So you don’t want the Ford F-150, there are still two American Trucks that might strike your fancy
Chevrolet is one of the oldest names in trucks and for decades, the Silverado served as the second-bestselling truck and vehicle in the United States, trailing only the Ford F-Series. The Ram brand is technically the newest name in trucks, having come about in 2009 when the Dodge Ram lineup was transitioned to its own brand. Since then, Ram sales have grown tremendously, allowing the trucks once known as Dodges to surpass the Chevrolet Silverado for the second-place spot in North American truck sales and overall sales.
The Ford F-Series continues to lead the annual race for the bestselling truck and bestselling vehicle in the United States by a large enough margin that it really isn’t a race. The real battle in the truck segment is for second, with the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 going head-to-head. That competition has led to major advancements for both of those half-ton trucks, which has led to more consumer interest.
If you are shopping for a half-ton pickup and you have been going back and forth between the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, unsure of which best suits your needs, we have you covered. Below, we run through all of the key factors which play into the purchasing decision of most new truck buyers, highlighting which truck is better in which areas.
Ram 1500: The Ram 1500 has two cab sizes, Quad Cab and Crew Cab, both of which are four-door models. In both the Quad Cab and Crew Cab models, buyers get the same front seating space, including 40.9 inches (1,039 mm) of headroom, 40.9 inches (1,039 mm) of legroom, 66 inches (1,676 mm) of shoulder room, and 63.4 inches (1,610 mm) of hip room. In the rear seating area of the Quad Cab, the Ram 1500 offers 39.2 inches (996 mm) of headroom, 35.6 inches (904 mm) of legroom, 65.7 inches (1,669 mm) of shoulder room, and 63.4 inches (1,610 mm) of hip room. The larger Crew Cab offers a bit more headroom with 39.8 inches and a ton more legroom with 45.2 inches (1,148 mm) while sharing the shoulder and hip room dimensions with the Quad Cab.
Silverado 1500: The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has three cab sizes, the two-door Regular Cab, and the four-door Double Cab and Crew Cab. The Regular Cab offers 43.1 inches (1,095 mm) of headroom, 44.5 inches (1,130 mm) of legroom, 66 inches (1,676 mm) of shoulder room, and 60.9 inches of hip room for the single row of seats. In the Double Cab models, the driver and front passenger get 43 inches (1,092 mm) of headroom, 44.5 inches (1,130 mm) of legroom, 66 inches (1,676 mm) of shoulder room, and 61.2 inches (1,554 mm) of hip-room while the rear riders get 39.9 inches (1,013 mm) of headroom, 35.2 inches (894 mm) of legroom, 64.9 inches (1,648 mm) of shoulder room and 60.2 inches (1,529 mm) of hip room. In Chevrolet’s largest half-ton cab, the Crew Cab, the driver, and front passenger will enjoy 43 inches of headroom, 44.5 inches (1,130 mm) of legroom, 66 inches (1,676 mm) of shoulder room, and 61.2 inches (1,554 mm) of hip-room while rear passengers have 40.1 inches (1,018 mm) of headroom, 43.4 inches (1,102 mm) of legroom, 65.2 inches (1,656 mm) of shoulder room and 60.2 inches (1,529 mm) of hip room.
Bottom Line: If you are a taller driver and you want lots of headroom and legroom, the Silverado has a defined advantage in those departments in both Double Cab and Crew Cab form. Along the same lines, the Silverado offers more headroom in the second row, but the Ram has an advantage in rear legroom. If you often have taller passengers seated in the rear, the Ram is the better choice.
Cargo and Towing
Ram 1500: The top towing engine for the Ram 1500 can pull up to 12,560 lb with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 eTorque hybrid drive while the non-hybrid Hemi can tow 11,610 pounds and haul 1,940 pounds. The payload leader from Ram is actually their base 3.6-liter V6, which can haul up to 2,320 lb. The hybrid Hemi will also haul 1,850 pounds while the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 will tow 12,560 lb and haul 2,060 lb. Finally, the supercharger Ram TRX isn’t really designed to tow or haul, but it will pull a trailer weighing up to 8,100 pounds and carry 1,850 lb worth of cargo.
