Why Did Consumer Reports Give the 2021 Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra the Same Score?

Picking the right vehicle is always pretty tough. The balance of quality, preference, and of course, the price can be a hard one to strike. When it comes to pickup trucks, this balance gets a bit more lopsided, and the competition narrows considerably. Case in point, the 2021 Ram 1500 and the 2021 Toyota Tundra both scored the same overall of 63/100 on Consumer Reports’ testing, even though the road tests were dramatically different. So, that begs the question, are they really the same? 

Consumer Reports gives 2021 Toyota Tundra and 2021 Ram 1500 the same overall score

The 2021 Ram 1500 and 2021 Toyota Tundra are tied for first on CR, but the road test shows very different trucks. The Ram 1500 scored an 83 on the road test, while the 2021 Toyota Tundra can’t get out of F range with a 59. What’s the difference between these two popular trucks? 

Let’s take a look at the 2021 Ram 1500 vs the 2021 Toyota Tundra

Overall, the Ram 1500 is said to be the friendliest and most comfortable truck in this overcrowded section of the automotive world. This most recent generation of the Ram 1500 has shed a few pounds making the fuel economy better and somehow adding more room for passengers. The Ram 1500 has also stepped up in the interior department. All around, CR seems to like the truck a lot. 

The Tundra has done the opposite of the Ram literally; It grew in size and weight without growth in refinement or design, making the truck feel more clumsy and inefficient. The Tundra has gone from advanced, comfortable, and class-leading to dated and prehistoric. 

Power options for the 2021 Ram 1500 

As with many truck platforms these days, the Ram 1500 is available with several engine options. The most common options are the V6 hybrid assist and the V8, which is available with or without the assist. As tested, the V8 packs 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. CR reports the eight-speed trans is smooth and responsive. The tested package got 17 mpg, which is 2 mpg better than the previous model. 

2021 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition
2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition | Ram

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As tested, the 2021 Ram 1500 can tow up to 8,150. When properly equipped, the Ram is capable of pulling 12,750 pounds. 

The 2021 Toyota Tundra power options

According to CR, easily, the Toyota Tundra’s best attribute is its 5.7-liter V8. The V8 delivers killer power, great off-road chops, and solid towing figures. It sucks gas at a rate of 15 mpg, which isn’t the best, but it’s acceptable for a full-size truck. The 5.7-liter V8 rocks the Ram on towing capacity at 10,000 pounds. The positive marks mostly stop here.

The Tundra  really struggles in the day-to-day department

CR describes the ride as jittery, and it gets even worse with the premium TRD off-road package. The steering is said to lack feel. The truck feels large and cumbersome in the corners offering the driver little confidence. Even worse, the ample power from the 5.7-liter V8 urges excessive wheel spin. 

2021 Toyota Tundra Trail Edition parked near mountains
2021 Toyota Tundra Trail Edition | Toyota

Emergency braking doesn’t get any better. The 2021 Toyota Tundra struggles to stop in any conditions with any sort of efficiency. From 60 mph, it took the Tundra 153 feet to come to a complete stop. The Ram 1500 did it 137 feet. 

The Ram 1500 whips the Toyota Tundra in comfort and equipment

CR says the Ram 1500 is not only more comfortable than the Toyota Tundra, but it is also more comfortable than any other truck in its class. Like all trucks, with an empty bed, the Ram has a bit of jiggle to it, but overall, it handles road imperfections with grace and ease. The Ram’s cabin is said to be quieter than some luxury cars. The Ram is really running away with it. 

If the Ram is better, why does Consumer Reports have it neck and neck with the Tundra?

It’s all about that 5.7-liter V8. It is a great motor, and although the Ram is better in almost every other way, trucks have a lopsided grading system. Towing, payload, and power reign supreme in the world of pickup trucks. I think it is because trucks are meant for work, not pleasure (or at least the idea of work). So ride comfort, noise, tech features, and so on don’t tend to be the things truck owners focus on as much. It’s all about power. Unlimited power!