The most notable change in the 2020 Ram 1500 is a new powertrain, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Otherwise, the only changes are aesthetic tweaks to packages and exterior colors following last year's redesign.
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2020 RAM 1500 Overview
Choosing Your RAM 1500
The Ram 1500 comes in six trims: Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Rebel, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited. Prices start at $33,590 including destination for a Tradesman and continue up to $55,110 for a Limited.
The Ram 1500 is available with four engines, none of which have fewer than six cylinders. The base engine is standard across the range, but each other option is available on every trim. The base 3.6-liter V6 and one variant of the 5.7-liter V8 use a mild hybrid system Ram calls "eTorque," which helps boost fuel economy.
|Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque||Fuel Economy (Combined)|
|3.6L eTorque V6||305 hp||269 lb-ft||23 mpg|
|3.0L Turbodiesel V6||260 hp||480 lb-ft||Not Yet Rated|
|5.7L V8||395 hp||410 lb-ft||17 mpg|
|5.7L eTorque V8||395 hp||410 lb-ft||19 mpg|
All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is a $3,500 option across the board.
Although the two V8 engines technically share power specs, the mild hybrid system adds an available 130 lb-ft of torque, giving it the best towing capacity at 12,750 pounds. The turbodiesel nearly keeps up, however, with a max towing capacity of 12,560 pounds.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The Ram 1500 comes with two cab options: Quad Cab or Crew Cab. Both seat up to six, but the Crew Cab gives substantially more room to rear-seat passengers. The Crew Cab becomes standard starting at the Rebel trim.
Two bed lengths are available as well: a 5-foot-7-inch bed or a 6-foot-4-inch option. The Quad Cab is only available with the long box, but the Crew Cab can be had with either.
The Ram 1500 has a good safety record. The NHTSA gave the Crew Cab variant a five-star overall safety rating, and the IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick Plus. The Quad Cab earned four stars from the NHTSA and didn't earn a designation from the IIHS.
Active safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring are available, but only bundled in packages and only on the top four trims. The Rebel trim gains access to these packages for 2020, but Tradesman and Big Horn buyers are still out of luck.
The Ram 1500 Tradesman starts with a 5-inch touchscreen running Ram’s Uconnect infotainment system. It’s basic, but it does have Bluetooth and voice commands.
Most buyers will step up to the 8.4-inch touchscreen available on Big Horn models (and standard on the rest), which also adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. An even larger 12-inch touchscreen is an option.
Aimed primarily at commercial buyers, the Tradesman trim is as basic as it gets. Cloth seats and hard plastics are the standard, although the Tradesman does get keyless entry and a rearview camera.
Most of the packages are equally basic, with a few upgrades for things like bench seats and body color bumpers. More interesting to utilitarians is a spray-in bedliner, which can be had in either the Bed Utility Group ($845) or the Tradesman Group (also $845, with a Class IV receiver hitch).
The Big Horn is the first mainstream model, and it looks the part with 18-inch wheels and chrome bumpers. A leather steering wheel and fog lights come standard, too.
The Big Horn adds a good deal of option flexibility. The 8.4-inch infotainment system is available, but only as part of either Equipment Group. Level 1 ($1,200) adds niceties like power-folding heated mirrors, adjustable lumbar support, and an eight-way power driver’s seat, while Level 2 ($2,400) includes remote start and automatic climate control.
For a sleek all-black look, the simple Night Edition ($1,895) turns everything black and adds in a few power features.
The Laramie trim gets the larger infotainment screen as standard equipment. The driver gets a larger display and memory settings, and the front row is heated and ventilated. Leather upholstery and a nine-speaker audio system are also included.
The Laramie trim opens up the optional safety equipment, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and a surround-view camera. It’s all part of the Advanced Safety Group for $1,695.
To get blind-spot monitoring, buyers will need to add one or both Equipment Groups ($1,695 for Level 1 or $3,595 for Level 2), which also include luxury features like rain-sensing wipers and a remote tailgate.
If the 8.4-inch screen isn’t large enough, a 12-inch unit is available as a standalone option for $2,095.
The Ram 1500 Rebel is aimed at off-road performance, although it’s not quite as focused as specialists like the Ford Raptor. It's available exclusively with all-wheel drive, the Crew Cab, and 5-foot-7-inch bed. The Rebel also gets all-terrain tires, a raised suspension, and an electronic locking rear differential. LED lights and tow hooks are included for good measure.
The Rebel now has access to some active safety tech in the form of the Safety and Convenience Group ($895), but it doesn’t get some of the Laramie’s features, like heated seats. Getting those requires the $2,000 Level 1 Equipment Group.
