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.