In a battle of the three-quarter-ton full-size pickup trucks, finding the toughest one can sometimes seem pretty futile. After all, these pickups are all mega tough and capable of performing like workhorses, which is just what they’re designed to do. Still, some trucks simply do it a little better—and tougher—which makes pre-purchase research essential. Take the 2020 Ram 2500 and the 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, for example. These two trucks are identical in size, but that’s where the similarities end.
When looking for a truck of this size, it’s not uncommon for buyers to put capabilities well ahead of any comfort or luxury features. In fact, most buyers are indifferent about these kinds of features, considering them a sort of ‘extra’ or assuming they aren’t available. This mindset is based on a long history of automakers focusing on everything but comfort and luxury when designing work trucks, conditioning buyers to keep expectations low. Fortunately, today’s buyers are treated to a much broader range of interior upgrade options, which will only improve the ownership experience.
In general, truck buyers are indeed very particular about their vehicles. They want rugged, capable pickup trucks that can perform consistently on the job site or when towing big equipment, but they also want a rig that’s comfortable to drive, and now, since automakers are putting the focus more on luxury, buyers are also beginning to demand more interior appointments. So does the Ram 2500 edge out the Chevy Silverado in both grit and comfort? Who gets the bragging rights? Let’s unveil the differences that will help us determine which is tough and which is tougher.
A Truck Overview
The 2020 Ram 2500 takes an early lead, having been a part of the brand that received the prestigious 2020 MotorTrend Truck of the Year for the second year in a row. In 2019, its little brother, the Ram 1500, took the award. This year all the glory goes to the Ram Heavy Duty.
Overall, both trucks come to the fight with capabilities that get the job done. Whether used for work or play, these trucks can tow heavy equipment or RVs and carry significant payloads, but when compared side-by-side, it’s evident that the Ram carries this off with more style and sophistication, while the Silverado delivers the goods in a simpler and less refined package.
The Ram 2500 has a starting MSRP of $33,645, and the Silverado 2500 starts at $34,100, giving Ram a slight edge on price. Both trucks venture into the $60,000 range at the upper end of the range. The Ram 2500 comes in six distinct trims: the Tradesman, the Big Horn, the Laramie, the Power Wagon, the Laramie Longhorn, and the luxury Limited. Each trim is available with different cab and box size configurations. The Silverado 2500 offers five different trims, including the WT, the LT, the Custom, the LTZ, and the High Country.
Both trucks offer a variety of body configurations. The Ram 2500 Tradesman is offered in a regular cab with a long bed and crew cab with either a standard bed or a long bed. The Big Horn and Laramie offer those options plus a Mega Cab with a standard bed. The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is available only in a crew cab with a standard bed, and the top-end Laramie Longhorn and Limited offer a crew cab with either a standard or long bed, and a mega cab with a standard bed.
The Silverado WT and LT offer regular cab, long bed body styles, along with double cab, standard bed, and crew cab standard bed. Rounding out the body style offerings for WT and LT are a double cab long bed and a crew cab long bed. The Custom and LTZ trims have four body styles: a double cab with either standard bed or long bed and a crew cab with either a standard bed or a long bed. The High Country offers a crew cab only with either a standard bed or a long bed.
All in all, both trucks have numerous configurations and options. However, the Ram 2500 starts at a lower price point and has more trims to pick from, bringing it on top from the get-go.
Looking at Capabilities
In terms of capability, the Ram 2500 dominates again. The Ram offers a towing capacity of 19,680 lbs vs the Chevy Silverado 2500, which comes in at 18,500 lbs. Additionally, engine size and performance is impressive on both trucks. The 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel I6 engine boasts a max 850 lb-ft of torque and 370 hp, while the 6.4 liter Hemi V8 engine amps it up with 429 lb-ft of torque and best-in-class 410 hp. The 6.4-liter motor is standard on all Ram 2500 trucks.
The Silverado offers a 6.6-liter V8 that delivers 464 lb-ft of torque and 401 hp, along with a Duramax 6.6-liter turbo diesel V8 paired with a 10-speed transmission, making 910 lb-ft of torque. Overall, though, it’s all about towing capacity when looking at a heavy-duty truck’s performance, as towing capacity equals power. And here we see that the Ram 2500 is pulling out a slight advantage. Buyers that need just a little extra performance will find this difference to be important.
Inside the Trucks
Without a doubt, the Ram 2500’s plush interior far outclasses the Silverado. Starting with an optional 12.0-inch display screen, the Ram outfits its upper-level trims with better equipment than the Silverado’s top-end High Country, which only offers an 8.0-inch screen. In general, the Ram pays attention to driver comfort and convenience much more than the Silverado, with a level of sophisticated design and functionality that is just missing on the Silverado.
From the Active Noise Cancellation system to the available Harmon Kardon Premium Audio System with 17 speakers and a 750-watt amplifier, standard and optional interior equipment is overwhelmingly better for the Ram 2500 in comparison to the Silverado 2500. Looking at the upscale Ram 2500 Limited, you’ll find leather seats, and wood and aluminum accents. Mega Cab models feature ample rear-seat room and the ability to recline rear seats up to 15 degrees for unparalleled rear passenger comfort.
The Silverado 2500 follows along with some luxury options, but overall the interior cabin feel is more utilitarian, especially with the much-too-small 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is lost in the dashboard. The Bose Premium Sound System offered in the upper-level LTZ offers just 7 speakers compared with the 17 found on the Ram 2500. In general, the upmarket luxury features found on the Ram 2500 Limited are class-leading and mimic those usually found on a high-end luxury car. While the Silverado flirts with luxury, it falls short on the big picture, especially with the undersized touchscreen.
The Fight is Over
After seeing the results of this big truck battle—the fight over the 2020 Ram 2500 vs 2020 Chevy Silverado—the clear winner is the Ram. Even without this side-by-side comparison, the industry picks the Ram 2500 too. MotorTrend’s preference for Ram trucks is obvious with their prestigious award landing with the Ram trucks for the second year in a row.
By no means is the Silverado 2500 a poor choice, though. It’s just that the Ram 2500 is a little better. Perhaps some would say it’s more evolved and complete. Small differences add up to significant improvements in performance and utility, while style and comfort are not forgotten. When it comes to the needs of a heavy-duty truck owner, squeezing the most capability out of the truck is paramount. That’s where the Ram is clearly the winning choice.