Announced back in March, the eTorque system for the 2019 Ram 1500 is finally arriving. The revolutionary mild hybrid system takes the place of the truck’s alternator, but also boosts short duration torque that enables the truck’s stop/start system to work much more effectively, thus improving fuel economy.

“We expect a two to three mile per gallon improvement with eTorque,” said Jim Morrison, head of the Ram brand in the United States. Morrison said eTorque will be available on both the Pentastar V6 and the HEMI V8 engines.

The addition of eTorque is just one of several changes designed to improve fuel efficiency and performance in the new Ram half-ton. Ram engineers managed to lighten the truck by 225 pounds, which is a significant weight reduction. It’s a pretty neat feat, considering the truck is still 98 percent high-strength steel, with aluminum used just in the hood and tailgate.

And Ram says the truck is the strongest 1500 ever, with a payload of 2,300 pounds and a towing capacity of 12,700 pounds. And with a new camera system that zooms in on the receiver hitch, it’s easier than ever to back up and connect to your trailer.

The new eTorque system is comprised of a belt-driven motor generator that works with a 48-volt battery pack to enable quick and seamless stop/starts by adding short-duration torque to the crankshaft. The truck still has a 12-volt battery that is fed by the larger battery. In addition to spinning the engine for restarts, the eTorque unit recaptures energy during deceleration and braking to feed charge to the battery pack.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is rated at 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque, and the brawny 5.7-liter HEMI V8 has 395 horses and 410 lb.-ft. of torque. The eTorque system doesn’t actually add to that torque but replaces it for short durations when the engine restarts. Both engines are available without the eTorque system, and both are mated to a new TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission governed by Ram’s rotary dial shifter.

Other fuel-saving engineering on the new Ram includes variable-valve timing, cylinder deactivation and an active front air dam that deploys at 35 miles per hour. Fuel economy figures for the engines with eTorque aren’t yet available, but for the regular HEMI V8, you can expect 17 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg combined. The

“This is a truck that’s proving every day that it is indeed a no-compromise truck,” Morrison told automotive journalists invited to Kentucky to learn more about the truck and its eTorque system.

The truck will be offered in six trims: Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited. Prices for the base Tradesman start at $31,695 and move up to $57,690 for the top end Limited.

The 2019 Ram 1500 has several segment-leading features including 14.9-inch front brakes, a slippery .357 coefficient of drag and an air suspension system that enhances fuel economy and makes for a terrific ride.

The Ram also gets a new 4x4 Off-road Package that includes a one-inch lift, electric lockers, tuned shocks and hill-descent control.

If you know anything about Ram trucks, you won’t be surprised to hear that the new cabin is luxurious and loaded with technology. Real woods and leathers are used in the upper trims, and the Fourth Generation Uconnect system delivers intuitive connectivity. There’s a dynamite new configurable 12-inch touchscreen with split-screen capability. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, and there is an optional Harman Kardon sound system with 19 speakers and 900 watts of sound.

To keep everyone in the truck happy, there are five USB ports, three up front and two in back. There are two 3-pronged 115v plugs, and a third is back in the bed. The Ram also has the largest cab in the segment, which allows a limo-like 45 inches of legroom in the back row. The second row also has eight degrees of recline.

Finally, with better mileage and a larger fuel tank, the new Ram has an estimated highway range of between 600 and 800 miles, depending on configuration. If you hate to stop for fuel like I do, that’s a mighty enticing feature right there.

2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4

Engine:

5.7-liter HEMI V8

Horsepower/Torque:

395/410 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

8-speed automatic

Price:

$53,695

EPA mileage estimates:

17 mpg city/22 mpg highway/19 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

726 miles (with optional 33-gallon tank)