Although the 2021 Ram 1500 pickup truck is not the best, it does have the most accolades for being the “best-in class” vehicle. However, it sets the bar for all other pickup trucks. Pickups used to be judged on their ruggedness, not their refinement. This is no longer the case. This Ram’s luxurious interior and comfortable ride quality easily surpasses the most expensive versions of the Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. The Ram’s unique air suspension, split-folding tailgate and huge 12.0-inch touchscreen, are options that its competitors don’t offer. The Ram’s standard V-6 engine is frugal and powerful, while the optional Hemi V-8 can be upgraded with hybrid systems. These systems contribute to the pickup’s modern vibe. This is aided by the Ram’s extensive technology and myriad capabilities. The Ram was an easy choice for Editors’ Choice as well as our 2021 10Best List.
What’s new for 2021?
The Ram 2021 half-ton lineup has been made more interesting by the Hellcat-powered Ram 1500TRX. We also review it separately. It also marks the introduction of cool new options for less-extreme models. The new features include a head-up display and a digital rearview mirror that can be used to control the truck’s steering while backing up to a trailer. There are also Off-Road pages in the infotainment that show ride height, pitch and roll monitoring and transfer-case mode. There’s also an exclusive Limited Longhorn 10th anniversary edition. This special edition includes improved trailer-specific features such as pedestrian detection in the Advanced Safety package and forward-collision warning. You will find a variety of unique badges inside and outside, as well as a Mountain Brown interior featuring distinctive trim pieces.
Pricing and Which One To Buy
The Rebel’s appeal has been diminished by the arrival of the TRX, but we think it’s still worth the half-ton Ram. The crew cab with four wheel drive would be our choice, as it is $3500 more expensive than the rear-drive model. The standard V-6 can be serviced, but we prefer the power and rumble of the $1495 Hemi V-8. The air suspension is also available in a range of ride heights. It can be either Level 1 or Level 2 so we recommend the latter. The Level 2 package includes remote start, 115-volt power outlet and front and rear parking sensors. Power-adjustable pedals, hands-free entry, passive hands-free access, power-adjustable pedals, power-adjustable pedals, and more. The 33-gallon fuel tank will allow for fewer fill-ups on road trips than the 26-gallon standard tank. We recommend the Safety and Convenience Package (adaptive cruise and automatic high beams), and the Multifunction Tailgate which also includes a spray-in mattressliner.
Transmission, Engine, and Performance
There are V-6 and V-8 gasoline engines available. All of them pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly. The 48-volt hybrid system powers both engines, but the Hemi V-8 with 5.7-liters can be used without it. We have driven several models equipped with this engine and enjoyed its baritone exhaust note, quick acceleration, and rapid response. We have also tested Rams equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V-6 (called EcoDiesel). This engine produces 480 lbft of torque which is significantly more than comparable diesel engines found on half-ton pickups made by Ford and Chevy. Although the six-cylinder’s oil burning speed is slower than that of the Hemi it produces a better fuel economy and is refined for a diesel. The rugged Rebel model is for those who are more adventurous and want to be able to go off-road. The Ram 1500’s rear suspension uses either standard coil springs or optional springs to provide a smooth ride, which is quite different from the leaf-spring system found on domestic models. Air suspension models have adjustable ride heights to improve fuel economy and off-road capability. The suspension’s light steering and powerful brakes allow for relaxed cruising and confident stopping.
Towing and Payload Capacity
Ram 1500 can tow 12,750 pounds and tow a payload up to 2320lbs. The Ram 1500’s maximum towing capacity is greater than that of the Ford F-150 (currently exceeding 13,000 pounds). Rams with the crew Cab, including the Rebel model, can’t tow as many as the Quad Cab extended model but can still exceed 11,500 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real World MPG
The Ram 1500 lineup offers a variety of fuel economy thanks to its hybrid V-6 and V-8 engine options as well as a diesel option. According to the EPA, the V-6 Ram’s most efficient engine will get up to 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The V-8 model is rated at 17 mpg and 23 mpg respectively. According to the government, diesel-powered Rams can achieve 22 mpg in cities and 32 on highways. These numbers are slightly lower if you have all-wheel drive. Our 75-mph real world fuel-economy route tested the Rebel and it earned 24 mpg highway. This is 6 mpg more than the V-8 Rebel that uses gas only and 4 mpg more than the V-8 Laramie that uses nonhybrid fuels.
Interior, Comfort, & Cargo
The Ram 1500’s interior features a great deal of storage and ample passenger space. The Ram 1500 feels more like a luxury vehicle rather than a pickup truck with its higher trim levels. Many models come with heated and ventilated seating and a panoramic roof, while the most expensive versions feature premium leather surfaces and real wood accents. The Ram 1500’s crewcab is spacious, as with many full-size pickup trucks. The Ram 1500’s crew cab is spacious and has a split-folding tailgate. The extended Quad Cab can be used with either the six-foot-four inch or five-foot seven-inch cargo beds, but only the former is available.
Infotainment & Connectivity
For a long time, Ram trucks have been known for having the best infotainment and connectivity systems in their class. The latest Ram trucks have a 8.4-inch responsive touchscreen and an optional 12.0-inch touchscreen. This feature is also available on all Ram models except the base Ram. Unfortunately, we had to experience a lot of issues with the large display over the course of our 40,000 mile long-term test. Numerous power points are available, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a mobile hotspot. Even the largest screens have physical knobs and buttons that compliment the touch points.