The first-generation Dodge Ram debuted in the early 80s as a boxy work-truck with that iconic cross-shaped grille. Fast-forward nearly forty years, and a lot has changed, but that dedicated work-horse posture remains as stout as ever. Since 2011 model year Ram became its own spinoff company from Dodge focused solely on producing pickup-trucks and commercial vans. Now going into the 5th-generation, the new Ram no longer has that cross-shaped grille but a modern, sleek yet aggressive front-end, making it an easy candidate for the best looking pickups available. The V6 and Hemi V8 powertrains are now more sophisticated by utilizing a mild-hybrid system that takes care of all electrical functions. Featuring the best in class towing, four-doors standard, high-quality interior choices, and optional air ride suspension makes the 2020 Ram 1500 lineup not only a serious threat to other truck rivals from Detroit but to imported luxury SUVs as well.
2020 Ram 1500 Lineup
Ram kicks off the 1500 pickup-truck lineup with the Tradesman starting at $31,895 and comes standard with the 3.6 liter V6, in quad-cab four-door design. This mated to an 8-speed automatic pushing power to the rear wheels, with 4×4 all-wheel drive available as an optional upgrade, though overall towing ability does decrease a bit when selected. The Big Horn, or Lone Star, if you’re in Texas, is the next level up starting at $36,440. It has the same standard features as the Tradesman, but with chrome trim bumpers as the noticeable upgrades.
The Laramie starts at $40,140 and adds on with standard features such as an 8.4-inch touch screen, 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, heated/air-conditioned front-seats, and is tailored towards luxury inclined consumers. The Rebel ($45,190) has the creature comforts of the Laramie but is actually an off-road beast with knobby 33-inch tires and 4×4 all-wheel drive as standard features. The Laramie Longhorn ($51,140) adds 20-inch wheels and premium leather and wood to the interior over the Laramie’s standard features. The top of the line Limited ($53,615) is a true luxury vehicle in pickup-truck guise offering adjustable air-ride suspension, heated/cooled seating all around, retractable power running boards, power sunroof, and a 12-inch multimedia touchscreen just to name a few standard features.
The new Ram 1500 pickup-truck lineup offers three different engine options starting with a 3.6 liter V6 producing 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. This is the standard option and can handle just about anything thrown at it with 7,730 max available towing capability on the 4×2 Tradesman and Laramie models equipped with a 3.55 axle ratio. Additionally, it is able to return a reasonable 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. There is, of course, a Hemi V8. What Ram lineup would be complete without its most venerated engine?
The 5.7 V8 Hemi produces a hearty 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque and delivers a max towing rating of 11,610 pounds on the Big Horn/Lone Star (in Texas). This is achieved through the rear-wheel-drive (4×2) equipped with a 3.92 axle ratio. The Hemi V8 comes in two options: standard or equipped with the mild-hybrid (eTorque) system that replaces the alternator with a 48 volt, 12 cell lithium-ion battery-powered generator to handle all necessary electrical functions. Both Hemi V8s return 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the highway.
There is also a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, which is a turbo equipped V6 that produces 260 horsepower and a whopping 480 lb-ft of torque capable of hauling an estimated 12,560 pounds. Each engine comes standard equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The 2020 Ram 1500 is only available as a four-door, which means plenty of room for adults with upper level trims offering heated/cooling and reclining seating for rear-passengers. There are many places to hold all your things with over five cubic feet of interior storage, including a large center armrest, many side pockets, two gloveboxes, and concealed stowing underneath rear seats. There are two-bed length options starting at 5’7” and growing to 6’4” for that extra bit of room. A multi-function tailgate is available, which uses multiple hinges that can open up like double-doors easy access in addition to a fold-down traditional tailgate. There is also an available RamBox cargo system, which is a large hidden storage space situated above the rear wheel arches. The standard 23-gallon fuel tank can be upgraded to have a robust 33-gallon capacity.
Things to consider
The Rebel is the only model that comes standard with all-wheel-drive while all other models offer it as an option. The 12-inch touch-screen is not available for the Tradesman. The Lone Star model is only available in Texas but has the same specs as the Big Horn with only a few distinguishing touches to differentiate the two. Max towing capacity can only be achieved with 4×2, though the 4×4 is no slouch with a max rated 11,470 pounds towing ability and would be favorable for off-road and in hazardous weather conditions.
Towing figures in this article do not include in-bed hauling, which would increase the overall capacity by 1,690-1,930 pounds depending on trim and specification. The 2020 Ram 1500 has a 5-star safety rating, but only when equipped with the Crew Cab, which can be applied to any model over the standard Quad Cab. The Quad Cab bed length is only 6’4”, while the Crew Cab is available in 5’7” and 6’4” bed lengths.
The 2020 Ram 1500 is not only a dedicated work-truck but an impressive vehicle that can do it all and go anywhere too. The Tradesman is an affordable work-truck with standard features that make it a good and practical choice for those that need a pickup-truck for their occupation. The Rebel is a rugged off-roader on the outside, but with creature comforts that might surprise and incentivize potential buyers. The Ram Rebel competes directly with the Ford Raptor, and Chevy Trailboss, for the intensifying off-road performance truck market.
The Ram 1500 Limited is a luxury vehicle in pickup-truck form; with air-ride suspension, and rear seats that can recline, heat, and cool, this has more of an affinity to European executive carriers rather than an American working vehicle. The Limited does not undermine its hard-working origins; it is still very much a capable pickup but with features that will make you feel like the big boss foreman no matter what you do and where you go.
The Big Horn/Lone Star and Laramie trim levels manage to strike a balance between dedicated work-truck, off-road performer, and a luxury vehicle with optional features that can be upgraded and tailored to address these elements to any potential buyer’s requirements. Overall, the 2020 Ram 1500 lineup is impressive and forward-thinking, capable of handling all sorts of conditions and requirements buyers will want without eschewing its practical, hard-working roots.