Ram Ram Pickup 1500 ›› 2020 ›› 2020 Ram Ram Pickup 1500
Overview (Final Score: A+)
Completely overhauled for the 2019 model year, the Ram 1500 continues forward with the new-generation truck in 2020. Key additions this year include the return of the EcoDiesel model, added exterior styling packages, and a new high-efficiency HFE trim level. The Ram 1500 is now in its fifth generation as a pickup truck.
This new-generation Ram truck has more technology, more capability, but still keeps the core Ram Truck values Ram fans will expect. The former attachment to the Dodge name is completely gone with the new truck, making the separation complete. Still under the Fiat-Chrysler brand that encompasses Dodge, Jeep, and Ram, the Ram Truck brand is more focused on pickups and uses the Ram head logo exclusively. Most importantly, however, the concerns we had with this new truck last year were either unwarranted now that time has told its tale or have been remedied.
The 2020 Ram 1500 is available in several configurations with varied cab sizes, bed lengths, and drivetrains. There are seven trim points and four engine choices for the 2020 model year. Note that the 2020 Ram Classic model is not a part of this review, but is mechanically identical to the 2018 model Ram truck.
What We Love About the 2020 Ram 1500:
What We Don't Love About the 2020 Ram 1500:
Exterior View (10/10)
The new-generation Ram 1500 is bulkier and more muscular in appearance than was the previous generation. Gone are the crossbars and over-tall hood of the earlier design and in is a wider front face and bigger grille for this new-gen Ram. The overall look of the new Ram 1500 carries most of the Dodge/Ram hallmarks in fender shaping, front fascia, and other elements, but modernized to make for a new Ram Truck look.
The front bumper on the 2020 Ram 1500 is well-defined and steps away from the fascia to accentuate the ruggedness of the truck. Headlights are narrower, flanking the large grille, and the upper portion of the grille blends into the hood for a more sleek appearance. This eliminates the "big engine under here" pushiness of the previous design for a more sophisticated, though rugged, appearance for the front end.
The Ram 1500 now has grille louvres as standard on all trims and engine choices and these can be seen behind the protective grillework upfront. The bed rails sit a little higher on the new-generation Ram and the rear of the cabin is less square than before, improving both aerodynamics and appeal. Airflow is of particular importance for Ram as it is a large part of improved fuel economy numbers for this new generation's design.
Cab sizes for the 2020 Ram 1500 range from single (two-door) work options to an extra-large four-door Mega Cab option. In between those two extremes are the Quad (three-quarter rear door) and Crew (four-door) models. Bed lengths depend on cab and trim choice, but range from 6.5 feet as standard to a full 8-foot and a short 5.6 option. Convenience items like Ram Boxes for storage and adjustable tie-down rails or bed covers are also a part of the Ram Trucks makeup.
This year, the new split tailgate option is offered on the Ram 1500, making the cargo bed all the more useful as it allows the tailgate to be opened side-to-side (even with the trailer attached) for access to one or both sides without interference from the tailgate.
The Ram 1500 has a unique look that carries both capability and refinement with it.
Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)
Ram is very well known for its interiors and the Ram 1500 is often the benchmark for other trucks in the brand. The 2020 model year brings a few detail changes in terms of where optional features are located in the trim lineup but otherwise remains as it was in 2019. The Ram 1500's interior ranges from bare-bones, but comfortable, to extremely luxurious. Every trim level includes large front seats with plenty of storage and legroom and easy access to controls and information for the driver.
At the base end, the 2020 Ram 1500 has a three-seat front bench configured to have two outer buckets and a center seat whose back folds down to make for a couple of cup holders and a small storage bin. This remains the front seat of record in all cab configurations for the Ram 1500 Tradesman models. Moving up the lineup or options channels brings a truly split front seat with a large central storage bin with a moveable lower tray, tons of configurable storage, and cup holders galore. Up to 16 in all, if that's what you need.
Back seats in the Ram 1500 vary in size, but even the minimalist Quad Cab has adult-friendly back seats and lots of legroom compared to a midsized truck or the "extended cab" trucks of yesteryear. The Crew Cab and the Max Crew are almost too large in their rear seat accommodation and spaciousness. Both are truly three-person friendly and have storage options that grow with their size. Under-seat and under-floor storage is a standard in all of the Ram 1500 models with more than two doors.
