2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn vs. Tradesman: Is 1 Worth $4,545 Over the Other?

How much is a truck worth? And how much should you invest in it? That depends on your budget. But when the truck of your dreams offers several trim levels, deciding which one provides the most value can get tricky. That’s the case with the 2021 Ram 1500, among the most popular pickups on the market.

The Ram 1500’s Tradesman and Big Horn trims have plenty going for them, but the latter costs significantly more. Is it worth the extra $4,500?

The 2021 Ram 1500 is racking up awards

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The 2021 Ram 1500 recently won the prestigious MotorTrend Truck of the Year award. MotorTrend also named it number one on the list “The Best Full-Size Pickup Trucks to Buy in 2021.”

You can pick one of 10 exterior colors for your Ram 1500, so you can get a neutral color or a bright hue that’ll make your truck stand out. The interior also comes in 10 color choices, offering further customization.

This full-size truck can seat up to six people depending on the body style. Because most trucks can only seat five, the Ram 1500 is great for work crews and families. 

However, the gas mileage isn’t that great. It gets 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. For a truck, that’s decent, but it’s not something to brag about.

The Ram 1500 Tradesman is a classic

RELATED: Here’s Why the Ram 1500 Tradesman Is the Best Work Truck

The Tradesman is the Ram 1500’s base model. It comes with a 3.6-liter V6 with a 48-volt hybrid system. It isn’t the most powerful in the lineup, but it doesn’t lag.

The Tradesman, also known as the Classic, can tow an impressive 7,740 pounds. And its payload capacity is 2,320 pounds. 

This work truck starts at an affordable $32,595. But it becomes more expensive as you add packages, Cars.com shows. Ram offers eight packages ranging from $235 for the Cold Weather Group to $1,555 for the Tradesman Level 1 Equipment Group.

But the Tradesman’s standard safety features aren’t extensive. It comes with basics such as a back-up camera, cruise control, traction control, and electronic stability control. 

As for entertainment, the Ram 1500 Tradesman offers an AM/FM stereo, MP3 player, auxiliary audio input, infotainment system with a 5.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a mix of USB ports. HD Radio and satellite radio are optional. 

Is the Big Horn worth thousands more than the Tradesman?

The Big Horn starts at $37,040. It also has a 3.6-liter V6 engine. And once again, packages come at an extra cost. Prices start at $595 for the Level 1 Safety Group and top out at $1,095 for the Technology Group.

And the Big Horn’s towing capacity is actually lower than the Tradesman’s. It can trailer 6,740 pounds, a full 1,000 pounds less. Its payload capacity is 2,010 pounds — 210 pounds less than the Tradesman.

Standard features aren’t much different from the Tradesman’s either. But the Ram 1500 Big Horn’s exterior gets chrome trim and fog lights. Inside, its cloth seats are somewhat nicer than those in the Tradesman. The Big Horn also has a 60/40-split-folding rear seat.

However, if you want more, you’ll have to upgrade. But this is actually worth the extra money because you’ll get four-wheel drive, a better infotainment system, and a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen.

The Ram 1500 offers a smooth ride no matter which model you choose, so that’s not a determining factor. The real question is whether you’re interested in more tech features or a higher towing capacity. If you want a work truck, go with the Tradesman. If you want great looks and a superior interior — and don’t mind paying for extras — the Big Horn is for you.