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2021 Ram 1500 Review

The 2021 Ram 1500 finishes near the top of our full-size pickup truck rankings. This truck has almost no flaws. It’s powerful and capable, with a smooth ride and a top-notch interior.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Cushioned ride
  • Roomy, luxurious interior
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Some rivals can tow more

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Ram 1500's #2 ranking is based on its score within the Full Size Pickup Trucks category. Currently the Ram 1500 has a score of 8.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.9
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 9.4
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.1 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Ram 1500?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Ram 1500 a Good Truck?

Yes, the Ram 1500 is an excellent truck. Its potent engine lineup includes V6, V8, and diesel options, and a new high-performance TRX model debuts for 2021. The Ram delivers the smoothest ride in the class, and it has the nicest interior. There are soft-touch materials throughout, along with two rows of adult-friendly seating, and it has one of the easiest-to-use infotainment systems on the market.

2021 Ram 1500 Dimensions and Weight

  • Length: 19 feet, 1 inch to 20 feet, 2 inches
  • Height: 6 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 8 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,798 to 6,350 pounds
Why You Can Trust Us: 25 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This 2021 Ram 1500 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

Should I Buy the Ram 1500?

Full-size pickup truck shoppers would be foolish not to at least consider the Ram for their next purchase. As mentioned above, this truck has a laundry list of strengths with no major weaknesses to speak of, and its competitive pricing means it delivers as much or more bang for your buck than anything else in the class.

Find a 2021 Ram 1500 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Ram 1500: What's the Difference?

The Ram 1500 sees one big change for 2021: The all-new Ram TRX joins the trim lineup. The TRX features the same engine as the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger Hellcat models: a 702-horsepower supercharged V8. Ram expects the TRX to rival the Ford Raptor in terms of capability, and it comes standard with a plethora of off-road features.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Ram 1500 »

Here are the key changes for the Ram 1500 over the last few years:

  • 2018: rearview camera added to standard features list; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available
  • 2019: fully redesigned with increased fuel economy, higher towing capacity, a nicer interior, updated exterior styling, and more available features
  • 2020: diesel engine became available
  • 2021: high-performance Ram TRX joins lineup

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Ram 1500, 2019 Ram 1500, and 2020 Ram 1500 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Ram 1500 Cost?

The Ram 1500 carries a base price of $32,245, which is a smidge higher than some rivals' starting prices. The Limited is the most upscale model in the class, and it starts at $56,250. That's in line with many competitors' top trims. The all-new Ram 1500 TRX is a high-performance model, and it starts at $70,095.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ram dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ram deals page.

Ram 1500 Versus the Competition

Ram 1500 vs. Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is an annual challenger for the top spot in our full-size pickup truck rankings, and it's fully redesigned for 2021. The 2021 F-150 hasn't been reviewed yet, but its highlights include a full hybrid powertrain, the all-new SYNC 4 infotainment system, and projected towing and hauling capacities that should be among the best in the class.

Compare the Ram 1500 and F-150 »

Ram 1500 vs. Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a good pick for those who tow heavy trailers, and it can tow more than the Ram. The Chevy also has spacious front seats and a decent amount of rear-seat legroom. But its so-so interior can't match the Ram 1500's, which partly explains why the Silverado sits behind the Ram in the class rankings. If you don't need the higher towing capacity of the Chevrolet, go with the Ram.

Compare the Ram 1500 and Silverado »

Compare the Ram 1500, F-150, and Silverado »

Ram 1500 Performance: A Smooth Ride, and No Shortage of Power

Ram 1500 Engine

The Ram's base engine is a 305-horsepower V6. Several engines are available: a 260-horsepower V6 diesel, two 395-horsepower V8s (one of which is a mild-hybrid), and the 702-horsepower supercharged V8 powering the all-new Ram TRX. A smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic pairs with every engine.

None of these engines are bad choices. Even the base V6 moves the truck well during city and highway driving and brings with it decent towing ability. The V8s are more energetic, and along with the diesel engine, are the best options for towing. The new TRX is absurdly powerful, with sports-car-worthy acceleration. It'll go from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.

Ram 1500 Gas Mileage

With its base V6 engine and rear-wheel drive, the Ram gets 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway – good ratings for the class. Opt for a V8, and ratings drop to 15/22 mpg city/highway, though those are still in line with V8-powered rivals' ratings. If you get the Ram's mild-hybrid V8, ratings are slightly better than with most other V8s at 17/23 mpg city/highway.

