Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

One of many cars for sale in Oklahoma City, a white 2020 Ram 1500, is shown from the front parked in front of a warehouse.

Which Pickup Would You Choose? The Ram 1500 or Ford F-150?

When you look for a used truck, you know you’ll have to make some decisions. Do you want one that prioritizes comfort for those long-haul trips, or do you need a more powerful pickup that can haul and tow trailers, campers, or boats? Visiting your local used truck dealer can help you make at least some of these decisions. Still, it’s better to go in with a clear idea of your specific needs so you can spend your time more productively and find the best examples of the type of pickup you’re looking for.

The two most popular used vehicles in Canada are the Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150. Both have qualities that are highly sought after by a variety of drivers, and though one might be better suited to your lifestyle, it might not be immediately obvious which one that would be. This is why it’s important to look them over, ask questions, and find someone you trust to help you determine the best fit for you. Are you curious about how these two trucks measure up? Let’s make a side-by-side comparison.

Side by Side

At first glance, these trucks have quite a few similarities. They’re both large, powerful, sleek beasts that are suited for a range of activities. However, while they have some things in common, there are also many differences, including everything from paint colour to materials used to construct them.

The 2017 Ram 1500, for example, comes in twelve different exterior colours, including many pearl and metallic options, like Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Blue Streak Pearl, and Maximum Steel Metallic. The Ram 1500’s frame and body are mostly steel, with aluminum and other alloys only used where necessary. The result is a durable and long-lasting truck.

The 2017 Ford F-150 goes with bolder colours for the most part, such as Bronze Fire, Blue Jeans Metallic, and Race Red. Unlike competitors, this pickup’s body is composed of aluminum alloys, making it a lighter ride and helping it resist corrosion. However, this decision does mean the F-150 can be more difficult and expensive to repair.

A silver 2021 Ford F-150 Tremor is shown from the front at an angle.

It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts

This might be one of the biggest and least known differences between the Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150. Depending on what you’ll be using your pickup for, you’ll either be drawn to the Ford’s practical, no-nonsense atmosphere or the Ram’s luxurious one. Both can be had with high-quality materials and great tech, but depending on which trim level you go with, the experience can be quite different. This is particularly true if you are looking at a fifth-generation Ram from 2019 or later.

If you’re driving long distances, you might want to look for options like a heated steering wheel, a driver’s seat with massage, and leather trim. You and your passengers can stretch out, and you’ll never feel overheated or frozen with the heated and ventilated seating available in both the front and back rows of these trucks. Lots of storage room is available for necessities like phones, snacks, and drinks.

If you enjoy travelling in style, adjust your leather seat, turn on the massager, and let your Ram 1500 be your new best road trip friend. The Ram sports front-row bucket seats, wood trim in the upper trim levels, and space for all your important items, such as tools, clothes, and gear. If you need something that can haul your tools and play commuter, then a Ram 1500 Crew Cab is an amazing choice. You can pack up all your camping equipment or skiing gear for that weekend getaway and still have plenty of room for the family.

Powerful Performance

This is what counts the most with nearly every driver. How does each pickup perform, and what kind of jobs can it handle? There’s quite a difference between a pickup built for towing and a pickup built as a family vehicle. There are all kinds of jobs for pickups today, and some have double or triple the workload of their predecessors.

Since 2014, the Ram 1500 has been available with three engine options, including a powerful diesel. The two gas-powered engines include a Pentastar V6 and a HEMI V8. The base 3.6L V6 gives you 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. If you want a bigger, beefier option, the 5.7L V8 engine offers 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. As for the diesel option, the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 tops out at 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

The Ford F-150 has more powertrain options but tends to use smaller turbocharged engines and only offered a diesel option from 2018 to 2021. The base 3.5L V6 has been offered since 2015 and provides 282 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. A 5.0L V8 was introduced in 2011, with 360-400 hp and 380-410 lb-ft of torque, depending on the model year. The most powerful option is the twin-turbo 3.5L V6, which debuted in 2015 and offers 365-400 hp and 420-500 lb-ft of torque. The other common F-150 engine options include a turbocharged 2.7L V6 and the short-lived 3.0L PowerStroke V6 diesel.

Tech and Safety Features Worth Having

Technology and safety features have come a long way for pickup trucks, and as these two models are quite popular, they are outfitted with the best technology available. Whether you love having a rearview camera, enjoy being able to charge your electronics on the go, or appreciate not having to navigate with a paper map, the technology today has definitely improved driving for just about everyone. However, used trucks may or may not be equipped with up-to-date technology, so if that’s important to you, be sure and ask at the dealership or look online to see if the year and trim levels of the truck you’re looking at have what you want.

Ram introduced its modern Uconnect infotainment system in 2013, offering 13 cm and 21 cm touchscreen displays. These are noted for being quick, responsive, and easy to use. Starting in 2018, the Ram 1500 was offered with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. In 2019, the brand revolutionized the truck segment by introducing a best-in-class 30 cm infotainment screen. Apart from the infotainment center, there are available digital instrument clusters that can give you easy, turn-by-turn directions in case you’ve taken a wrong turn or need to take a detour.

Ford has lagged a bit behind Ram on the infotainment front, taking until 2016 to introduce its modern SYNC 3 system on a 21 cm touchscreen. Similarly, a 30 cm display was not available in the F-150 until the 2021 model year. The optional infotainment center can be used by pressing buttons, touching the screen, or speaking aloud. It has plenty of useful features, whether you’re going to a tailgate party or picking up a friend’s trailer to move it to their new place. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all available, making it easier to take calls while on the road.

A black 2019 Ram 1500 is shown from the front at an angle.

Buy Your New-To-You Pickup Today

Both the Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150 are high-powered, well-equipped pickups. They’re built for more specific audiences than those pickups of the past, which is why now you have options for what type of pickup you want based on what it will need to do. You can outfit a truck with the latest tech, off-road equipment, and most powerful engine to create a one-of-a-kind vehicle you’ll be happy to drive for years to come, creating memories, providing assistance, and otherwise supporting you in your endeavours.

If either of these models has piqued your interest, it’s worth looking for them at local used truck dealers. The only issue is that they’re incredibly popular, so it’s best to keep an eye open for a good deal. You won’t regret purchasing either of these pickups, especially since you now know more of the differences between them and can make a better-informed decision. Which one will you choose?