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|395||Max Horsepower (HP)||381|
|480||Max Torque (lb-ft)||401|
|20 / 25||Fuel Economy (MPG)||13 / 18|
The half-ton truck is a versatile vehicle and has been becoming increasingly powerful and increasingly popular. These pickups offer a tremendous amount of capability. They will happily haul or tow thousands of pounds while providing a more comfortable ride than the larger three-quarter-ton trucks. Among the leading options in this segment are the Ram 1500 and the Toyota Tundra. Both of these rugged trucks have long offered great value and have recently received some updates that make them even better. However, when comparing the 2020 Ram 1500 vs 2020 Toyota Tundra, it will be seen that the Toyota is an aging platform that is falling behind in options and capability while the Ram is a new vehicle filled with modern features inside and out. From its powerful engine options with innovative mild-hybrid technologies and its unique coil, spring, and air suspension setup to its high-tech interior with countless features and massive 12” central display, the 2020 Ram 1500 is one of the most modern and capable trucks currently available. But does the Ram 1500 compare to the Toyota Tundra? Let's take a look.
When it comes to comparing the available engines, the Ram truck offers three unique and extremely modern options, while the sole engine available on the 2020 Toyota Tundra is an aging 5.7L V8. With 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, the Tundra is not only less powerful than the Ram 1500, but it is also let down by its older six-speed automatic transmission. However, all trims of the 2020 Toyota Tundra do come with a V8 while the base engine on the 2020 Ram 1500 is a smaller V6.
But Ram has a trick up its sleeve that makes even this base engine highly efficient and surprisingly potent. While 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque may not seem particularly noteworthy, this engine is equipped with Ram’s eTorque system. Although described as a hybrid drive, the primary purpose of eTorque is not improving fuel economy but boosting torque at low RPM. This is achieved by using a small electric motor attached to the engine and can give you that extra push you need without needing to floor the accelerator. Further, all of the engine options on the 2020 Ram 1500 come paired with a modern eight-speed transmission, giving you more gears for better power delivery.
The base engine is just one of three great options the Ram 1500 offers; there are two upgraded engines as well. The first of two upgraded engines for the 2020 Ram 1500 is a 5.7L HEMI V8 that provides 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. This engine is available with the same eTorque system as the base V6. So not only are its top-end numbers higher than those of the Tundra’s V8, but the HEMI also has significantly more low-end power. The second upgraded engine is a 3.0L turbocharged EcoDiesel that for the 2020 model year has had its engine output boosted to 280 hp and a best in class 480 lb-ft of torque. If you need a half-ton truck with the best performance you can find, then the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the obvious choice.
Although fuel economy is generally not the top concern of truck owners, spending less money on gasoline is never a bad thing. And thanks in part to its superior transmission and eTorque system, the Ram 1500 comes out far in the lead when it comes to fuel efficiency. Comparing V8 to V8, the 2020 Ram 1500 achieves up to 19 MPG combined while the 2020 Toyota Tundra is only rated for 15 MPG combined. This is already a massive difference that will likely result in savings of hundreds of dollars a year in fuel bills. But if efficiency is the goal, then the Ram also has its other engine options. The base V6 in the Ram 1500 is rated for 22 MPG combined, which is well above what the Tundra has to offer.
A powerful engine alone is not enough to make a truck a winner. The frame and suspension also play a significant role in determining overall performance. And here, the Ram 1500 has been designed from the ground up with modern technology in mind. Its new frame is both stiffer and lighter than ever before, using new materials and geometry improve performance and safety. Further, unlike the Toyota Tundra, the Ram 1500 does not use the old leaf springs in its suspension but instead employs a modern multi-link and coil spring setup for a smoother ride and superior handling. It also has an optional air suspension system on all trims that can adjust suspension stiffness depending on the task at hand for optimal ride quality.
While some may think that such a smooth-riding truck cannot possibly have competitive towing figures, the numbers tell a different story. The 2020 Toyota Tundra has a maximum tow rating of 10,200 pounds while the 2020 Ram 1500 can handle up to 12,750 pounds when properly equipped. With over a 20% advantage in maximum tow rating, the Ram 1500 is the clear winner if you need the most capable truck available. However, higher numbers are not the only advantage the Ram has over the Toyota Tundra. It’s 60/40 split multifunction tailgate also makes loading a breeze and the available RamBox cargo management system gives you additional lockable weatherproof storage bins for tools or other small items.
The interior of both the 2020 Ram 1500 and 2020 Toyota Tundra can be configured as anything from a basic work truck to a borderline luxury vehicle. In their lowest trims, they come with basic features such as front bench seats and manual air conditioning. However, they still offer some modern luxuries such as one-touch power windows and steering-wheel-mounted infotainment controls. But in their higher trims, these two trucks come packed with features of all types.
The interior of higher trim 2020 Toyota Tundras come with leather power-adjustable heated and vented front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, and push-button start, an optional power moonroof, and a unique full-width roll down rear power window. And while that is an extensive list of features, a top trim 2020 Ram 1500 is even better equipped. In addition to every Tundra feature other than the roll down rear window, the Ram 1500 sports a larger dual-pane panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable pedals with memory settings for multiple drivers, a heated steering wheel, heated outboard rear seats, active noise cancellation, and a pair of 115-volt outlets for powering tools or electronic devices. Altogether, this incredible feature set makes the Ram 1500 one of the best-equipped trucks currently on the market. When combined with its smoother coil spring suspension and excellent fuel economy, this makes it hands down the best choice for a truck that is equally at home at the worksite or cruising on the highway.
The comparison between the available technology in the two trucks is somewhat closer, with the Tundra having a clear advantage on the low end and the Ram on the high end. For the base trim, the 2020 Toyota Tundra has a 7” touch screen and six speakers and is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and SiriusXM satellite radio. And while this is an excellent system for the low trims, the higher trims of the Tundra do little to improve on it. The only changes are a slightly larger 8” touch screen and nine speakers standard, with the option to add navigation and up to twelve speakers. Against this, the base infotainment system in the 2020 Ram 1500 is a 5” screen with the Uconnect 3 software. However, this can be upgraded to a massive 12” screen with up to nineteen Harman Kardon premium speakers. Further, this improved system for the Ram 1500 includes the state of the art Uconnect 4 software, which adds advanced features such as SiriusXM Guardian and Uconnect market as well as split-screen navigation that lets you operate the infotainment system without closing your map.