Which Pickup Is Best in Show: Silverado 1500 or Ram 1500?

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It's not that often that two half-ton pickup trucks debut at the same auto show as happened at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where both the redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 Ram 1500 were unveiled. After all, there are only five pickups in the class and 12 months in the year. And let's face it, this is the kind of thing automakers have nightmares about and go to great lengths to avoid. Fortunately for us, that did happen this year, so we have plenty to talk about.

These two vehicles are critical to the success of their respective companies, making up a significant portion of total annual profits. These weren't the only new pickups at the show — there was an all-new 2019 Ford Ranger and diesel-powered 2018 F-150 on display — but these are the two heavy weights that have been battling it out for years in monthly sales, and now they're both jumping into the ring with newly upgraded frames, suspensions, trim levels, interiors, safety features and bed technology.

In the interest of imagining which pickup would win in a Thunderdome-style showdown, we're providing the highlights and lowlights of both trucks.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Highlights

  • All-new frame and retuned suspension, and aluminum anywhere there's a hinge (doors, hood, tailgate)
  • Powertrains loaded with tons of fuel-saving technology
  • Bed redesign with an impressive number of tie-downs

Lowlights

  • We don't have all the power information and details yet
  • Interior upgrades are modest and still behind competition
  • Why doesn't the Trailboss offer the shocks from the Colorado ZR2?

2019 Ram 1500

Highlights

  • The high-tech frame saves weight and has a splayed trapezoidal front frame rail
  • The interiors were arguably the best around before, but the 2019 takes them to another level
  • Trim level separation is well thought out and impressively executed

Lowlights

  • No changes to suspension strategy or upgrading of four-corner air suspension
  • Mild-hybrid system was easily adapted to the engines but doesn't seem to help towing or hauling
  • Gross vehicles weight ratings numbers stay relatively low at 6,900 and 7,100 pounds

Clearly, both pickups have their strengths and weaknesses, so seeing them on the same battleground was interesting. We overheard several automotive journalists say the Detroit show was dominated by pickup trucks, and our colleagues at Cars.com agreed. In fact, they named the 2019 Ram 1500 Best in Show at Detroit. Find out what they liked about the Ram here.

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry, Evan Sears

 

 

Comments

Why is it the downside for Chevy is always the interior?

-CT

Chevy interiors have usually been lagging since the 80s.

Aluminum on all the parts that move and you would normally touch. Guess its not all about ding resistance. Since ive never owned nor will I ever own a truck that doesn't have some kind of bedliner and or bedmat not do I set full or empty tool boxes on the bed rails, I don't care what the bed floor/bed interior is made of. This is a cute way of easing into the fully aluminum body. Probably would have been a more cautious and smarter mover for whoever was going to pioneer an aluminum body truck. It will make sense if it allows for a noticeable price savings that can be passed onto the customer creating a price advantage.

Personally I find the Fiat's styling to be preferable over the Chevy's but taste is very subjective. Sadly the Fiat is still light on load capacity.

Looking forward to comparison testing.

SILVERADO is BEST here, then Ram, Ford at the bottom, GM has time to release power, towing ratings, if they say them now, the others will bump theirs up, GM will LEAD

Regarding the RAM...no changes to suspension strategy or upgrading air suspension?

Progressive rate rear coil springs isn't a change in strategy? Frequency responsive damping (FRD) shocks isn't a change? A coil sprung Rebel as standard isn't a change? Relocating the front sway bar to behind the front tires to increase roll stiffness and improve handling isn't a change?

I also believe that the air suspension has been upgraded to respond faster as well.

Once again, upper management at GM will leave the NAIAS auto show with their tail between their legs

I really think that interior is subjective. Sure Ram, did a TON with theirs, but personally I'm not a fan of the huge screens, particularly integrating climate controls into it. Knobs and buttons go a long way for climate control. I love my '14 silverado interior, and the updates they made (handle on driver's side, centered steering wheel, moving the trailer brake controller, to name a few) were all the updated they needed.

I really think that interior is subjective. Sure Ram, did a TON with theirs, but personally I'm not a fan of the huge screens, particularly integrating climate controls into it. Knobs and buttons go a long way for climate control. I love my '14 silverado interior, and the updates they made (handle on driver's side, centered steering wheel, moving the trailer brake controller, to name a few) were all the updated they needed.

@mark williams

How can anyone seriously suggest that the mild hybrid system on the RAM 1500 is a "lowlight"?

