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2018 Chevrolet Silverado vs. 2018 Ram 1500: Which Is Better?

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author photo by Eric Brandt August 2018
  • 2018 is the final model year for the respective generations of the Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 full-size pickup trucks.

  • As two of the big three full-size truck competitors, these two pickups are closely matched on paper.

  • Like most truck purchases, the decision between the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2018 Ram 1500 mostly comes down to the buyer's priorities and personal preference.

The full-size truck segment is one of the most competitive in the automotive industry. With more than two million full-size pickups sold in the U.S. in 2017, it's an important segment for the handful of competitors that are constantly fighting for dominance in this lucrative field.

This is a segment where American brands really shine. The vast majority of vehicles sold in this class are made by either Ford, GM or Ram, and it's an important arena for these brands to establish and grow brand loyalty.

With the Ram 1500 and the Silverado at the end of the line for their current generations, let's take a look at how these trucks compare and which one is right for you.

Exterior

Pickup trucks are traditionally pretty boxy, and the 2018 Silverado continues that traditional look. Looking squared off on all sides from every angle, this truck has a utilitarian look that's reflective of its capability. The Silverado's unusual square wheel arches have been criticized for looking unusual in contrast with the wheels, but it keeps the square design of the truck flowing throughout the body.

The Dodge Ram was a disruptor in pickup truck design in the 1990s when it came out with its curvy, big rig-inspired design that didn't look like any other truck on the market. The 2018 Ram 1500 is a more modern continuation of that kind of look. It still retains some inspiration from an 18-wheeler with a grille that's taller than its headlights. Bulging fenders keep the design interesting throughout the body. It's a look that's been around for a long time now, but we think it's aging pretty well and we like that it's identifiable as a Ram from a mile away.

The box sizes for these trucks are pretty similar. For the Ram, the shot box is five feet, seven inches; the standard box is six feet, four inches; and the long box is eight feet. The Silverado bed sizes are all slightly longer at five feet, nine inches; six feet, six inches; and eight feet, one inch.

For a more traditional pickup truck aesthetic, the Chevy may be the truck for you. If you're looking for something a little different in pickup truck design, then the interesting look of the Ram might suit your tastes better.

Interior

Following recent pickup truck trends, the interior of both the Ram and the Silverado can go from simple to opulent and anything in between. With luxurious pickups exploding in popularity, you can get some seriously premium materials and beautiful seats and trims in these hard-working trucks.

As for the overall interior design, these two trucks are actually pretty similar. They both have very functional layouts with controls that are clear and easy to use. One of the biggest differences in these interiors is with the shifter. The Silverado still uses an old school column shifter, while the Ram uses a more modern rotary shift knob. There's a small learning curve with the shift knob, and it's placed uncomfortably close to the radio's volume knob, but it's a nice feature when you get used to it.

Both trucks come in three different cab sizes: A 2-door regular cab, a 4-door extended cab and a roomy 4-door crew cab. The Silverado has a little more room in the front seat across the board compared to the Ram, and the crew cab has a little more space for the back seat passengers as well. For the extended cab or "quad cab," as Ram calls it, there's a little more legroom for the back seat passengers than there is in the Chevy's medium-sized cabin.

Mechanicals and Capability

If you're shopping for a truck, chances are what's under the hood matters to you. The Silverado is available with a V6 and two V8s while the Ram comes with a V8, a gas V6 and a diesel V6. Ford and Chevy are bringing diesels of their own to the 2019 model year, but prior to 2019, the Ram was your only option for a diesel-powered truck in this segment.

Chevrolet's 4.3-liter V6 makes 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, which beats the Ram's comparable V6 in torque, but not in power. The tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 in the Ram makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The towing capacity for the two is similarly in the 7,000 lb range depending on the truck's configuration.

The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 in the Ram is better than the 5.3-liter V8 in the Chevy on paper. The Hemi makes 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque while the Chevy's similarly sized and priced V8 makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. However, the Chevy's V8 beats the Hemi in maximum towing capacity at 11,100 lbs, while the most the Hemi can muster is 10,620 lbs.

The third engines in these trucks are very different and not exactly comparable. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 available in the Ram is a nice option for a truck buyer who wants a diesel but doesn't want to have to upgrade to an HD truck to get one. This diesel makes 240 hp and has a very impressive torque rating of 420 lb-ft. It also has an impressive maximum towing capacity of 9,210 lbs.

The bigger V8 available in the Silverado is a 6.2-liter V8 that makes numbers that can beat any Ram 1500. It makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque with a maximum towing capacity of 12,500 lbs. Those are impressive specs, but this engine is a costly option, which we'll get into later.

Fuel economy in the comparable gas engines in the Ram 1500 and the Chevy Silverado are very similar. The 6.2-liter V8 in the Chevy doesn't sacrifice much fuel economy for its extra capability and returns 15 miles per gallon city and 21 mpg highway, while the efficient EcoDiesel in the Ram gets 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway.

As per usual in this segment, rear-wheel drive is standard and 4-wheel drive is optional in both trucks. Four-wheel drive makes them more capable off-road and in all-season driving, but makes a small, negative impact on fuel economy.

Features and Technology

We mentioned earlier how fancy both of these trucks can get depending on how much you're willing to pay, but they're both pretty well appointed in the low- and mid-range trims as well. For infotainment, the Silverado is available with the Chevrolet MyLink system, which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. MyLink is standard starting with the LS trim. In the Ram, the Uconnect 4C system with a nice, big 8.4-inch touchscreen becomes standard at the Big Horn trim and also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

As you go further up the trims, both trucks add in nice features like premium audio, leather seats, navigation, fancy appearance packages and much more. Pickup trucks today are more customizable than ever, covering a very wide range of shoppers, so there's a good chance you can find a truck you like somewhere in the model range of both trucks.

Pricing

Both of these trucks have very wide price ranges. For both the Ram 1500 and the Chevy Silverado, you can get stripped down work trucks or extremely luxurious workhorses with many options in between. The Ram beats the Chevy's starting price by a little bit with the Ram Tradesman starting at $27,295 and the Silverado WT (Work Truck) starting at $28,300.

The two trucks are pretty similarly priced on the top end with the generously appointed Silverado High Country starting at $53,000, while a range-topping Ram 1500 Limited can be had for $53,695. Pricing is similar when these two trucks are similarly equipped, and it's in line with the rest of the segment. Neither truck offers a clear value proposition over the other.

As for engine choices, the EcoDiesel is a $4,495 option and the Hemi is a $1,450 option in the Ram. A V8 Silverado is a little more affordable with the 5.3-liter V8 costing an extra $1,195 and the bigger 6.2-liter V8 being a $2,695 option.

Conclusion

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2018 Ram 1500 are very close competitors. In order to find clear advantages of one over the other, you need to dig into the mechanical differences between the two and decide on your priorities.

If a big V8 with impressive capability is what you want, then a Silverado equipped with the optional 6.2-liter V8 might be for you. If you want an affordable, efficient diesel engine in a light-duty pickup, then an EcoDiesel Ram 1500 is likely to satisfy. Beyond those two big differentiating factors, which truck is right for you pretty much comes down to which one you personally prefer.

Find a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Chevrolet Silverado vs. 2018 Ram 1500: Which Is Better? - Autotrader