It joins an illustrious lineup of past winners: the Corvette Stingray in 2014, the Volvo XC90 in 2015, the Acura NSX in 2016, the Porsche Panamera in 2017, and the Kia Stinger in 2018.
There’s no debate: 2019 was a big year for pickup trucks. The Detroit Big Three — General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — each relaunched or refreshed their flagship full-size pickups and brought them to market.
We drove them all, and we decided that while they were all great, the RAM 1500 was the best. Beyond that, we concluded that the RAM 1500 was the most impressive and important vehicle we drove all year long.
In the six years that Business Insider has been naming a Car of the Year, we’ve proclaimed several sports cars and high-performance sedans the big winner, along with a large SUV.
But a few years ago we started reviewing many more pickups. We found that these hugely popular vehicles, once relegated to work on ranches, farms, and jobsites, were offering a premium experience to rival certain luxury cars, performance on par with sports cars and cutting-edge technology. And they could still haul thousands of pounds and tow thousands more.
And from a business perspective, tricked-out trucks have filled Detroit coffers with cash, enabling GM and FCA to put their 2009 bankruptcies in the rearview and allowing Ford to invest billions in a restructuring effort.
The Ford F-150 has been America’s best-selling vehicle every year since the Reagan administration. Chevy’s Silverado and GMC’s Sierra are often neck and neck with the Ford. But the RAM 1500 is special.
It’s the most plush-driving and provocatively designed full-size pickup on sale today, making it the perfect full-size for the modern buyer. But it’s hardly a pickup for pretenders. Its specs are robust, and its signature feature — a four-wheel independent suspension — has proved itself over the years for durability and performance.
In choosing a Car of the Year, our methodology is based on a handful of simple questions.
- Is there a strong business case for the vehicle? We are a business site, after all.
- Did our reviewers agree that the vehicle should be included? We have to come to a consensus, even though we might disagree on some particulars.
- Was the vehicle objectively excellent? There has to be a wow factor of some sort.
- Did the vehicle stand out from the sea of competition, particularly when it comes to technology? A Car of the Year finalist has to be special, and we’re also a technology site.
- Can we strongly recommend buying or leasing the car? We demand to know whether we’d buy the vehicle ourselves if we had the resources.
To be eligible, all models must be new or have been substantially updated within the past year.
The RAM 1500 checks all these boxes, and brings a new factor to the party: We’d never before included a pickup as a Car of the Year finalist. And when we did, it won the big trophy on its first attempt.
The competition was stiff — heck, the RAM beat out both Lamborghini’s first-ever SUV and the revamped Porsche Cayenne, not to mention two Mercedes-Benzes — but in the end, we agreed that the RAM 1500 was simply a spectacular effort in every way. Our minds were blown. The pickup truck has been redefined in the 21st century. And the RAM 1500 is leading the way.