one hurts, but we saw it coming a mile away. In a year that GM has introduced a great new generation of trucks, Ram seems to be taking home the lion's share of awards. The latest is Motor Trend's Truck of the Year Award. Before you assume Motor Trend is biased toward one brand or another, let us tell you we looked back and GM trucks have won the TOTY award in 2016, 2015, 2011, 2008, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1996, 1995 and 1979. The long list and varied winners indicted to us that what Motor Trend primarily looks for is a change agent type of vehicle. Something that stands out from the norm, not necessarily just the best overall brand of trucks.
MT says about this year's award, "Our 2019 Truck of the Year should give pause to prospective Blue Oval loyalists (or buyers of any truck, for that matter) because there isn't a truck out there that so precisely hits the diverse needs of the segment better than the 2019 Ram 1500." This particular introduction to the award hit home for the GM-Trucks.com staff. Last week, we attended an event set up by Ram for the New England Auto Press Association. Ram's outstanding support team brought out the new 2019 Ram Limited and also a North Edition (a Big Horn Trim). Ram did this so that they could show us the North Edition, which was developed after Ram specifically listened to the needs of truck testers who live in the snow belt. Folts like Zane and Josh at GM-Trucks.com who live in the white stuff and own truck and know trucks.
Contrast this with GM skipping the Texas Truck Rodeo this year. How could they skip the biggest truck testing event in North America in a year they launch an all-new truck? You have to play in order to win, as they say. GM's support for the media and testers seems to have diminished in the recent few years to the point where members looking for trucks to test are pretty much on their own and need to rent or test drive vehicles at dealerships. Meanwhile, Ford has provided NEMPA with two Raptors in the past six months.
Enough inside baseball. Ram is deserving of praise for many reasons. One is its air suspension ride. Simply put, it is the most comfortable truck ride we have ever experienced. Next up, novel engine options that add both torque and fuel economy. Finally, the ginormous infotainment screen available in the Ram. In a class of vehicles where everything from the HVAC knobs to the tires are big for the sake of being big, Ram seems to get that bigger is better. And the Ram is a looker too. "Best-in-class: sophisticated without going over the top," editor-in-chief of MT Ed Loh says. "I love the styling," road test editor Chris Walton said, eyeing the Ram 1500 Rebel. "It's like the Viper of Rams." MT's Features Editor, Scott Evans, said. "This is a luxury interior. Look at this wood! This leather! The metal, stitching, design, attention to detail! The leather on the grab handles! Cadillac could learn a thing or two by spending an afternoon in this cabin."
We are GM fans here, and we are not saying we agree with MT's pick, but the reasons that other brands are taking home so many trophies are apparent to us from both a product and also a support perspective. Ram deserves congratulations for hitting both sides of the coin.
You can check out the full Motor Trend story on the Ram 1500 Truck of the Year win at this link.
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
A new story by Left Lane News titled, "FCA Confirms New Midsize Ram Pickup" seems to have facts to support its claim. The publication says that " A presentation slide from FCA's Capital Markets Day shows the new model on the roadmap for 2022, slotting below the Ram 1500." A new Ram Dakota is long overdue. The name sounds weird to our ears. "Dodge Dakota" has a nice ring. Both Dodge and Ford have missed out on hundreds of thousands of truck sales by missing the market's resurgence. Toyota is selling over 20K Tacomas per month now and GM could be as well if it had the capacity. Left Lane News says the new Ram Dakota would be built alongside the new Jeep pickup.
GM-Trucks.com reached out to our FCA contact to ask if the news can be confirmed. The answer was "NOT CONFIRMED." Hmm. Check back in a week or so and we will see how this develops.
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
Chevrolet revealed its 2019 mid-sized Blazer crossover/SUV last night. The new five-passenger vehicle will be bigger than an Equinox, but smaller than a Traverse. What may be the Blazer’s most defining element is its looks. “The Blazer has attitude,” said John Cafaro, executive director, Global Chevrolet Design. “It looks commanding on the road, while fulfilling the promise of versatility at the heart of every Chevy crossover and SUV.”
