You should expect the most out of your pickup truck. Why? Well, pickup trucks are expected to live up to a number of performance promises. From the delivery of next-level power to the suite of technology that many drivers rely on for safety, comfort, and peace of mind, there is a lot that your standard pickup truck should bring to the table. Not only that, but pickup trucks are expected to be powerhouses, with the capability to do it all and more, hauling tremendous weights and having little issue doing so. So, it makes sense that we’d have high expectations for both the 2020 Ram 1500 vs 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500. Here are two pickup trucks that attempt to live up to their established promises, however, we’ll do a little bit of a deep dive to see just how well they excel in providing drivers with everything that they not only need but want as well.
How Many Options Do You Have?
When it comes to rating pickup trucks, diversity is key. Drivers tend to want to have a variety of options simply because pickup trucks can fit into a plethora of use cases. Whether you’re a stay at home parent who needs something with a little more oomph than a standard SUV or are a local ranch-hand who relies on the power and capability of their vehicle daily, pickup trucks can be made to satisfy any number of different lifestyles; which is why trim options are so important.
Fortunately, both the Ram 1500 and the Chevy Silverado 1500 ensure plenty of choice and variety amongst their models, although the Ram 1500 offers far more value for what you get. The 2020 Ram 1500, starts at a sticker price of $32,145 MSRP and offers a myriad of different trim options, including the Tradesman, Big Horn, LaRamie, Rebel, LaRamie Longhorn and Limited.
Each trim is very different from the next with the Tradesman being the general workhorse and the Limited being the top of the line luxury-esque model. Although, the Chevy Silverado 1500 does offer more options, but, you’d be better off starting higher up on the ladder with what you get in the base model. When you purchase a Chevy Silverado 1500, you’ll get a lower MSRP of $28,300 with a number of different trims, including the Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, LT Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, and High Country. While the number of options is high, Chevy could’ve done a little better at fleshing out the lower-tier models.
The Chevy Silverado 1500 may provide far more options for drivers than the Ram 1500, and have a lower entry price, but the level of quality spread throughout the Ram models outpaces the Chevy Silverado 1500 by leaps and bounds. That said, diversity and pricing are just two ways to compare two pickup trucks.
Pulling Power is Everything
While having a variety of different trim levels to choose from is important, it is all for naught if you don’t get a diversity of powertrains. Let’s start with the Chevy Silverado 1500, which is powered by a 4.3-liter V6 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, which all totaled outputs 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. While this base engine is great, it isn’t the only powertrain available in the Chevy Silverado 1500, with other models sporting a 2.7-liter turbo engine that utilizes an 8-speed automatic transmission to get up to 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. This engine offers greater power but at a more compact size, resulting in a pretty solid fuel economy and, when equipped with optional four-wheel drive, it can turn the Chevy Silverado 1500 into a real champion of the dirt.
Although, the turbo engine isn’t the only off-road worthy engine in the lineup. Newly added to the Chevy Silverado 1500 is a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 that is responsible for 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, all with the help of a 10-speed automatic transmission. Although these four and six-cylinder engines can get the job done, the Chevy Silverado 1500 can also be purchased with eight-cylinder options as well. All the way at the top of the pack is a beefy 6.2-liter V8 that is paired with that buttery smooth 10-speed automatic transmission to put out 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft worth of torque. On top of that, this V8 engine, when paired with the Double Cab and four-wheel drive, can haul up to 13,400 pounds.
So, what does the 2020 Ram 1500 have to deliver by comparison? Well, the base engine for the Ram 1500 is rather impressive, it’s a 3.6-liter V6 that uses eTorque technology to provide some serious low-speed acceleration. With the assistance of a 48-volt electric motor and a 0.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, the Ram 1500 can proudly offer 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. There is also a turbo-diesel option in the Ram 1500, and it takes the shape of a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 with a healthy 260 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.
The turbo-diesel is quite the hauler too, with a max tow rating of 12,560 pounds, although it is the V8 that puts the other powertrains to shame. The Ram 1500 offers a 5.7-liter V8 engine that also uses mild-hybrid technology to deliver 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft worth of torque. While a little underpowered compared to the top of the line V8 in the Chevy Silverado 1500, the V8 of the Ram 1500 does offer a far smoother driving experience thanks to this incredible hybrid powertrain. The Ram 1500 can also be made off-road capable, with the Ram Rebel package, which adds four-wheel drive, a higher and beefier suspension, electronic locking rear differentials, and hefty Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires.
While the Chevy Silverado 1500 does offer a greater diversity of powertrains, the Ram 1500 takes a less is more approach. With the help of a mild-hybrid powertrain, drivers can better guarantee a smooth driving experience and more rapid power-delivery.
What is the Driving Experience Like?
Well, at the base trim for both models, you get a pretty standard assortment of furnishings. The Chevy Silverado 1500 and the Ram 1500 use a wealth of soft-touch plastics and durable cloth upholstery, although things really change when you shed light on the tech side of things.
The Ram 1500 lacks a smart infotainment system in base models, which is a pretty big drawback considering it already has a higher entry price. What you end up getting is a 5.0-inch infotainment screen that does the bare basics. Although, you can upgrade your infotainment screen size for a price, and can even add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software as well. And when you get right down to it, a pickup truck shouldn’t be judged by the size of the screen inside, but by the level of oomph roaring beneath the hood. But, if you do want more tech, high-end models support a slew of additional features too, including a bigger 12-inch infotainment touchscreen and heated and cooled seats. What really makes the Ram 1500 special in the tech-department is the fact that you can add high-end active safety features in low-end models extending all the way down to the Limited trim model.
One thing that Chevy can’t seem to match is the Ram’s multifunction tailgate. This tailgate allows drivers to do more than just open and close the tailgate. Drivers can swing open the doors with a 60/40 split, designed to allow you to access what’s in the bed without it being obstructed by anything you are towing. You can also use the tailgate via traditional methods like laying the tailgate down or having it fully closed.
The Chevy Silverado 1500, on the other hand, does have the bigger and better infotainment touchscreen with base models getting more screen real estate and smart software integration, but you’ll have to pay quite a lot more to get some of those driver assistance features that are being considered standard on many other competitor models. Although, it is worth noting that the Chevy Silverado 1500 can get an Advanced Trailering Package, which gives drivers access to 15 different cameras to have a clear view of everything behind their tow-load.
Choosing the Best Pickup Truck
There are many pickup models out there, and many more are being added to manufacturer lineups; as a result, competition has never been higher. Both the Chevy Silverado 1500 and the Ram 1500 offer plenty in the way of power and styling diversity; however, both models could step things up in the technology department. As vehicles get smarter, drivers are going to expect better technology right at base models. That said, if there is one model that at least has a bigger technological footprint and better all-around performance, it’d be the Ram 1500 with its mild-hybrid technology, and an incredible list of active safety gear at lower trim options. As a result, we’d consider the 2020 Ram 1500 our top-pick as a superior pickup truck.