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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A dark red 2021 Ram 1500 is towing two Side-by-sides on a trailer on a dirt trail.

A Close Look At The 2021 Ram 1500: How Does This Year’s Model Hold Up?

Ram trucks have always been a prominent player in the truck market, but it wasn’t until a decade ago that the brand gained independence from Dodge. Since then, Ram trucks have continued their own distinctive branding, and these are the Ram trucks you’re most likely to see on the road today. With an already established foot in the door, Ram trucks have grown in popularity and are beloved by millions of loyal fans. Decades of research and development have culminated into a truck that aims to please workers and enthusiasts alike – the 2021 Ram 1500. While the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 are great choices if you have heavy towing or hauling that needs to be done, the Ram 1500 is arguably the best all-around truck on the market.

All of the trims that are available for the 2021 Ram 1500 were also available for last year’s model. This means that the base trim is still Tradesman, which now has a starting price of $32,245. The higher trims include the upgraded Big Horn and Laramie, the premium Limited Longhorn and Limited, and the off-road-oriented Rebel and TRX. In addition to the eight available trim levels and handful of special editions, you can also choose from a variety of cab sizes and bed sizes to further customize your purchase. Even with the base Tradesman, drivers will be hard-pressed to find much to complain about as the Ram offers a feature set that can only be described as generous.

The interior also features a wide range of available upgrades, including items such as a larger infotainment center and extra storage areas. On the outside, you can find options including gigantic 20-inch wheels, blacked-out trim pieces, and the unique RamBox cargo management system. No matter how you configure and option your 2021 Ram 1500, you will find that the excellent reputation and growing popularity of Ram trucks is well-deserved.

How Does The Ram 1500 Perform?

The base Ram 1500 comes equipped with a 3.6L V6 and an 8-speed automatic transmission. With this powertrain, the Ram 1500 will get 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque with a maximum towing capacity of 7,730 lbs. This engine checks all of the boxes in terms of the kind of baseline performance you’d want from a truck such as this, and it’s quite fuel-efficient as well. Equipping your Ram 1500 with this engine will net you EPA-estimated ratings of up to 20 MPG city and 26 MPG highway, making it the most efficient full-size gasoline-engine truck on the market.

Should you be looking for more performance but want to retain a gasoline-powered engine, the 5.7L HEMI V8 is available. This V8 engine produces 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque and comes paired to the same 8-speed automatic transmission as the base engine. Compared to the base V6, this V8 produces roughly 30% more horsepower and 50% more torque. When properly equipped, this engine can provide a maximum towing capacity of 12,750 lbs, plenty of strength for a wide range of trailering tasks. It is even available with an eTorque mild hybrid system that provides additional low-end power and slightly improves fuel economy.

If you’re looking for a strong mix between efficiency and raw power, then opting for the available turbo-diesel 3.0L V6 engine is the best choice for you. Equipping your 2021 Ram 1500 with this engine will bring 260 hp and an impressive 480 lb-ft of torque and allow you to tow up to 12,560 lbs. While the max tow rating isn’t quite as high as with the 5.7L V8, the turbo-diesel is by far the most fuel-efficient option and is rated at 23 MPG city and 33 MPG highway. That means fewer stops at the gas station during long trips (especially when towing) as well as spending less money at the pump.

But if you are looking for the ultimate in high-speed off-road performance, then the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is the truck for you. This trim comes with a unique 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8 engine borrowed from Dodge’s family of muscle cars. This engine produces an incredible 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, making the TRX the most powerful production truck ever released. However, the advanced off-road equipment on this trim means that this is not a truck you should select for towing or hauling.

The interior dashboard of a 2021 Ram 1500 Laramie is shown while overlooking a pond.

Interior & Cargo

Depending on the cab size selected, the Ram 1500 will support a maximum seating capacity of six passengers. The standard four-door Quad Cab offers 35.6″ of second-row legroom, while the larger Crew Cab upgrades that to an incredibly comfortable 45.2″ of legroom. Going with the Crew Cab turns the Ram 1500 into a capable family vehicle with more passenger space than most SUVs. The amount of cargo space that your Ram 1500 comes equipped with is highly dependent on the type of bed size you’ve opted for, with the two choices being a 6’4″ bed or a smaller 5’7″ bed. This 5’7″ bed offers a cargo volume of 53.9 cu.ft. while the 6’4″ bed offers 61.5 cu.ft. of cargo space, a 41.5% increase. Importantly, the Ram 1500 allows you to choose both the Crew Cab and the 6’4″ bed for the ultimate in both cargo and passenger space.

The rest of the interior manages to feel as luxurious as it’s modern. Sitting inside of the Ram 1500 is easy for longer periods of time, such as road trips. However, what’s even more impressive than the materials that the cabin is composed of is the large suite of available features. When you purchase a base 2021 Ram 1500, it’ll come equipped with a 5-inch infotainment center and the intuitive Uconnect 3 infotainment system. However, every trim but the base trim can be optioned with either an 8.4″ or massive 12″ touchscreen that includes the more advanced Uconnect 4 system and available navigation. Not only can you enjoy increased screen size, but you can also get newer tech-centric features such as wireless phone charging. These infotainment centers also include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow for seamless integration between your smartphone and your vehicle.

A newer Ram truck, a silver 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, is kicking up sand and shown from the front.

The Future of Ram is Bright

Although a majority of the most recent changes have been a part of the lineup for a couple of years, this new Ram 1500 manages to stick out against this year’s competition. Not only are fans bound to enjoy the sheer performance this truck offers, including the brand-new 2021 TRX trim with its supercharged engine, but those looking for quality-of-life improvements are surely going to find them here. We can speculate that we’re a few years away from another refresh of the Ram 1500, but what we see from the manufacturer is nothing short of incredible. If you’re interested in spending some up close and personal time with the Ram 1500 and take one for a spin, your best chance of doing so is by visiting your local Ram dealer. Once you’ve driven the Ram 1500, you’ll know exactly what all the fuss is about and are all but guaranteed to join the legion of loyal Ram drivers.

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