The 2020 Ram 1500 received a stem-to-stern redesign in 2019 that brought with it increased capability, improved fuel economy, greater refinement and a features list that can’t be beat. It builds upon its smooth-riding, well-rounded predecessor while adding plenty of new, impressive elements: from the most basic Tradesman work truck and its standard eTorque mild-hybrid V6 powertrain to the range-topping Limited interior that deserves the title “luxury truck” more than anything previous. Is it the best full-size pickup you can buy? It’s certainly racking up the awards to indicate that, and we certainly wouldn’t argue.
What’s New for 2020?
The all-new third-generation EcoDiesel V6 engine enters the Ram 1500 engine lineup for 2020. There are also two new appearance packages available: Black Appearance Package, which adds black paint and more black trim to the Rebel and Limited models and Night Edition, which adds black exterior trim and black wheels with your choice of body color to the Big Horn and Laramie models. The Ram Rebel also has new exterior graphics available. See the 2020 Ram 1500 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Class-leading ride
- Class-leading interior quality and feature content
- User-friendly infotainment
- Extra-comfy Crew Cab back seat
- EcoDiesel engine available on every trim
What We Don’t
- Competitors offer more powerful engines and a greater variety of them
- Diesel is a little pricey
The standard engine on every 2020 Ram 1500 is a 3.6-liter V6 (305 horsepower, 269 lb-ft of torque) aided by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system known as eTorque. This adds a small amount of electricity when accelerating and aids the automatic stop/start system. Both elements help save fuel. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard. Fuel economy with rear-wheel drive (RWD) is estimated to be 20 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. Four-wheel drive (4WD) yields 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.
There are two optional V8 powertrains. One consists of a 5.7-liter V8 good for 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, while the second adds the eTorque system for comparable gains in performance and fuel economy. Without eTorque, a RWD V8 achieves 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined. With eTorque, it raises considerably to 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined. Again, 4WD lowers both figures. The HEMI V8 is a $1,495 upcharge over the V6 or $1,695-1,995 (depending on the trim) if you want the eTorque option.
A new and improved EcoDiesel 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 is newly available in the 2020 Ram 1500. It makes 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, which is class-leading torque for light-duty diesel pickups. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the official fuel economy rating of the EcoDiesel is unknown, but we expect it to be the most efficient engine available in this truck. The EcoDiesel engine is available on every trim of the Ram 1500. The EcoDiesel is a $3,000-$3,300 (depending on the trim) premium over the HEMI V8 with eTorque and a $4,995 option over the base V6, making it the most expensive engine available in the Ram.
Standard Features & Options
The Ram 1500 is available in seven trim levels: Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited. All but the two top trim levels come standard with a Quad Cab and 6-foot-4-in bed (a Regular Cab will be available eventually). A Crew Cab available with that bed or a shorter 5-foot-7-in bed is available on most trims, but the Rebel and Limited models are only available with a Crew Cab and 5-foot 7-in box.
Standard equipment on the Tradesman ($31,895) includes 18-in steel wheels (alloys optional), rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, heated power mirrors, power locks and windows, a backup camera, air conditioning, cruise control, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat (no driver height adjustment), a full-width rear bench seat, vinyl upholstery (cloth optional), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, three USB ports, an auxiliary audio jack and a 5-in touchscreen. Some of this equipment will be optional on the eventual Regular Cab model.
The Big Horn ($36,440), or the Lone Star as it’s known in Texas and some surrounding states, adds upgraded exterior and interior trim, 18-in alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a rear center armrest, manual sliding rear window and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The big difference with the Big Horn is the immensity of available options. The most notable of these is the H1 Equipment package that includes an 8-way power driver seat, power-adjustable pedals, a rear window defroster, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded gauges, satellite radio, a CD player, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the 8.4-in touchscreen and a premium audio system. The H2 Equipment package adds front and rear parking sensors, reverse automatic emergency braking, remote ignition, heated front seats and steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, two rear USB ports, two household-style power outlets, a fully damped tailgate, upgraded gauges, and power-sliding rear window. Some of the upper trim levels’ added features are also available.