The Laramie Longhorn gets a few luxury upgrades, including 20-inch wheels, semi-aniline leather, wood trim, and LED lights. But the Longhorn’s real draw is its Western charm, and it offers a few unique exterior colors and styling elements.
It can become a proper luxury truck with the Longhorn Level 1 Equipment Group ($3,895), which adds the 12-inch infotainment screen, wireless charging, a 19-speaker audio system, and more.
The king of the 1500 hill, the Limited trim gets nearly all possible features. This means the largest infotainment screen, blind-spot monitoring, power running boards, an upgraded audio system, and an active suspension.
The active safety tech still isn’t standard though – it remains part of the Active Safety Group ($1,695) or the Limited Level 1 Equipment Group ($2,995).
The 2020 Ram 1500 Big Horn may satisfy many buyers, but the best value for our money is the Laramie. It has all the features we look for in a luxury truck, and it slides in under $50,000 even with the V8, Crew Cab, and all-wheel drive.
2020 RAM 1500 Review
Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
- Downright luxurious top trim
- Burly V8 engine
- Optional turbodiesel motor
- Plush ride
- Generous tech features and options
- Bare base model
- Indistinctive styling
- Expensive top trims
- Firm available air suspension
Truly luxurious. Pickup trucks have always been as seen as bare work vehicles, but the 2020 Ram 1500 defies that trend with bona-fide luxury features on high-end trims.
Premium leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, and two rows of heated and ventilated seats all help the Ram 1500 have one of the nicer cabins in the segment. Beyond the features, the pickup truck’s cabin is cavernous.
The pickup can also be fitted with an enormous 12-inch touchscreen that features FCA’s latest Uconnect system, which is one of the best in the business. Mobile hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wireless charging pad also help raise the truck’s tech credentials.
Impressive diesel powertrain. The 2020 model sees the return of an available 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine. The motor is rated at 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, which compares well to the diesel engines that Ford and Chevrolet offer in their respective full-size trucks. But unlike the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado 1500, the Ram 1500 can tow 12,560 pounds, which bests the other American options.
In addition to being able to two more than the F-150 and the Silverado 1500, opting for the diesel engine in the Ram 1500 is more affordable than the option in Ford and Chevrolet’s trucks. Pricing for a Ram 1500 with the diesel engine starts at $38,585. The cheapest F-150 with a diesel engine is $7,670 more, while a Silverado 1500 with a diesel motor costs $6,615 more.
High safety rating. The Ram 1500 is the only full-size pickup on the market – at least at the time of writing – that earns the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) highest safety rating. The pickup earned a Top Safety Pick Plus, becoming the first full-size pickup to ever win the award.
In the IIHS’ crash tests, the Ram 1500 earned a rating of Good, had available headlights that earned a rating of Good, and had an optional front crash prevention system that earned a Superior rating – meeting all of the necessary requirements for a Top Safety Pick Plus designation.
The top safety rating, though, only applies to a few of the top-ranging trims, including the Laramie Longhorn and Limited. The trims also have to be built after May 2019, as those pickups have LED headlights that earned the required Good rating.
Lackluster fuel economy. Despite mild hybrid powertrains, the Ram 1500 doesn’t really create a massive gap against competitors with non-hybrid power units. Fuel economy for the most efficient Ram 1500 – a 3.6-liter V6 with the eTorque mild-hybrid system – is rated at an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon combined. An F-150 with the EcoBoost V6 is rated at up to 22 mpg, while a Silverado 1500 with a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder can get up to 21 mpg combined.
The Ram 1500’s new EcoDiesel engine earns 26 mpg combined.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Ram 1500 raises the bar for full-size pickup trucks. Offering a plush cabin, plush features that rival full-on luxury vehicles, and cutting-edge tech features, it’s easy to see how the pickup is one of the best on the market. It’s still good at towing, hauling cargo, and heavy-duty jobs, so it’s not like there’s any compromises to deal with.
Ram’s charging a pretty penny for a fully-loaded 1500, which is tough to swallow, as pickup trucks are already more expensive than ever before. And if you decide to go with a base Ram 1500, it’s still a bare-bones work vehicle. But if the only thing we’re complaining about is price, that just reflects how good the pickup is.
When it comes to rivals, the F-150 still has best-in-class towing and payload capacity figures, and the Silverado 1500 is the one to have for urban drivers wanting good fuel economy. The F-150 is also available in the Baja-styled 450-hp Raptor, which is just bonkers.
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