New 2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman Offers Awesome Value


Update 1: Feb-15 2011 3:15 pm PT

Added new towing and hauling figures to the comparison chart.

Out of the box, the two-wheel drive short bed Ram 1500 Tradesman with a 3.55 rear axle will be able to tow up to 9,100 pounds and haul up to 1,580 pounds for a MSRP of $22,780, according to Chrysler.

The two-wheel drive Ram 1500 Tradesman with optional 3.92 rear axle and long bed will be able to pull up to 10,450 pounds and haul up to 1,670 pounds for a MSRP of $23,130.


The Ram 1500 Tradesman was introduced at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. In our opinion, it’s an aggressive and well-placed shot at Ford, which recently introduced an all-new high-performance 302-horsepower, 3.7-liter standard V-6 for the F-150. But where the F-150 starts at $23,390 (including destination), the Ram 1500 will cost only $22,780 (including destination).

Last year, due to reader demand, we held our first Work Truck Shootout to find the best-performing entry-level full-size pickup. All the trucks we tested came with standard six-cylinder engines and base MSRPs starting around $23,000 — the Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra 1500 were priced higher because of their options. It’s too bad the new 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi-powered 2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman wasn’t part of the comparison. It might have won.

Bare bones regular cab work trucks haven’t traditionally been a competitive segment.


According to RL Polk’s vehicle registration data, over the past five years, there have been two significant trends in regular cab full-size pickups that coincide with the introduction of the 2009 Ford F-150, which dropped a six-cylinder engine from its lineup altogether.

First, from 2005 to 2008, the mix of regular cab V-6 to V-8 trucks was split about in half. After 2009, the split shifted to one-third V-6 and two-thirds V-8. Second, from 2005 to 2008, regular cabs made up about 12 percent of all half-ton sales. After 2009, regular cab share dropped dramatically. Through September 2010, regular cab trucks made up just 7.6 percent of 2010 truck sales.

That could change with the introduction of the Tradesman; Ram expects a shift upward in sales because of the Tradesman’s strong out-of-the-box work capabilities. It can tow up to 10,450 pounds — nearly twice as much as its closest V-6-powered competitors. It will also carry the same EPA-rated 15/20 mpg city/highway fuel economy as the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 WT pickups.


The Tradesman is a tremendous deal compared with the 2011 Ram 1500 ST we tested at the Work Truck Shootout. That stripper was just $145 less than the Tradesman’s sticker, with a 215-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 and worse fuel economy — 14/20 mpg.

If fuel economy is your main concern, even compared with Ford’s thrifty 3.7-liter engine, which is rated at 17/23 mpg, the Hemi V-8 shouldn’t cost much more to operate. We crunched the numbers with an average fuel economy (unloaded) of 17.5 mpg for the Hemi and 20 mpg for the Ford six, and calculated that it would cost an extra $321 a year to drive 12,000 miles in the Tradesman versus the same distance in the F-150, if gas prices average $3.75 a gallon. That’s an extra $26.80 a month — likely worth it for all of the Tradesman’s extra capabilities and power.

How will other manufacturers respond to this threat? Stay tuned. There’s likely to be a knife fight at the low end of the market. And we can’t wait for the all-new fuel-efficient 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 to show up in the Ram 1500, possibly by 2012. That’s likely to put more pressure on all the players and push prices even lower.

As the U.S. economy struggles to regain its footing, it’s a good time to be a work truck shopper.


Mike, can you get it with 4x4?, if so short box here i come. no xtras 3.92 locker. bed liner sliding window, nice tires an wheels. 2" level kit ohyea!!

@sandman 4x4: Yes, you'll be able to get it with 2WD or 4WD and a short or long box. The price above is for the 2WD short box. Still, this is a smoking deal.

The best value of any truck,bar none !!

Chrysler is back on top of the truck game,Ford/GM is again a follower !!

