The world of full-sized pickup trucks, which are the best-selling vehicles in North America, has become very interesting. These once purely utilitarian vehicles have become much more, and nothing highlights their growing popularity quite as well as the booming after-manufacture add-on market.
When the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck was unveiled in Detroit in 2018, it became one of our most-read stories from the show. Not long afterwards, we got the chance to drive the truck in Arizona at a drive event. Then we drove the Rebel model and the Limited model with its huge infotainment screen as daily sleds for a week. Our latest drive, though, gave us a new appreciation of the true utility of a pickup truck as we got to know a 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn model tricked out by Fiat Chrysler’s Mopar division.
Mopar is the in-house accessory arm of the Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Truck brands of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The name comes from a combination of “motor parts” (though enthusiasts often make the “need MO PARts” joke). Most of what Mopar does is offer parts for fitment to vehicles either by the customer or at dealerships upon sale. A large number of those parts are accessories for pickup trucks like the Ram 1500.
The 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn that we drove for a week included a host of Mopar’s most popular accessories for the truck. After using them, we can see why. From small things like the added protective door sill guards (US$205) to the added grab handles for easier access to the truck ($55), it’s easy to see how the small things can add up here. And not just in cost, but in usefulness. Big things, though, are what get noticed.
Our truck was fitted with the popular Ram Airflow cold-air intake ($925) and Cat-back exhaust system ($1,710), which team up to create a beautiful rumble from the engine and add a little more grunt to the throttle. The 5-inch black exhaust tips ($395) help accent that upgrade for the viewing public.
Also standing out on the Ram 1500 with Mopar upgrades are the beadlock-ready wheels ($425 each), off-road running boards ($995), 2-inch lift ($1,350), off-road wheel flares ($499), and the large RamBar rollbar ($995) and its 5-inch LED off-road lights ($1,190). The latter includes installation to hook up to an interior switch left of the steering wheel. These are useful additions, for those who off-road a lot. They also make the truck look badass.Not so easily seen, though, are some highly practical upgrades that fit a lot of use scenarios. In the truck’s bed, for example, is Mopar’s popular storage system ($1,400) that adds two lockable, heavy-duty, long drawers to the bed. These slide out when the tailgate is down and allow access to a lot of easy-use storage for camping, climbing, hunting, or other equipment, as needed. Atop those drawers is a flat platform that runs on top of the wheel wells and that is capable of holding as much weight as the bed itself. This platform is perfectly designed to accept an ATV or a couple of motorcycles. It’s difficult to explain how useful this storage system and platform can be without one having actually used it. But it’s important to note that while the drawers have their own lock and key, they also cannot be accessed unless the tailgate is down and when the tailgate is up and the truck’s doors are locked, so is the tailgate. So essentially, whatever is in those (now hidden) drawers is protected by two sets of locks.
Speaking of locks, inside is another interesting Mopar add-on. The center console storage bin, which is cavernous, can have a hidden safe added inside. This upgrade (the price wasn’t listed) creates a metal safe box with enough room inside for a wallet, phone, or a few valuables.
A few other upgrades from Mopar included Katzkin leather seats ($1,365), a wireless phone charger ($250), and all-weather floor mats ($165). A Mopar hood graphic ($100) finished the look of our blue truck.
This sampling of the hundreds of products available for the 2019 Ram 1500 showed us what kind of things can be done with a pickup truck. The package we tried, for example, added a lot of off-pavement capability to the truck, boosted its (off)street cred considerably, and added secure and useful storage options that took the truck from utilitarian to downright useful. The ability to load expensive climbing, camping, or hunting gear in the storage bins without fear of them being seen (and thus stolen) is a big confidence boost. The RamBar lights help in tricky situations and the little additions (grab handles, floor mats, etc) really stack up on the daily use front.
The realm of possibilities for pickup trucks is mind boggling, which explains their popularity. Every make, including Ford and Chevrolet, have accessories that can be added at the dealership or in the owner’s garage in a way similar to what we saw on this Ram truck. A wealth of functionality and customization is available for pickup trucks today and it’s a big reason for their high sales totals.