The diesel-powered Ram is by far the most fuel-efficient, checking in at 22/32 mpg city/highway. Fuel economy ratings are not yet available for the Ram TRX, but it's a safe assumption that they'll be the worst in the lineup.

Ram 1500 Ride and Handling

Large trucks aren't known for their handling prowess, and the Ram is no different. Still, it's stable and composed on winding roads. The real highlight is its ride; no other truck delivers the plush ride that you'll experience while driving the Ram 1500.

Ram 1500 Off-Road Performance

All Ram 1500 models are available with four-wheel drive, so any of them can carry you across sand and snow. If you want to do serious off-roading, however, you should look to the Rebel and all-new TRX trims. These models have additional features like skid plates, locking differentials, and off-road suspension components that make them more formidable than other Ram models. Of the two, the TRX is the most capable.

Ram 1500 Towing Capacity

The Ram 1500’s towing capacity ranges from 6,250 to 12,750 pounds. Its maximum tow rating is good for a half-ton truck, though there are a couple of rivals with tow ratings that top out above 13,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Ram 1500 Interior: Best in the Class

Ram 1500 Cargo Space

You have a choice of two bed lengths with the Ram 1500: the standard 6-foot-4-inch bed and an available 5-foot-7-inch bed. With either bed, you can fit 4-foot-wide sheets of plywood between the wheel wells. You can also add features to make the bed more usable, such as cargo lights, a tailgate step, and RamBox built-in storage bins. The available 60/40-split multifunction tailgate can swing down like normal, or it can open outward to the sides.

How Many People Does the Ram 1500 Seat?

The Ram seats up to six people. The front seats are supportive and provide plenty of head- and legroom. The same is true of the rear seats, especially in Crew Cab models, which have an astounding amount of legroom.

Ram 1500 and Child Car Seats

The back seat of the Ram has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the outboard seats. The rear middle seat in Quad Cab models has a tether anchor, while those in Crew Cab models have a full set of upper and lower anchors.

Ram 1500 Interior Quality

With attractive styling and an abundance of top-notch materials, the Ram 1500's interior is one of the finest in the class. In higher trims, it feels more like a luxury vehicle than a truck.

Ram 1500 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Simply put, the Uconnect infotainment system is one of the most user-friendly systems on the market. Its menu layout is easy to learn, the screens have crisp graphics, and you can customize a row of shortcut buttons for quick access to your favorite features.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, USB ports, six speakers, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: an 8.4- or 12-inch touch screen, three premium audio systems, satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, additional USB ports, wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Additional standard features: push-button start
  • Other available features: a sunroof and dual-zone automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Ram 1500 Reliability

Is the Ram 1500 Reliable?

The 2021 Ram 1500 has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Ram 1500 Warranty

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles covers the Ram 1500 with a three-year/36,000-mile basic limited warranty. Models with a gasoline engine come with a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, while those with a diesel engine get a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Ram 1500 Safety

Ram 1500 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Ram 1500 an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. The Ram received four stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and, depending on the model, three or four stars in the rollover test.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Ram 1500.

Ram 1500 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Head-up display
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Read more about safety »

Where Is the 2021 Ram 1500 Built?

Ram builds the 2021 Ram 1500 in Michigan.

Which Ram 1500 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Ram 1500 comes in eight trims: Tradesman, Tradesman HFE, Big Horn, Laramie, Rebel, Limited Longhorn, Limited, and TRX. All models come standard with rear-wheel drive, and with almost every trim you have the choice of a V6 engine, two V8s, and a diesel. We go into more detail on powertrain choices, available body types and bed sizes, and standard features below.

If you're looking for a few more amenities than what the base Tradesman comes with but want to keep your costs reasonable, take a look at the Big Horn. The four main engines are available with this edition, as is a locking differential, heated and power-adjustable front seats, an 8.4-inch touch screen, and multiple appearance packages.

Ram 1500 Powertrain Options:

  • Base engine: 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque; features eTorque mild-hybrid system that adds up to 90 pound-feet of torque; starts at $31,895 (standard in Tradesman, Big Horn, and Rebel trims)
  • Available engines:
    • 5.7-liter V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque; starts at $30,040 (standard in Laramie, Limited Longhorn, and Limited trims; available in all other trims)
    • 5.7-liter V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque; features eTorque mild-hybrid system that adds up to 130 pound-feet of torque; starts at $34,240 (available in every trim)
    • 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine with 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque; starts at $37,240 (available in every trim)
    • 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque; starts at $70,095 (standard in TRX)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Ram 1500 Appearance Packages:

  • Chrome Appearance Group (prices start at $995; available in Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie): 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, bright front and rear bumpers, and a chrome grille
  • Tradesman Group (prices start at $845; available in Tradesman): a spray-on bed liner and a Class IV receiver hitch
  • Sport Appearance package (prices start at $895; available in Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie): an auto-dimming exterior driver mirror, black interior accents, deluxe cloth bucket seats, power-folding and heated mirrors, exterior mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps, and body-color grille, bumpers, and door handles
  • Night Edition package (prices start at $1,995; available in Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie): 20-inch aluminum black wheels, all-season tires, a dual exhaust with black tips, black exterior badging, and black headlight bezels

Ram 1500 Work Packages/Options:

  • Max Tow package (prices start at $995; available in Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie): a Class IV receiver hitch, power trailer-tow mirrors with manual fold-away, and a trailer brake controller
  • Trailer-Tow Group (prices start at $1,990; available in Big Horn): a Class IV receiver hitch, a trailer brake controller, and trailer reverse steering control
  • Bed Utility Group (prices start at $350; available in all trims): four adjustable cargo tie-down hooks, in-bed LED lighting, a bed step, and a spray-on bed liner

Ram 1500 Trims:

Ram 1500 Tradesman

The Tradesman sports a base price of $32,245. It comes with cloth or synthetic leather upholstery and the Uconnect infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and a mix of USB ports.

You can add four-wheel drive for $3,500. You can upgrade to a V8 engine for $1,795 or the diesel for $4,995. The Level 1 Equipment Group ($1,555) adds upgraded cloth upholstery, satellite radio, and a power-sliding rear window. The Level 1 Safety Group ($595) adds lane keep assist and pedestrian detection.

Ram 1500 Big Horn

The Ram 1500 Big Horn starts at $36,890. Standard features in the Big Horn include upgraded cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, exterior chrome trim, and fog lights.

You can add 4WD for $3,500. The Big Horn's Level 1 Equipment Group ($1,300) includes a Class IV receiver hitch, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a power-sliding rear window, satellite radio, and an upgraded Uconnect 4 infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touch screen.

The Level 2 Equipment Group ($2,500) adds the features of the Level 1 group plus dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and front and rear parking sensors.

Ram 1500 Laramie

The Ram 1500 Laramie starts at $41,430. The Laramie comes with genuine leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, the upgraded Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and an Alpine premium sound system.

This trim's Level 1 Equipment Group ($1,795) adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors. The Level 2 Equipment Group ($2,750) adds the same features, as well as heated rear seats and navigation.

The Laramie Southwest Edition ($2,795) adds several styling upgrades and a 12-inch infotainment display. The Advanced Safety Group ($1,695) adds adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Ram 1500 Rebel

The Rebel is the first primary off-road trim in the lineup, and it starts at $45,320. This model features a locking differential, tow hooks, and a performance suspension system with a 2-inch lift kit. It also gets a power-adjustable driver's seat, satellite radio, and a 115-volt household-style power outlet. Though this is an off-road edition, four-wheel drive costs an extra $3,500.

The Rebel’s Level 1 Equipment Group ($2,000) adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and the upgraded Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Level 2 Equipment Group ($3,000) also adds remote start and front and rear parking sensors.

The Rebel 12 package ($2,995) adds a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and a 12-inch touch screen. The Rebel 12A package ($2,495) adds a nine-speaker audio system instead of the Harman Kardon system.

The Comfort and Convenience Group ($695) adds heated rear seats and wireless device charging. The Advanced Safety Group ($1,695) remains available.

The Safety and Convenience Group is a new addition to the Rebel's list of options. This $895 safety package includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist.

Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn

The Limited Longhorn carries a starting price of $52,180. Standard features include premium leather upholstery, heated rear seats, navigation, HD Radio, and front and rear parking sensors.

The Level 1 Equipment Group ($3,895) comes with the 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a 12-inch touch screen, ventilated rear seats, wireless device charging, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and power running boards. The Advanced Safety Group ($1,695) is also available in this trim.

Ram 1500 Limited

The Limited starts at $56,250. It comes with a 12-inch vertically oriented touch screen, power running boards, a four-corner air suspension system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and wireless device charging.

This trim’s available Level 1 Equipment Group ($2,995) adds the 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, ventilated rear seats, a surround-view parking camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Ram 1500 TRX

The all-new Ram 1500 TRX starts at $70,095, and it has by far the most powerful engine in the lineup: the same supercharged V8 you’ll find in Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger Hellcat models. The standard features list is similar to the Big Horn’s, but the TRX also features a 12-inch touch screen and a 10-speaker audio system.