Low cost,workhorse,powerful HEMI out tows,out hauls Ford 6 shooter and gas mileage will be almost the same in real world driving !!Not to mention the Ram HeavyDuty,best tow rating of any H.D truck !!! Once again on top as they were for so many years !!!!

Chrysler said it was going to lower the pricing of its trucks to be more competitive with Ford and GM trucks ,those were lower priced than a Ram before this new model year..

My 2011 Mopar Ram QuadCab 4x4,HEMI,3.92 axle gets 18 mpg 60/40 city/hwy mix,when it had under 5,000 it was getting 16-17,like my other Dodge with more mileage the performance(more responsive) and gas mileage increases...

My 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 QuadCab,4x4,3.92 axle was getting 14 average when new after 140,000 miles it was averaging 18.5 mix of city/hwy !! And I live in a hill riddled area !

is it just me...or chevrolet/gmc are always the weakest...

specially their slow shifting!!

the problem is how much are you going to get off of MSRP for the last 6-8years they have given 4,000-10,000 of the sticker so i think they can all lower the prices and only give 2-6,000 off the trucks sticker in the end they are always going to make there money just different pricing strategy.

Although the diesel power wars are alotta fun this new little price war going on is much more useful and will boost sales alot more for the winner granted its not as flashy of a battle

"Max payload: N/A"

I think it was somewhere around 1660...

Ram closing the gap! Bravo!

Excellent story. I love all of the details and breakdowns!!!

Some flaws in the analysis. Ford dropped the V6 for MY2008 (and it was gone until MY2011), but because of gas prices, the V6 trucks that were available were snapped up. Then in 2009, Cash for Clunkers and other incentives made the 4.6L F150 and Hemi Ram 1500 very attractive for those in the market.

Until Ram adds the Pentastar V6 and all the trucks then get two solid years of "no recession" sales under their belt, the V6 vs V8 comparison has too many year-to-year caveats.

Mike, I'm not sure they are targeting the V6 trucks with this. You can build a Ford 5.0 reg cab with similar towing, payload, and mpg today for 24K. It looks like they came out with this to compete against the entry level V8 from Ford not the V6.

@ford850: A Ford F-150 XL 4x2 with a 5-liter V-8 runs $24,390 (incl. destination fees). The Tradesman is $22,780 (incl. dest.) -- $1,610 less. That's firmly inside V-6 territory with a leg up on the 5-liter.

@RoadTrip: What flaw? The 4.2-L V-6 was dropped for the 2009MY. It was still available for 2008. The data reported by RL Polk is what happened to full-size reg cab sales. How is that flawed?

Mike, that's what I meant. It beats the Ford V8 on MSRP, and is similar in towing, payload, and MPG. If comparing price, then it is similar to V6 and beats them on some things but falls short on MPG.
It's nice to see these throwback basic trucks have a comeback.

Corrected that the 4.2 V6 was available for MY2008 (but didn't sell well, thus is drop), but as I noted, 2008 and 2009 were not traditional sales years. Comparing their percentages to other years where almost-unimaginable fuel price spikes and a severe recession did not apply is not an apples-to-apples analysis. In July 2008, I paid $5.15 for diesel, and the same station charged $4.20 for regular unleaded... that affects *everything*.

The Detroit 3 couldn't give away their small cars until 2008 and 2009, but essentially sold out of them those 2 years because of extreme market conditions. Same is true for full-size trucks. My point is, in order to fairly compare to sales prior to 2008, the market conditions should be more equitable. 2011 will be the first year that those conditions will come close to pre-2008. As Chrysler and GM offer better V6 engines, then we'll be back to a level playing field.

Very nice. Great job Chrysler/Ram

Hopefully this sway buyers over the Ram herd.

Go get 'em Ram.

Good job!

this is so lame. max payload the f-150 is 3500

the Ford Tows 11,300


Not the V6. Read the article.

@Tundra: Not with the 3.7-L V-6 it doesn't.

You can option a Chevy WT with the 4.8 for an extra $945. But that is still no Hemi.


