Each model won skirmishes along the way, and they finished one-two in a competitive pickup truck category— separated by only three points. Both trucks outscored the previously-tested Ford’s F-150 XLT, whose 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbo V6 and 5.0-liter V8 versions rank third and fourth respectively (the V8 Ford rated 11 points behind Silverado).
Silverado edged Ram (both tested in V8, crew-cab, 4WD configurations) in several areas important to work-truck owners:
- It has a much larger cargo bed
- Several hundred pounds greater payload capacity
- It can tow a heavier trailer—up to 11,200 lb.
Consumer Reports points out that the tailgate is easy to raise and lower, and handy corner bumper steps help with climbing into the bed.
The Silverado also has a lower step-in height than the Ram, aiding cabin access. Handling is more agile, and the Silverado delivers best-in-class fuel economy of 16 mpg overall—one mpg better than the Ram. That could save owners about 50 gallons of gas per year.
“The reality is that you can’t go wrong with either one. Both are capable trucks that get decent gas mileage and are as quiet inside as a good luxury car,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports opted to test the Silverado’s widely sold 355-hp, 5.3-liter V8 version with four-wheel-drive. The Silverado’s transmission up shifts smoothly and quickly but can be reluctant to downshift, making the truck sometimes feel underpowered. Towing Consumer Reports’ 5,000-lb. trailer to 60 mph took 14.8 seconds, a strong performance. Off-road performance on Consumer Reports’ demanding rock hill course was hampered by wheel spin and ground clearance (a concession to lower step-in height).
For drivers using their truck more for day-to-day driving, Consumer Reports testers found the Ram is a nicer place to spend your time. It rides better, thanks to its unique rear coil spring suspension. The interior is also more comfortable with better front seats, a nicer rear seat, and a slightly friendlier control layout.
Consumer Reports tested the Ram with Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8, four-wheel-drive, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission that’s smooth and efficient. Consumer Reports found that combination delivered seamless and effortless power, while returning a relatively good 15 mpg overall. Acceleration is quicker than the Silverado and the Hemi feels much brawnier in real-world driving.
The Ram also brings its own impressive workhorse credentials. Its driver-selectable full-time four-wheel-drive system works well, and the truck scrambled up Consumer Reports’ rock hill with ease. It can tow up to 9,950 lb. when properly equipped. The truck pulled Consumer Reports’ 5,000-lb. trailer to 60 mph in 14.9 seconds.
Complete test results for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 appear on www.ConsumerReports.org today, and in the November issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands October 5.
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit organization rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, Website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.