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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2018 Ram 1500 Limited

      Taking a look at the outgoing model one last time

    It feels somewhat weird to be writing a review of the 2018 Ram 1500 as the 2019 model begins to slowly roll out to dealers. Ram is trying their best get the 2018s out the door. At the time of this writing, Ram is offering up to $12,356 bonus cash on certain 1500 models. Seems very tempting, but are there some other reasons to consider the older 1500 over the new one?

    • Design is very subjective. One person may like the design of a vehicle, while the another may think it is quite ugly. Case in point, I’m not a fan of 2019 Ram 1500. The new shape makes the Ram look like any other pickup truck on sale. At least the 2018 model still retains the big-rig styling that was introduced with the 1994 Ram 1500. The front end is in your face with a large grille, square headlights, and muscular hood. The side profile shows off a set of 20-inch wheels standard on the Limited and the optional RamBox storage system.
    • That isn’t to say the 2018 Ram 1500 doesn’t have design issues either. The Limited trim swaps the standard crosshair grille for one that features ‘RAM’ in big letters. It is just a bit much and doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the truck.
    • Since our last review of the Ram 1500 in 2016, not much has changed in the interior. It still has one of cleanest layout for controls and material quality is quite high. Some will snicker at the belt-buckle seat pockets and a ‘Limited’ badge stitched in the center console, but thankfully those touches are only on the higher end models.
    • I do wish Ram would put in a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel as it would make easier to find a comfortable driving position. The adjustable pedals alleviate this issue somewhat.
    • One change I was glad to see was the newest version of UConnect being installed on the 2018 model. This brings an updated interface and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The new interface makes UConnect even easier to use with clearer text and brighter screen. Integration with Apple CarPlay is one the best as it only took a few seconds for the system to find my phone and bring up the CarPlay interface.
    • If you decide to go with the Limited, the only engine on offer is the 5.7L HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive complete the powertrain. Those wanting other options will need to drop down to one of the lower trims.
    • On paper, the HEMI V8 seems like a capable performer with close to 400 horsepower. On the road, the HEMI doesn’t quite match up to those expectations. Despite having a muscle car snarl when accelerating, the HEMI V8 is noticeably slower than competitors. As an example, the Ram 1500 took a few ticks longer to hit 70 mph than the previous GM or Toyota full-size trucks I have driven. I cannot pinpoint the possible culprit to this, but I have the feeling the truck’s curb weight and the eight-speed automatic play a role.
    • EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Ram 1500 with the HEMI V8 and four-wheel drive are 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. My average for the week landed at 14.7 mpg in mostly city driving.
    • Ram still holds an edge when it comes to the ride quality. The coil-spring setup for the rear suspension gives the truck a ride quality more akin to a sedan with most bumps being smoothed over. This truck also came with an optional air suspension which lowers the truck at highway speeds to improve fuel economy. It also makes getting in and out of the Ram 1500 slightly easier.
    • One item I hope Ram has improved with the 2019 model is the steering. The system used in the 2018 Ram 1500 is quite slow and light, meaning it takes more effort to do simple tasks such as pulling into a parking spot.
    • The Ram 1500 Limited is only available in one configuration - Crew Cab, 5’7” cargo bed, 5.7L HEMI V8, and 4WD. Base price is $56,375, with our test truck coming in at $63,870. For most folks, I would recommend dropping down to the likes of the Big Horn or Laramie as they offer more configuration options in terms of powertrains, cabs, and features.
    • Aside from the deep discounts being on offer for the 2018 Ram 1500, deciding whether to go for the old or new model will come down to personal desires. For some, seeing the various improvements and the shiny new body will draw them towards the 2019 model. For others, the deep discounts and being a proven product will bring them over to the 2018 model. I fall into the latter category at the moment, but it might change whenever I get the chance to drive the 2019 Ram 1500.

    Disclaimer: Ram Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2018
    Make: Ram
    Model: 1500
    Trim: Limited
    Engine: 5.7L HEMI VVT V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 395 @ 5,600
    Torque @ RPM: 410 @ 3,950 
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17
    Curb Weight: 5,387 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
    Base Price: $53,595
    As Tested Price: $63,870 (Includes $1,395 Destination Charge and $300 Suede Headliner Delete Credit)

    Options:
    Limited Package 26V - $3,200.00
    Limited Tungsten Edition - $1,825.00
    Ram Box Cargo Management System - $1,295.00
    Power Sunroof - $1,095.00
    Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover - $595.00
    Anti-Spin Differential Rear Axle - $435.00
    Single Disc Remote CD Player $345.00
    Trailer Brake Control - $295.00
    3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $95.00



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    Very cool and informative write up, I totally agree that the style is very subjective and right now this 2019 blends in with the rest of the truck industry compared to the big rig look of last years.

