Americans love their trucks. Over 48 million pickup trucks were registered in the United States in 2019 alone. But trucks can be expensive. The average cost of a new truck has risen to $41,105. So what is the cheapest full-size pickup truck you can buy? The most budget-friendly options is a Ram pickup, but it’s not the regular Ram 1500.
The cheapest modern Ram 1500 is the Tradesman ($35,200)
Ram rolled out the fifth generation of its full-size half-ton, the 1500, for the 2019 model year. The automaker chucked the two-door “regular” cab option. This was one of the reasons that the cheapest fifth-generation Ram is relatively expensive.
For $35,200, you can buy a 2022 Ram 1500 Tradesman. The entry-level Tradesman comes with a short four-door cab (the quad cab), a 6′ 4″ bed, a V6 engine, and 2WD.
The Ram Tradesman offers electric windows and power door locks. It also has an electric parking brake and backup camera. The V6 makes 305 horsepower and comes with a maximum tow rating of 7,703 pounds.
This Ram is a barebones work truck. At this entry-level price, Ram only outfits it with steel rims, white paint, and a black plastic bumper and grill. But you can pay to upgrade any of these options. The 5.7L HEMI V8 adds $2,295 to the price tag. 4WD costs an extra $3,500.
The Ram 1500 Tradesman is more expensive than other work trucks. The 2022 Ford F-150 XL starts at $29,990 while the Chevy Silverado Work Truck starts at $29,595.
But the cheapest Ford and Chevy trucks are two-door “regular cab” pickups with roll-up windows and no power door locks. To option either to be competitive with the four-door Ram Tradesman costs a bit extra. Even then, you don’t get the Ram’s rear coil springs and eTorque mild-hybrid system.
Ram still sells its fourth-generation pickup truck as the Classic ($29,515)
To better compete with Ford and Chevy’s work trucks, Ram still offers its fourth-generation 1500. These trucks are essentially 2018 technology, badged as the Ram 1500 Classic.
You can buy a 2022 Ram 1500 Classic for just $29,515. This truck is optioned much more like the Ram XL or Chevy Work Truck. At its lowest price, the Classic is a two-door pickup with a V6 engine and 2WD. The cheapest Ram Classic also has roll-up windows and no power door locks.
In some ways, the Ram Classic is even more stripped-down than its Ford and Chevy competitors: The entry-level truck has vinyl seats, older infotainment software, and the older ZF (8-speed) automatic transmission. No Ram Classic has the new eTorque mild-hybrid system.
You can upgrade your Ram Classic with an 8′ bed, a four-door cab, or a V8 engine. Ram 1500 Classic trim levels actually go up to the “Warlock” which starts at $39,835 and you can upgrade with an all-terrain package.
Is the cheapest Ram worth the money?
The Ram 1500 Classic is the cheapest full-size truck you can buy in 2022. But is it worth the price?
While your Ram Classic will be a “brand new” truck in that Ram manufactured it this year, its technology is not brand new. In fact, the drivetrain and software standard on the 2022 F-150 XL makes the Ram Classic look dated.
In addition, the $29,515 Ram 1500 Classic can only tow 4,940 pounds and has a payload capacity of just 1,510 pounds. That’s akin to a midsize truck. Depending on your needs, there may be better trucks for you in the midsize segment.