Silverado 1500: The highest rating engine for towing in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 lineup is the 6.2-liter V8, offering 13,300 pounds of capacity, followed by the 5.3-liter engine at 11,500 lb. The 3.0-liter diesel V6 is next with a rating of 9,500 lb, followed by the turbocharged 2.7-liter 4-cylinder at 9,300 lb and the 4.3-liter V6 is the lowest-rated at 7,900 lb. The Silverado’s top payload engine is also its base V6 at 2,250 lb, followed by the 5.3-liter V8 at 2,190 then the 2.7-liter 4-cylinder at 2,160. The 6.2-liter V8 has a maximum payload capacity of 2,090 and the 3.0-liter diesel is rated at just 1,870 lb.
Bottom Line: The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has the overall towing lead with a capacity of 13,300 lb, but among the hotter-selling 5.3-liter Chevy engine and the 5.7-liter Ram engine, the Hemi has the towing advantage. The Ram also has a payload advantage at the V6 level while having a big advantage in towing and hauling among the two diesel engines. If you are shopping for a half-ton diesel and you are concerned about working abilities, the Ram is the easy winner. The Ram also has a big advantage among the “volume V8” trucks.
Technology and Features
Ram 1500: The Ram 1500 Tradesman comes with a 40/20/40 split front bench seat and a folding rear seat, both of which are covered in cloth. The Big Horn trim level comes with the same front seats, but it adds a 60/40 split rear bench seat and there are also optional front bucket seats with power adjustability. Laramie models have the split front bench and 60/40 rear bench, but heated and cooled leather is standard, with 8-way power driver and passenger adjustability. The Ram Rebel is the first package in the lineup to come with bucket seats, with unique cloth patterns and vinyl trim, but leather is optional. The Limited Longhorn trim level adds leather-wrapped front bucket seats with 8-way power adjustability, heated and cooled surfaces up front while the rear seat reclines and offers heated outboard positions. The top-of-the-line Limited models feature premium leather seats with power controls and both heated and cooled surfaces. As for the 702-horsepower Ram 1500 TRX, that package comes with unique cloth bucket seats with 8-way power control, but buyers can opt up to premium leather.
In terms of technology, the Ram 1500 Tradesman comes with a 5-inch touchscreen running the UConnect 3 operating system, 6 speakers, manual air conditioning, power door locks, power windows, a black-and-white 3.5-inch driver information screen, push-button start, Bluetooth integration, and a collection of USB and 115-volt power points. The Big Horn trim level includes all of those items and adds steering wheel audio controls on a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Rebel builds on the Big Horn, adding an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 7-inch color information screen in the gauge cluster.
The Laramie trim level also builds on the Big Horn package, adding an 8.4-inch touchscreen with the UConnect 4 operating system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 9-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control, a rear window defroster, auto-dimming rearview mirror, the 7-inch color driver information screen, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, remote start, a security alarm, and remote keyless entry. Limited Longhorn builds on the Laramie trim level, adding navigation, 4G LTE WiFi Hot Spot functionality, 5-Year SiriusXM Traffic Service, 5-Year SiriusXM Travel Link Service, HD Radio, SiriusXM Guardian Connected Services, SiriusXM Traffic Plus, SiriusXM Travel Link, a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and a remote tailgate release.
On top of all of that, the Limited trim level adds the 12-inch UConnect screen as standard, but that premium information system is optional on the Laramie and Limited Longhorn models as well. The high-performance TRX builds on the Big Horn package, adding the 12-inch touchscreen, the WiFi system, the SiriusXM traffic, and guardian services including SiriusXM 360L, HD Radio, a leather flat-bottom steering wheel, and the Performance Pages system. Finally, Ram offers a handful of ultra-premium features that are not standard on any models, but they are available on the Longhorn, Limited, and TRX models. This includes the heads-up display, cooled rear seating surfaces, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, the digital rearview mirror system, Trailer Reverse Steering Control, the Trailer Tire Pressure Monitoring System, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, the surround-view camera system, and the dual-pane panoramic Sunroof.
Silverado 1500: The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in WT form comes with a 40/20/40 split front bench seat with 4-way driver and passenger seat manual adjustment and a 60/40 split rear bench seat, all of which are wrapped in vinyl. When you step up to the Custom trim level, you get cloth rather than vinyl, but the seats themselves are the same. The Silverado LT and RST come with a 40/20/40 split front bench seat, with the driver’s seat coming with 10-way power adjustment and heated outboard positions while the RST has similar features as the LT while the LT Trail Boss introduces standard bucket seats with 10-way power adjustment, heated front seats and a cloth rear seat with the storage package. The Silverado LTZ features front bucket seats with perforated leather, 10-way power adjustment, and heated and cooled surfaces, the “up-level” rear bench seat with heated outboard positions while the High Country features unique perforated leather throughout the cabin, with the same seats as the LTZ.
