Sometimes, you can find quality deals for less. However, more often than not, when you’re buying a cheap vehicle, you will get poor quality when you skimp. For example, you can get a Ram 1500 Classic for relatively little, but you’ll also get the worst full-size pickup truck, according to Consumer Reports.
What’s Consumer Reports’ most expensive full-size pickup truck?
According to Consumer Reports, the most expensive full-size pickup truck on the market is the 2022 Nissan Titan. While it’s not rated as the best, it is one of the site’s top five in the segment. Starting at $38,810, the Titan comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission and 5.6-liter V8 engine that produces 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, propelling the truck from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds.
The Titan comes with either a four-door crew cabin or a small extended cab. The crew cabin has a greater towing capacity, maxing out at 9,390 pounds. It can also haul a total of 1,620 pounds, and its bed comes with a variety of features, like a damped tailgate and flush-mounted LED lights.
With the Titan, there’s also plenty of storage space, especially around the center console. Getting in and out is a cinch with large and wide doors. Nissan also equipped the Titan with decent tech features, like a standard 7-inch touchscreen (a 9-inch version is also available). Navigation can also be added, as can dual-zone climate control. Additionally, all the controls, whether instrumentation or infotainment, are easy to use and configure.
That also goes for the standard advanced safety features such as rear-cross traffic warning, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and forward-collision warning.
You can get the Ram 1500 Classic for less, but you might regret it
If you opt for the Ram 1500 Classic – the cheapest full-size pickup truck, you will get a vehicle of noticeably poorer quality, according to Consumer Reports. This assessment may be surprising considering how well-known the Ram brand is. However, despite its starting price of only $29,515, this full-size pickup truck has a lot working against it.
CR evaluators didn’t find much fault with the Ram 1500 Classic’s basic configuration. Owners get a choice of a standard 3.6-liter V6 engine (305 hp), a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine (395 hp), or a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 (260 hp). The latter provides the best fuel economy at 20 mpg combined, while the first two provide 15 mpg (in line with others in this class). Each engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission which reviewers credit for the 1500 Classic’s responsiveness.
The Ram 1500 Classic is quick and powerful, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.1 seconds. Its base model can also tow 7,450 pounds, though if you need to tow more, the Hemi is rated for 10,050 pounds. The 1500 Classic’s towing capacity is not segment-topping, but it is pretty respectable. Additionally, while RWD is standard, the recommended 4WD is best for rugged terrains.
Consumer Reports also praised the 1500 Classic’s ride comfort and limited cabin noise. However, this truck lost points in vehicle access, as the cabin sits pretty high up. The tailgate also lacks an assist system, and it’s hard to climb into the bed. Predicted reliability was also noted as a concern, as was the difficulty in using the temperature controls. Lastly, it lacks common standard advanced safety features like blind-spot warning, which are ideal for a vehicle this size.
Paying a little more for the Ram 1500
Starting at $35,900, this model isn’t a budget-buster. However, not only does it come with the same fundamentals and provide the same performance as the 1500 Classic. It also has far more options and amenities than the less expensive model.
In fact, the Ram 1500 takes care of several issues Consumer Reports reviewers pointed out about the 1500 Classic. For example, the climate controls are easier to use. Additionally, when you start this Ram remotely in cold weather, models with heated seats and steering wheel features automatically engage. The cabin is still a climb, but there is an optional tailgate assist system that offers easier access to the bed.
Unlike the 1500 Classic, the Ram 1500 also comes with several advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot-warning, and rear-cross traffic alerts.
CR’s predicted reliability ratings were also higher on this model. Given that those ratings can dramatically impact long-term ownership costs, paying more for the Ram 1500 is likely a better bet than paying less for the Ram 1500 Classic. So, even if the specter of dodging pricey repairs down the line doesn’t persuade you, the Ram 1500 simply has more worthwhile standard amenities and optional features than the Ram 1500 Classic.