2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 vs. 2020 Ram 1500: Compare Trucks


The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and 2020 Ram 1500 pickups are a far cry from their agrarian ancestors that were less comfortable and less fashionable than the hay bales they could haul. Now, full-size pickups are family-vehicle replacements and SUV surrogates with enough tech to not only get the job done but also to entertain when not on the job site.

Which one is right for you? Don’t make up your mind just yet. We know that pickup shoppers are loyal to their brands, an army of Calvin stickers in the rear windows around the country is proof enough. But looking at the tale of the tape indicates a clear winner—especially when their badges are irrelevant in our eyes.

MORE: Read our 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2020 Ram 1500 full reviews

Both the Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 are relatively new and each has been extensively overhauled within the past two years. The Ram’s makeover went uptown; there’s more leather, more tech, more conveniences, and more space than the outgoing truck. The Chevy’s makeover was done at the gym where it bulked up, squared up, and swolled up. It’s still a plain truck, which has some endearing qualities, but the advantage goes to Ram for its polished looks.

Under the hoods are where the two trucks draw closer thanks to nearly endless configurations that can suit very specific needs.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

The Chevy is available with a V-6, turbo-4, one of two V-8s, or a turbodiesel inline-6 in rear- or four-wheel drive, with a 6-, 8-, or 10-speed automatic transmission. Whew. The bread-and-butter 5.3-liter V-8 in the Silverado is most popular, and it makes 355 horsepower and can tow up to 11,600 pounds when properly equipped. It needs some time to build its power, but it gets the job done.

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2020 Ram 1500

2020 Ram 1500

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

The Ram is available with V-6, V-8, or turbodiesel V-6 power that drives an 8-speed automatic in every configuration. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all Rams, but four-wheel drive is a popular upgrade. (There’s an available “eTorque” mild-hybrid system available for the V-8 and standard on the V-6 that has minimal impact on the efficiency and power of either.) The 5.7-liter V-8 is most popular and it makes 395 hp and rated to tow up to 12,750 pounds when properly configured. It’s got plenty of grunt, but it’s also rated for mid-grade fuel, which may be a consideration for some buyers concerned about fuel and running costs.

In the end, the Ram gets a performance nod but not based on anything under the hood. Rather, it’s the Ram’s standard coil spring suspension that gives it a slightly more refined, comfortable ride.

By the numbers, both are comfortable for a small crew—up to five adults—with plenty of room for boots, gloves, and tools; or backpacks, homework, juice boxes, and pets. The judges’ scorecards reveal a draw for comfort by the numbers. The Ram’s cabin is a little more thoughtful and top trims are cowboy Cadillacs; the Silverado’s plainer interior may be better for work trucks or truck shoppers looking to save some money.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel

Safety scores are where the two separate—and Chevy’s sore spots show. The Silverado earned a four-star overall score from federal testers and a “Marginal” rating for its driver’s side small-impact crash protection from the IIHS. The Ram does better, but not much. Federal testers gave popular crew-cab models a five-star overall rating, but regular- and extended-cab models received a four-star overall score. The IIHS had better things to say about the Ram’s crashworthiness, and gave it a Top Safety Pick+ award in 2019, but only in the more popular crew-cab configuration. Neither truck offers standard automatic emergency braking, which is an oversight. Active safety features are available for more money on both trucks.

The Silverado is offered in a wide range of trims that span work-ready to valet-appropriate. It starts for less than $30,000 in base, rear-drive, fleet-spec trucks and doesn’t stay there for long. A fully loaded 2020 Silverado High Country can cost more than $63,000. It’s a luxury truck in trim and price.

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

The same goes for the Ram, which costs about $32,000 in base configurations but can crest $70,000 in Limited trims. Ram offers a 12-inch touchscreen and some other flashy accessories, but both trucks offer more cameras than branches of the Federal Reserve and common-sense features like skid plates and trailer packages.

In the end, the Ram wins out: 6.2 to 5.2. Our truck allegiance is only to good deals, and there’s some available for both, but Ram’s product is more finished.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the max towing figures for the Ram 1500. It has been corrected above.