The Ford F-150 only gets 1 more mile per gallon if you opt. for the 5.0. Still, the Ram is up 30 horsepower and tops in towing.


It's also a lot cheaper is you get the Ram vs. the Ford 5.0.

They should have called it RAM 100 and Power Ram 100 instead of Tradesman.Tradesman was a B series van back in the 1970s....

1) $22, 780 is the starting price.
2) 10,450 towing is with a truck properly equipped, ie higher price than the starting price.
3) What's payload? Less than 1600 pounds.
4) A 5.0 can tow 10,000 with a high enough payload to tow it and still have a load in the bed. Price is not that much differt when you properly equip a Ram.
5) Ford has the better all around package with 10k towing and a more suitable payload and 8 ' bed. XL RC EB is also avail with 11,300 lb towing and 3,060 lb payload if you want capability. Much better for real work.
6) Ram starts out less but you get what you pay for.

I think the 5.0 literV8 is way better than the ram 5.7V8 it has more torque the horse power does not matter in this case.

And besides ford now this days has better engines than dodge or gmc/chevy together they are nothing to compare with FORD # 1 SECOND TO NONE.

If you compare MPG and base cost, I'd say this truck will do more damage to Chev and it's antiquated 4.3 .
This will even hurt Ram V6 sales.
Guys will still consider the Ford with the 3.7 if towing isn't a primary concern.
I do think that this is a decent idea as it opens competition in the "Economy" truck class.

1) $22, 780 is the starting price.
2) 10,450 towing is with a truck properly equipped, ie higher price than the starting price.
3) What's payload? Less than 1600 pounds.
4) A 5.0 can tow 10,000 with a high enough payload to tow it and still have a load in the bed. Price is not that much differt when you properly equip a Ram.
5) Ford has the better all around package with 10k towing and a more suitable payload and 8 ' bed. XL RC EB is also avail with 11,300 lb towing and 3,060 lb payload if you want capability. Much better for real work.
6) Ram starts out less but you get what you pay for.

1) Why yes it is.
2) They did not mention anything about extra hardware needed for the Tradesman.
"Also included in the Tradesman package is a standard Class IV trailer hitch with lighted, above-bumper four- and seven-pin trailer wire connectors. Tradesman also features heavy-duty engine cooling and a heavy-duty transmission oil cooler."
-Press Release
3) They did not mention payload either. So no proof of your figures.
4)Still you don't know of the price of a "properly equipped Tradesman".
The only options are:"A long list of options is available for the Tradesman including 3.21 and 3.92 rear axle ratios, anti-spin differential, chrome exhaust tip, bright chrome front and rear bumpers, heated mirrors, power door locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, engine block heater, folding trailer-tow mirrors with courtesy lamps and supplemental signals, rubber floor mats, Mopar chrome side steps and bed rails, a rear sliding window, spray-in bed liner, Sirius satellite radio, Uconnect® voice command with Bluetooth®, remote USB port, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, tow hooks, cruise control, tire-pressure monitor, vehicle information center and trailer brake controller."
A 3.92 Axle only costs $375 dollars. It's the only option that would increase towing capacity.
5)Ram has an 8' bed also. The EcoBoost is a $4650 option. It egts pricey from there. Eight foot bed is $300 dollars.
6) You do get what you pay for, as the Ram Tradesman is an affordable truck that can't be beat. Pricewise, or performance wise.

Also, the Hemi has 407 lb. feet of torque.
The 5.0 has 380 lb. ft of torque, and is down 30 horsepower.
The EcoBoost has 420 lb. ft of torque, but is still down on horsepower 25. And, again, it's a freaking $4650 option.

You are confusing the starting price with the price that will tow 10k.

You are confusing "up to 10k properly equipped" with the base model Tradesman.

The one that will tow 10k will have at least $1300 in options to add: $375 bed, $550 TBC group, $375 3.92 axle.

So there is only about a $1000 difference between a Tradesman that will tow 10k and the 5.0 that will tow 5.0 and have a higher payload and get better fuel economy.

