RAM 1500 vs. RAM 2500

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - June 9, 2020

Ram is a unique brand in that it focuses almost entirely on one thing: pickup trucks. 2019 marked an important year for Ram; traditionally a third-place seller behind Ford and Chevrolet, Ram finally overtook Chevy for second place.

With Ram trucks gaining momentum, we took a look at their two top sellers, the Ram 1500 and the Ram 2500, to find out which is best.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Ram 1500 & the Ram 2500 »

What the Ram 1500 Gets Right

It may carry the smaller number in its name, but the Ram 1500 isn’t necessarily the smaller truck. The Ram 1500’s cabin has about the same amount of head room and leg room as the Ram 2500 in Crew Cab configuration. A base Ram 1500 comes with a five-seat Quad Cab instead of the Ram 2500’s two-door Regular Cab.

The interior is one of our favorites in a full-size truck. Especially in upper trims like the Laramie, details like wood trim and an available 12-inch touchscreen elevate the Ram 1500 above much of its competition. Compared to the Ram 2500, the baby Ram offers all that luxury at a relative bargain.

Unlike the heavy-duty Ram 2500, the Ram 1500 has been tested for safety and fuel economy. It scored fairly well on both. Upper trims with upgraded headlights and automatic emergency braking earned the IIHS’s first Top Safety Pick Plus awarded to a pickup. Meanwhile, the Ram 1500's available 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine gets an impressive 26 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA, while the base engine achieves 23 mpg combined.

What the Ram 2500 Gets Right

The Ram 2500 provides many of the same virtues as the Ram 1500, but with more grunt. The starting point is a 6.4-liter V8 making a considerable 410 horsepower, but the king of the hill is a 6.7-liter turbodiesel pumping out 850 pound-feet of torque.

With the right body and drive configuration, that’s enough to tow nearly 20,000 pounds – the Ram 1500 maxes out at 12,750 pounds. The diesel engine adds a significant premium, but with the V8 engine, a Ram 2500 is only a few thousand more expensive than an equivalent Ram 1500.

Adding to the Ram 2500’s resume is the impressive Power Wagon trim, which swaps on 33-inch tires and an off-road suspension to make it a go-anywhere truck. It’s more capable than the Ram 1500’s Rebel trim – and it looks better, too.

The Cost of Capability

For power users, this is an easy decision. If you regularly tow more than 10,000 pounds, you’ll probably want the Ram 2500. That’s not a bad thing, given how livable and versatile the Ram 2500 is. But for many consumers, that much power is overkill. The Ram 1500 provides the same excellent interior with better efficiency at a much lower price.

Our Verdict: Ram 1500

These are two different trucks for two different buyers. The Ram 2500 is comfortable and luxurious for how powerful it is, and the fearsome Power Wagon has our heart. But for the majority of buyers, the Ram 1500 does the trick nicely. The Laramie trim is our pick of the litter as a versatile full-size truck with strong value.

Take a closer look at the Ram 1500 »

Take a closer look at the Ram 2500 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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