Heavy Duty Diesel Truck Standoff: Ram vs. Ford

Trucks are an incredibly popular choice for U.S. buyers. Not everyone needs a heavy duty truck with a big diesel engine. But for those who do, there are a few options out there. Two of the primary choices for people that want a big ol’ heavy hauler are the Ram 2500 or 3500 and the Ford F-250 or F-350. But between the two, which 2020 diesel truck is a better buy?

First, we’ll talk truck prices

Ford offers both the Ford F-250 and the Ford F-350 in terms of popular heavy duty diesel trucks. According to Edmunds, the MSRP range for a 2020 Ford F-150 is $34,035 – $41,615. For the 2020 F-350, Edmunds shows an MSRP ranging between $35,550 – $44,415. Of course, both of these diesel pickup trucks come with a vast array of cab styles, bed lengths, and varying configurations and options that can add up quickly.

A Ford Super Duty F-350 diesel on display at an auto show
A Ford Super Duty F-350 on display | David Graff/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The 2020 Ram 2500 is a heavy duty diesel truck that starts between $33,895 – $40,795–– according to the Edmunds review. The 2020 Ram 3500 has a starting MSRP range of $35,345 – $42,145. Like the Ford options, each of these Ram trucks can be configured, customized, and optioned out to meet even the most luxurious of buyer requests. In terms of pricing, in the Ram vs. Ford standoff the ranges are strikingly similar.

Which diesel engine is better Cummins or Powerstroke?

The age-old question: what’s better the Cummins diesel engine or Ford’s legendary Powerstroke? For most, it’s a matter of preference. Between Ram vs. Ford, both get a big 6.7-liter powerplant. In the video above, we learn that the Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy duty trucks offer two options for a diesel engine.

2019 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Limited Crew Cab Dually diesel hauling in the desert
Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Limited Crew Cab Dually | Ram

There’s an inline V6 Cummins high-output turbo diesel engine option good for 850 pound-feet of torque and 370 horsepower. Then there is also an option with an Aisin transmission that gives the truck an increased 1,000 pound-feet of torque with 400 horsepower. Each are powerful, though the latter is a bit more of a beast for heavier jobs.

The 2020 Ford’s Powerstroke diesel engine is a turbocharged V8. Using a 10 speed transmission, this truck engine provides 1,050 pound-feet of torque. Combine that with ample 475 horsepower and a lighter aluminum frame and it’s clear why so many buyers choose a Ford pickup. Still, the heavy duty Ram truck is a formidable opponent.

Towing and payload capacity

Another area in which these trucks are much the same is in their ability to haul and pull stuff. According to Ford, the 2020 Powerstroke diesel brings a lot to the table where towing and hauling is concerned. A Ford Super Duty pickup truck configured for maximum hauling and towing can pull up to 24,200 pounds. With a gooseneck rig the heavy duty Ford can tow up to 37,000 pounds, and 32,500 pounds with a fifth-wheel setup.

The Ram 2020 heavy duty league is no slouch. These big diesel trucks offer up to 19,680 pounds of towing power, according to Ram Trucks. With a gooseneck or fifth-wheel setup, you’re looking at up to 35,100 pounds of towing strength.

silver Super Duty Ford truck in the dirt
2020 F-series Super Duty | Ford

The ‘Wicked Wrangler’ Pickup Truck

The Ford heavy duty diesel trucks can haul a payload up to 7,850 pounds. Ram trucks can haul as much as 7,680. Keep in mind, however, that unless you configure your truck with these specs in mind, you’ll come in closer to about half of these capacity numbers––still hefty for what are technically still considered “light duty” trucks despite the heavy duty badging.

Ram vs. Ford

In terms of luxury appointments, the Ram pickup truck is just a better truck. More features and attention to interior detail in the upper trim levels make the Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy duty diesel truck options far more cushy and accommodating. However, in terms of sheer capability, the Ford lineup of 2020 Super Duty pickup trucks gleans a win. The choice will ultimately come down to the buyer and which truck they like the most––whatever the reason.