EB is $1500 more than the 5.0 will give you max payload package, twice the payload at 3,060 lbs, and 11.3k towing. It will say you about $300-500 a year in fuel savings.

Do you really expect Ram to talk about their poor payloads in the press release? See other articles on the Tradesman for the - 1600 payload.

5.0 with a lower hp is more powerful than the 5.7 - see the last road test from

Last time I checked a business owner doesn't want his employees rodding around in a Hemi, and business owners don't want a regular cab truck to work out of.

Maybe Chrysler should have worked on oh, I don't know, fuel economy? Instead of this exercise in lipstick-piggery.


You got your pricing a little confused...So do you Mike Sanchez. The Ecoboost is a 1,750$ option over the 3.7L V6. A 1,000$ option over the 5.0L V8.

With that said I think the F-150 with the 5.0L is the better truck. I think real world fuel econmy numbers will out-do the Ram 5.7L by a notable amount. The 5.0L F-150 XL work truck does infact cost a tad more than the Ram Tradesmen. But I think in the end you get a better deal with the Ford.

Now with that said...I like what Dodge is doing here, I hope that in the years to come, we will see both Ford and GM now offer a basic working man's truck with more competitive pricing to the Tradesmen, as well as offereing their upspec engine's in their stripper trucks, I would love to see Ford offer the 6.2L alongside the 5.0L and Ecoboost in their working class trucks. and maybe GM could offer their own 6.2L in a basic truck. Both the 5.0L F-150 and Ram Tradsmen make the basic Chevy with the 4.8L pretty much obsolete, as both Ford and Ram will offer better towing, more spirited unloaded driving, and Roughly the same fuel econmy for about the same price.

But just my 2cents on it.

The Tradesman is impressive, and that's coming from a Ford guy. It's nice to see Ford (with the new 3.7L) and Dodge (with the Tradesman) turning some of their attention to the cheaper end of the truck market. Anyone who buys the Tradesman will be getting a capable truck for a great price, all wrapped up in arguably the best-looking wrapper of any full size truck on the market.

No question the truck is bargain priced MSRP.

However, is this truck eligable for the same incentives as a normal Ram 1500? I remember a few years ago when the SXT Caravan came out and had a simmilarly great MSRP, but the SXT model was extecluded from rebates making it the same price as the competitors.

If it does qualify for rebates, this should give Ram a big shot at gettting a foot in the door with small business. It won't matter to midsize or larger since Ford and GM have such agressive fleet programs that they tend to dominate the larger business market.

Looks like a bare bones Muscle truck to me. HEMI + 3:92 rear = FAST!
The Ram is a very good looking truck in reg. cab form. All the lines seem to flow well.
It is up to RAM to get the word out.

A couple points on the chart above...

1) Properly equipped Max Towing is listed under the Ram but also its cheapest non-properly equipped price.

Under the Ford you have the lowest towing listed under the lowest price.

Highest towing for a properly equipped 3.7V6 is 6100 and 1920 payload for a V6. The net price including destination is $23,990.

Tradesman properly equipped will be at least $24,000.

So in actuality there is no savings to get a 10,400 lb tow base model truck. Payload will be higher on the Ford. The 3.7's only weakness in comarison is the un-necessary grunt and towing capacity but mileage will make up for that.

2) If we are comparing cheapest price to cheapest price then we can't compare max towing because we don't know what the cheapest Ram Tradesman will tow at max.

Comparing base Ram Tradesman to base 3.7 V6 Ford F-150:

Ram Tradesman
5.7 Hemi V8
Regular Cab
6' 4" box
1600 lb standard payload estimated
5000 standard towing estimated
14/20 mpg
$22,870. incl. dest.

Regular Cab
3.7 V6
RC 6' 5" box
1730 lb standard payload
5500 lb standard towing
17/23 mpg
$23,380. incl. dest

Now if I was choosing a base model short box regular cab the 3.7 is the better deal.

