Ram 1500 has a class-leading interior and an available 12-in infotainment system
The full-size pickup segment is the biggest in the industry, and offerings from Ford, GM, and Ram make up the three best-selling vehicle product lines in the United States. While Ford has long been the segment leader, Ram has a competitive offering in the 2020 Ram 1500, which was redesigned just last year. Both trucks have their strong points, and here we’ll get into how they compare in a number of categories to help you better understand which one might be right for you.
The 2020 Ram 1500 wears a new design that gives it a premium appearance. In a clever move, Ram is using different headlight designs for different models, with the top-of-the-line Laramie Longhorn and Limited trims getting a narrower design that incorporates a chrome strip that extends outward from the grille. Additionally, the Ram’s mild off-road trim, the Rebel, gets its own grille that gives it an appropriately menacing demeanor. Altogether, the new Ram manages to look both upscale and rugged — the best of both worlds. See the 2020 RAM 1500 models for sale near you
Because it’s been on sale for a few years since its last major redesign, the F-150’s exterior styling is by now pretty familiar. It’s not ugly, but it isn’t exactly groundbreaking either. Thanks to its tall, boxy cab and front windows that dip down for improved visibility, you won’t mistake the F-150 for anything other than a Ford truck. A few different grilles are available (again, depending on the trim level), many of which feature a chrome bar running between the headlights. See the 2020 Ford F-150 models for sale near you
Worth mentioning here are the F-150 and Ram’s differing cabin options. While the F-150 is still offered in single, extended and crew cab configurations, the Ram dropped the single cab offering with its recent redesign, leaving only extended and crew cab options.
These days, truck manufacturers offer everything from basic work truck trims to upscale luxury models packed with leather and other features. Both the F-150 and the Ram can be had as work trucks with vinyl seats and basic touchscreen radios, and both trucks offer top-of-the-line models that come with leather seats, premium audio and other amenities.
Overall, when you look at their middle-of-the-pack trim levels, the Ram offers a nicer overall design, both in its interior and on its exterior. Its available 12-in infotainment screen is by far the best in the segment, and the materials and refinement throughout the cabin are top-notch. The F-150 isn’t bad, but its design is starting to feel dated, and where the Ram uses high-end finishes like leather, chrome and aluminum-look plating, the F-150 still has a lot of cheap-feeling hard plastic.
While the Ram offers more screen real-estate, both Ford and Ram have competent infotainment systems that are among the best in the industry. Ford’s Sync system is now in its third generation, and Fiat–Chrysler‘s UConnect has been refined over the years as well. Both vehicles offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with a 4G LTE connection available via subscription that can turn your truck into a mobile wi-fi hotspot — great for getting some work done on your laptop at the job site.
Mechanicals and Capability
The Ram 1500 is offered with three different engine options, and the F-150 gives buyers a whopping six different powertrains to choose from. To make things simple, we’ve outlined each of the powertrain options for both trucks below.
2020 Ram 1500 Engines
- 3.6-liter V6; 305 horsepower, 269 lb-ft of torque; 20 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway; max towing capacity of 7,730 pounds
- 5.7-liter V8; 395 hp, 410 lb-ft of torque; 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 12,750 pounds
- 3.0-liter Diesel V6; 260 hp, 480 lb-ft of torque; 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 12,560 pounds
2020 Ford F-150 Engines
- 3.3-liter V6; 290 hp, 265 lb-ft of torque; 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds
- 2.7-liter turbocharged V6; 325 hp, 400 lb-ft of torque; 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 9,100 pounds
- 5.0-liter V8; 395 hp, 400 lb-ft of torque; 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 11,600 pounds
- 3.5-liter turbocharged V6; 375 hp, 470 lb-ft of torque; 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 13,200 pounds
- 3.0-liter diesel V6; 250 hp, 440 lb-ft of torque; 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 11,400 pounds
- ‘High Output’ 3.5-liter turbocharged V6; 450 hp, 510 lb-ft of torque; 15 mpg city/18 mpg hwy; max towing capacity of 8,000 pounds
For starters, the Ram’s 3.6-liter V6 is a little better than the F-150’s when it comes to performance, fuel economy and towing.
