[MUSIC PLAYING] CARLOS LAGO: Hi, Carlos Lago with Edmunds here. And here are the 2021 Ford F-150 and RAM 1500. We like these trucks a lot. Each has been at the top of our truck rankings depending on the year and generation. Speaking of, the F-150 started a new generation for 2021, and in this video, we're going to explain what that means and how it stacks up to the RAM, which has been our favorite full sized pickup since it was redesigned for 2019.
Now, astute viewers already know that we awarded the F-150 our top-rated truck for 2021, so spoiler alert. But here, we'll get into a bit more detail as to why, and what should matter to you. But before we go on, make sure to check the links below for more info on these trucks and more, and also be sure to visit Edmunds.com/sellmycar to get a free, no obligation cash offer on your car, truck, or SUV.
First, where is the GM representative, the Sierra or the Silverado? Well, it's behind these two trucks in our rankings, and for reasons you can read about by clicking the links below. Now, for these trucks, we matched them as best as availability allowed-- that meant crew cab, short beds, 4x4s, and luxury trim levels with as-tested price tags of $64,000 for the RAM and $74,000 for the F-150. Yeah, that's quite a mismatch-- and it's also higher than the average transaction prices for these trucks, which is closer to $50,000.
But remember, we're covering options on these trucks that you're going to probably end up skipping on yours. We also base our rankings not off these exact trucks, but from our experience with the ranges of these model lines. Remember, our long-term test program too means we're also customers. We've bought and owned two F-150s from the previous generation-- a 2015 and a 2018-- as well as a 2019 RAM 1500. You can read all those at our long term test blog.
So with all that out of the way, we subjected each of these trucks to a variety of testing and evaluation. We measured how fast they go in a straight line, and how short and competently they stop in an emergency. We've drag raced them and chastised John for his slow reaction times. And we've also lived with each of them and driven them just like you would.
Let's start with engines, because, yeah, trucks, right? The new F-150's engines are pretty much the same as the previous generation, with a mix of V6s from the base 3.3-liter to the two twin turbo variants, a turbo diesel, and, of course, the 5-liter V8. Most F-150s will have one of those engines. This one, though, is the new hybrid, which pairs a 3.5-liter turbo V6 with an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic. It's good for 430 horsepower and 570 pound feet of torque.
That's more than what you get in any RAM, unless it's the TRX, and that makes sense for what it costs in the Ford. It's between $1,900 and $3,300, depending on the trim level. Not only does Ford get power and torque bragging rights, but this engine is rated at 25 MPG combined for two-wheel drive, and 24 for four-wheel drive, making it the most efficient of these pickups. Now, the RAM has fewer engines to offer-- a gas or turbo diesel V6, and two versions of the 5.7-liter V8-- one with a mild hybrid system that RAM calls eTorque, and one without.
This one is the regular, non-hybrid V8, which means 395-horsepower, 410 pound feet of torque. Per the EPA, it returns 17 MPG combined. The transmission's an eight-speed auto. And obviously, we would have loved to have had an eTorque RAM here. But we couldn't get one. That said, we have evaluated the eTorque previously, and liked it quite a bit. Now, the eTorque's motor and battery aren't as powerful or as big as the Ford's, so its fuel economy boost isn't as big either-- 19 MPG combined. But on the other hand, it isn't as expensive either-- roughly $200 more than the regular V8.
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The redesigned F-150's box hasn't changed in terms of dimensions or availability. Like Chevy, it's available with a short, standard, or long bed, while the RAM comes in just short or standard bed configurations. In terms of raw space, it's essentially a push between the two short beds, with the RAM offering about a cubic foot more storage space, unless you factor in the optional RAM box setup.
And with that in mind, let's look at the features you can get on these beds. Let's call them tailgate olympics. The RAM box essentially adds additional lockable storage on the bed with drains at the bottom. But that cuts in on the bed width. The optional multifunction tailgate doesn't have the same kind of folding origami tricks as what you see with GM's trucks, but it is pretty neat anyway.
