If you’re shopping for a truck and you’ve narrowed down your choices to a Ram pickup, then you’re most of the way through with selecting the right vehicle. Ram’s lineup is pretty streamlined overall since they don’t have any midsize or compact options—unlike competitors like Ford—so you know that a Ram 1500 is going to be a full-size truck that can do some serious work. That being said, you’re still going to find quite a few different options available to you when you head to your local Ram 1500 dealership and check out what they have to offer.
I’m not just talking about trim levels here, though that’s certainly something that you’ll need to look at and consider. Simply focusing on major choices for the right Ram 1500 can actually take a bit of work, since you have several key models to pick from. But don’t worry; I’m here to help with that. Today, I’m going to take you through three of the major Ram pickups available to you, breaking down what each has to offer.
The Ram 1500
If you’re looking for the latest all-around Ram pickup with impressive performance and a luxurious interior, then this is where you should start. When you look at the Ram 1500—without the word “Classic”—you’re checking out the latest generation for this model. That’s a very important distinction, as you’ll see in a bit, and it’s easy to overlook if you’re not used to some of the finer eccentricities of the auto industry.
Let’s start by talking about engines because the 2022 Ram 1500 has four options and three different engines to choose from. The standard engine is a 3.6-L Pentastar V6 that delivers 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, which is a great start plus it comes with an eTorque system to boost torque at low speeds. If you want more power, then there’s an available 5.7-L HEMI V8 engine that gives you 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque—this is offered as a basic engine or with eTorque, so you can choose which you prefer. Finally, if you want a diesel engine, then there’s an available 3.0-L EcoDiesel V6 with 260 horsepower and an impressive 480 lb-ft of torque.
You can see that the engines are all rock-solid and provide you with plenty of muscle for getting the most from your truck. These different engines also deliver different amounts of towing capacity, so they’re an important decision as you choose the model that’s right for you. The standard engine can handle up to 7,730 lbs of towing when properly equipped, while the available HEMI engine boosts that up to 11,610 lbs (or up to 12,750 lbs with the eTorque option). If you go with the diesel engine, then the Ram 1500 can pull up to 12,560 lbs—this means you can handle a trailer weighing more than 12,000 lbs with either a gas or diesel engine.
Ram likes to call their pickup “The most luxurious truck in its class,” and once you start looking at what’s inside, it’s pretty easy to see why. Standard features inside the Ram 1500 include an 8-way power driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, and automatic dual-zone air conditioning. Once you start looking at available features and higher trims, however, you can really see the Ram 1500 shine with a 12” infotainment display, 7” full-color driver information display, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Luxurious materials throughout include premium leather and wood.
The Ram 1500 Classic
At first glance, a word like “Classic” might not seem like it would mean too much, but that would be a very incorrect first glance. In this case, the Ram 1500 Classic is not a trim or special edition but actually the previous Ram truck’s previous generation. With the 2019 model year, Ram launched the fifth generation for their pickup, but the fourth-generation model has remained so popular that they continue to offer it as the Ram 1500 Classic.
Essentially, if you go with the Ram 1500 Classic, you miss out on some of the big updates that have come with the latest generation. You’re still getting a fantastic full-size truck with plenty of power to offer, but if you really want the most recent features, then you’ll want to skip the Classic. For example, the Classic has two engines to offer: a standard 3.6-L Pentastar V6 that gives you 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, or a 5.7-L HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. These are the same two gas engines available on the latest model, but both lack the eTorque system that boosts their performance; plus, there’s no diesel here.
Since this is the model from the last generation and the engines don’t have Ram’s impressive mild-hybrid eTorque technology, they fall behind a bit in terms of towing. With the HEMI engine, the Ram 1500 Classic can handle up to 10,620 lbs of towing, which is a good 2,000 less than the best modern-generation model. If you’re only ever going to be towing 8,000 lbs, then that difference really won’t matter to you—but it’s worth considering if you know you have serious trailering needs that make an extra 2,000 lbs important.
The interior of the Ram 1500 Classic is great, but if you compare it to what you can get in the current generation, it definitely feels a bit older. For example, there’s an available 8.4” infotainment display for the Classic, which is nowhere near as impressive as the portrait-oriented 12” screen you can get in the current Ram 1500. The Classic also comes with an older version of the Uconnect software for the Infotainment system. Finally, there are far fewer trims available for the Classic, which means you have fewer options available—so keep that in mind as you’re shopping.
The Ram 1500 TRX
Some people might look at the TRX as a trim for the Ram 1500, but it’s so significantly different in key ways that it really deserves to be considered as its own model. The big thing to focus on here is that the Ram 1500 TRX is incredibly powerful and fast; this is the model you should focus on if you want to feel like you’re driving a muscle car while in a pickup. It has a unique grille to help boost airflow to the engine, wide fenders to allow for a wider track, and monstrous 35” tires that give it a powerful stance you won’t find on other Ram trucks.
There’s a lot to like about the TRX, but the heart of what makes it different is its engine: a 6.2-L Supercharged HEMI V8 that delivers 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. This is an absolute beast that can take the Ram 1500 TRX from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds and truly elevates the driving experience. The engine is joined by numerous other feats of engineering, including Bilstein Black Hawk shocks that provide 13” of front suspension travel, 14” of rear travel, and nearly 12” of total ground clearance.
All of this comes together to create a truck that’s as at home on the race track as it is on the trail. This is the perfect choice if you want raw power that can also go off-road. Best of all, Ram didn’t skimp on luxury either; the TRX features a flat-bottom steering wheel with aluminum paddle shifters to remind you of the power at your command, leather and carbon fiber throughout the interior, and a souped-up 12” infotainment display. Altogether, the Ram 1500 TRX is certainly more truck than a lot of people need, but it’s something special in a market that’s often flooded with more of the same.