The new Blazer will launch with two drivetrains Colorado fans will recognize. GM’s 2.5L I-4 will be the standard engine and the 3.6L V-6 engine will be optional, each mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. There was no mention by Chevy of the new four-cylinder gasoline turbo or any diesel options. “The Chevrolet Blazer is more than just good looks,” said Waqar Hashim, Blazer chief engineer. “Both the Ecotec® 2.5L four-cylinder engine and 3.6L V-6 engine are paired to Chevrolet’s nine-speed automatic transmission, providing drivers a great balance between performance and efficiency.”
GM says that the new Blazer will tow up to 4,500 pounds. Cargo area, with the rear seats folded, will be 64.2 cubic feet. By comparison, a Honda CR-V has 76 cubic feet and a Mazda CX-5 60 cubic feet. GM didn’t offer any interior passenger volume numbers, but we question if the Blazer is really “mid-sized.” GM appears to be targeting the segment in which the Murano and Ford Edge reside with this new crossover. The Blazer is a unibody design and shares its platform with the GMC Acadia.
GM plans to give the various trims distinct personalities. GM says there will be “additional bright chrome on the Premier trim and a more sinister-looking, blacked-out appearance for the Blazer RS.”
GM listed the following technology highlights for the new Blazer:
-Hitch Guidance — Available on models with the 3.6L engine, it aids in aligning the Blazer’s hitch to a trailer by showing the center line on the rear-vision camera.
-Hitch View — This available feature complements Hitch Guidance by showing a top-down view, making it easier to hitch a trailer without a second person to assist.
-Electronic-locking glove box — A Chevy first, it offers added storage security, and is roomy enough to fit a small handbag. The glove box is locked with the vehicle’s Valet Mode, which is accessible through the Settings menu.
-Automatic heated steering wheel and automatic heated/ventilated front seats — These available features work with Remote Start and/or automatic climate control to automatically adjust temperature to help maintain comfort.
-Comfort-open windows — Activated by the key fob, this feature allows all windows to roll down to help heat escape before occupants enter the vehicle.
-Heated outboard rear seats are available on RS and standard on Premier.
-Adaptive Cruise Control and Rear Camera Mirror are available on RS and Premier2.
-Hands-free power liftgate with Bowtie logo projection is standard on RS and Premier.
-Wireless charging and six USB ports are available.
The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer will be built in Mexico. Terry Dittes, UAW vice president and director to the UAW-GM department issued a press statement as the Chevrolet Blazer launch concluded, saying “This news that the iconic Blazer nameplate will be built in Mexico is disappointing to UAW families and communities across this country," Dittes said. "GM employs over 15,000 production workers in Mexico, pays the workers less than $3 per hour and exports over 80 percent of the vehicles to the U.S. to sell here.”
The new Blazer will go on sale in early 2019. Pricing has not been announced.
Executive Editor / Publisher, GM-Trucks.com
FCA was ready to use multiple commercial spots during this year's Super Bowl to promote the heck out of the all new 2019 RAM. Instead, it has ignited a firestorm over the use of a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr as the background track in a commercial to sell trucks.
The NY Daily News says "Dodge’s Super Bowl ad distorts MLK’s message of service to sell trucks"
Business Insider's headline reads: People hate Dodge Ram's Super Bowl ad, which uses a Martin Luther King speech to sell trucks
The New York Times: Martin Luther King Jr. Commercial for Ram Trucks Is Swiftly Criticized
ABC News Just Put Up An Article From The Associated Press: Ram truck ad using MLK speech draws backlash
A topic discussing this ad on r/Politics on Reddit shows that some people are very outraged.
- I got excited to hear mlk. I was not thrilled it about the selling trucks thing. Terrible idea. - /u/Pm_me_hot_sauce_pics
- Tried sending Dodge an e-mail of my disgust but their server must have crashed. I sure hope thousands of others had the same intent. - /u/seness
- I wanted to ****ing spit at my TV over this shit. There is no American for whom it would be more offensive to use to sell a product with than Dr. King. - /u/RussianTrollHunter
- This just in: corporate America doesn't and never will give a shit about civil rights, truth, or justice. Unless of course that somehow involves you paying them on a generous bi-weekly basis 3/4 of your paycheck, then they'll totally pretend to give a shit about civil society. - /u/Adwokat_Diabla
Watch the ad and see the controversy for yourself. Than let us know what you think below.