The V8 engines in these trucks are almost identical on paper, but the V8 in the Ram is available with a new feature called eTorque, which is a mild-hybrid system that offers a supplemental 130 lb-ft of torque and theoretically should help with fuel economy too. While it’s optional on the V8, the eTorque system comes standard on the V6 and adds a supplemental 90 lb-ft of torque.
The High-Output EcoBoost V6 in the F-150 delivers thrilling performance and comes standard on the F-150 Raptor and Limited models. The F-150 Raptor gives you off-road performance that no other new vehicle on sale today can match. The Ram Rebel is a nice off-road-focused truck, but it’s a tier below the Raptor when it comes to overall capability. That said, Ford doesn’t offer a competitor to the Rebel, so buyers who want off-road capability but don’t want to shell out over $70k for a Raptor will find the Rebel appealing.
Both the F-150 and Ram 1500 are available with 6-cylinder diesel engines. In both applications, the diesel requires a heavy price premium but offers good towing capacity and better fuel economy than its gas counterparts. Ultimately, whether the diesel is right for you will come down to personal preference.
Like all trucks in this class, the Ford and the Ram come standard with rear-wheel drive, and 4-wheel drive is optional. That said, the off-road versions of the Ram and F-150 come standard with 4WD.
Aside from the base V6, which comes with a 6-speed automatic, the F-150 uses a 10-speed auto across the board, while the Ram 1500 comes exclusively with an 8-speed. Neither truck is available with a manual transmission.
Ford products are generally known for offering slightly better reliability than those of Ram’s parent company, Fiat-Chrysler. With that said, the difference in dependability between these trucks is marginal. If something should go wrong, both come with a 3-year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. A 5-year/60,000 mile warranty covers gas models, while a 5-year 100,000-mile warranty applies to the diesel option.
Both of these trucks score well in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but only the Ram earns a coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick rating. While both earn scores of ‘Good’ across the board in all crashworthiness tests, the Ford’s downfall is its headlights, which the Institute found to offer either excessive glare or insufficient illumination on all trim levels. It’s worth noting that only upper trims of the Ram earned a passing grade for headlights.
Each vehicle is available with a litany of active safety features, including automatic emergency braking, radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams and more.
Given that the F-150 is offered in a basic single cab configuration while the Ram 1500 starts off with an extended cab, the 2020 Ford F-150 carries a slightly lower base price of $30,090 than the Ram’s $31,590 (factoring in destination charges for both). That said, when they’re compared apples to apples, these vehicles are priced similarly. On the high end, the Ram’s Limited trim comes in at just under $55,000, and is comparable to the F-150’s Platinum trim, which starts at about $57,000. Fully loaded, the Ram tops out at about $70,000, while the F-150 comes in at closer to $80,000 in either the Raptor or the Limited trim. Keep in mind, though, that both of these trucks will likely be offered with some financial incentives on the hood, so check with your local dealer.
Given the sheer number of variables at play here, it’s hard to say that one of these trucks is better than the other. The Ram wears a more modern design and comes with a much nicer interior, but it offers less in the way of engine choices. The Ford F-150 has set the industry standard for decades now and offers buyers an array of engines choices and upscale trim levels, but its design is starting to feel dated, and an all-new F-150 will likely debut in the next year or so.
Additionally, the F-150 Raptor is a level above any other off-road truck on sale today, but Ram’s Rebel offers good capability at a lower price point. Your decision between these two trucks will likely come down to small details. Maybe one of the F-150’s available engines will meet your needs better than any of the Ram’s offerings, or maybe you’ll find yourself drawn to the Ram’s class-leading interior. Another factor that should play a role is the deal offered by your local dealer. When it comes down to it, either of these trucks will get the job done. Find a Ford F-150 for sale or Find a Ram 1500 for sale