    The grill on this black tester makes me think you could easily take out those two small sections on each side and use it for cold air ram induction on a TTV8 motor like the hell cat charger has done for this year. 

    Yea I know they have those fake hood scoops or at least I think they are fake. @William Maley Are those hood scoops real or fake?

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    Posted

    I don't like the nose on the new one... somehow looks older than this truck

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      Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Forte, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
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      Make: Kia 
      Model: Forte
      Trim: EX
      Engine: 2.0L Multi-Port DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 147 @ 6,200
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      Curb Weight: 2,903 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Pesqueria, NL, Mexico
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      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The Kia Forte could never claim to be the best compact car, but its low price and a long list of equipment made it an interesting alternative choice to the stalwarts of the compact class. This approach has worked well with the Forte becoming one of the brand’s best selling models. Kia wants to change the fortunes of the Forte with third-generation by not fully relying on price and value.  I spent a week in the top-line EX Launch Edition to see how it fares.
      The new Mazda3 is considered by many to be the sexiest compact car on sale. Running a close second is the Forte. Elements of the Stinger are used throughout such as power bulge on the hood, headlights that extend into the fenders, and sculpting along the side. The only place where the design falters is in the rear with a set of triangular pods housing the reversing lights and turn signals. They ruin the elegant and upscale look Kia is trying to go for.
      The Forte’s interior at first glance may look somewhat plain, with only a set of circular vents and a strip of faux metal trim running across the dash being the interesting bits. But Kia has done its homework in building a high-quality interior. Almost all of the plastics used are soft-touch and feature different textures to make the vehicle look and feel more expensive than the actual price. Clever touches such as dual-zone climate control being standard on all models and a two-tier bin allowing you and a passenger to place their phones also set the Forte apart.
      The EX features leatherette upholstery, a 10-way power seat for the driver, and heat/ventilation for those sitting up front. I found the seats to be very easy to find a comfortable position, along with providing excellent support for long trips. The back seat is mixed with a decent of legroom, but headroom being somewhat at a premium due to an optional sunroof for those above six-feet.
      All Fortes come with an 8-inch touchscreen as standard with Kia’s UVO infotainment system. Navigation is only available on the EX if you order the Launch Edition package. The current incarnation of UVO is starting to look somewhat old in terms of the interface. It cannot be beaten for the overall ease of use with large touchpoints, simple menu layout, and physical shortcut buttons underneath the screen. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration is standard across the board.
      Power comes from a 2.0L four-cylinder engine pumping out 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. The base FE gets a six-speed manual, while higher trims use a CVT. The powertrain goes about its business surprisingly well around down with the engine providing decent pull and the CVT mimicking an automatic transmission. But this powertrain falters when you need to get up to speed quickly. The engine runs out of steam when going above 60 mph and there is a noticeable drone coming from the CVT.
      Fuel economy in the 2019 Kia Forte EX is rated at 30 City/40 Highway/34 Combined. My average for the week landed around 33.
      The Forte really shines when it comes to ride quality. Despite having a slightly stiffer ride compared to the last-generation model, the sedan glides over most bumps with no issue. Road and wind noise were about average for the class, and could easily be drowned out by turning up the volume slightly. Handling is about average for the class with a slight amount of body lean and steering providing decent weight.
      To sum up, the large effort Kia has put into the 2019 Forte shows. The combination of styling, a long list of features, balance between ride and handling, and a surprising base price make it a real threat in the compact car class. The only item that needs to be addressed is the engine - ten extra horsepower and torque could make the difference. 
      How I would configure a 2019 Kia Forte 
      While the EX Launch Edition does provide some desirable features such as adaptive cruise control, QI wireless charging, and a Harman/Kardon audio system, I would drop down to the mid-level S. At $20,290, you’re getting a lot of equipment such as 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and keyless entry. I would add the $1,200 S Premium Package to get LED headlights, automatic high beams, and a power sunroof. With destination, the price comes to $22,415. Alternatives to the 2019 Kia Forte
      Hyundai Elantra: Mechanically similar to the Forte, albeit with a face that will scare small kids. Two turbo engine options - one focused on the economy while the other is for sport - might be attractive to some. Honda Civic: Drives slightly better than the Forte and offers more body styles. But lower reliability scores and confounding infotainment systems may cause you to look elsewhere. Chevrolet Cruze: While it lacks a number of features found on the Forte, it does offer a slightly smoother and quieter ride. Plus, dealers are starting to push a lot of cash on the hoods to get them moving.   
      Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Forte, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Kia 
      Model: Forte
      Trim: EX
      Engine: 2.0L Multi-Port DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 147 @ 6,200
      Torque @ RPM: 132 @ 4,500 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 30/40/34
      Curb Weight: 2,903 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Pesqueria, NL, Mexico
      Base Price: $21,990
      As Tested Price: $26,220 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      EX Launch Edtion - $3,210.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00
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