The Rebel ($44,240) is the off-road model with unique suspension and styling, off-road bumpers, LED headlights, and a variety of off-road-oriented items that are mostly available as options on other trim levels (an electronic locking differential, all-terrain tires, skid plates, tow hooks and hill-descent control). Its X1 and X2 Equipment packages are broadly similar to the H1 and H2.
The Laramie ($39,940) is the first of the three luxury-oriented trim levels. It includes over the Big Horn LED headlights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, unique interior color schemes, proximity entry, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats (bench remains standard, but bucket seats are available), an 8-way power passenger seat, a 60/40-split reclining rear bench and interior material upgrades. Most of the H1 and H2 package equipment is also standard.
The Laramie Longhorn ($51,140) features special ranch-inspired styling flourishes, especially in the cabin. It also adds to the Laramie equipment 20-in wheels, upgraded headlights, automatic high beams, side steps, a power tailgate release, heated and ventilated front bucket seats, real wood trim and a CD player. Most of the Longhorn’s feature upgrades are available on the Laramie.
The Limited ($53,615) gets its own brand of fancy styling and interior trim, plus the air suspension that’s optional on all other trims. Beyond that, it really only adds power-operated running boards and blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert (optional on all but two bottom trims).
There are a number of options available on the top three trims available in various packages. These include the 12-in vertically oriented touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, integrated navigation, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, a surround-view parking camera and automatic parking assistance. The Laramie Longhorn and Limited can be upgraded with ventilated rear seats.
Regular or dual-pane sunroofs are stand-alone options on all but the Tradesman. The RamBox bed storage is optional on all.
Standard equipment includes anti-lock disc brakes, stability and trailer sway control, a backup camera and six airbags (front, front-side and side-curtain). Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on Limited, and optional on all but the Tradesman. Forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist are optional on the Laramie, the Longhorn and the Limited.
The non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Crew Cab the best-possible crashworthiness and prevention scores. The Extended Cab, at the time of this writing, got the best-possible ratings in the moderate front overlap and side crash tests.
Behind the Wheel
The previous Ram redefined what it meant to “drive like a truck,” and the 2020 model only pushes that bar higher — the new 1500 is just so civilized and confidence-inspiring. True, it’s not as if its competitors are agricultural, but there is nevertheless a greater sense of control, comfort and civility with the Ram. As before, the 1500 stands out with a 5-link coil-spring rear suspension that greatly benefits ride comfort, handling and trailer control by more precisely controlling the rear end than is possible with leaf springs and a solid rear axle (which every other truck has). The available air suspension also returns, including its ability to rise to clear obstacles and lower to aid loading.
The Ram’s engines are perhaps its least impressive element. They get the job done and the eTorque system is innovative, but rival trucks essentially match its fuel economy while offering a greater variety of powertrains, including those that are more powerful. Not a weak spot necessary, but others can be better.
What we do like is the return of the EcoDiesel V6 engine that is newly available in the 2020 model. While the diesel impresses us with its class-leading torque rating, muscular towing capability and impressive fuel economy, it’s the most expensive engine available in the Ram by a considerable amount. If you’re looking for bang for the buck, you might be better off going with a HEMI V8 with a higher maximum towing rating and more horsepower while costing at least $3,000 less than the diesel.
Inside, though, the Ram knocks it out of the park. From the most basic Tradesman to the ritziest Limited, it boasts attractive styling, innovative storage and abundant feature content. USB ports are everywhere, the 8.4-in touchscreen is huge and easy to use and the 12-in vertically oriented screen is even better. In terms of space, the Crew Cab’s back seat is enormous, plus it reclines, it can be heated, and uniquely, ventilated, as well. Plus, thanks to distinctive color schemes and trim types for the different trim levels, you have a greater chance of getting a truck that matches your taste.
Other Cars to Consider
Used Ram 1500 or Ram 1500 Classic: Ram continued selling the previous-generation model as the Ram 1500 Classic in 2019. These are basically the same truck, and depending on the deal, considering one is a good idea. The previous Ram was still a great, well-rounded truck.
Most will be best-served by the Big Horn/Lone Star, which is available in the widest range of features and price. The top three “L” trims are the luxury models and their extras are hardly essential apart from perhaps the accident avoidance tech. Find a used 2020 Ram 1500 for sale.