Although this ad is getting all of the attention, it wasn't the only ad RAM showed during the Super Bowl. Here's two more that are not getting any flack.....yet.
And the most popular...
General Motors on the other hand, didn't run a Super Bowl ad this year for the 2019 Silverado.
So, what do you think? Did RAM step in it? Or is this all overblown?
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
The information Ram put out for the new 1500 is extremely detailed. Almost overly so. We scoured the available information on the new Ram 1500’s drivetrain and running gear and created a sort of highlight reel on just that tipic for readers to scan. Here is what we found:
- V6 “Pentastar” has 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque.
- V8 “Hemi” has 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque
- eTorque mild hybrid system standard on second generation 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and optional on 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engines. eTorque combines a belt-drive motor generator unit with 48-volt battery pack to enable start/stop function, short-term torque assist and brake energy regeneration and adds up to 90 lb.-ft. of torque to the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and up to 130 lb.-ft. to the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. The eTorque unit also recaptures energy during deceleration and braking to feed charge to the battery pack.
- V8’s Fuel Saver Technology (cylinder deactivation). The engine control computer turns off fuel and spark, and closes the intake and exhaust valves on four of the engine’s eight cylinders during light load operation, such as highway cruising when full power is not needed.
- For the 2019 model year, the Interactive Deceleration Fuel Shut Off (iDFSO) feature that pauses fuel flow to the engine cylinders when the vehicle is decelerating is improved to be active in third gear and higher.
- The HEMI V-8 in the 2019 Ram 1500 benefits from a new 850-watt electric cooling fan using Pulse Width Modulation to tailor the fan’s energy draw to the cooling demand. Eliminating the traditional fan blade mounted to the front of the engine helps improve fuel economy by reducing parasitic losses and fan noise.
- Every 2019 Ram 1500 is equipped with a fully electronic TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with a wide spread of gear ratios that keeps engine rpm in the right range for the task – whether putting in a full day of off-road work or highway cruising. Trucks equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 use an FCA-produced TorqueFlite 850RE transmission. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 uses an upgraded TorqueFlite 8HP75 transmission. Both transmissions use a new generation of computer controllers that process data faster and coordinate transmission operation with the eTorque mild hybrid system. There are more than 40 individual shift maps to optimize shift changes and points for fuel economy, performance and drivability.
Transfer Cases, Axles, 4X4 Gear and Such
- Upgraded for 2019 BorgWarner 48-12 for part-time 4WD operation with Hi and Low ranges; and the BorgWarner 48-11 for on-demand 4WD are available in the 2019 Ram 1500. Both transfer cases engage via a push-button control center-mounted underneath the rotary gear selector on the instrument panel.
- Three final drive ratios are available on 2WD and 4WD models – 3.21, 3.55 and 3.92. Each combination is available with a traditional open or limited-slip differential, which automatically divides torque among the rear wheels to maximize traction available at each wheel.
- New for 2019 is an electronic locking differential, available on 4WD trucks with the 3.21 and 3.55 final drive ratio and lifted suspension, and 2WD and 4WD trucks with the 3.92 ratio with the base or lifted suspension (Rebel and 4x4 Off-road Package). The electronic system gives the driver the ability to lock or unlock the differential on demand, providing maximum traction to the vehicle when needed.
- Also new for 2019 is a Max Tow Package, an option with the 3.92 final drive ratio offering up to 12,750 pounds of towing capability. The Max Tow Package is based around a Dana Super 60 center section and open differential with a 256-millimeter gear set, and uses 35-spline axle shafts. It is available on 2WD trucks powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with eTorque.
Drivetrain Electronic Gadgets
- Heat exchanger system now includes industry-first thermal axle to quickly warm rear axle gear oil, maximizing axle during warm-up
- Hill-descent Control
- AdaptAdaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Go and Hold
- Ready Alert Braking and Trailer-sway Damping control
- LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus alerts and assist the driver with corrective action
- ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park and Hill-start Assist uses ultrasonic sensors to help the driver perform technical maneuvers
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