Their engineers propose that it might be good for as much as a 10 percent improvement in key performance metrics such as torque (we love it!) and fuel economy (we love it!). Pulling away from a dead stop (and stoplight idling) are directly improved with this system.

I don't think anyone was complaining about Hemi torque or towing before, why would that suddenly be an issue now? Issues with the RAM 1500 previously might have focused on the payload capacity, but that's a suspension issue, and it's been addressed in the new RAM.

Count me as curious about your description.

I am a life long Chevy man. This new truck looks nothing like a Chevrolet. It could just as easy be the new Tundra. I am disappointed to the point that the Ram is easily the pick here.

Chevy had a good looking truck, they just needed to update their interiors and improve on the power output, now they have a Toyota clone and the same interior.
As a GM buyer, i can only hope the Sierra will make up for this blunder.

I agree the Silverado interior is too cookie cutter in terms of aesthetics. I believe some of that comes from the MyLink systems are released to all the Chevrolet vehicles and until that rolls out for the whole line, the new vehicles sometimes get existing tech. If it helps with reliability and software problems then so be it. Hopefully the GMC version offers a different interior.

Another site did an interesting review showing how much storage and space utilization was put into the new Silverado interior. I would say they definitely did their homework on that.

I can agree that GM definitely left a lot of details off the table to make the release somewhat disappointing. I will say though that I typically buy GMC over Chevrolet just due to preference, but this Silverado is the first one in a long time that I actually really like the design look. Especially the mid and upper trims.

As for the Ram,

The pathetic suspension and towing/capacities will catch up with them. The GM mid-size twins and most likely the Ranger are right on it's doorstep capability wise. The Ford and GM 1/2 tons may not ride as soft as the Ram, but they are definitely more capable. I have seen a late model Ram locally trying to haul a load of wood in the box, and it looks like it's almost bottomed out. Were talking only loaded to the box height, and squatting almost to the stops. Not a good look.

I'm glad someone else noticed that the battery for that mild hybrid doesn't appear to offer anything in the towing\hauling department. Good job in pointing that out Mark.

They always gripe about GM's interior!! Its kinda annoying. I think the new interior looks great. It fits a GM vehicle. The Ram is very nice as well.

Oh well can't please everyone!

Regarding the RAM...no changes to suspension strategy or upgrading air suspension?

Progressive rate rear coil springs isn't a change in strategy? Frequency responsive damping (FRD) shocks isn't a change? A coil sprung Rebel as standard isn't a change? Relocating the front sway bar to behind the front tires to increase roll stiffness and improve handling isn't a change?

I also believe that the air suspension has been upgraded to respond faster as well.


Posted by: MKL | Jan 17, 2018 7:43:17 AM

Does any of it make it more capable?

FRD shocks? Is that an attempt at magnetic dampening? Those have been out in trucks since the mid 2000's.

MY 2011 Yukon XL Denali has the same gross vehicle weight rating as the max rating of the Ram.

May as well call it a 1/4 ton.

RAM.

The chebby seems too busy. Lines, bulges, and angles everywhere. There is soo much talking it doesn't say anything.

@ andrwken... Actually, yes the progressive rate rear coils would make the vehicle more capable. They build spring rate as they compress; hence can support more weight with deflection.

I don't understand your thinking. Just because you can fill a pickup bed with firewood doesn't mean you should. Even if it's approximately a half-cord of firewood the majority of the crew cab 1/2 ton trucks would be overloaded @ 2,500 LBS of payload unless it's optioned with a special payload package.

Would you put a pallet of brick pavers that weighs 3,000 LBS in the back of a 1/2 ton pickup just because they fit?

Would you use a cross pein pin hammer to drive a stake? Or a sledge hammer? Use the right tool for the job!

Smooth rides, tough looking exteriors and impressive interiors sell half-ton trucks.

I think it is going to be easier to sell 2019 Rams than 2019 Silverados.

If Ram keeps improving its reliability like it has, it is very possible, by the next decade, Ram is outselling Chevy.

No question Ram wins here and most auto journalists who attended the 2018 NAIAS agreed on this. It just shows that Ram is more serious about their brand and product while GM is resting on brand loyalty and playing "Me Too" with the F150.

Also, the new interior in the Silverado STILL looks like it's giving birth to a small TV from the 90s.

