2017 Ram 1500 vs. 2017 Ford F-150

Introduction

Once you begin shopping around for a light-duty truck in 2017, you may find that making the choice between them isn't as straightforward as you initially thought it might be. There are a lot of competitive trucks out there, priced similarly, and on the face of it, they offer very comparable capabilities and features.

With trucks, in particular, manufacturers offer a dizzying array of trim levels, additional features, and options for each model. There are multiple bed lengths, cab types, cab sizes, and often over 10 different styling options for each model, each with their own set of features and options.

Two trucks that are often compared against each other are the Ram 1500 and the F-150 from Ford. These are two of the best-selling trucks available today, but even when you first view them side by side  the Ram pulls ahead. The Ford F-150 has a comparatively subdued style. The Ram 1500, on the other hand, stands out from the crowd with its modern, masculine style that hints at the real useful power kept waiting just under the hood.

As we start to look closer at these two models, we can see that the 2017 Ram 1500 has many more distinct advantages over the 2017 Ford F-150.

Performance and Handling

Performance is perhaps the most important metric one should look at when choosing a truck. There's no point in purchasing a truck that looks the part but can't cut the mustard when you need it to perform its daily duties. Performance is also where the 2017 Ram 1500 comes out as a clear winner over the Ford F-150.

At its base level, the Ram has a V6 paired with an 8-speed automatic, which makes for excellent fuel economy without sacrificing raw strength. But it's not finished there - you can opt for the economic turbodiesel for a fuel economy that's almost hitting 30 mpg on the highway - a technological marvel and the best in the class. Those who love a V8 are not left out in the cold, either, with a Hemi available if you're planning on doing a lot of towing. It works great paired with the 8-speed automatic which has been tuned to perfection.


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The F-150, on the face of it, has similar engines of the 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder persuasion, but there's a catch. There's a basic 325-hp turbo-6 2.7-liter that has thankfully replaced the smallest V8 in their lineup. There's a V8 option too that will get you 385 hp. Where things begin to fall down is in the transmission. The 6-speed automatic really struggles though to keep the turbo engines within the most efficient part of the F-150's power band. EPA figures are therefore unimpressive, and the diesel engine on the Ram will give you much better mileage on a day to day basis than the F-150 can hope to.

Although the Ram 1500 comes as standard with rear-wheel drive, there are two additional options for four-wheel drive. Low-range gearing options and a two-speed transfer case make these four-wheel drive options formidable. The difference when choosing between the two different four-wheel drive options is how you like to off-road. One of the systems has manual switching to four-wheel drive and the other will automatically switch between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive for you as needed.

The Ram 1500's steering makes for a more car-like experience than the Ford F-150's steering, especially if you plump for the optional air suspension. The Ram's feel is more composed, firmer on the road, and leaves the driver with more confidence in its handling when hauling heavy loads.

The 2017 Ram 1500 has three powertrains that sound great and don't need to mask what they really are. Whether you have a six-cylinder, eight-cylinder or diesel Ram, there's no denying the meaty, friendly tone of the engine. For the F-150, on the other hand, Ford has had to resort to adding artificial V8 sounds to the engine note to try to hide the lack of gumption in the turbo engines that have been somewhat neutered to try to keep the mpg figures competitive.

When nothing is being towed, the Ford has a somewhat bumpy, quivering ride quality. How has the Ram 1500 managed to avoid this? It comes down to its coil-spring rear suspension. The only vehicle in its class to offer this prized setup, the coil-spring rear suspension gives you a comfortable ride when you're just heading to work or dropping off the kids at school, but it's also able to instantly jump into action when you need to haul a huge, heavy trailer. You can even upgrade to a self-leveling air suspension for a comfortable ride you've never experienced before in your life.

Fuel Efficiency

Efficiency is important to most of us, and if it's top of your list in 2017 then you've got to consider the Ram 1500 HFE Ecodiesel V6. As a diesel, it can tow huge loads with its 420 lb-ft of torque without breaking a sweat, and it's also impressively efficient for a pickup truck.

The EPA has rated the Ram's Ecodiesel at 29 miles to the gallon on the highway. Compare that to just 24 miles to the gallon you will be able to eke out of the Ford F-150's V6, and you can begin to see how Ram is revolutionizing the pickup market. Have a race across the country in these pickups, and the turbodiesel will go 202 miles further down the highway that the V6 Ford F-150 will before running out of gas. All this while offering 167 lb-ft more torque!

Styling

The exterior of the Ford F-150 has barely changed over the years. It's now a more angular version of its ancestors, but that's about it. The Ram is a different proposition. It is distinctive, masculine and rugged, and has shown to appeal to buyers who previously never even considered a truck as an option. We'll see below that this improved style is also true in the interior, particularly in upper trims.

There's little argument that the Ram 1500 looks better than the aging F-150 in 2017. It's also a truck that has a wide range of personalization options, so your truck can look unique on the road.

Interior

Price-wise, both the Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150 begin in the $25k range but can be seriously kitted-out by the time you get to the Ram Laramie Limited and the F-150 Limited trim levels. While both offer modern safety features and in-car infotainment, the Chrysler Uconnect system is certainly easier to use and clearer than the Sync 3 interface that Ford supplies in the F-150.

In fact, you can choose to upgrade the 5-inch Uconnect screen to an 8.4-inch version that also has a more powerful computer behind it. You can still make adjustments to all of the most important features in the car like the climate control using physical buttons so you don't need to take your eye off the road.

Add to this smartphone connectivity, Wi-Fi, voice controls and Bluetooth and you have a seriously connected interior in the Ram 1500.

Storage

Buying a 2017 Ram 1500 offers you the option of the RamBox Cargo Management System, a supreme organization system that allows you to keep your tools locked away but easily accessible. While Ford offers BoxLink to try to compete, it just doesn't have features like secure side rail storage.

Safety

Although the Ford F-150 does pass safety tests performed by government agencies, safety features are most impressive on the 2017 Ram 1500.

Antilock disc brakes are on all four wheels, and hauling a trailer is a cinch with trailer sway controls, hill start assist, and an optional trailer brake controller.

All cab lengths have been tested by the government, and the Ram 1500 passed with flying colors. The IIHS gave the 2017 Ram 1500 the highest rating for whiplash protection, front and side impacts and head restraints.

Uconnect Access is an available telematics system that can track your vehicle if is it is stolen. It also makes connecting with 911 as simple as pressing a button.

Summary

The Ram 1500 in 2017 can be purchased for a lower price than the Ford F-150 and offers significantly more value. There are two bed options, three cabs, and nine trims, so you're spoilt for choice with the Ram 1500.

If you still can't see the advantages of the Ram 1500, consider what you're buying a truck for. It's there to perform a job reliably. The Ford F-150 does not offer you a reliable diesel power plant at all, and you can't purchase a steel bed. Both of these features are available in the Ram 1500.

To see the unique proposition of the 2017 Ram 1500, consider a test drive. The 2017 Ram 1500 is available for sale at Briggs Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Lawrence, near Lenexa, KS; Shawnee, KS; Leavenworth, KS; Merriam, KS; and Overland Park, KS.