Oldie, but is it a goodie?: When RAM released the all-new 1500 pickup in 2019, it had one clear gap: There was no single-cab variant. RAM kept ahold of the last-gen 1500, which was available as a single, quad, or crew cab, and rebadged it the RAM 1500 Classic to fill the vacant slot.

Through 2021, the RAM 1500 Classic remains a cheaper, smaller option for RAM 1500 buyers who don’t need four doors – though it’s still available as a four-door, further confusing everyone.

Find out if this last-gen pickup is a worthy option or just a forgettable gap-filler in the RAM lineup below.

Big savings but an old-school look: The 2021 RAM 1500 Classic starts from just $30,395 (destination fees included), giving it more than an $8,000 price advantage over the base RAM 1500. While it’s a great value compared to its newer sibling, it’s only a few hundred bucks cheaper than the base Chevy Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150.

The word “Classic” in the name really means something – and it’s not a good thing. RAM based this pickup on the last-generation 1500, which dates back to the Dodge Ram days. Let’s just say it’s a little bit dated relative to its competitors.

However, the RAM 1500 Classic is the only way to get a two-door RAM 1500. The new RAM is available as a four-door model only.

Potent engines with an old-school feel and old-school fuel consumption: The 2021 RAM 1500 Classic goes old-school with its engines, boasting a 305-horsepower standard 3.6-liter V6 or a 395-hp HEMI 5.7-liter V8. No electrification, no turbocharging. Just classic, American muscle.

This all sounds good to the average gearhead, but these old-school engines come up short in several ways. The base V6 is more powerful than the F-150 or Silverado’s base engine, but its fuel economy tops out at just 20 miles per gallon combined.

The F-150 and RAM 1500 with their base V6 engines beat it by 1 and 2 mpg combined, respectively. The Silverado’s base V6 is the only one that loses to the RAM 1500 Classic at 17 mpg combined.

This peak fuel economy gap grows as you move into more advanced engines the RAM 1500 Classic lacks, like turbo-diesel engines. Respectively, the F-150, Silverado 1500, and RAM 1500 offer up to 23 mpg, 27 mpg, and 26 mpg combined with their turbo-diesel options.

The F-150 has an added twist with its hybrid variant that delivers up to 25 mpg combined.


Ram 1500 Classic

Limited standard features: The 2021 RAM 1500 Classic shows its low pricing when you start checking out its standard features. The base Tradesman trim comes standard with only the basics, including a 5-inch touchscreen, the Uconnect 3 infotainment system, a six-speaker audio system, and not a dab of advanced safety tech.

While its RAM 1500 younger sibling isn’t much better in terms of fun tech, it at least has available advanced safety gear like automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and more. The real value comes in the Ford F-150 with its standard 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in-truck Wi-Fi, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, and automatic high beams.

The Silverado 1500 isn’t far behind the F-150 with its 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Automatic emergency braking remains an option on the Silverado.

Final thoughts: Unless you really need a two-door RAM or a few extra ponies from the base V6, there’s no true benefit to buying the RAM 1500 Classic.

The Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado 1500 offer superior features at just a few hundred dollars more. Plus, the F-150 includes loads of standard safety gear and a slew of engine options to fit just about any driver’s needs.

Check prices for the 2021 Ram 1500 Classic »