@ andrwken... Actually, yes the progressive rate rear coils would make the vehicle more capable. They build spring rate as they compress; hence can support more weight with deflection.

I don't understand your thinking. Just because you can fill a pickup bed with firewood doesn't mean you should. Even if it's approximately a half-cord of firewood the majority of the crew cab 1/2 ton trucks would be overloaded @ 2,500 LBS of payload unless it's optioned with a special payload package.

Would you put a pallet of brick pavers that weighs 3,000 LBS in the back of a 1/2 ton pickup just because they fit?

Would you use a cross pein pin hammer to drive a stake? Or a sledge hammer? Use the right tool for the job!

\\\\\\\\\\\

Loosely thrown wood, not stacked, in the back of a 1/2 ton pickup, not even up over the bedside is overloaded?

Most trucks now a days can get maybe a 1/3-1/2 cord in it thrown in loosely not stacked. By most analysis I've read, that truck has about 700 lbs in it due to it not being over the bedside.

Your right. The Ram is not the right tool for doing work like putting heavy things in the box.

Just call it a Ramkota. It looks more like a Dakota, and has the specs to match.

andrwken... According to the USDA, a 1/2 cord of wood weighs approximately 2,500 LBS.

Also, since I missed the topic previously... FRD shocks have different damping curves in them depending on if the FRD valve is open or closed. So they are different than what's been offered on trucks "since the mid-2000's." Many shock manufacturers claim their shocks are velocity sensitive for their damping. Not frequency dependent. As shock velocity increases, the damping force increases.

papajim made a good point, Mark can you comment on this??

-CT

None...

andrwken... According to the USDA, a 1/2 cord of wood weighs approximately 2,500 LBS.

Also, since I missed the topic previously... FRD shocks have different damping curves in them depending on if the FRD valve is open or closed. So they are different than what's been offered on trucks "since the mid-2000's." Many shock manufacturers claim their shocks are velocity sensitive for their damping. Not frequency dependent. As shock velocity increases, the damping force increases.


Posted by: MKL | Jan 17, 2018 8:34:10 AM

I misread my numbers. That truck may have had closer to 1200 lbs in it. A 1500 silverado and f-150 have payload ratings between 1700 and 2000 llbs.

an average cord of seasoned wood weighs between 2-3000 lbs. This was no where near close to a 1/2 cord based on how it was stacked and how low it was. The species that are typical around here go between 2-3000 per cord depending on seasoning. This was not green wood sir. Still seen plenty of other 1/2 tons, including the older rams, loaded with much more squatting less.

As for dampening,

It's great they finally have a multistage dampener in their trucks. Are you saying it's as good as the magnetorheological dampening? We shall see how the testing goes.

If Ram keeps improving its reliability like it has, it is very possible, by the next decade, Ram is outselling Chevy.


Posted by: FCA GM Ford Salesman | Jan 17, 2018 8:26:52 AM

The JD power reliability ratings do not see eye to eye with your analysis.

Ram got better when they broke it out of Dodge. 2017 survey put it right on the bottom with Jeep Fiat and Dodge.

andrwken... It's damper, and damping.

Magnetic ride control is actually not a great application on trucks. The fluid is sensitive to contamination, IE dirt.

Chevy won the show. Biggest surprise was 3.0 in house, in-line diesel... this will still some cummins customers away from ram hd’s That Love in-line diesels but don’t need an had truck. Ram’s exterior styling is a step backyards and the interior of the ram is pretty guady with that huge screen

I'm impressed with both the Chevy and the Ram. I was once a Chevy guy turned Ram, still own both makes.

We worry too much about who sells more, they both sell plenty to be great choices for customers.

New and improved options and ideas are what makes all companies continue to improve product. When one takes the idea of another and incorporates it into their own design, this is good. Let them use each other to experiment.

Ram has made it clear that it builds the 1500 for the majority that do not haul or pull and what should be the job of their Heavy Duty line. Even their 2500 and 3500 have big differences (coils verses springs) to make three different options. I do not hold that against them for not having the highest rating for a half ton.

Ram needed to address the payload , the rear seat and outdated engines.

They did 2/3 and I believe they will have some kind of updated engine out in a year or two unless this Etorque system does more than I think it will.

If I was buying a new truck this year it would be the a ram Laramie limited , the interior looks like it could be in a Mercedes

andrwken... It's damper, and damping.

Magnetic ride control is actually not a great application on trucks. The fluid is sensitive to contamination, IE dirt.