In terms of technology, the Silverado 1500 WT comes with a 3.5-inch monochromatic Driver Information Center display, a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, the 7-inch Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System with color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Apple CarPlay, a manual tilt steering column, the Trailering Package and USB charging ports front and rear. When you step up to the Custom trim level, you gain 4G LTE WiFi hotspot capability, cruise control, single-zone climate control, and SiriusXM radio. The LT trim level is the first to include the 8-inch touch screen, along with a 12-volt auxiliary rear power outlet, the 4.2-inch color driver information center, rear window defogger, dual-zone climate control, a leather wrapped-and-heated steering wheel with audio controls, keyless open and start, remote start, and a theft-deterrent system. The LTZ trim level adds the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus System with 8-inch HD color touchscreen, HD Radio, inside rearview auto-dimming mirror, rear sliding power window with defogger, SiriusXM with 360L, and a universal home remote. Finally, the High Country models get the 8-inch digital Driver Information Center screen, the Bose 7-speaker premium sound system, and wireless charging.
Bottom Line: There really isn’t much comparison here; the Ram 1500 blows the Silverado 1500 out of the water when it comes to interior luxury. From the seats to the sound system to the infotainment offerings, the Ram outshines the Chevy in every way when it comes to interior features.
Ram 1500: The base engine for the Ram 1500 is the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with standard eTorque hybridization, delivering 269 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. Next, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available with or without the eTorque hybrid assist system, but both variations of this Hemi offer 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. The big story for the 2021 Ram 1500 is the TRX, which features the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi from the Dodge Hellcat cars, delivering 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. The TRX is the quickest, fastest, and most powerful production truck ever. Finally, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 offers the greatest combination of power and efficiency with 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard in all Ram 1500 models, as is rear-wheel-drive, with the exception of the TRX.
Silverado 1500: The base engine for the Chevrolet Silverado is a naturally aspirated V6 measuring 4.3 liters and delivering a combination of 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft torque. Those who want a little more punch can opt for the turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. Next, every variant of the 5.3-liter V8 offers 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque while the range-topping 6.2-liter V8 delivers 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Finally, Chevrolet’s 3.0-liter diesel is rated at 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The Silverado is offered with three different automatic transmissions across the lineup. The 5.3-liter V8 is offered in three different variants; one with a six-speed, one with an eight-speed and one with a 10-speed. The six-speed is also featured with the 4.3-liter V6 while the eight-speed is standard with the 2.7-liter 4-cylinder. The 6.2-liter V8 and the 3.0-liter diesel V6 both come with a 10-speed gearbox.
Bottom Line: Needless to say, if huge power is your key concern, the Ram 1500 TRX with 702 horsepower is the easy choice. It is the world’s most powerful production truck and there is no Silverado to match up to the Jurassic-themed Ram. If you are looking at lower-priced trucks, Chevy has the power advantage with their base V6 and the turbocharged 4-cylinder when compared to the standard hybrid V6 in the Ram. Among the high volume V8s, the Ram’s Hemi has a big advantage over the Chevy 5.3, but the 6.2 in the premium 4WD Silverado models offered significantly more horsepower and torque than the 5.7-liter Hemi. If you are looking to buy a premium luxury model, the Chevy 6.2 has the edge, but anyone buying a mid-level truck with V8 power should take a good look at the hybrid Hemi.
Ram 1500: The most fuel-efficient engine in the Ram 1500 lineup is the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, which is offered with rear-drive and Ram’s HFE – High Fuel Economy – package. The 3.0-liter diesel is rated at 22 miles-per-gallon in the city and 32 on the highway while the diesel HFE package lifts city and highway numbers to 23 and 33, respectively. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with the standard eTorque hybrid system is rated at 20 city and 25 highway. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 non-hybrid is rated at 15 city and 22 highway while the Hemi hybrid offers 17 city and 23 highway. The most fuel-friendly four-wheel-drive Ram 1500 engine is once again the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, offering 21 city and 29 highway while the 3.6-liter Pentastar with the standard eTorque hybrid system is rated at 19 city and 24 highway. The non-hybrid 5.7-liter Hemi with four-wheel-drive offers 15 city and 21 highway while the addition of the eTorque hybrid system to the Hemi lifts numbers to 17 around town and 22 on the highway. Finally, the Ram 1500 TRX with 702 horsepower offers the worst fuel economy numbers in the half-ton segment, offering 10 miles-per-gallon around town and 14 on the highway, but no one is buying the world’s most powerful production truck for fuel economy.
