It’s said the truck wars, despite being alive and well, are all but unwinnable given the strong brand loyalty that so many buyers bring to the table.
If your dad – or mom, for that matter – bought a Dodge, it’s all but a foregone conclusion that you’ll likely do the same thing. That hasn’t stopped automakers from doing their damndest to try and win buyers over with ever-better trucks that can tow more than before while offering car-like comfort and the latest and greatest technology. This year, one truck was able to rise above the rest in these ways and more, with the Ram 1500 taking home top honours as the 2020 autoTRADER.ca Best Overall Truck.
For this year’s awards, a jury of more than 20 automotive experts from across the country considered and evaluated every new vehicle on the market, narrowing them down to five finalists in 19 different categories. From there, the votes were tallied and the winners were determined based on 12 criteria covering everything from from value to innovation and overall excellence.
Finally, the 2020 autoTRADER.ca Best Overall Truck honour was bestowed upon the top vote-getter from either truck category winner.
The latest half-ton truck bearing the head of a bighorn ain’t your dad’s Dodge anymore – and not just because Dodge-branded pickups aren’t sold here anymore. Well-featured Ram trucks aren’t exactly new, but this fifth-generation version places the brand’s light-duty pickup in a whole different league compared to models past, and indeed, the rest of the segment.
autoTRADER.ca’s panel of more than 20 experts has consistently come away impressed with the ride comfort and car-like drivability afforded by either of the Ram’s segment-exclusive suspension setups – standard coil springs at all four corners, or an available air suspension system that’s fully adjustable.
The power of choice also delighted the judges, with three engine options ranging from a light-duty diesel to either six- or eight-cylinder gas engines. Better still, standard on the V6 and optional on the V8 gas motors is a mild-hybrid system that provides an extra boost of electric torque when accelerating.
The gas engines offered here aren’t the outright output leaders in the marketplace, though they certainly compete with what else is out there. The 3.0L diesel outduels coal-rollers from Ford and GM in terms of torque, with its 480 lb-ft besting the 440 lb-ft and 460 lb-ft, respectively, from the competition. The gas-powered 5.7L V8, meanwhile, only trails the 6.2L V8 from GM in terms of torque (410 lb-ft versus 460 lb-ft).
When compared to other modern powertrains employed by competitors – Ford’s EcoBoost turbo technology or GM’s enhanced cylinder deactivation – there’s just no comparison: With a Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) combined fuel economy rating of 11.1 L/100 km, the eTorque V6-powered Ram 1500 with four-wheel drive bests even the turbocharged four-cylinder offered in the Chevrolet Silverado.
Ram’s lightest duty pickup isn’t rated to tow the most in the segment – that honour still belongs to the Ford F-150 – but it can tug as much as 12,750 lbs while hauling around as much as 2,300 lbs in its bed. Both figures are more than adequate in a half-ton truck.
The team at autoTRADER.ca agrees that the Ram 1500 has the best-looking interior in the segment – and it’s got the technology to match. An available 12-inch vertically mounted touchscreen is among the biggest on the market and runs what the judges deem the industry’s best infotainment system. The latest Uconnect software also powers the slightly smaller – and still generously proportioned – available 8.4-inch touchscreen, while both screens enable Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The suite of available features in the Ram is as impressive as it is long, with heated and ventilated seats front and back, a heated steering wheel, active noise cancellation and real wood trim all on the menu for a premium-like package that’s hard to match. Safety features are equally noteworthy, with a blindspot monitoring system that can automatically detect the size of a trailer being towed, adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic, and automatic emergency braking, among others.
While the Ram 1500 bears the priciest starting sticker among the competition, the standard and available features it offers – even the base work-truck trim gets the mild hybrid system as standard fare – make this a value-packed proposition, and a deserving winner of the 2020 autoTRADER.ca Best Overall Truck.