You won’t need to read much into this review to know where I stand because I’m going to give it all away in the introduction. The 2020 Ram 1500 is full-stop the best 1500 pickup truck I’ve ever driven. From the utilitarian Tradesman model to the high-luxury Limited, there’s a Ram 1500 for everyone, and all of them find ways to best the competition.
For this review, I drove a Flame Red Ram 1500 Lone Star edition. Yes, this is a very Texan version of the truck. While packed with features, the Lone Star Edition is a utility and practicality focused truck with its cloth seats and other lower-end trimmings that give away its place in the Ram 1500 lineup’s lower rungs.
That being said, this Ram 1500 Lone Star is far from a stripper or low-end model. The gauges are large and easy to read, and the center stack is dominated by a 12-inch vertically mounted Uconnect screen. As with all UConnect systems, the graphics are crisp, and the interface is fast and easy to use. This is simply one of the best infotainment systems in a vehicle today.
The Ram 1500’s integrated backup camera features a zoom that assists with trailer hookups. A rotary gear-shifter sits just to the left of the center console. 4-wheel drive system controls are located around the shift knob, axle lock, hill-descent, and auto stop-start system control.
USB-A and USB-C ports are located throughout the Ram 1500 Lone Star cabin and a 110-volt power outlet. The center console is cavernous and can hold just about anything an on-the-road worker would need to get their job done. This truck can serve as a fully functional mobile office if called upon to do so.
The reclining rear seat of the Ram 1500 is massive, with 45.2 inches of backseat legroom. That bests the Silverado Crew Cab and Ford F-150 by around two full inches. Flip-up the rear seats, and you’ll find Ram Bins that are hidden in the floor under the carpeting. These are waterproof and can be used as coolers or other wet storage.
A truck is only as good as the truck things a truck can do, and the Ram 1500 is damn good at being a truck. The RamBox Cargo management system features integrated boxes along both sides of the pickup bed, as shown above. These are lockable and waterproof with drains (for use once again as a cooler if needed). This clever use of the bedrails opens up a massive amount of storage that otherwise would go to waste.
The Ram 1500 Lone Star’s optional $995 Multifunction Tailgate gives the Ram a 60/40 split tailgate. The tailgate can be dropped in whole as a traditional tailgate by using the standard button. Close the tailgate backup and engage the other latch under the handle, and the tailgate can swing both sides open individually like barn doors. This means better access to the truck bed for easier loading/unloading, clean out, or even loaded with a forklift.
Power for the Ram 1500 Lone Star is provided by an eTorque version of the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, which produces 395-horsepower and 410lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the rear wheels by way of an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission. The rear axle ratio is 3:92, and as mentioned previously, 4WD can be engaged with the touch of a button. The Ram 1500 in this configuration is rated to tow 11,300 pounds. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway. Observed fuel economy over 170 miles of mixed driving came in closer to 18.8 mpg.
The best compliment I can give the Ram 1500 and its on-road mannerisms is that it doesn’t feel like a truck at all. The five-link coil spring rear suspension helps the Ram behave much more like a large SUV than a truck on the road. Some Ram models can come equipped with an optional air suspension.
Steering ratios are quick, and effort is light, which helps with navigating parking lots or precise maneuvering at the boat ramp. Braking feel and performance is excellent for a vehicle of this size.
The Ram 1500 is the best all-around truck on the market currently in performance, value, and comfort. The interior is top-notch, even though the Lone Star edition interior is towards the bottom of the Ram lineup, which shows Ram’s commitment to consistent quality throughout.
With a base price of $42,640, our Ram 1500 Lone Star was optioned to a staggering $62,575. That’s a lot of coin for a truck with cloth seats. I don’t know that I would ever option a cheaper truck with $20k worth of options versus buying one of the higher trim levels with more standard features from the onset. While our tester may not be the best example of value, the trucks you’ll find at your local Ram dealer will be more in line with what a typical consumer would order. Any serious truck buyer should make sure the Ram 1500 is on their shortlist.