Some small points in the 2020 Ram 1500, changed with the new-generation truck, include an update to the shifter knob (a twist-style knob) to make it more tactile and to register more firmly in each shift position to avoid confusing it with the volume or other knobs nearby. Plenty of USB ports are found (both USB-A and -C) for helpful charging and data plugging plus a wireless charger is found in the stand-up tray holder for devices upfront. This tray allows devices to be "clipped" into the rubber holder to keep them upright and easily visible. Something that's helpful when you forget to Bluetooth connect a phone or cannot see the caller ID on the infotainment when a call comes in.
The cargo bed also has some smart additions like an option for added cargo lights, a cargo camera, and the Ram Box lockable storage bins. The latter, plus the tailgate should one opt for a bed cover, lock when the doors are locked from the keyfob, or an interior button. All camera options for the Ram 1500 come with multiple views to aid when backing to a trailer, out of a tight parking space, etc.
Technology has become a big selling point for Ram Trucks. The 2020 Ram 1500 has plenty, especially as trim levels climb, and options increase. The base model Tradesman comes with a tiny little screen and little functionality, but enough to keep the truck relevant. Bluetooth connections, satellite radio, and a few other amenities are included in the smallest screen for the base model. An 8.4-inch touchscreen comes next, adding Chryslers robust and easy to use Uconnect infotainment system. This brings Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and several useful (if basic) apps. An option for navigation and a few other upgrades like WiFi hotspot are also available. A massive 12-inch tablet-style screen is also available, bringing even more connectivity and app options plus the ability to split the big screen in half (upper and lower) to run two things at once.
Driver's aids and safety tech in the 2020 Ram 1500 includes options like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and more. Air ride suspension options allow load leveling and easier trailer hitching as well.
Fuel Economy (10/10)
The 2020 Ram 1500 has a few engine options, each of which brings differing fuel economy returns. The base V6 includes the eTorque mile hybrid system standard. It's EPA-rated at 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, a best-in-class set of numbers.
Two V8 engine options are available. They are essentially identical, with one being natural as-is and the other having the eTorque mild hybrid system added. The standard V8 is rated at 15 mpg in town and 22 mpg on the highway while the eTorque option boosts that to 17 and 23 respectively. In the real world, though, we didn't notice that kind of bump from the eTorque system, but chalked that up to the EPA's numbers being ratings for the 4x2 model and our test being done in a 4x4.
New for this year is the diesel engine option. This turbodiesel is EPA rated at 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. We got close to that when testing this version of the truck, achieving about 34 on the highway and around 30 in town. Those are impressive numbers for a full-sized pickup truck.
Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (9/10)
The 2020 model year brings a lot of improvement to this score versus the 2019 debut year for the new Ram 1500. Most of that comes thanks to consumer experiences and better feedback for the new truck. The J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study had no publication of data for our review last year, but did for the 2020 model year. The Ram 1500 received a "Better Than Most" rating. Safety recalls thus far for the truck have not been mechanical in nature.
Ram has worked hard to improve its dependability scoring and it's beginning to pay off.
Safety was another rough spot for the 2019 model year as testing was slow in coming for the truck. This year, full suites of safety testing have been done by both major testing bodies. Scoring is good for the 2020 Ram 1500, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) scoring the truck with four out of five stars overall, including four stars each for frontal and rollover tests and five stars for side crash tests.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given even better marks to the 2020 Ram 1500 for safety. Crash tests all scored the highest return of "Good" for the truck, including the new small overlap front passenger test. Further, the Ram received a Superior score for advanced safety and crash mitigation features.
The 2020 Ram 1500 has four engine options, all of which mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The base model V6 is the tried-and-true 3.6-liter Pentastar engine producing 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. It has a mild-hybrid system called eTorque added that adds up to 90 lb-ft of torque when needed and which boost fuel economy by assisting the engine in various ways to take load off the fuel burning. The eTorque system is basically an advanced starting motor/generator and auxiliary power unit that is attached to the engine via a camshaft belt.
The first of the V8 engine options is a 5.7-liter Hemi that produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. The same eTorque mild hybrid system can be added to that engine for about $200, adding up to 130 lb-ft of torque and, again, improving fuel economy as well. The low price virtually begs a buyer to opt for the upgrade and it's probably worth it to most to do so.
Last in the lineup is the return of the EcoDiesel option with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine that was delayed due to the 2018-19 U.S. government shutdown. This engine produces 260 hp and 480 pound-feet of torque and purrs quietly as one of the most nonchalant diesel engines we've driven.
