By Derek Price
Since it was introduced over a year ago as a 2019 model, the half-ton Ram was named North American Truck of the Year, Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year, Green Truck of the Year, Truck of Texas, the top rated truck by Edmunds, along with numerous honors for its spectacular cabin and innovative, gigantic touchscreen interface.
Cars.com even recently named it the 2020 Luxury Car of the Year, the first time that title has ever gone to a pickup truck. Go figure.
After driving it for a week, it’s easy to see why this truck’s trophy case is overflowing.
It’s highly capable, as any full-size pickup has to be to remain competitive today. With the ability to tow 12,750 pounds and a max payload of 2,300 pounds, it’s built to do serious work and play. That’s impressive but hardly surprising.
The real shocker is how refined this truck feels.
Other pickup brands will be spending the next few years playing catch-up with the new-generation Ram’s silent, smooth ride. It really is supple enough to be named Luxury Car of the Year with its careful attention to noise isolation and buttery suspension feel on the highway.
No competitor can currently match the materials and design in its cabin, either.
At every price point — and especially on the high-end luxury trims — the Ram 1500 exudes quality and sophistication. The Ram Limited with its genuine leather, gorgeous wood trim and 12-inch touchscreen does more to justify the stratospheric price of luxury trucks than its counterparts at Ford and General Motors.
Where does it fall short?
While you can get it with more efficient engines, including a V6 and a light-duty diesel starting this year, fuel economy with the V8 isn’t impressive. With four-wheel drive, my V8-powered tester was rated for 15 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway.
Also its off-road-focused model, the Rebel, looks cool but doesn’t stack up in performance when compared to the Ford F-150 Raptor. While that’s a tiny slice of the pickup market, I still wish Ram would turn this spectacular chassis into a Raptor-like halo truck for enthusiasts and headline writers. We can hope.
As a broad half-ton truck lineup, though, Ram may have created the best pickup ever built in this new 1500. Yes, it can do the hauling and towing jobs pickups are designed to do, but it does so in a way that’s so comfortable and family-friendly that it hardly feels like a truck at all from the driver’s seat. It’s more relaxing and comfortable to drive than most cars I test, yet it has a well-designed pickup bed and impressive tow numbers when you need them.
Pricing starts at $31,695 for the base Tradesman trim with a quad cab and tops out at $57,390 for the Limited, before you add any options and a hefty $1,695 destination charge.
My crew-cab Big Horn tester came with more standard equipment than the Tradesman but still had a serious-work-truck feel, not a lot of frivolous luxury materials. It’s priced from $38,395 with two-wheel drive, before options.
At A Glance
Wheelbase: 144.6 in.
Length: 232.9 in.
Width: 82.1 in.
Height: 77.6 in.
Engine: 5.7-liter HEMI V8 (395 hp, 410 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 15 city, 21 highway
Why buy it?
It’s the most sumptuous truck for sale today. Its highway ride is luxury-car supple and silent, yet it can tow up to 12,750 pounds.