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No matter how improved the latest version of a vehicle is, some fans remain devoted to the version they first bought. Knowing this, automakers will often release trims and special editions based on old and nostalgic car models. In some cases, earlier versions have inspired such a dedicated following that keeping the vehicle on the market remains profitable. That’s the case with the Ram 1500 Classic, a continuation of fourth-gen Ram 1500 trucks. If you’re new to Ram 1500s and talk to buyers, you’ll likely hear from fans of both the 1500 Classic and the fifth-generation model currently on the market. So, what are the differences between these two Ram models, and which is the better buy?

The 2022 Ram 1500 pickup truck

2021 Ram 1500 and 2022 Ram 1500 Classic full-size pickup trucks
2021 Ram 1500 and 2022 Ram 1500 Classic | FCA US LLC.

Starting in 2019, the fifth-generation Ram 1500 underwent a fairly significant overhaul. The new 1500 includes an upgraded chassis, mild hybridization features, and a lighter frame that improves fuel efficiency. A new grille, refreshed logo, and new tech accompanied it. Subsequent models, including the 2022 version, have built upon this refresh with new trims, options, and incremental feature improvements.

The latest version offers a wide range of powertrain options, ranging from a 3.0-liter Turbodiesel V6 engine with 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque to a 6.2-liter Supercharged Hellcat V8 engine with 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. The 3.6-liter V6 engine is paired with a 48-volt hybrid system, which is optional for the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine. Each is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard RWD, though 4WD is an option for some trims. The maximum towing capacity of the 2022 Ram 1500, when properly equipped, is 12,750 lbs.

Speaking of, there are many trims to choose from. Starting at $35,200 is the base model Tradesman, which includes a 5-inch touchscreen and six-speaker audio system, along with the 1500’s telltale smooth handling, robust suspension system, and off-road capability. There’s also the Big Horn, Laramie, Rebel, Limited Longhorn, and Limited trims, each featuring a greater quantity of amenities than the last. Fully loaded, the Ram 1500 offers features like a 12-inch touchscreen, a 19-speaker audio system, bucket seats, a split-folding tailgate, and a panoramic sunroof, among other luxury features.

There are also the Crew Cab and Quad Cab options, which both seat up to six. As reported by Car and Driver, the Ram 1500 also has two bed options: a 5-foot, 7-inch short bed or a 6-foot, 4-inch long bed. However, the long bed is only available with the Quad Cab option.

How is the 2022 Ram 1500 Classic different?

As the fourth-generation Ram 1500, the 1500 Classic retains older exterior styling and details. Sitting on 17-inch wheels, it also retains a heavier weight, lacking the improved chassis of the fifth-generation model. Starting at just $29,515, the Ram 1500 Classic comes standard with a 3.6L Pentastar engine that produces 305 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. However, a 5.7 HEMI V8 engine that provides 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque is available. The V6 engine can tow 7,660 lbs, while the V8 is rated for 10,620 lbs of towing capacity when properly equipped.

The 2022 Ram 1500 Classic is available in older trims: the Tradesman, Express, and Warlock. While quite spacious, the base model Tradesman’s interior is relatively utilitarian. The Regular Cab seats three passengers and comes with a 5-inch touchscreen, six-speaker sound system, radio, and a USB port. However, upgraded trims include an 8.4-inch touchscreen, navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and improved interior styling.

The Ram 1500 Classic comes with three cab options: Regular, Quad, and Crew. However, the Regular Cab has an 8-foot bed option and 5-foot, 7-inch, and 6-foot, 4-inch options. Quad Cabs will only come with the latter option, while Crew Cab buyers can buy either one.

Which Ram half-ton truck is better?

Budget-conscious shoppers looking for a reliable full-size pickup truck may want to give the 2022 Ram 1500 Classic a close look. It’s a powerful vehicle that, when fully loaded, still outstrips competitors in specific categories (like the 2022 Nissan Titan in towing capacity). It also retains the longer 8-foot bed option and the nostalgic look and feel of the earlier 1500s.

However, all around, the 2022 Ram 1500 is the better vehicle. From powertrain options to towing capacity to tech to weight, the 1500 is an improvement over the 1500 Classic. It’s a more powerful vehicle than the 1500 Classic and has more customization options. While it’s more expensive, a fully loaded 1500 will feel almost like a luxury vehicle. Still, don’t let the leather upholstery and premium stylings of the top-level Limited fool you. The Ram 1500 hasn’t forgotten its roots. It remains a capable, rugged, fuel-efficient vehicle, ready for any payload or hauling job you have.


Why Ram Sells Both the New 1500 and the Ram Classic