The Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 are two of the most popular trucks in the United States. Despite a raging pandemic that initially devastated the auto industry, both models rallied to sell over 500,000 units apiece last year. And the Ford F-150 retained its spot as the best-selling vehicle in the United States.
U.S. News ranks the 2021 Ford F-150 as the best full-size pickup you can buy. The new Ram 1500 comes a close second, but it actually outmatches the F-150 in two categories.
Why the Ford F-150 reigns supreme
The Ford F-150’s biggest strength is obviously its enormous towing capacity. When fully equipped, it can tow 14,000 pounds and carry up to 3,325 pounds in the cargo box. The cargo bed also has several great optional features, such as movable tie-downs, an in-bed lighting system, and a power generator.
For the 2021 model year, Ford’s new work surface is also an option. It’s integrated into the tailgate and includes a holder for tablets and imprinted measuring tools. There’s also a foldable work surface for the cabin, and the seats have maximum reclining capability.
The Ford F-150 also offers plenty of great engines to choose from. The standard motor is a 3.3-liter V6 generating 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a turbocharged diesel producing 250 hp and an impressive 440 lb-ft of torque.
The F-150’s most powerful engine gets some of its power from an electric motor, harnessing a combined 430 hp. This also allows it to get great gas mileage, even with four-wheel drive.
The Ram 1500 can also hold its own
The Ram 1500 actually boasts a more powerful base engine than the one under the Ford F-150’s hood. It also provides more potent available powertrains, including a supercharged 702-hp V8 in the new TRX trim. This one can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds, which is nearly unheard-of for a truck.
Disappointingly, the Ram 1500 can’t tow as much weight as its Ford rival, U.S. News reports. It can tow up to 13,000 pounds and an additional 2,000 in the truck bed. To be fair, those are still impressive numbers, but it’s not as good of a value as the F-150.
However, the Ram 1500 gets better gas mileage than the Ford. The F-150’s most efficient motor is the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 with rear-wheel drive. It gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. By comparison, one of the Ram 1500’s diesel engines is rated for over 30 mpg on the highway.
Where the Ram 1500 beats the Ford F-150
Slight towing and gas mileage differences aside, the Ram 1500 far surpasses the Ford F-150 in terms of cabin quality. Its interior score on U.S. News is close to perfect, with reviewers praising all the high-end materials inside. The Ford F-150’s cabin isn’t terrible, but it still has a lot of hard plastic bits, especially on the base trim. Both trucks still have adequate stretch-out space and good infotainment systems.
The Ram 1500 also offers a better ride than the Ford F-150. Even with an empty truck bed, the Ram’s suspension is still mostly silky-smooth. As far as handling, it drives like a car several times smaller.
The Ford F-150’s suspension is also well behaved, but it isn’t as great as the Ram 1500’s. U.S. News’ critics also knocked the Ford F-150’s cumbersome steering wheel, optimized for “lazy trucker grip.” The F-150 is still superior in some aspects, but it’s not as satisfying as a Ram 1500.