Auto Review: 2019 RAM 1500 Express (Black Pack)

IT’S big, black and loved by men and women alike. From its massive physique to its unbridled power, this beast is made for work or play. Introducing the Black Pack edition of the 2019 RAM 1500 Express.

Everywhere we took the big RAM, it drew attention. We’re not really sure if that was for its sheer size, or the burble from the 5.7-litre HEMI V8, but there’s little doubt it’s a behemoth that could most likely move mountains if it was challenged.

It’s no ute either. Sure it’s shaped similar to one, but it’s a truck. It’s bigger, tougher and much more imposing than a standard dual cab, that’s for sure. At a little over 2-metres wide, 5.8-metres long and 1.9-metres high, there’s no denying that.

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Steering in the RAM 1500 Express is well behaved and light, while the suspension soaks up city bumps effortlessly. The big 8-cylinder power plant is is admirably fuel efficient, with fuel economy sitting between 12.0 and 13.8-litres, depending on how hard you push.

On the freeway, the RAM is just a comfortable cruiser. Turn the tunes up and relax into the driver’s seat and let it cruise effortlessly at 110km/h. Press the accelerator and the Express springs to life, with plenty of overtaking power.

Our Black Pack RAM 1500 was fitted with a sports exhaust, and oh what a note. Deep and burbly, and just begging us to push the go pedal harder and harder to hear the RAM ask for more. It really is a tonne of fun to drive.

Delivering 291kW of power and 556Nm of torque, the 2019 RAM 1500 Express is fitted with a 121-litre fuel tank, and offers 4.5-tonne towing capacity. The only downside was that we didn’t have a cruise ship to tow around to test it out.

The other standout feature is the RAMBOX cargo management system, which provides deep compartments on each side of the tray, that are not only lockable, but have lighting as well (handy for doing stuff at night).

It’s a brilliant idea, especially for tradies and those who tow a caravan around a lot, and there’s plenty of room in them. We’ve got to say big props to the people at RAM Trucks for this very cool addition.

The tray space is pretty damn good too, at 1.9-metres in length and 1.29-metres in width between the wheel arches. That pretty much means you can fit a full sized pallet in there.

All-in all, the RAM 1500 Express Black Pack is a tough looking truck. As the name suggests, every detail, from the grille to the sidesteps and rims has been blacked out. Combined with black metallic paint, it looks stunningly good, especially in the sun.

Inside, the cabin is comfortable and functional. We were worried that the small infotainment system wouldn’t be up to the task, but it did okay, and although we’d have liked a bigger screen, it was easy enough to use. The sound system is very good too.

Seat coverings are durable cloth, but quite comfortable to sit in, and there’s plenty of room in the quad cab to fit the whole family, without being cramped. It sounds a bit ‘captain obvious’ we know, but it’s impressive.

The controls are readily accessible for pretty much everything, and while the dash is simple, it’s user friendly. Only the blinkers and wipers sit on a single lever on the left hand side of the steering wheel, with a foot pedal hand brake for parking.

Both take a little getting used to (especially when there’s a pull handle to release the hand brake), but neither are mission critical issues when considering the RAM 1500 as your next vehicle.

The 2019 RAM Trucks 1500 Express Black Pack comes into Australia as a left-hand drive vehicle, before being re-manufactured by American Special Vehicles on behalf of RAM Trucks Australia.

The process is completed in a world class facility that has the authorisation and full support of RAM Trucks in the USA, and is the only operation of its kind in the world.

There are downsides to the big unit though, and parking is one of them. It’s easy enough to actually park, but its huge. Consideration needs to be given to where you’re going to park it, not just from a height perspective, but length and girth as well.

We tested parking out at Westfield Hornsby in Sydney’s north and let’s just say, it was an experience. It’s very easy to manoeuvre but because of its length, it hung out quite far in the spot we slotted ourselves into.

As far as pricing goes, the 2019 RAM 1500 Express starts at just under $80,000 drive away, and you’ll need to add a little extra for the Black Pack. It’s great value for such a large and capable vehicle.

It doesn’t really have a direct competitor, except maybe the Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series, at least not yet. If rumours that the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan could potentially be headed down under are true, it could be game on.

Our test vehicle was provided by RAM Trucks Australia. To find out more about the 2019 RAM 1500 Express Black Pack, contact your local RAM Trucks dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - you can pull a small village with it; owns the road; HEMI V8; well mannered; your mates will love you.
Cons - parking is painful if you need to fit in tight spaces; sheer size tends to freak people out.
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> you can pull a small village with it; owns the road; HEMI V8; well mannered; your mates will love you.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> parking is painful if you need to fit in tight spaces; sheer size tends to freak people out.Auto Review: 2019 RAM 1500 Express (Black Pack)