It opens like a normal tailgate, but it also has a 60-40 split that allows you to open it outward. This allows you to access the bed more easily, and it costs about $1,000. The F-150's tailgate doesn't do any gymnastics, but it is available with a step and power up-down availability. The big party piece is the available pro power on board, which is essentially a generator in the bed of varying output depending on the engine and options you pick.
You can get a 2-kilowatt or 2.4-kilowatt version with the non-hybrid engines. On the hybrid, you get a 7.2-kilowatt version that has four 120-volt, 20-amp outlets and a locking NEMA 240-volt, 30-amp outlet that can provide up to 7,200 watts of power. That's a massive amount of power that should satisfy your needs, whether you're tailgating, building a house-- bring it on, 2021.
The tailgate also has spots for c-clamps. And the optional tailgate work surface adds a tablet holder, ruler, spots for pens, et cetera. In this time of global working from home, It's nice to know you can never escape video conferencing.
It takes effort, but it's faster.
There are a ton of different options for the 2021 generation F-150. So there are many different ways you can configure this interior. Fortunately, this pretty much fully-loaded model has most of the features, so we can touch on many of them. For example, I've got massaging heated and cooled seats, and that is just a godsend in any vehicle, let alone a full-size pickup truck.
The overall impression of this interior is one that feels very modern and very sophisticated from a technology standpoint. And that has to do with the fact that we've got a digital 12.1 or 12.3-inch screen-- I forget the optional upgraded screen. And we also have a digital gauge cluster that looks really nice and really easy to read. That's the first impression that you get.
When it comes to storage, that's where this doesn't do as strong as the RAM, but just slightly so. Underneath this armrest, you have a deep bin with quite a bit of space, removable section here. No way to partition that space, though, and that's generally the deepest storage area you have. Ahead of that, it's the usual stuff-- cup holders, a couple little cubbies here and there, and then this retracting cover that reveals the wireless charging pad. That's where you put your phone to get wireless carplay and wireless Android auto.
And those are really nice features to have, and we'll see more and more of that coming out across the industry in this year and years to come. I've touched on this screen. Again, it looks really nice the way it's been integrated into the dash. It looks and feels very good, and I love the fact that you have physical switches underneath. So it's easy to access-- and by feel, important features and controls while you're driving down the freeway. That's nicely done.
Now, there's been a lot of attention placed on the shifter, because it can do that. You can only do that while you're parked. You can't do that while you're driving, which is probably a good thing. But why would you want to do that? Well, it's so you have access to this tray. This is an option that's nice if you're somebody who needs or wants to have a flat surface in the center console for you to work on, or eat off of, or something. And this is a really cool idea and a really cool execution.
The shifter, though, is the thing that puzzles me. Ford surveyed its customers and said that their customers like this style of shifter, this kind of location. And I'll have to take their word on that, but if it's my preference, I would prefer a column mounted shifter, because that gives you all this space and more room here, but it doesn't require shifter to be able to do that. Yeah.
In the back seat of the F-150, you don't have as much space, especially with regard to leg room, as you do in the RAM. But there's more than plenty of space back here overall. The seat's comfortable. And in terms of rear storage, the trick is this optional set-up right here-- this folding tray. This is really clever, because when you unlock it like that and fold this up, you can latch it like that.
The seat bottom then becomes your lock, right? So if I flip this partition out, drop this seat, that one falls down too because I didn't secure it. I can, if I wanted to, lock this one down, leave that one up, have easy access to that side, or leave them both up, leave them both down-- whatever configuration I want. This gives me a lot of options as an owner of how I want to store whatever I want to keep in the truck with me at a given time-- again, whether it's tools, first aid stuff, utility, if you're into sports. There's a lot of options here. You can probably think of a few.
When you hop into the interior of the RAM, you see that this is the area where this truck truly shines. Now, again, this is a less expensive, lower-trim level than a comparable F-150, yet this feels richer, and more premium, and certainly more characterful than the F-150 does. Part of that may be due to the color scheme of the interior. But overall, this is a truck that just feels richer to sit in. I also think these seats are a bit more comfortable too.
