The folks at Ram raised quite a few eyebrows when they announced that the 2019 model year would feature a new fifth-generation Ram 1500, while production would continue on the very popular fourth-generation Ram 1500. Since that time, the fifth generation has been designated the New Ram 1500, with the fourth generation now referred to as the Classic Ram 1500. In coming out with the New Ram 1500, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles bets that it is the best competitor among the other trucks in its segment. For example, General Motors offers the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, which is also a highly regarded model. But is it better than the 2020 Ram 1500? To find out, today, we are going to make the comparison: 2020 Ram 1500 (New Ram) vs 2020 GMC Sierra 1500. Let’s get into it!
Configurations, Trims, and MSRPs
The 2020 Ram 1500 is offered in two configurations. The crew cab has more passenger space, while the quad cab has a larger payload bed. In addition, the Ram 1500 is 2×4 standard with 4×4 optional. The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 also comes in regular cab, crew cab or double cab (the General Motors’ name for a quad cab), and is 2×4 standard with 4×4 as an option.
The 2020 Ram 1500 offers seven different trims. The base trim is the Tradesman, which has an MSRP of $32,145. This is followed by other trims, each with additional performance, convenience, and luxury features. The Ram 1500 Big Horn has an MSRP of $36,760, the Lone Star has an MSRP of $36,790, the Laramie has an MSRP of $40,890, and the Laramie Long Horn has an MSRP of $51,640. There is a specific off-road trim, the Ram 1500 Rebel, that has an MSRP of $44,740. And last but not least, the top-of-the-line model is the Limited with an MSRP of $53,915.
There are six trims available for the Sierra 1500, starting with the Sierra at an MSRP of $37,495. The SLE follows this with an MSRP of $41,795, the Elevation with an MSRP of $44,295, the SLT with an MSRP of $48,295, and the top-of-the-line Denali with an MSRP of $56,245. There is also a dedicated off-road trim, the 2020 GMC Sierra AT4, with an MSRP of $51,000.
Since the Ram 1500 does not come in a regular cab size, we will only be looking at the crew cab and quad cab configurations for the purposes of our comparison. There are two things you will notice. First, the Ram offers one more trim than the GMC Sierra, giving drivers an extra option when buying a truck. Second, the price point for the Ram is less than that of the Sierra. For example, if you are in the market for an off-road truck, the 2020 Ram 1500 Rebel will cost you about $6,500 less than the 2020 GMC Sierra AT4. The same goes if you want to spring for the top model, with a Ram 1500 Limited costing about $3,000 less than the Ram 1500 Denali. So, with a lower price point, and more options to pick from, the Ram 1500 comes out on top in this section of the comparison.
Engines and Transmissions
There are three different engine options on the 2020 Ram 1500. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter 24-valve V6 gas engine with variable valve timing (VVT) and eTorque. This engine can produce up to 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The two other engines are a 3.0-liter turbocharged EcoDiesel and a 5.7-liter HEMI MDS V8 with VVT. The EcoDiesel can produce up to 280 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, while the 5.7-liter HEMI can produce 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7-liter HEMI can also be ordered with eTorque, which will boost the engine’s torque. All Ram 1500 trucks are equipped with an 8-speed 850RE automatic transmission, with an optional 8-speed 8HP75 automatic transmission available.
The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 offers five different engines. The base engine is a 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V6 that produces 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. This comes standard on the Sierra trim. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. There is an optional 2.7-liter Turbo V6 that produces 310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque, a 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 that produces 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 that can produce 420 hp with 460 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo Diesel that can produce 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Each of these engines features an 8-speed automatic transmission, with a 10-speed automatic transmission available as an option. The 2.7-liter Turbo is standard on the SLE and Elevation trims, while the 5.3-liter V8 comes standard on the SLT, Denali, and AT4.
While the GMC Sierra 1500 offers more engine and transmission options, it is clear that the performance of the comparative engines between the GMC and Ram engines favors the Ram 1500. The standard V6 on the Ram 1500 produces more horsepower than the standard V6 engine offered by GMC. The same goes with the HEMI V8 on the Ram 1500, which has more horsepower and produces more torque than the GMC Sierra’s 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8. Also, by offering a standard 8-speed automatic transmission, Ram gives the driver of even its base model Tradesman more control than the 6-speed automatic transmission on the base model Sierra.
Even with the more powerful engines, the Ram is still slightly more fuel-efficient than the Sierra. The 2020 Ram 1500 with the V6 engine and 2×4 will give drivers about 20 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon on the highway, compared to a similarly configured GMC Sierra 1500 with a V6, that delivers the same 20 miles per gallon in the city, but only 23 miles per gallon on the highway. So while the Sierra 1500 offers more engine choices, when compared against the Ram 1500 engines that match up, the Sierra falls short in both performance and fuel economy. So, with that said, in terms of performance, the Ram 1500 comes out on top again.
Trailering and Payload
If you ask yourself the main reasons why you want a full-size pickup truck, I bet trailering, and hauling are at or near the top of your list. Now, if you think the GMC Sierra will deliver more of both than the Ram 1500, then you will be surprised to find out that the 2020 New Ram 1500 outranks the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 in both categories.
The Ram 1500 can provide maximum towing of 12,750 pounds while having a maximum cargo payload capacity of 2,302 pounds. The numbers from the GMC Sierra are quite good too, 12,100 pounds of maximum trailering and 2,240 pounds of maximum payload cargo capacity, but they still don’t measure up to the New Ram. So if you are in the market for a truck that can give you the most when it comes to towing and hauling, then the 2020 New Ram 1500 is the truck for you.
Which One is Better?
After all of the analysis, it is evident that the Ram 1500 has many advantages over the GMC Sierra. Whether it be price, performance, fuel economy, or trailering and payload, the Ram 1500 serves it better. All of that being said, the winner of this comparison is the Ram 1500.