Much like thoroughbred sports cars, pickup trucks like the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn ooze character and pump their owners full of attitude—and, as I recently found out, this can sometimes be a really bad thing. Unless, of course, you're El Chapo.
From the very beginning, pickup trucks were born to do heavy work, to do things cars can't and be driven by people who saw them as little more than work tools. At some point, the lines blurred, and trucks became rolling pride for owners, a representation of all they stood for. Before long, pickup trucks evolved into extravagant, luxurious giants, swathed in pearlescent paints and flashes of chrome. They also got bigger, heavier, more capable, and eventually so comfortable that people (myself included) began to use them as everyday grocery getters.
If you're looking for this pickup truck—the large, durable daily—the 2019 Ram 1500 is an excellent choice. Unfortunately, if you opt for the luxurious Laramie Longhorn trim and you live in a southern border state, you may very well be confused for a narcotraficante.
See, much like the ranchers to whom the Laramie Longhorn caters, cartel members in Mexico's northern states live a similar cowboy life. They suit up with Wranglers, snake-skin boots, custom-engraved belt buckles, cowboy hats, and nickel-plated Smith & Wessons. The majority of narcos are raised by underprivileged parents in rural Mexico, and like most good ol' Texas boys who grow up at the family ranch, they dream of owning something cool and mighty—something like a kitted-out pickup truck and a big gun.
And let's just say that some people go to great lengths to acquire these.
How do I know this? I grew up in Mexico, and I spent a good chunk of my life in South Texas, where pickup trucks, the Alamo, and Buc-ee's is life.
As if the name "Longhorn" wasn't enough, my tester came dressed in the official color of a southern truck: a two-tone combination of white and brown, or an Ivory Tri-Coat top with Walnut Brown Metallic bottom, to be specific.
If you travel anywhere between San Antonio and Laredo, Texas, you will see hundreds of these two-tone behemoths rolling down the highway, most of them transporting goods between supply stores and larger-than-life ranches. Some of them, however, transport different kinds of cargo.
Further adding to the cowboy look are the wheels of the thing, a set of hefty 20-inch wheels finished in polished aluminum with custom-painted inserts in Walnut Brown Metallic. Ya know, to match the boots.
While three oversized Laramie Longhorn Edition badges adorn the sides and rear of the truck, it's not the exterior that reaches peak narco, because that honor belongs to the interior of the truck.
Gold accents, engraved bezels, belt-buckles, branded wood (yes, like cattle), tribal patterns, and even barbed wire imagery make the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn the pickup truck that Mexican drug kingpin truck Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman would drive if wasn't in jail. After all, he always had an affinity for pickup trucks and American sheet metal.
There are so many over-the-top characteristics about this specific trim of the 1500 that it's actually quite difficult to wrap your mind around them at first sight. For starters, the Mountain Brown interior color scheme is bam! right in your face. Not only is it very brown, but it's the plethora of textures and materials that are mind-boggling. Even items that aren't supposed to have textures have textures, like the center screen in the gauge cluster with leather-like graphics.
The matte gold accents used generously across the cabin are the ultimate in narco-decor, looking straight out of a belt buckle that reads something like "Sinaloa Cartel." This gold metal (and plastic in some parts) can be found across the dash, door panels, center console, and most vividly, in the gauge cluster (more on this later). Heck, even the key fob has gold accents. And while it's most definitely not my kind of thing, or anyone else I showed the truck to for that matter, Ram deserves credit for creating something 100 percent original.
Then, there are the belt buckles and tribal patterns on the seats. Ram utilizes legit, miniature belt buckles to garnish the map pockets found behind the driver and passenger seats. These aren't plain-Jane buckles either, these boast complex engravings worthy of a high-ranking member of the Familia, while the pockets themselves are riveted and stitched like a horseman's saddle. If the belt buckles and the gold trimmings don't make you feel like you're in the Sonora Desert, maybe the tribal patterns stitched on the front and rear seats will. These odd patterns are the very first things a passenger sees when opening the door, and in my experience, quickly help build a first impression of the Laramie Longhorn.
There are two specific design characteristics that make this truck the Chapomobile: the engraving on the speedo and tachometer bezels (also found on the thin line of gold trim that runs throughout the entire cabin), and the embossed alligator skin pattern leather on the armrest and doors. These items, above all, perfectly resemble the guns and boots narcos are known for. You know, the silver and gold Colt 1911s with engraved handgrips and bedazzled barrels. I'm fully convinced that somewhere out there, there's a gun with a nearly identical design.
In the midst of all this nonsense, the open-pore barn-wood used throughout isn't only gorgeous to look at, but it feels incredible to the touch. During a recent trip to Las Vegas to experience the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty, a spokesperson explained that Ram sources its woods from the same vendor as Bentley and Aston Martin—and it shows. This stuff is top notch.
Aside from the fact that the interior theme is overwhelmingly gimmicky, there isn't anything technically wrong with the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn. Its 5.7-liter Hemi V8 produces a silky-smooth 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque good for towing up to 12,750 pounds of whatever your line of work, legal or illegal, mandates. The $1,795 optional four-corner air suspension keeps things controlled and comfortable at all times, while the active noise-control system magically allows a proletarian to ride like a Rolls-Royce.
Lastly, there's the price tag. If you're not sitting on stacks upon stacks, you'll have to figure something out stat, because all of this narco glam will set you back a staggering $68,590, and that doesn't even include every single option on the catalog.