Ford wins:
-bigger box
-more payload
-higher towing
-better mpg

Ram wins:
- more hp from the Hemi but unnecessary for an employee
-$510 cheaper in price, but the Ford will be $300 to $500 cheaper a year in fuel.

Winner and still best overall base model work truck: Ford F-150


Not sure where you got your info from but on the standard towing for a Ram 1500 3.92 Hemi is 6500lbs. The Ford info is still correct.

Edit 3.92 Gear Ratio hemi

Whoops let me rephrase this. The info is based off of an ST short box Reg Cab Hemi and not the tradesman model. However, I believe that ratings will still be the same or a little higher.

Great package for hot rodders that are from the "if it don't go chrome it" school of thought..
A 4x4 variant would be a prime candidate for the RamRunner kit. it would make a killer offroader.

@Dave: From Ram this morning about max towing: It's a standard cab, long box, 4x2 with 3.92 axle. Upgrade to long box: $300. Axle: $50. I'd also add a TBC.

Resale would be another reason to pick the Ram over the other base trucks.
Wouldn't be nice to know that it had a HEMI, instead of a V6 at the time of resale.
To me, this would broaden your customer base in the used car market.
We are still in America, we like the biggest & the baddest in anything.

Mike - let's not forget that the Hemi needs mid grade fuel and the GM and Ford V6's use regular fuel. That's another 10-15 cents per gallon. Dodge has always been the cheapest truck for a reason. When you look at everything else like safety, quality etc the story on who has the best value changes.

I'm looking at the towing chart right now and it says standard towing is 5000 lbs towing and 1420 payload for a short box regular cab or quad cab with 5.7.

@Dave: From Ram this morning about max towing: It's a standard cab, long box, 4x2 with 3.92 axle. Upgrade to long box: $300. Axle: $50. I'd also add a TBC.

So, Mike, the price on the chart is not correct if you have to add options to the bare bones Tradesman to get the 10,400 tow rating.

According to Ram's site for the higher towing figs they make you take: TBC Group for $550 or Options Package for $750, 8' Bed is $375 and 3.92 Axle is $375. All prices all from Ram's site.

So if we were to believe this Tradesman package was chepaer originally than the base Ford, it now can be more expensive. So 10k tow Tradesman is more expensive, you get the higher tow rating, but lower payload and lower mpg.


The HEMI engine does NOT need mid-grade (89 octane) fuel. Chrysler recommends it but it is not necessary. It will run fine on 87 octane. It states this in the owner's manual. I have run my HEMI Ram on both 87 and 89 octane. I can not tell any difference in performance.


Ram 1500 Reg Cab 4x2 short box/long box is as follows with the 3.21 and 3.92 gear Ratio Hemi standard.

Shortbox with the 3.21 ratio= 5600 lbs standard towing
Longbox with 3.21 Ratio=6,450lbs standard towing

Shortbox with 3.92 ratio= 6500 lbs standard tow rating
Longbox with 3.92 Ratio= 7,200lbs standard tow rating

This is with the Hemi engine and all info is gathered from the 2011 Ram 1500 Brochure, manual and Chrysler Dealer Connect.

The 4.7L V8 is fitting the standard Tow numbers you are posting about.

Fred Diaz also said in the Press Conference that the Payload would be 1660lbs. and yes that is lower than the Ford's payload.

@ Buy American - since you said so, I guess we all should just disregard Dodge's recommendation on fuel and anything else they recommend in the owners manual. Sorry, I think Dodge recommends mid grade for a reason.

Right here it says the 5.7 towing is 5000 lbs - std.
Max payload only 1660. Max Tow is 10k+.

But if 5k-5.6k is the standard tow rating that is a far cry from 10,450 that we were led to believe was included in the price.

The Max Tow Tradesman will tow more, but cost more than the V6 Ford (thought that was the idea behind this was to be the cheapest - apparently not), and it will have less payload and less mpg.

Basically all you are getting cheaper is a way to get a Hemi in a regular cab. Big whoop.

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