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In the competitive pickup truck market, most automakers offer identical feature lists. That’s why it’s so surprising that Ram is charging extra for automatic emergency braking (AEB) while every other full-size truck manufacturer offers it for free.

Every pickup truck manufacturer pledged to make automatic braking standard equipment

Police officer examining a heavy duty Ram truck that crashed.
Crashed Ram truck | John Ewing/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

This story starts back in 2016: automatic emergency braking (AEB) was still considered a top-trim feature. And while this lifesaving technology originated with luxury brands, it did not need to stay that way. Any vehicle with adaptive cruise control has the sensors necessary for AEB. And any vehicle with ABS has the stopping power needed for emergency braking.

When the U.S. Government announced that all new vehicles needed emergency braking by 2025, automakers raised the bar. In March 2016, Ram and 20 other automakers pledged to make AEB standard on every trim of every vehicle by September of 2022.

Regulators applauded the pledge. Insurance companies applauded the pledge. Consumer Reports promised to track compliance with the pledge. When Japan required AEB on all its vehicles by 2021 and the E.U. required AEB by May 2022, the U.S. did not change the date of its regulation. The automakers had made a pledge, right?

Ram is the only truck manufacturer still charging extra for automatic braking

Totaled Ram truck that was not equipped with auto braking.
Crashed Ram truck | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The automakers’ AEB pledge doesn’t go into effect until September 2022. But by the beginning of the 2022 model year, every full-size pickup truck manufacturer rolled out standard AEB on every trim level of every model.

Perhaps the automakers did not want trucks without AEB still sitting on dealer lots when September rolled around. Maybe they did not want to bother with a mid-year redesign to add AEB. Whatever reason, they all complied early–all but one.

As of its 2022 model year, Ram is still charging extra for adding AEB to its entry-level pickup trucks. Why is this?

Firstly, entry-level Ram pickup trucks do not have any sort of proximity sensors. Therefore, they do not come with adaptive cruise control or pre-collision warnings. They also do not have AEB.

If you want AEB on a basic Ram 1500, you’ll need to pay an extra $595 for the truck’s Level 1 Safety Group. Then Ram will add the necessary sensors to your truck and AEB. If you opt for the fourth-generation Ram 1500 badged as the 2022 Ram 1500 Classic, there does not appear to be a way to add AEB.

What will happen in September? Will Ram just add the Level 1 Safety Group to every new fifth-generation truck? Will the company re-design the Ram 1500 Classic with AEB mid-year? Will it stop selling the Classic? Will it sell the Classic without AEB? We’ll just have to wait until September to find out.

Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Nissan all include AEB for free

Ram truck that has smashed into a busy.
Crashed Ram truck | Cliff Grassmick/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

Every full-size light-duty pickup truck you can buy in 2022 comes with AEB.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500/ GMC Sierra 1500 offers city speed AEB calibrated to avoid hitting both cars and pedestrians. But AEB capable of detecting obstacles at highways speeds costs extra.

Nissan on the other hand, includes AEB rated for any speed but does not offer rear AEB for backing up.

Ford offers automatic emergency braking on every 2022 F-150. This technology even includes rear AEB. Interestingly, the base trim F-150 XL does not include adaptive cruise control software, even though it has the hardware necessary for the feature.

Finally, when Toyota re-engineered the Tundra for 2022, it added lots of driver aid software to every truck. This includes the Safety Sense 2.5 package with AEB.


Is the 2022 Toyota Tundra More American-Made Than the Ram 1500?