Light-duty pickup trucks are more popular than ever, and two of the biggest truck makers in the industry are not content to rest on their laurels. Two of the flagship truck models, the Ram 1500 and the Chevy Silverado 1500, underwent recent makeovers, and both manufacturers are battling hard to become the market leader in the truck industry. These new trucks are more drivable than their older relatives, and feature roominess, creature comforts, and safety and entertainment systems that make you almost forget you’re driving a pickup truck. Yet, they are still powerful and rugged enough to carry heavy payloads and tow large trailers. With that in mind, we are going to take a long look at both of these models to see who wins the battle of the 2020 Ram 1500 vs 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500.
The base model of each truck comes with plenty of features. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman comes in a quad cab configuration, with split 60/20/60 front and rear benches and room for up to 6 passengers. It features the Dodge Uconnect 3 system with a 5-inch display, which integrates the AM/FM radio with a six-speaker audio system and Bluetooth for hands-free connectivity, together with other information systems. Similarly, the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck, the base model of the line, can sit up to 6 passengers in the front and rear 60/20/60 benches. It comes with the Chevy Infotainment 3 system with a color touchscreen. This works with the AM/FM six-speaker stereo and Bluetooth connectivity. Also, both the Ram and Silverado have plenty of USB ports so you and your passengers can keep your mobile devices charged.
While the base model of the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck comes in a regular cab with only a front seat for two passengers, this configuration is not offered with the 2020 Ram 1500. So, for purposes of comparison, we will be looking at the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck with a double cab (Chevy’s name for the same configuration that Ram calls a quad cab).
This Round: Even
Engine and Performance
Both the 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman and the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck come in rear-wheel drive standard, with all-wheel drive available for an upgrade. The Ram 1500 Tradesman features a 3.6L Pentastar V6 24 valve VVT eTorque engine, while the Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck has a slightly larger 4.3L EcoTec3 V6 engine. However, the Ram Tradesman engine produces more horsepower than the Chevy Silverado Work Truck, 305 to 285, while the Chevy Silverado Work Truck produces more torque, 305 pounds to feet compared to 269 lb-ft. This appears to be a fairly even comparison.
When it comes to transmission, the edge has to go to the Ram 1500, which has a standard 8-speed automatic. The Chevy Silverado 1500 comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission as standard, with drivers having to pay an upgrade for an 8-speed transmission.
Drivers should also find the 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman easier to handle than the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck, as the wheelbase is slightly shorter, 140.5 inches to 147.45 inches, thus giving the truck a tighter turn radius, 23.1 inches to 23.45 inches.
This Round: Ram 1500.
Most truck drivers buy their vehicles, not expecting much in the way of fuel efficiency. However, both Ram and Chevy have taken steps to make their flagship trucks more economical. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman is estimated by the EPA to provide 20 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. Its fuel tank can hold up to 23 gallons. In contrast, the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck has an estimated fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway. The Work Truck can hold up to 24 gallons of gas.
This Round: Ram 1500.
Cargo and Trailering
The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman has a payload area that can hold up to 61.5 cubic feet of cargo, in a space that measures 76.3 inches in length, 60 inches in width, and 21.5 inches in height. The bed area for the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck is slightly larger, allowing it to hold up to 71.7 cubic feet of cargo, in a space that measures 79.44 inches in length, 71.4 inches in width, and 22.4 inches in height. As a result, the Chevy Work Truck can carry up to 2,202 pounds of cargo, about one hundred pounds more than the Ram Tradesman.
Both of these vehicles are designed for towing. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman can tow up to 7,730 pounds of trailer, while the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck can tow up to 7,900 pounds. This difference may be due to the Chevy’s engine being able to produce more torque.
This Round: Chevy Silverado 1500.
As stated above, both of these trucks can carry up to 6 passengers in the quad cab or double cab configuration. This is because they have been designed to provide a level of comfort and roominess that are trademarks of both Ram and Chevy. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman quad cab is 228.9 inches in length, 82.1 inches in width, and 77.6 inches in height. This gives the interior cabin a very roomy space for your passengers. Front seat passengers will enjoy 40.9 inches of headroom, 40.9 inches of legroom, 63.4 inches of hip room, and 66 inches of shoulder room, while those in the rear seat will have 39.2 inches of headroom, 35.6 inches of legroom, 63.4 inches of hip room, and 65.7 inches of shoulder room.
The 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck is actually slightly larger than the Ram, measuring 231.7 inches in length, 81.24 inches in width, and 75.6 inches in height. This gives front-row passengers in the Silverado 43.03 inches of headroom, 44.53 inches of legroom, 61.18 inches of hip room, and 66.02 inches of shoulder room, while those in the rear seat will have 39.88 inches of headroom, 35.24 inches of legroom, 60.24 inches of hip room, and 64.88 inches of shoulder room. This gives the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck a slightly roomier front seat than the 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman, but a less roomy rear seat.
This Round: Even.
Both of these trucks come with a great many standard safety features despite being the base model for both lines. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman comes with seven airbags, anti-lock disc brakes, electronic roll mitigation, and stability control, hill start assist, brake assist, a Parkview rear backup camera, push-button start, rain-brake support, ready alert braking, remote keyless entry, Secure Key theft deterrent system, speed control, trip start, a tire pressure monitoring system, traction control, and trailer sway damping system.
The brake assist system allows the vehicle to adjust brake pressure in the event of a possible emergency. The 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck also has a number of standard safety features, including six airbags, daytime running lights, anti-lock disc brakes, Stabilitrak stability control system, rear vision camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, and Chevy’s Teen Driver system. This system allows you to set parameters on the usage of certain features if you have a young driver in your household. In addition, it gives you a report of your teen driver’s driving, sort of like having a chaperone in the car with your kid. While both trucks feature many safety systems, it seems that Ram offers a few more as standard than the Chevy.
This Round: Ram 1500.
The base model of the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck has an MSRP of $28,300. However, that is the regular cab model, which only has seating for two passengers. With a double cab for up to 6 passengers, the Work Truck’s MSRP increases to $33,795. This is the comparable model to the entry-level 2020 Ram 1500, the Tradesman, which has an MSRP of $31,895.
In addition, drivers of the Silverado who want to get an 8-speed transmission and certain additional safety features will have to pay for upgrades, while these same features are standard on the 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman. For these reasons, the 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman will be a better overall value than the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck.