Two of the biggest news items in the pickup truck industry in 2019 dealt with two of the leading trucks in the industry. First, Ford announced a redesign of its popular F-150 pickup truck. This gave it a more rugged look while improving the interior for better passenger comfort. Not to be outdone, Ram came out with an entirely new Ram 1500 design, while still maintaining production of the previous design model as well. Whether this created confusion in the marketplace or allowed Ram to capture an increased share of the truck market is something that can be debated for years to come. For truck buyers like yourself, what you need to know is how a venerable truck like the Ford F-150 stacks up against the new design of the Ram 1500. Both of these designs have many things going for them, but there is a clear winner in the battle of the 2020 Ford F-150 vs 2020 Ram 1500.
Both of these trucks have plenty of things in common. For example, each can seat up to six passengers based on the configuration. Ford calls its shorter two-row cab a SuperCab, and its longer version the SuperCrew. Ram goes with Quad Cab for the shorter two-row cab, and the more common Crew Cab for the longer cabin. In addition, both of these trucks feature an integrated information and entertainment system with connectivity. The Ram’s system is called the Uconnect3 system, and it features a 5-inch display screen, AM/FM radio with a six-speaker audio system, and Bluetooth for hands-free connectivity. The F-150 also has its system called Ford Pass Connect, and it includes an AM/FM stereo system and a WiFi hotspot.
The two pickup trucks also have nearly identical fuel efficiency. The Ford F-150 with rear-wheel drive has an estimated fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon in the city, 25 miles per gallon on the highway, and a combined 22 miles per gallon. The new Ram 1500 is only slightly better in city driving (an estimated 20 miles per gallon) while having the same highway (25 miles per gallon) and combined (22 miles per gallon) estimates as the F-150.
Engine and trailering
Each of these trucks features a standard six-cylinder engine on the base models of their vehicle. The 2020 Ford F-150 XL has a 3.3-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which produces 290 horsepower and 265 lb-f of torque. The standard engine on the 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman is a 3.6-liter V6 24V VVT engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This engine is rated to produce up to 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. This is a slight advantage for the Ram as it gives slightly more power and the transmission a little more handling for the driver.
If you are in need of towing capability, the Ford F-150 XL provides the ability to tow up to 7,700 pounds. More expensive trims of the F-150 provide up to 13,200 pounds, but that requires an engine upgrade to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman is rated to provide a standard 6,730 pounds, with up to 12,750 with additional available equipment. This is really a toss-up. One the one hand, if you want to get more towing without having to spend funds on additional equipment, then the 2020 Ford F-150 XL is for you. However, if you are looking to tow a heavy trailer and don’t want to have to move up to a more expensive trim level, then the 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman with additional trailer package makes the most sense.
In addition to towing trailers, one of the most important things that we get out of driving a pickup is to carry a large payload. That is what makes these trucks so popular, both with folks who use it for work, and others who need it to move things in their personal lives. Both of these trucks offer plenty of payload space, but one has a decided advantage over the other. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman has 57.5 cubic feet of cargo space in its payload. The 2020 Ford F-150 XL has space for up to 62.3 cubic feet of cargo. This is fully five additional cubic feet of space, making the Ford a more efficient design if you are in need of hauling large loads in your truck.
When Ram came out with its redesign of the Ram 1500, it only configured the truck in Quad Cab and Crew Cab designs, with the old version Ram 1500 being the only one with a two-door, two-passenger regular cab option. As a result, drivers looking for a regular cab truck will not be able to purchase a Ram 1500. For our purposes, we will compare the interior space of the 2020 Ram 1500 Quad Cab with the 2020 Ford F-150 SuperCab (the respective terms for the shorter cab with the longer payload), and the Ram Crew Cab with the Ford SuperCrew (the respective terms for the longer cab). In both cases, the Crew Cab and SuperCrew will increase the base MSRP of the vehicle.
The 2020 Ford F-150 with the SuperCab provides 40.8 inches of headroom, 62.5 inches of hip room, 43.9 inches of legroom, and 66.7 inches of shoulder room for front-seat passengers, and 40.3 inches of headroom, 64.7 inches of hip room, 33.5 inches of legroom, and 65.8 inches of shoulder room for rear-seat passengers. In contrast, the 2020 Ram 1500 gives front-seat passengers 40.9 inches of headroom, 63.4 inches of hip room, 40.9 inches of legroom, and 66 inches of shoulder room, and rear-seat passengers 39.2 inches of headroom, 63.4 inches of hip room, 35.6 inches of legroom, and 65.7 inches of shoulder room. The figures that stand out are the extra three inches of legroom in the front seat of the Ford, the slightly longer legroom in the second row of the Ram, and the extra inches of hip room and headroom in the second row of the Ford. As a result, the Ford SuperCab should provide passengers with slightly more roominess than the Ram Quad Cab.
Turning to the longer cab, both vehicles give more room to second-row passengers than the shorter cab versions, while still providing the same space for front-seat passengers. In the Ram Crew Cab, second-row passengers have 39.8 inches of headroom, 63.4 inches of hip room, 45.2 inches of legroom, and 65.7 inches of shoulder room, while second-row passengers in the Ford SuperCrew get 40.4 inches of headroom, 64.7 inches of hip room, 43.6 inches of legroom, and 65.9 inches of shoulder room. While the rear seats are fairly comparable, it appears that Ram has compromised the legroom in the front row in an effort to make the second row seem roomier. As a result, the driver loses three inches of critical legroom in the Ram.
Both of these trucks come with many standard safety features. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman features brake assist, electronic roll mitigation, electronic stability control, hill start assist, a ParkView rear backup camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and standard airbags. The 2020 Ford F-150 XL also features AdvanceTrac with roll stability control, a tire pressure monitoring system, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and standard airbags, but also features several additional features like Ford CoPilot360. CoPilot360 includes a rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist to help with trailering, and Curve Control to help keep the vehicle from swerving when towing a trailer.
MSRP and Trim Levels
The base MSRP for the 2020 Ford F-150 is $28,495. However, this is for the two-passenger regular cab model. The pricing for the 2020 Ram 1500 is a bit higher. The Ram 1500 Tradesman has a base MSRP of $32,145 for the Quad Cab and $34,945 for the Crew Cab. When you factor in that Ram does not offer the new design 1500 in a regular cab, Ford ends up giving you more options when choosing the truck for you.