Ford F-150 vs. Ram 1500: Which $30,000 Used Pickup Truck Wins?
Full-size trucks aren’t cheap, but they’re useful for various tasks and activities. That’s why affordable used pickups are ideal for shoppers on a budget. Some 5-year-old models offer plenty for under $30,000. Here’s a 2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Ram 1500 comparison that can help you decide.
|2018 Ford F-150||2018 Ram 1500|
|Average Used Price||$27,700||$27,300|
|Base Engine||3.3-liter V6||3.6-liter V6|
|Horsepower + Torque||290 hp + 265 lb-ft||305 hp + 269 lb-ft|
|Transmission + Drivetrain||6-speed automatic + RWD||6-speed automatic + RWD|
|Acceleration + Top Speed||7.6 seconds + 120 mph||6.4 seconds + 155 mph|
|Fuel efficiency||20/25 mpg city/highway||17/25 mpg city/highway|
|Max Payload + Towing||1,680 pounds + 12,700 pounds||1,880 pounds + 10,620 pounds|
2018 Ford F-150 pros and cons
Ford’s 2018 F-150 offers a broad selection of engines. The base powerplant is a 3.3-liter V6, producing 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Higher trims offer the following:
- 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 (325 hp/400 lb-ft )
- 5.0-liter V8 (395 hp/400 lb-ft)
- 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 (375 hp/470 lb-ft)
- 3.5-liter High Output V6 for the Raptor only (450 hp/510 lb-ft )
- 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V6 (250 hp/440 lb-ft)
This used truck also has exceptional towing capability and comfortable seating in both front and rear rows. In addition, it provides an excellent driving experience and holds its value well. The fuel economy isn’t bad, either. Here are the city/highway gas mileage estimates:
- 3.3-liter, 20/25 mpg
- 2.7-liter, 20/26 mpg
- 5.0-liter, 17/23 mpg
- 3.5-liter EcoBoost, 18/25 mpg
- 3.5-liter High Output, 15/18 mpg
- 3.0-liter turbodiesel, 22/30 mpg
The 2018 Ford F-150’s most notable drawback is its subpar six-speed automatic transmission that pairs with the standard engine. All the other engines mate with a 10-speed automatic instead. Also, this model year’s reliability is just average, earning a 74 out of 100 from J.D. Power.
2018 Ram 1500 pros and cons
The Ram 1500 also has a decent selection of engines, though fewer than the F-150. The base model packs a 3.6-liter V6, producing 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Other available engines are as follows:
- 3.0-liter turbodiesel (240 hp/420 lb-ft)
- 5.7-liter V8 (395 hp/410 lb-ft)
All pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings are on par with the F-150. The 2018 Ram 1500 also offers comfortable seating and a “great” reliability rating of 81 out of 100 from J.D. Power.
This Ram truck’s most significant drawback is its maximum towing capacity. It’s rated to pull only 10,620 pounds at most, less than most rival pickups. However, its max payload capacity of 1,880 pounds exceeds the 2018 F-150.
2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Ram 1500: Driving and performance
The 2018 Ford F-150 truck handles most road surfaces without issues. Its ride and handling are smooth compared to some rivals. Plus, you don’t sacrifice ride quality by increasing the tire size, which happens with most competitors. As for performance, this used truck has decent power, but the base engine/six-speed transmission setup is weak and not very responsive. However, its other powertrains have no issue providing ample acceleration.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Ram 1500 offers only three engine choices, but all provide enough oomph to handle most situations. The V8 and turbodiesel V6 give the best towing capability of the three. It also provides a smooth ride, accurate steering, and outstanding braking power.
2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Ram 1500: Interior and tech
The 2018 F-150 has a roomy cab with controls that are easy to use and within reasonable reach. It provides a good combination of touchscreen controls and physical buttons and knobs. The buttons are large enough to see and use without problems. This used truck also has an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, two USB ports, and available wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Be sure to check if the model you’re eyeing includes them.
Like the F-150, the 2018 Ram 1500 provides plenty of room for all passengers, including adults. It also has a good blend of touch and physical controls, both of which are pretty responsive and within decent reach of the driver. The steering wheel controls are on the small side but intuitive and offer access to considerable information. As for the infotainment system, some trims have a 5.0-inch touchscreen, while others have an upgraded 8.4-inch display. The larger screen comes with wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Again, check that the truck you’re considering includes the tech features you want.
2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Ram 1500: Trim levels and features
Each of the seven 2018 Ford F-150 trim levels has unique features:
- XL: The base model has 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, vinyl flooring, and a four-speaker stereo.
- XLT: Upgrading to the XLT brings alloy wheels, chrome bumpers, rear privacy glass, carpeted flooring, and lumbar adjustments for the front seats.
- Lariat: Next is the Lariat, which provides 18-inch wheels, power-adjustable pedals, leather upholstery, and ambient lighting.
- King Ranch: Upgrading to the King Ranch brings the SuperCrew cab configuration and Western-themed interior styling.
- Platinum: Then there’s the Platinum, riding on 20-inch wheels. It also boasts powered running boards and wood/aluminum interior trim.
- Limited: Next is the Limited. It has 22-inch wheels and upgraded leather upholstery for the front seats.
- Raptor: Ford’s Raptor trim for the F-150 offers a special four-wheel-drive system, flared fenders, 17-inch wheels, a leather/cloth blend of seat covers, and specially designed trimmings.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Ram 1500 offers even more models:
- Tradesman: This bare-bones work truck has a Class IV hitch receiver, spray-in bedliner, and cruise control.
- Express: The Express is also a work truck but with 20-inch wheels and carpeted flooring.
- HFE EcoDiesel: Upgrading to the HFE EcoDiesel brings the 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine and is the most fuel-efficient model.
- Big Horn/Lonestar: Next up is the Big Horn/Lonestar (Lonestar is used in Texas). It offers dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, and cloth seating.
- Sport and Night: The Sport and Night trims have 20-inch wheels, bucket seats, and adjustable pedals. The Sport provides body-colored trim pieces, while the Night has an all-black theme.
- Harvest: This special edition offers additional ground clearance, all-terrain tires, and a chrome grille.
- Laramie: Upgrading to the Laramie brings auto-dimming mirrors, a 10-speaker audio system, and heated and ventilated front seats.
- Laramie Longhorn: Then there’s the Laramie Longhorn, boasting keyless entry, remote start, and upgraded leather upholstery.
- Limited: The top-tier trim is the Limited. It provides side-step bars, automatic high beams, and a self-leveling air suspension system.
- Rebel: Finally, the Rebel is a specialty model with off-roading features. They include Bilstein shock absorbers and tow hooks. Fender flares and other exterior styling pieces set this model apart.
Which used pickup truck is the right fit for you?
Choosing between the 2018 Ford F-150 and the 2018 Ram 1500 isn’t easy. Ultimately, your decision will depend on which features are most important to you.
For example, the 2018 Ford F-150 offers several engine options, and the most potent setup can tow about 12,000 pounds. However, you have to deal with that six-speed automatic transmission if you choose a model with the standard base engine.
On the other hand, the 1500 has only three engine choices and a lower max towing number. That said, its reliability rating is higher than the F-150’s score.
Regardless of which used truck you choose, obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. Also, prices may vary depending on configuration, trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location.