Performance from the three engines varies due to their power outputs, of course, but all are smooth and the eight-speed automatic transmission has been well-tuned to each for maximum output and a near-seamless experience.
The Ram 1500 has a good turning radius, a nice feel, and a very truck-like presence to its drive quality. The Rebel model, with its added off-road gear, is a bit heavier to drive with those additions (and the thicker shock absorbers) while the Tradesman is somewhat loud (comparatively) as a no-frills base model. All renditions of the Ram 1500 are easy to maneuver and use as a daily drive or work vehicle. Or both.
Pricing and Value (10/10)
Pickup trucks are the best-selling market right now and all brands are competitively priced against one another. The base model Ram 1500 Tradesman starts at about $32,145 and the top-end model will push the $60,000 mark. Resale on these trucks is also very high, making them a long-term upside for those who tend to buy and trade-in (or sell) regularly.
High-quality ratings and a strong mix of options makes the Ram 1500 a solid choice this year. We'd opt out of the V6 model unless its HFE MPG-maxing trim readily suits a need. The diesel is a better performer and has similar MPG returns without boosting price much. The diesel's higher potential resale is just icing there.
Otherwise, get the V8-powered option and make sure to add the eTorque system, which should pay for its upgrade price within a year in fuel savings.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (78/80, 98%)
The 2020 Ram 1500 is one of the highest-scoring vehicles we've ever reviewed, making it a definite top pick for us. The full-sized pickup truck market is very hot, however, and competition is fierce.
The best-selling Ford F-150 is probably feeling the heat from the Ram, though, which has been whittling away at the F Series' market share for the past couple of years. The Ford is very configurable, however, and the Blue Oval has become aggressive about price dipping at the dealership to try to hold its top spot.
The Chevrolet Silverado (and its GMC twin in the Sierra) was recently ousted as the number two best-selling truck by Ram and is certainly feeling the heat. New offerings from the company are working hard to win back market share. Meanwhile, GM has also been eking out share from Ford as well.
The Toyota Tundra is a good-selling pickup that hasn't seen much change in a long time. It's known mostly for its reliability and beautiful engine tone, but has few options and is pretty basic as a truck. Next to that is the struggling Nissan Titan, which underwent changes for 2020 to boost its likeability. We like the changes and are hoping Nissan gets more attention as a result of their hard work.
In all, though, the 2020 Ram 1500 is our highest-rated pickup truck this year. We think that its excellent lineup of options, powerful capabilities, and across-the-board excellence are benchmarks that must be met.
|Crew Cab - 4WD|
|Tradesman||Tradesman 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||35645|
|Lone Star||Lone Star 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||40190|
|Big Horn||Big Horn 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||40190|
|Laramie||Laramie 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||44290|
|Rebel||Rebel 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||45440|
|Tradesman||Tradesman 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||4WD||38445|
|Big Horn||Big Horn 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||4WD||42890|
|Lone Star||Lone Star 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||4WD||42890|
|Laramie||Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||4WD||46990|
|Rebel||Rebel 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||4WD||48240|
|Longhorn||Longhorn 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||4WD||54640|
|Limited||Limited 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||4WD||57215|
|Tradesman||Tradesman 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||38745|
|Lone Star||Lone Star 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||43190|
|Big Horn||Big Horn 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||43190|
|Laramie||Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||47290|
|Longhorn||Longhorn 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||54940|
|Limited||Limited 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||4WD||57515|
|Crew Cab - RWD|
|Tradesman||Tradesman 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||32145|
|HFE||HFE 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||34095|
|Lone Star||Lone Star 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||36690|
|Big Horn||Big Horn 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||36690|
|Laramie||Laramie 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||40790|
|Tradesman||Tradesman 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||RWD||34945|
|Lone Star||Lone Star 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||RWD||39390|
|Big Horn||Big Horn 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||RWD||39390|
|Laramie||Laramie 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||RWD||43490|
|Rebel||Rebel 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||RWD||44740|
|Longhorn||Longhorn 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||RWD||51140|
|Limited||Limited 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box||V6||RWD||53715|
|Tradesman||Tradesman 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||35245|
|Lone Star||Lone Star 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||39690|
|Big Horn||Big Horn 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||39690|
|Laramie||Laramie 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||43790|
|Longhorn||Longhorn 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box||V6||RWD||51440|
|Limited||Limited 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail*||V6||RWD||53715|