When we used to go to movie theaters (remember that?) our favorite large bucket of popcorn unapologetically wore the “Big is More” logo. You have to admire the honesty. And if a pickup truck ever deserved to have the Big is More graphic on it, it would be the 2020 Dodge Ram 1500.
Big is Beautiful
This is one gorgeous truck. And being a crew cab, it cuts a large swath wherever it goes. The massive front grille must look immense in the rearview mirror of traffic as pull up – other cars would scurry to get out of your way. The prominent hood bulge with vents and 1500 EcoDiesel etched on the side of the hood bulge reinforces the “get out of my way” motif.
The profile is large and proportionate, and the long flanks are set off with RamBox opening cargo bins on either side of the truck bed.
If that wasn’t enough, our tester had the Night Edition package, which adds 22-inch forged alloy wheels, Black exterior badging, headlamp bezels, side steps and Sport Performance hood. It just worked beautifully with the Billet Silver Metallic paint – our Ram looked powerful, upscale and capable. What more could you want?
Inside, the first thing that impresses is the sheer space – no surprise since the Ram is the largest interior in its class, and heck, this is a big truck. And since a truck has to be a useful tool, it’s worth noting the 2020 Ram 1500 also features twice the interior storage capacity of the competition. Speaking of storage capacity, Dodge loves to put Easter Eggs in their vehicles, and you’ll find some great artwork and the like hidden in design of the rubber trim. Just makes you smile!
Also making us smile were the power running boards that motor out to let you step in easily, and then tuck themselves away once you’re in. Smart!
The second thing that catches your eye is the huge 12-inch touchscreen in the center display that would look at home in a Tesla. Along with that big beautiful screen is loads of tech, with the familiar and excellent Dodge Uconnect 4C info-tainment system, which gives split-screen capability and 360-degree camera views – a real plus in something this big. We found the standard hookup for Apple CarPlay to be convenient and easy as well.
Large analog gauges include a 5,000 rpm tach and 120 mph speedometer flanking a large 7-inch digital driver assist display. The shift lever is a rather odd round knob that sticks out of the dash, but it does free up room on the center console, and key controls like trailer-brake adjustment and tow/haul mode are at your fingertips.
Spacious, high-tech, and don’t forget luxurious! Our tester had the Laramie Level 2 Group package, and that adds some great items like a 19-speaker Harmon Kardon Audio system, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, heated rear seat and underseat storage compartment, and also importantly Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection. Thanks to the Night Edition, we also sat on beautifully-trimmed leather seats, with black interior accents and an upgraded full-length floor console.
Being a Crew Cab, the rear seats are spacious, and the truck bed has easy access as well – power lock/unlock on our model was nice, as were the Ram bins on the side…nice coolers for tailgating!
The Big Easy
So far, it’s stylish and luxurious – but the real reason you go for a truck is you want a work horse. How does the Ram stack up?
Well, it stacks pretty high. It starts with a newly-redesigned 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel under the hood. While 260 hp doesn’t knock you over, the standard 480 lb.-ft of torque at just 1,800 rpm sure does! That stout little oil burner makes it America’s most power half-ton diesel pickup, and also the most capable with towing capability up to 12,560 lbs.
(For those interested, the 5.7-liter eTorque HEMI V-8 serves up 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.) the EPA also rates the EcoD at 29 mpg Highway, which is impressive for a huge, blocky vehicle.
Not only is the EcoDiesel powerful and thrifty, it’s impressively smooth and quiet. We also loved the EcoDiesel we recently tested in a Jeep Wrangler. You get a little bit of diesel sound at start up, but then it becomes whisper quiet. Hooked up to a smooth 8-speed automatic, the big Ram just glides up to speed, and at freeway speeds, it’s luxury sedan quiet and comfortable. This is the truck for a long, long road trip – and why not bring that big Airstream trailer or that fishing boat?
We didn’t get a chance to go off-road – but we would guess the Ram would be excellent, with Jeep/Dodge’s legendary abilities to engineer capable off road vehicles. You’d also think about using a different spec for ultimate off-road. Our tester felt more of a luxury-lined big hauler than a rock crawler.
Part of the cushy ride is due to the air spring suspension that combined with the long wheelbase makes the Ram feel impervious to most bumps and ruts.
In the urban jungle, you have to face the facts that this is a big truck. That means parking can be tricky – length and width eat up a lot of space. We absolutely loved the Surround View camera, which gives you an excellent look all around and makes it easy to place the Ram where you want.
Big truck, Big Price?
Well, that depends – on the big option sheet. If you love the idea of a Diesel Ram, you can get one in the Ram 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab 4×2 for 37,235. A base RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 like our tester, starts at $46,740. Very reasonable. Adding the EcoDiesel is $4,995. But you have to watch those tempting options. Check the sticker in our photos, and you’ll see that our massively loaded Ram came in at $72,115.
Competitors would include the Ford F150 Power Stroke, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax. Honestly, you can get any of these trucks up to stratospheric prices, each manufacturer will give you amazing flexibility in creating the truck of your dreams.
Our Dreams will center around the Ram 1500, thank you. The combination of best in class Diesel performance, amazingly comfortable interior, luxurious ride, and loads of tech, make it our top choice.
If you’re going to go big, go for the best – the Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 EcoDiesel. Big is more!
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.