Posted by: MKL | Jan 17, 2018 8:59:37 AM

Thanks for the correction. Now back to topic.

All shocks have fluid in them, susceptible to contamination.

Some sources would also say that progressive rate coil springs are not great for on-road applications. Especially when mixed with multistage shocks.

In any case, the ratings indicate this truck will not have good tow/payload numbers again. Whatever they added does not seem to be helping in that regard.

RamKota.....

The Chevy looks absolutely awful! I thought their current truck looked goofy, then they rolled out this ugly thing. It looks so girly! It honestly looked like someone that's never used a truck for worked designed this thing. It's that bad. Some fella in a man bun and skinny jeans designed the Silverado.

andrwken

I sell all of the big 3 brands trucks. I put my hands on all of them daily. I don't know the JD Power metrics, and frankly I don't care. I can tell you that since 2009 Ram is not an inferior product. As I see my GM and Ford customers in service for issues, as much as I see my Ram customers. That wasn't the case in the previous generation of Rams.

What really troubles me about GM trucks, are the largest percentage of people that come in and ask to look at them are GM loylists. They won't buy anything else.

When I have people who aren't loyal to any brand look at trucks, the GM is almost always last to be considered. I don't see this new truck doing anything to change that. They is why GM is losing market share. They don't attract neutral buyers.

Gm has lost their style. Too many angles. Too busy, Over the top busy. A glorified Lego.

When I saw the TrailBoss Silverado I thought it looked decent. When I saw the rest of the trim levels I thought it was awkward looking with too much going on. After years os barely noticeable updates they went too far. Best in show? Easily the new Ram. Not even close. I think the Chevy will actually look more awkward/ugly in person.

andrwken

I sell all of the big 3 brands trucks. I put my hands on all of them daily. I don't know the JD Power metrics, and frankly I don't care. I can tell you that since 2009 Ram is not an inferior product. As I see my GM and Ford customers in service for issues, as much as I see my Ram customers. That wasn't the case in the previous generation of Rams.

What really troubles me about GM trucks, are the largest percentage of people that come in and ask to look at them are GM loylists. They won't buy anything else.

When I have people who aren't loyal to any brand look at trucks, the GM is almost always last to be considered. I don't see this new truck doing anything to change that. They is why GM is losing market share. They don't attract neutral buyers.


Posted by: FCA GM Ford Salesman | Jan 17, 2018 9:30:10 AM

What do you currently sell?

They is why GM is losing market share. They don't attract neutral buyers.


Posted by: FCA GM Ford Salesman | Jan 17, 2018 9:30:10 AM

This was certainly proven with the Colorado. The only sales to go down were Chevy's own Silverado.

The Silverado won. The exterior design is a bold complete departure from the previous design. It takes balls to make such a move and it was well executed. Intro of a inline Duramax diesel for the 1500 series and we all know it will be class leading. The interiors are designed for truck people. Knobs and switches are more intuitive than a vertically mounted flat screen TV which demands you take your focus of the road to find a point on the screen to enter a command. Hey, i'm not knocking the Ram, it is a nice truck but it's not the best at show and certainly not the best choice for doing work.

I like the Ram better, but that doesn't mean it's the best truck for everyone That would depend on what you need the truck for and what you're looking for.

Plus no way will the Ram be outselling Ford or GM anytime soon. Just not going to happen. For one thing, I don't think FCA has the capacity to build the numbers needed to beat GM or Ford.

I keep seeing comments on the touch screen and HVAC controls. If you look closely in the pics, there are buttons to the left and right of the display to control the the HVAC.


They are both really nice i would say you have to compare them on the road to figure out which one is better. One might steer better, one might ride better we will have to wait and see the comparison test!

I've owned a Laramie 5.9L. Gorgeous truck. Too much drama!

Where is the Sierra? It must be really different than the Silverado styling. Tightly under wraps to avoid stealing Chevy's thunder.

I prefer the compartmentalized front's Sierra has had that breaks up that one piece "slab" look.
They disturbed the flow they had with the wrap around lights that tied the grill to the fender's. What they have here is an abrupt "end curtain" effect that doesn't flow or look very aerodynamic. I appreciate the attempt to think outside the cubicle. I have renewed excitement for the Sierra.

Four tailgate options for the GM's? Can they offer a rear bumper option without the pusswuah look of a handicap step? (Seriously....please!)

