Sales of pickup trucks continue to increase, and the Ram 1500, in particular, continues to grow in popularity. Pickup trucks saw a 6 percent increase in sales in 2019, selling 3.1 million units in the U.S. and making up 18 percent of all new vehicles that were sold. Ram trucks grew enough to pass the Chevrolet Silverado and take second place in sales behind the Ford F-Series.
Ram claims 25.5 percent of the market, following an 18 percent increase in sales from 2018. Despite the excellent numbers, there’s one number that isn’t measuring up. Here’s a look at the Ram 1500’s fuel economy ratings compared to real-life usage.
The 2020 Ram 1500
In its review of the 2020 Ram 1500, Car and Driver says that while the truck is larger and heavier than its competitors, it also has “user-friendly interior and materials,” plus it has good ride quality and good capabilities. It was last redesigned for 2019, and this work truck can be outfitted with a luxury interior.
With five trim levels to pick from, there are also V6 and V8 powertrains supported by a 48-volt hybrid system. There’s also the option for a V8 engine without the hybrid, and there’s a diesel 3.0-liter V6 with 480 lb-ft of torque.
The suspension is different from other domestic pickup trucks, which have leaf-spring suspensions. The Ram 1500 has standard coil springs or optional air springs. The air spring option can improve fuel economy and off-road driving abilities.
The Ram 1500 with an extended Quad Cab is able to tow up to 12,750 pounds and haul up to 2,320 pounds. Its towing ability is second to only the Ford F-150 and its 13,200 pounds. The Ram 1500 with the crew cab can tow more than 11,500 pounds.
The pickup’s accolades
Car and Driver liked the 2020 Ram 1500 so much that it named it to their 2020 10Best list, saying it “isn’t just a great truck, it’s a great vehicle.” Car and Driver wasn’t the only one that liked the 2020 Ram 1500. The truck was also named a Consumer Guide Best Buy, an award it’s won for 12 years in a row.
It also was named Green Car Journal’s 2020 Green Truck of the Year. The 2019 Ram 1500 won additional awards, including a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and Truck Trend’s 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year.
With multiple engine options, the 2020 Ram 1500 also has multiple fuel efficiency ratings. According to the EPA, the Ram 1500 with the most efficient V6 engine should get 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The V8 engine should give you 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
The diesel engine earns estimates of 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway for the two-wheel-drive model, which makes it one of the most fuel-efficient trucks in its class. It earns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway in the all-wheel-drive version. In Car and Driver’s tests, though, it found that the truck could muster just 24 mpg on the highway, five mpg less than the EPA estimate.
MotorTrend tested the 2019 Ram 1500
MotorTrend found that the fuel economy of the 2019 Ram 1500 was also worse than advertised. It tested the Ram 1500 Laramie with an eTorque mild hybrid V8 for 10 months and 16,500 miles.
The EPA estimated that model to earn 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway for 19 mpg combined. MotorTrend did its own initial testing, with the slightly better results of 17.1 mpg city, 23.5 mpg highway, and 19.6 mpg combined. Both of these tests were done with just the driver inside and nothing in the bed or on the trailer hitch.
Although the test truck did some hauling, the actual mpg after 10 months should have been just under the EPA’s rating. Instead, it got just below 14.6 mpg. While its fuel economy did improve as the engine broke in, the 16.3 mpg of the last 2,500 miles was still below the ratings.
While the 2020 Ram 1500 has a lot of outstanding qualities, be prepared for the fuel economy to be lower than advertised.