True classic vehicles are hard to come by. While plenty of automakers sport them, they often only make up one or two models, often undergoing incremental change over the course of years. Between vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford F-150, and the Chevy Suburban, the competition among classics is high, especially when so much meticulous attention goes into their design. So, we think it’s time to give the classic Ram truck, the Ram 1500 a full and honest take. Sure, there are other Ram trucks in the family lineup, yet all of them fall in line behind the Ram 1500. The latest, the 2020 Ram 1500, is already a big hit among pickup drivers, but we decided this classic pickup deserves a more thorough examination. From the variety of engine builds purring beneath the hood to the suite of features packed into every model, there is a lot to unpack here, and we’ll do our best to give you an honest perspective of all of it.
Keeping Up with Appearances
Plenty of classic models have reimagined their exterior styling, which in some instances, has been polarizing. Take the Ford F-150, which looks quite different from its predecessors. Some drivers love it, while others are less than satisfied. So, when it comes to modernizing a classic vehicle, you run the risk of designing something that turns potential hopefuls and brand champions away. Yet somehow, Ram has managed to get the best of both worlds with the update of their flagship pickup truck.
The 2020 Ram 1500 is modern without looking overly futuristic and rugged without looking boxy and outdated. It offers a relevant take on the classic pickup, sticking with certain features that made the original model of the early 2000s such a fan favorite. But the Ram 1500 won’t pop out of a crowd for its originality, which may or may not be an issue for potential drivers.
Diversity is the name of the game with the new Ram 1500, as buyers will have a smorgasbord of choices, including the Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited. As a result, you’ll be free to design the Ram pickup truck that fits your unique tastes; and to us, that is hardly an issue. Starting at $31,895 MSRP, the Ram 1500 won’t break the bank either, unless you decide to take things all the way to the top.
Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Like other high-performing pickup competitors, the 2020 Ram 1500 comes with a true litter of powertrain options. Whether you’re looking to turn your pickup truck into a workhorse, or a luxury utility vehicle, the new Ram 1500 can be fitted to whatever you imagine.
Ram starts the show with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that utilizes eTorque. This mild-hybrid technology that helps improve engine power, while at the same time reducing the overall load size of the engine. This means that the onboard V6 is partnered with a 48-volt electric motor and a 0.4-kWh lithium-ion battery that, when put together, expels about 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. This base model engine build will certainly get the job done in most day to day instances, but if you’re looking for something a little beefier, you may want to opt for the 5.7-liter V8, which is the next step up.
The 5.7-liter V8 is no small order, offering a staggering 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft worth of torque. This engine can be either fitted with or without the mild-hybrid eTorque system depending on the flavor of driving that you’re looking for. This V8 may be at the top of the hill in terms of sheer power; there is a smaller alternative that packs a serious punch. When you purchase a 2020 Ram 1500 model, you’ll also get the option of a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine that makes 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft worth of torque, which promises a breathtaking 12,560 towing capacity. That said, this smaller turbodiesel engine still underperforms the V8, which can tow a maximum of 12,750 pounds.
All powertrain layouts are supported by an 8-speed automatic transmission, which is quick off the jump and smooth in sliding up to higher and higher gears. When you purchase the standard model, you’ll be getting rear-wheel drive; however, if you want something a little more versatile, you can opt instead for four-wheel drive. That said, you shouldn’t let the option of a four-wheel drivetrain fool you, even when specked as the most off-road capable version of itself, the Ram 1500 isn’t a dirt-devil. You’ll certainly get a solid thrill from a higher-suspension, rugged off-road tires, and an electronic locking rear differential, but you’ll find yourself struggling to compete with other trail-rated pickup trucks.
Power and Style
The 2020 Ram 1500 isn’t all about power; there is plenty of class and luxury packed into even the entry-level model. For starters, the new Ram 1500 comes in an extended and crew cab configuration, which means you can design a pickup better rated for cargo or passenger transport. No matter which cab option you get, interior luxuries are pretty basic, including cloth upholstery, and plenty of plastics. We weren’t all too surprised by this, as plenty of competitor pickup trucks offer a similar layout for their standard models as they’re typically meant to be used as work-centric vehicles.
Although, if you’re looking for greater interior luxuries, the 2020 Ram 1500 certainly has plenty to spare. Step up to the Laramie trim, for instance, and you get leather seats that are both heated and cooled, a sprawling digital infotainment cluster, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. At the top-of-the-line Limited trim, drivers will find a dazzling 12-inch display, genuine wood accents, and soft feeling semi-aniline leather.
Ram stays consistent with competitor pickup trucks in terms of safety features as well. Base models get the bare-bones basics, which include airbags, a rearview camera, and anti-lock brakes. Although, it is a short jump to get a more robust safety package, which can include features like blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, lane departure warnings, and automatic high-beam headlights.
We’d have liked to see all of these advanced safety features standard on the 2020 Ram 1500, but we’re not all too surprised some are not. The base model of the Ram 1500 is meant for all work and no play, and plenty of drivers like it that way.
Our Final Opinion on the 2020 Ram 1500
The Ram 1500 doesn’t revolutionize anything; it doesn’t take any dramatic chances or make any polarizing choices. It is a pickup truck, plain and simple, that sports the kind of power one should be able to expect, with the option of bells and whistles that turn it into either a luxury-class vehicle or an off-road aficionado. And for the most part, that is why we like it. Far too often, other pickup models try to cater to all kinds of drivers; the 2020 Ram 1500 knows who its target audience is and sticks to it. Whether you’re looking for remarkable power and towing capacity, or a comfortable ride in a vehicle with a sizeable truck bed set behind it, you’ll find it all in the 2020 Ram 1500, a truck designed for any kind of driver.