They is why GM is losing market share. ..Posted by: FCA GM Ford Salesman | Jan 17, 2018

@fcagmford salesman

Where do you get that info. GM has outsold all other truck makers in the US for at least the last 4 years. Go to GM's website and read the January 3 press release that covers the company's 2017 sales performance. GM is hardly 'losing share'

@stevadore

Since 2003 is the last year for the mopar 5.9 engine, we can assume that your Lariat 5.9 truck is/was almost 20 years old. Have you driven a RAM 1500?

RAM WINS in my book.....

Totally agree with the loyalty and GM trucks. I honestly do not know anyone who left another truck and went into a GM. My current GM truck is a bit older. when I bought it, I only looked at Ram, and the deal on the Chevy was tough to beat, so I jumped on it. SInce I am not a loyal owner, I can say chevy/gmc are currently third for me when shopping, behind Ford and Ram, for many reasons. It seems the guys on here, tout GM all day are the loyalists. I know a GM friend of mine was the same way, until his company used rentals for work vehicles, and they chose ram. He went and bought a Ram, and when I asked why, he said he didnt realize they were that much nicer than his chevy, Most loyalists wont even bother to drive the others. Meaning, go drive a truck with the options and color you would buy, and you will leave GM most likely.

-CT

Four tailgate options for the GM's? Can they offer a rear bumper option without the pusswuah look of a handicap step? (Seriously....please!)


Posted by: Stevadore | Jan 17, 2018 10:13:35 AM

HAHAHAHAHHA

I drive a Ram but I like the Chevrolet interior as the Ram interior does have its strong points, but that huge double screen entertainment system is way to much! I've never liked the Silverado grill, I prefer the Sierra so I will be looking forward to seeing them.

papa jim,

Talking about full size units alone, not including midsize. Sorry for not clarifying, but I figured since we were talking about the Silverado1500 and Ram 1500 I didn't need to.

Look at the numbers here on PUTC. GMs fullsize are barely up year-over-year this year and, if I remember right down year-over-year the last couple of years. Ram was also barely up this year too, but the last few years they were up big.

Ford fullsize has been on a huge upward trend since the new F150.

According to Rams presentation yesterday they have increased their sales 168% since 2009.

To be fare, Chevy and RAM both did a damn good job with the exterior appearance of their trucks, what's truly going to bring out the beauty in either one of them boils down to the Towing/Hauling capabilities, Structural Solidarity while Off-Road and of course, Horsepower/Torque Ratio numbers, we will be able to know the true beauty from those Brands by that time, but regardless, my loyalty stands with GM!

RAM wins "Best in Show" Award..., Wow...Wee!!
Very interested in the hybrid-drive/assist system..., Love those Ramboxes for storage of all things lawn service..., Gonna appreciate those coil springs in back for their smooth ride (Towing 3k lbs and/or hauling 1200 lbs will not be a problem)..., The 3.92 axle ratio and a 4.71 in the eight-speed transmission has gotta be like the old "granny-gear" of yesteryear (Neck-snapping!!)..., Really liking the new design language inside and out..., Way to go Ram...

I saw something about how a GM engineer said the interior of the chevy was intentionally made to the same as the outgoing model. "Because customers were happy just the way it was." "if it ain't broken don't fix it" I guess they don't read all the comparisons where GM interiors are considered substandard. I hate the cramped feel that GM vehicles often give. Like you are in a cave. Not just the pickups, but many other GM vehicles like the camaro and suvs.

Beebe-good point, thats where I stand on this issues. When you read things like dont fix it. You basically tell people you are not in the business to change. That is hard to hear them say that. They need to change, or they will suffer. Like the salesman pointed out GM half tons are in the red for awhile now, while Ford continues to dominate. A good reason why this is, may be due to the fact that Ford is always changing it up with tech not only inside bt outside as well. I love the headlines on fox today that read-"Chevy builds new truck with Steel to compete with the F-150" That shows everybody right there, that they have no intention of doing things differently.

-CT

@papajim
GM used to easily outsell the f-series with combined silverado/sierra. Now they only outsell when you also include the midsize twins, and it's not by as much as it used to be. Still selling the most pickups, but their marketshare has been declining and in full size pickups it has declined a lot. That is a fact. Just look at the sales numbers. Didn't ram outsell the silverado this year for the first time in many years? Just more evidence. You seem like a reasonably intelligent person, but sometimes your loyalty to GM blinds you to the FACTS.



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