The real big strength of the RAM's interior is storage options and configurations. We've gone on about this a lot, so I won't bore you with all the details. But this center console is seriously the best in the full-size pickup truck market. You have a ton of space, a ton of different ways to configure it. You have this sliding section here, you got foldable partitions underneath. You've got trigonometry formulas here should you care. That's all really nice. And the phone storage solution system with the wireless charging-- slide your phone in right there, it works really well. And it's still the one to beat.
Technology wise, this is the 8.5-inch screen. You can get a 12-inch screen, and that is vertically arranged. You can see that in our long-term truck. That's the one we recommend, although this is certainly functional. It still has Apple carplay, still has Android auto-- so you get to use those systems. The tall screen is going to look nicer and has a bit more features and functionality in it. And that is a nice set to have overall.
One thing I'll call out is the shifter setup. It's not a big engineering flex like the F-150s, but it does the job of being out of the way of the center console while still being usable. I still prefer a column shifter, but I certainly like this over that origami foldy thing in the F-150. There is a lot to like about the backseat setup in the RAM. Not only do you have a ton of rear leg room, you also have rear seats that slide forward and recline. So that makes it feel really comfortable.
Underneath those seats, your storage setup isn't as big, and it doesn't look like the F-150s. But you do have a bit less storage, but it does fold out and that looks pretty neat. So there's still room to hide things in here. The RAM bin, though, is the part that nobody really else has come close to touching. And that is this deep storage well in the floor of the truck itself. And that's great for first aid, jump cables, tools-- whichever you want to bring with you in your truck and just have on you while you're driving. That's a really nice touch. So overall, the back seat still here is really strong.
First thing that comes to mind when driving the F-150-- we have to talk about this hybrid powertrain-- what Ford calls the PowerBoost. And I wondered why Ford was calling it that until I hit the gas pedal.
This thing is really fast. And that's a really nice attribute to have in your full-size pickup truck. And the thing is, when you're on EV power only, because this has an EV drive mode where the engine's not on, it's very smooth. When the engine is on, it's also very smooth too. My complaint has to do with the transitions. When the engine kicks on and off, it's a bit clunkier than I would like. And at low speeds, it adds to a sensation that's not very smooth to drive around town.
And that's my biggest complaint with this hybrid powertrain. That, and let's be honest, it doesn't sound as cool as a V8. When you're at idle, too, when the engine kicks on the charge the battery, there's a bit more vibration and noise than I would like. It kind of sounds like you're running a generator, because, let's face it, you kind of are. But overall, the power and the fuel economy are very strong.
I think I'd be better off, though, with the 5-liter V8 or turbo 3.5-liter V6, and not this Power Boost option. But another pro I'll give to this hybrid power train is the brake feel. Sometimes with the brakes in a hybrid power train, they can feel a little weird or inconsistent because the brake pedal is both managing the mechanical brakes and the regenerative capabilities of the electric motor.
In this case, the brake application is generally smooth outside of a weird few small inconsistencies at low speed. Overall, though, this power train has some pros and cons that, as I mentioned, would probably push me more towards the 5-liter V8 or 3.5-liter twin turbo EcoBoost V6. Now, let's talk about the other elements in driving. I really like the steering feel in this 2021 F-150-- it's something that makes this very large truck feel both nimble at low speeds and stable at high speeds on the freeway. It's an admirable feat that you get in this truck.
Visibility is also very strong, and that tends to be a big issue with vehicles of this size because how much space they take up. And one thing I really appreciate with the F-150, and this has been the case since the previous generation, is how this line in the door drops down. And that gives you, if not more visibility, then at least the impression that you have more visibility than you may actually have.
And lastly, as it relates to ride quality, this F-150 is very nice to sit in. It may not reach the overall comfort that the RAM has, because the RAM's on a coil spring suspension, this is still on a rear leaf spring suspension-- but it's very close. You're not losing much in this ride quality compared to the RAM-- at least not enough to worry about it too much if you're looking at one of these trucks.
Overall as a driver, this F-150 is very, very nice from a steering ride and handling perspective. I think in terms of power train, you probably want the non-hybrid if you're more of a purist and really want that overall smoothness of the driving experience. But if you want the power and if you want the fuel efficiency, the hybrid is a really strong solution as well.