Silverado 1500: The most fuel-efficient engine in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 lineup is also a 3.0-liter diesel, offering 23 miles-per-gallon around town and 33 mpg on the highway with rear-wheel-drive and the 10-speed automatic transmission. Those are the best numbers in the half-ton segment, equaling that of the Ram HFE package with EcoDiesel V6. Next in line among rear-drive numbers, we have the turbocharged 2.7-liter 4-cylinder, which is rated at 20 in the city and 23 on the highway while the naturally aspirated 4.3-liter V6 offers 16 around town and 21 on the highway. Chevrolet offers the 5.3-liter V8 in three different variants, each of which comes with a different transmission. The 5.3 with the 6-speed automatic transmission is rated at 15 city and 21 highway, the 8-speed models are rated at 17 city and 23 highway and the 10-speed models are not available with rear-drive, so we will talk about them later in the next section. The 6.2-liter V8 is also a four-wheel-drive-only option.
Among Silverado’s four-wheel-drive models, the 3.0-liter diesel is still the fuel economy leader, but it drops to 22 city and 26 highway. The turbocharged 4-cylinder offers 19 city and 22 highway and the four-wheel-drive 4.3-liter models are rated at 15 city and 20 highway. Next, we get into the trio of 5.3-liter engines, with 6-speed models being rated at 15 city and 20 highway while both 8- and 10-speed models are rated at 16 city and 22 highway. Finally, the 6.2-liter V8 is rated at 16 city and 21 highway, so there isn’t much compromise when going with Chevy’s biggest half-ton engine.
Bottom Line: If you are shopping for a half-ton diesel and fuel economy is your key concern, both the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 have a 3.0-liter mill that offers better than 30 miles-per-gallon on the highway in rear-drive form. The problem is that most truck buyers opt for four-wheel-drive and among the 4×4 models, the Ram 1500 has a decisive advantage at every level. The Ram’s V6 diesel is better, the hybrid gas V6 is far better than Chevy’s 2.7- or 4.3-liter engines and the Hemi hybrid beats every Silverado 5.3 while also offering loads more power. If your key concern is fuel economy, the Ram 1500 is the better choice here.
Ram 1500: The Ram 1500 Tradesman comes standard with a long list of safety features, beginning with electronic roll mitigation, electronic stability control, hill start assist, DRLs, remote keyless entry, the sentry key theft deterrent system, a tire pressure monitoring system with Tire Fill Alert, traction control and Trailer Sway Damping. Every new Ram 1500 also comes with multistage front and side airbags and curtain airbags at the front and rear. When you opt for the Limited Longhorn trim level, you get ParkSense front and rear park-assist with stop, and the Limited models add blind-spot and cross-path detection as well.
Silverado 1500: The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 comes standard with dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, head-curtain airbags, daytime running lights, the rear vision camera system, the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The Custom, LT, RST and Trail Boss models add Hitch Guidance to the rearview camera, along with OnStar and Chevrolet connected services. The LTZ and High Country models have everything mentioned above, along with front and rear park assist, an HD rear vision camera with Hitch Guidance and Hitch View, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, and the rear cross-traffic alert system. Optional safety upgrades include automatic emergency braking, an auxiliary trailer camera, the bed view camera, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, HD surround vision, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, safety alert seat, and the Trailer Tire Pressure and Temperature Sensors system.
Bottom Line: The Ram 1500 offers more standard safety features across the trim line, with more standard features on premium models and when every box is checked, the Ram 1500 has a long list of safety advantages over the Silverado.
Ram 1500: All-new Ram 1500 pickups feature the same basic exterior styling cues, whether a Quad Cab or a Crew Cab configuration is chosen. This begins up front with slim headlights that feature LED accents in premium models. There are also LED fog lights in the bumper and a huge central grille that takes up most of the front end with the Ram logo in the middle on every trim level. Along the sides, the Ram has smooth, fluid lines, with a collection of 18-, 20- and 22-inch wheels offered across the lineup.
Silverado 1500: The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has an exterior design that is highlighted by a front-end design that has proved to be quite polarizing. For several generation, the Chevy pickups have featured a stacked headlight design and the newest version has a futuristic take on that, with angular upper and lower headlight lenses broken up by a splash of body color and, on certain models, LED accent lighting. There is also a grille that fills the entire area between the hood and the front bumper, with the fog lights mounted low in the front bumper. Along the sides, the Silverado finally departed from the square wheel openings for round sheet metal that wraps around the tires more naturally. The flared portion of the fenders and bedsides still have the boxy shape, but the wheel openings themselves are round. Depending on the trim level, the Silverado has chrome bumpers and lots of chrome trim, with wheel sizes ranging from 17 to 22 inches.
