The 2021 Ram 1500 is proof that the pickup wars are alive and well. Reviewing the newest pickup in the Ram family reveals a tremendous array of features, engines, capabilities and more. Certainly, I would be remiss to not mention the new 1500 TRX sporting Dodge’s 700+ horse Hellcat motor between the front wheels. But you don’t have to go to full extreme to appreciate what’s on tap for the new 1500.
On the powertrain front, kudos to Ram for keeping the options straightforward. The basics are a V6, a V8 or a diesel with either a 5’ 7” bed or a 6’ 4” bed and two cab configurations – crew or quad. The 6-cylinder gas motor puts out 305 horses or you can step up to the 5.7-liter V8 for a healthier 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. Ram also offers a turbo diesel V6 spinning up 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of twist. Ram’s eTorque motor/generator system can provide a boost in torque, help with the start/stop functionality and work with regenerative braking to create electricity.
Pickups are commonly purchased for their towing prowess and the 2021 1500 is laden with features focused on this need. Trailer Reverse Steering Control handles the steering input and uses a camera to track and guide the trailer while backing up. All the driver needs to do is enter a few measurements before getting started. There is a tire pressure monitoring and light monitoring system dedicated to the trailer along with 360 degree camera views to make maneuvering smoother.
If you’re looking to get off-road on a regular basis but don’t want to spend the $71,000 it takes to step into the fire breathing TRX, check out the Rebel package. Equipped with a factory 1” lift, more aggressive all-terrain tires and an electronic locking rear axle, the Rebel helps you play in the dirt without breaking the bank. If you’re looking at the Ram for luxury, the Limited Longhorn trim might be for you. With special badging, unique Mountain Brown leather interior, special trim and Berber carpet, Ram has stepped up the luxury pickup game.
The 1500 family of trucks has been updated for 2021 with all manner of thoughtful engineering touches. The available air suspension promises a pillowy ride while also lowering the truck at highway speeds to reduce drag and improve efficiency. You can also lower it to make hitching a trailer easier along with entry and egress. Pairing this with the Multifunction Tailgate, which splits open in the middle to offer a center step, makes working in the bed a breeze. There is also the RamBox cargo management system that is integrated into the rear fenders, a clever way to increase usability while maintaining clean lines.
Inside, you can’t miss the 12” touchscreen that comes with the Uconnect 4C infotainment system. It is customizable with split screen capability, Apple Car Play and Android Auto integration. The available Heads Up Display) is full color and can be customized to display what the driver is most interested in. For back seat passengers, the rear seats offer 8 degrees of recline and can be had both heated and ventilated. For the audiophiles out there, check out the 900-watt, 19 speaker Harmon Kardon stereo available on the Rebel, Laramie, Limited and Limited Longhorn models.
Though the Ram 1500 is rooted in basic utility, active safety is part of the mix today. The Forward Collision Warning system can bring the vehicle to a full stop if required. Blind Spot Monitoring with Ready Alert Braking can apply the brakes if there is a vehicle the driver misses in their blind spot. Adaptive Cruise, Lane Keep and Lane Departure Assist all work to keep the vehicle on the road and centered in its lane while adjusting speed based on traffic. There is also a parking assist feature that will steer the wheel and guide the driver on what gear to be in and how much throttle or brake to apply to execute a parallel park.
The 2021 Ram 1500 offers a trim and powertrain package whether you use it for work, play or luxury. There are more features than I can count like the digital rear view mirror and 10 square foot panoramic sunroof. On the outside, don’t miss the LED headlamps, brawny chrome front end and 22” wheels. Unfortunately, the safety systems are not standard and there are concerns about Ram’s long-term reliability but otherwise this is a heck of a pickup truck. For more on George’s thoughts about the 1500, please check out the video above. Drivers Only scores the 2021 Ram 1500 a 119. To see where it ranks check out Best Trucks for 2020 & 2021.
Front-engine, rear- or rear/4-wheel drive, 5 or 6-passenger, 4-door pickup
|CAB AND BED
|5′ 7″ Bed||Tradesman||Tradesman HFE||Big Horn||Laramie||Rebel||Limited Longhorn||Limited|
|6′ 4″ Bed||Tradesman||Tradesman HFE||Big Horn||Laramie||Rebel||Limited Longhorn||Limited|
- DOHC, naturally aspirated, 3.6-liter gasoline V6 – 305 hp, 269 lb-ft
- Pushrod, naturally aspirated, 5.7-liter gasoline V8 – 395 hp, 410 lb-ft
- DOHC, turbocharged, 3.0-liter diesel V6 – 260 hp, 480 lb-ft
- Pushrod, supercharged, 6.2-liter gasoline V8 – 702 hp, 650 lb-ft
TOWING AND PAYLOAD
|ENGINE CONFIGURATION||MAX PAYLOAD (LBS.)||MAX TOWING (LBS.)|
Curb Weight: 4971-5077
Not yet tested
EPA FUEL ECONOMY