When driving the RAM, there's a lot to like. And there's a lot that we have liked about our long term RAM that we own. The engine is very nice. It's a no-nonsense, 5.7-liter V8. And it sounds good too. Listen to this.
That's just satisfying. Now, obviously, it lacks the power and passing performance that you'd get out of that hybrid F-150, even if you get this in the eTorque offering. But if you want the most powerful RAM you can get, that's in the TRX, which isn't really part of the RAM 1500 family in my mind. But it's that low-speed smoothness that I really like out of this V8.
You don't sense the engine kicking on and off, because it's not. You don't feel that transition from battery power to gas power or some combination of the two. And that, to me, is a nicer driving experience, because you don't feel those clunkers from the drive train as different power routers come on and engage. And with regard to the transmission, even though you have fewer gears at your disposal, you never feel like you're out of breath.
This is just a totally adequate, totally responsible, totally workable power train in this truck. One deficiency you notice in this truck, though, versus the F-150 is the sense of outward visibility. I think Ford does a lot of subtle, clever things to help feel like you have more of an outward view around you. That's not to say this has a restrictive view. It's totally fine-- we've been able to live with this for quite a long time. But you just notice that advantage in the Ford a little bit more.
Similarly, the ride quality in this, and as it relates to the steering, has a sense of refinement that you don't get in the F-150. I think there's a couple of things at play there in my mind-- definitely the rear coil spring suspension, but also the seat just generally feels softer and more supportive than the optional one in that F-150, which is kind of surprising considering how much less this one costs. As for the rest of the driving experience, again, the steering is adequate, pleasant. The brake and pedal feel is totally fine.
You don't have a sense that you're going to wander outside of your lane with how big these trucks are. That's an important attribute to have. There's not a lot to complain about with the driving experience in this RAM. There's just a couple subtle things that the F-150 does slightly better that gives it the overall nod depending on how you configure it. But if you got a RAM, don't feel too bad. You still got some advantages too.
Modern full-size pickups talk a big game when it comes to peak towing figures-- nearly 13,000 pounds for the RAM and 14,000 pounds for the F-150. But remember that the big figures you see in the ads generally require specific cab, bed, and option configurations that many people don't buy. Also, our stance is that if you plan to tow more than 12,000 pounds, you should probably start buying a heavy duty pickup truck anyway.
How about these trucks? Well, let's talk about them in their more popular configurations before conventional towing-- that means four-door, short bed, and 4x4. There's a lot of numbers here, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm looking at my phone. Now, the F-150 with the 5-liter V8, it's between 9,400 to 10,400 pounds depending on final drive, whether it's 331 or 373, and up to 13,000 pounds with the $2,000 max trailer tow package.
Now, with the turbo 3.5-liter non-hybrid engine, it's 11,300 pounds and up to 13,900 pounds with that tow package. As for the RAM, the 5.7-liter V8 gives you approximately 8,200 pounds to 11,300 pounds depending on the final drive-- so 321 versus 392. So while the options and configurations may change a lot, Ford generally edges out the RAM with towing bragging rights.
So how do things shake out? Which truck should you buy? Well, after testing and evaluating these trucks, and taking into account the entirety of their lineups and feedback from our experiences with each, the 2021 F-150 edges out the RAM. That's a testament to how much we like the RAM. From its storage options, its on-rotor refinement, its interior materials, and overall character, there's a lot to like and desire about that truck.
The thing is, the 2021 F-150 isn't far off in those areas. And it also has a ton of small advantages that stack up-- things like its outward visibility, optional tech features, and superior driver's aids. Also elevating the F-150 is the breadth of its availability. From bed, to engine, to options you simply have more to choose from. And that allows for more specifically tailored truck configurations for each individual shopper-- not to mention bragging rights, right, like bigger peak towing, fuel economy, and torque, which, come on, we all care about at the end of the day.
Hey, thank you for watching. And if you want to see more videos and if you like this video, we'd really appreciate it if you liked and subscribed, and also if you visit Edmunds at the links below to see more information about these trucks and others like them. Thanks again. Bye.