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What’s the Best Ram 1500 You Can Get for $20,000?

With the sheer volume and configurations of full-size pickup trucks on the market, finding a used example can seem overwhelming, regardless of budget. Below, we’ll take a look at what buyers should look for in a Ram 1500 pickup with a budget of $20,000.

Model Year

Ram buyers with a budget of $20,000 should seek out a fourth-generation model, sold from 2009 through 2018. To take things a step further, the fourth-generation Ram was updated in 2013, receiving reconfigured engine options, a new 8-speed transmission, revised styling, new UConnect screens, including an optional 8.4-inch unit, and other things. A 2016 update added upgrades to the infotainment system that included bluetooth audio streaming and a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary port. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay were only added for 2018. Look for a 2013-or-newer Ram 1500. Finding a used 2018 model for under $20,000 is a stretch, but it doesn’t hurt to include it in your search.

Buyers browsing for a new Ram should keep in mind that the vehicle was sold as the Dodge Ram 1500 until the 2011 model year, when the Ram brand was spun off from Dodge.

Engine

Over its ten model years on sale, the fourth-gen Ram 1500 was offered with five different engines. Highlights include Chrysler’s Pentastar V6, which makes 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque and sees use in a variety of other FIAT-Chrysler products to this day. The workhorse engine of the lineup is the 5.7-liter V8, which makes 390-395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. Finally, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel option became available starting in 2014 that offered more towing capacity and moderate fuel economy benefits.

We recommend the 5.7-liter V8, as it’s best for doing trucklike things like towing and hauling. Right now, there are over 1,000 2013-or-newer Ram 1500s for sale on Autotrader equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 for around $20,000.

Configuration, Trim Level, Mileage

As the needs of truck buyers vary by a pretty wide degree, it’s hard to recommend one perfect solution when it comes to configurations and trim levels. That said, it’s hard to argue with a 4-wheel drive, crew cab model with the standard 6.5-ft bed. This provides a variety of benefits, including 4WD for off-road capability, four doors for bringing the family along and ample towing and hauling ability.

Trim level is more challenging, as a variety of special-edition Ram 1500s have been offered over the years, but focusing your search on SL and SLT models is probably a safe bet. Additionally, buyers looking for a daily driver should probably filter out work truck-grade "Tradesman" models from their search.

Right now there are around 50 2013-2018 Ram 1500 pickups listed on Autotrader with fewer than 75,000 miles that meet these credentials for around $20,000.

Conclusions

While there are thousands of Ram 1500 pickups for sale on Autotrader for around $20,000, we think buyers should seek out a 2013-2018 SL or SLT model with the 5.7 liter V8, crew cab and 4WD.

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