Base Trim Levels of the 2022 Ram 1500 Explained

The Ram 1500 is one of America’s favorite half-ton trucks. But all the different variations on this award-winning pickup can be confusing. Here are the most basic 2022 trim levels of the Ram 1500 laid out clear as day.

The 2022 Ram 1500 Tradesman is a no-frills workhorse ($35,200)

2022 Ram 1500 Tradesman | Stellantis

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The most basic 2022 Ram 1500 is the aptly named Tradesman. Unlike the current Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150, Ram only offers its current generation half-ton truck with four doors. If you really must have a two-door Ram, you can either opt for a heavy-duty truck or the company will sell you its old fourth-generation half-ton badged as a Ram Classic (MSRP $29,515).

You can configure your Tradesman as the quad cab with a 6’4″ bed. Or you can order a roomier crew cab with the 6’4″ or 5’7″ bed. Ram builds this base model truck with such creature comforts as power windows and locks, an electric parking brake, and a backup camera.

For that $35,200 base MSRP, Ram only offers a barebones truck. Ram equips the entry-level Tradesman with the 305 horsepower Pentastar V6 engine, rated to tow 7,730 lbs. The automaker outfits this truck with 2WD. Ram only paints it red or white. The company even downgrades the stereo/infotainment to the older Uconnect 3 software.

Of course, you can upgrade any of these options. But upgrades will cost extra. Options include a locking rear differential and a trailering package.

The 5.7-liter HEMI is the biggest engine Ram offers in the Tradesman. You can also opt for 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel. No Ram 1500 trim offers either the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 or the Cummins I6.

The 2022 Ram 1500 HFE puts up legendary fuel mileage ratings ($36,737)

2022 Ram 1500 Tradesman HFE EcoDiesel | Stellantis

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The next trim level of the Ram 1500 HFE is purpose-built. Its name means high fuel efficiency. It is still very much a base model pickup. Every one of this trim’s upgrades is engineered for better fuel mileage.

The Ram 1500 HFE is only available as a 2WD truck. You cannot order it with both the larger bed and longer box: upgrading to crew cab requires you downgrade to the 5’7″ bed. The Ram 1500 HFE is powered by Ram’s base engine, the 3.6-liter V6. But this engine is upgraded with Ram’s proprietary eTorque system.

The eTorque system turns the Ram 1500 into a mild-hybrid. It comprises of a heavy-duty starter/generator unit attached to the engine’s serpentine belt. The engine shuts itself off at stoplights. Then the electric motor is capable of launching the entire truck while the V6 starts back up. When you press the brakes, the system helps slow the truck and recharges its battery.

The EPA gave the 2022 Ram 1500 HFE a fuel mileage rating of 20 city/26 highway mpg (23 combined). The diesel V6 version of the same truck gets 23 city/33 highway mpg (26 combined).

The 2022 Ram 1500 Big Horn has an alter ego: the Lone Star ($40,155)

2022 Ram 1500 Big Horn | Stellantis

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The first named trim level of the Ram 1500 is the Big Horn (not to be confused with the much more expensive Longhorn). In Texas, the Big Horn trim is called the Ram 1500 Lone Star and the automaker gives it special decals.

Like the Tradesman, the Big Horn is available with any cab or bed configuration you want. You can also get it with 2WD or 4WD. Its upgraded features are mostly cosmetic: chrome grille, fog lights, fog lamps, and 18-inch aluminum wheels.

Upgrading to the Big Horn trim unlocks many other options you can purchase. These include a sunroof, 12-inch infotainment screen, bed-mounted toolboxes, a remote starter, and all of Ram’s driver aids and safety software.

There are some upgrades even Big Horn owners cannot order. These include the air-ride suspension and leather-trimmed interior exclusive to higher trim levels. Read about the mid-range Ram 1500 trims.

The unique base trim levels of the Ram 1500

The entry-level Ram 1500 trims are a unique bunch: Because Ram does not offer a two-door version of its fifth-generation 1500, these base trim trucks start at a higher price than their Ford and General Motors rivals.

You can still get a truly fleet-ready, two-door Ram truck for under $30k. Just order the brand’s still-produced-in-production fourth-generation truck: the Ram Classic. But if you want a four-door work truck with capability and comfort, consider these base trim 2022 Ram 1500 pickup trucks.

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