Bottom Line: The sleek design of the Ram 1500 has proven to be far more popular than the unique face of the Silverado 1500. While sales numbers show that plenty of people like the Chevy enough to buy one, we think that the Ram is the much better-looking vehicle across the entire lineup.
Ram 1500: The Ram 1500 Tradesman comes with the Quad Cab body, the 3.6-liter eTorque hybrid V6, rear-drive and the 6’4” cargo box with a price of $34,990, including the $1,695 destination fee. Stepping up to the 5.7-liter Hemi costs $1,795, the eTorque hybrid Hemi costs $1,995 and the 3.0-liter diesel adds $4,995 to the bottom line. Adding four-wheel-drive costs $3,500 on every trim level except for the TRX, which comes with standard 4WD. The Ram 1500 Big Horn with the hybrid V6, rear-drive and the Quad Cab starts at $38,985 and the other engines have the same upcharge as the Tradesman models. The Laramie models with the V6, rear-drive and 6’4” box starts at $43,675 and while the Hemi and diesel have the same upcharge, the hybrid Hemi is not available in Laramie trim. The Rebel package with the Crew Cab, the 5’7” cargo box, rear-drive and the V6 starts at $47,815 while the Limited Longhorn with the V6 and the same body layout as the Rebel starts at $53,975. Both the Rebel and the Limited Longhorn have the same engine upcharges as the Big Horn. The range-topping Ram 1500 Limited comes with the Crew Cab, rear-drive, the 5’7” bed and the standard Hemi V8 starts at $58,345, with the hybrid Hemi adding $200 and the diesel engine adding $3,200. Finally, the Ram 1500 TRX starts at $71,990.
Silverado 1500: Chevrolet pricing works a little differently, with varying prices based on cab configuration, trim level, engine and drivetrains, so Silverado 1500 pricing isn’t as simple as Ram pricing. The Silverado Regular Cab is only offered with the WT trim level, which comes standard with the 4.3-liter V6, rear-drive, the long bed and a price of $30,995 including the $1,695 destination fee. The same truck with the 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine starts at $31,150 and the rear-drive WT with the 5.3-liter V8 starts at $32,340. When you add four-wheel-drive, the Regular Cab WT with the V6 starts at $33,595 while the V8 model starts at $36,940. The WT trim level is also available as a Double Cab starting at $32,895 or a Crew Cab, starting at $35,295, both of which include the V6 engine and rear-wheel-drive. Next in line is the Silverado 1500 Custom, which comes standard in Double Cab form with the 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine and a price of $36,520 while the Crew Cab Custom models start at $38,920.
There is also a Trail Boss version of the Custom trim level, which comes with the V6, standard four-wheel-drive, and the Double Cab for $41,395 or the Crew Cab for $43,795. The Silverado LT with the standard 4-cylinder turbocharged engine starts at $39,995 for the Double Cab and $42,395 for the Crew Cab while the four-wheel-drive LT Trail Boss starts at $53,195 with the standard 5.3-liter V8. The sporty Silverado RST comes with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a price of $50,185 in Double Cab form or $52,875 for the Crew Cab. The LTZ trim level is Crew Cab-only and the High Country are both Crew Cab-only and 4WD-only, with the LTZ starting at $51,045 while the High Country starts at $59,095. If you add the 6.2-liter V8 to the Silverado High Country, which is the priciest option in the current lineup, the starting price is $61,590.
Bottom Line: If you are looking to get into a half-ton truck for the lowest possible price, the Silverado has the advantage with the Regular Cab that Ram does not offer. If you look at the competitive trim levels, the advantage bounces back and forth between the two, but the loaded Ram 1500 Limited has a lower starting price than the Silverado High Country thanks to the fact that you can get the Ram with rear-drive. When both have four-wheel-drive, the Ram generally costs a little more, but across the trim levels, you get more for your money with the Ram 1500.
Verdict: Ram 1500 vs Chevrolet Silverado 1500
If you are shopping for a new half-ton truck and you key concern is the lowest possible purchase price or having only two doors, the Chevrolet Silverado is the better choice. If you want better fuel economy, more mid-range power, more premium power, more premium technology, more luxury features and more for your money, the Ram 1500 is the easy choice. Frankly, it is clear why the Ram has surpassed the Silverado in the past few years, as it is the better truck in just about every area.
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