Ram and Ford both offer a pickup truck for just under $30k. These no-frills trucks are the 2022 F-150 XL and the Ram 1500 Classic. Both are two-door work trucks, but one of these automakers offers a lot more value at that price.
Ram still sells a fourth-generation 1500 as the Ram Classic
Ram debuted the fifth generation of its half-ton pickup truck for the 2019 model year. The new truck offered a lot of cutting-edge technology but no two-door fleet truck. Ram’s solution was to continue selling stripped-down fourth-generation Ram 1500s badged as the Ram Classic. You can still buy one in 2022.
The Ram Classic Tradesman boasts an MSRP of $29,515. This price gets you a 2WD, two-door work truck with a 3.6-liter V6. Upgrading to 4WD, a four-door, or the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 bumps the price by over a thousand dollars. In addition, the entry-level Ram Classic has steel rims, plastic bumpers, vinyl seats, crank-up windows, and no remote door locks.
While this entry-level Ram is badged as a 2022 model and was manufactured recently, it is essentially 2018 technology. That said, the Ram 1500 was cutting-edge in 2018: On a Ram Classic, you get an eight-speed automatic transmission, rear coil springs, and even a 5-inch touchscreen. The entry-level Classic gets older infotainment software than upgraded trucks. No Classic has Ram’s new eTorque mild-hybrid system.
The Ram Classic is not the most modern truck around. But for under $30k, you can get a truck that was advanced for 2018 and still is a solid work truck.
Ford’s entry-level F-150 is the XL
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The Ford Motor Company loves to remind us that its F-series are America’s favorite trucks. One of the reasons Ford sells so many pickups is its reasonably priced fleet trucks. You can buy a stripped-down F-150 XL for just $29,990.
Just like the Ram Classic, the cheapest F-150 XL is a 2WD, two-door (regular cab), with a naturally-aspirated V6. Premium engines include either a turbocharged EcoBoost V6 or a V8. But unlike the Ram Classic, the entry-level F-150 XL is a modern F-150, engineered for 2022. Its drivetrain benefits from a ten-speed automatic transmission and automatic start-stop technology.
For the sub-$30k price, your F-150 XL will be a bare-bones work truck. It will have steel rims and a plastic bumper and grille. Unless you pay for some upgrades, your F-150 XL will have crank-up windows, no remote door locks, and no cruise control.
But the XL does come with some nice, standard F-150 features. These include selectable drive modes, Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver aids with pre-collision braking, hill start assist, roll stability control, and halogen headlights that turn on when you activate your windshield wipers and offer automatic high/low beams.
Instead of the Ram’s vinyl seats, the entry-level Ford comes with cloth seats. Instead of the Ram’s 5-inch touchscreen, the Ford comes with an 8-inch unit. The F-150 also comes with Ford’s latest infotainment software and an available Wi-Fi hotspot. Finally, the F-150 comes with a backup camera, ABS, and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
The Ford F-150 XL offers more value at $30k
Both Ram and Ford offer bare-bones work trucks for under $30,000. To make it to this price point, both automakers have had to strip any extra features out of their full-size trucks. In addition, Ram’s entry-level truck is actually a slightly-outdated fourth-generation Ram 1500.
While the Ford F-150 XL does not get power windows, power door locks, or cruise control, it does come standard with a surprising number of standard features. These include some cutting-edge safety equipment and infotainment technology you won’t find on the $30k Ram Classic.