The TRX Level 1 Equipment Group ($3,420) adds genuine leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Level 2 Equipment Group ($7,920) adds the Level 1 group's features plus blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view parking camera system, wireless device charging, ventilated front seats, and heated and ventilated rear seats.

The TRX Launch Edition package ($12,150) adds several unique styling elements, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, a deployable bed step, a sunroof, and the 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

Which Ram 1500 Cab Style Is Right for Me?

Some trucks have three cab styles, but there are only two for the Ram 1500. The Quad Cab is an extended cab with smaller rear doors, and the Crew Cab has full-sized rear doors. Most trims come standard with the Quad Cab, and the Crew Cab is available in every trim. The Limited Longhorn, Limited, and TRX come only with the Crew Cab.

Upgrading to the Crew Cab is probably worth the cost if you routinely have adult passengers riding in the back of your truck. The Crew Cab gives occupants almost 10 more inches of extra legroom than the Quad Cab.

Which Ram 1500 Bed Length Is Right for Me?

The standard bed size for most Ram 1500 trims is 6 feet, 4 inches. All Quad Cab models have this bed size, and Crew Cab versions offer it as an option. The other choice is a 5-foot-7-inch bed that you can only get with the Crew Cab.

While the larger bed provides an additional 9 inches of length and 7.6 cubic feet of volume, it also makes Crew Cab versions of the truck longer, which can make it significantly more difficult to park. Make sure it can fit in your garage or driveway before you choose this combo.

Which Ram 1500 Model Is Best for Towing and Hauling?

The Ram 1500 reaches its 12,750-pound maximum towing capacity with the Quad Cab, the eTorque-assisted V8 engine, and rear-wheel drive.

You can tow significantly heavier trailers in models with the V8 engines (which have tow ratings that range from around 8,100 to 11,560 pounds) or the diesel engine (which enables towing up to 12,560 pounds). With the V6 engine, this truck only has a maximum tow rating of 7,730 pounds.

The smaller engine isn't as good for towing, but it's actually better for hauling. The V6 unlocks a maximum payload capacity of 2,300 pounds, compared to the V8’s highest rating of 1,970. The highest payload with the diesel engine is 2,040 pounds.

Which Ram 1500 Model Is Best for Off-Roading?

There are two trims you should seek out if off-roading is your jam. The first is the Rebel. A locking differential, tow hooks, skid plates, off-road-tuned suspension components, a 1-inch factory lift, hill descent control and 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires are among its list of standard equipment – when four-wheel drive is added. Note that upgrading to four-wheel drive costs an extra $3,500.

The other is the brand-new TRX model. It's the best off-roader in the lineup, and Ram envisions it as a direct answer to the Ford Raptor. It has the usual off-road features offered by the Rebel, but it takes things a step further with add-ons like an off-road chassis and suspension, upgraded Bilstein shocks, and a larger air filter to help it survive dusty conditions.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ram dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ram deals page.

See 2021 Ram 1500 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Ram 1500 provides the power and capability you expect from a truck, but it also has the cushioned ride and upscale cabin that you don't often find outside of a luxury vehicle. The seats are expansive and comfortable, the infotainment system is intuitive, and there's a new TRX model that's ridiculously powerful and a terrific off-roader. In short, the Ram has something for every full-size pickup truck buyer. It's a top choice in the class.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Ram 1500 … raises expectations for the entire breed. Pickups were once judged based on ruggedness rather than refinement. No longer. And this latest Ram, with its luxury-grade interior and cushy ride quality, easily exceeds even the fanciest versions of the Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ford F-150." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Ram 1500 is my favorite truck in the highly competitive full-size pickup segment. With excellent onboard technology, good looks both inside and out, lots of utility and a comfortable ride, it's hard to beat this well-rounded package." -- CNET (2020)
  • "The 2020 Ram 1500 received a stem-to-stern redesign in 2019 that brought with it increased capability, improved fuel economy, greater refinement and a features list that can't be beat. It builds upon its smooth-riding, well-rounded predecessor while adding plenty of new, impressive elements: from the most basic Tradesman work truck and its standard eTorque mild-hybrid V6 powertrain to the range-topping Limited interior that deserves the title 'luxury truck' more than anything previous. Is it the best full-size pickup you can buy? It's certainly racking up the awards to indicate that, and we certainly wouldn't argue." -- Autotrader (2020)
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