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

meant ram outsold the silverado for one month for the first time in a long time. just to clarify. Not for the year.

@papajim -- You make a good point about the available optional upgrades of various suspension components and package availability. They are definitely better and welcomed, but not having driven the truck prevents me from counting them as meaningful or significant changes just yet. I wasn't trying to imply we don't appreciate the upgrades, just they are not a course change or resetting of the bar. We'll have to wait and see. Should probably note I'm not locked in here so could change my mind on this one in the future. Definitely taking your notes seriously. Much appreciated.

I am more of a Ram guy but I do appreciate what GM has done with the exterior. Certainly looks a lot better the box they cam out with in 2014. I think they took it about as far as they could without turning off their customer base.

First the Ram....

GREAT interior and exterior designs. Interior is , by far, the nicest . Exterior design is very derivative but looks great. Nicest looking trucks out there and this really helps sell them.

Interesting etorque semi hybrib application .....nice but....we will have to see how well it works. Otherwise powertrains appear to be a BIG meh. NO improvements to the V6 or the Hemi? NOT impressive. Transmission was very good and is improved .

Suspension is improved and was already the best ride but worst by far hauling/towing capability. Air suspension is great.

Weight loss is good and the Ram which was , by far , the heaviest of the big three loses 225 lbs. NOT nearly enough. GM lost DOUBLE that. This is going to really kill this trucks capabilities and performance, this REALLY needed to be a better number . Now the Ram will be where the GM trucks WERE. Better but this will really hurt its abilities.....

Silverado next.......

Biggest let down was the mild interior redesign. Its very good, much larger, laden with good storage and is said to offer great materials and build quality but it is not a big jump forward like the Ram... this is its ONLY real disappointment. Wonder how different GMC will be .....my guess is it will be a step up. This is where GM's multi truck designs have an advantage.

Powertrains.....5.3L and 6.2L improved though we don't know by how much yet. 5.3 was a good engine that needed better calibration of throttle and transmission. With 8 spd for it throughout the line now, AND with improvements to power it should be a very good selection. 6.2L was already the absolute best engine in the class and now with the 10 spd and improvements it will be better. New I6 turbo diesel should be class leading in power and performance (vs. Ford and Ram diesels) and it too is combined with the 10spd.
There was no info on the base engine....probably to be announced with GMC launch. Who knows if a turbo V6 will be in the mix as well......either way , VERY strong segment .

Exterior is a BIG change and now the most aggressive and "tough looking" by far. Aero is improved substantially as well . BED is the best in the biz by far now ....most space , tough materials, excellent tie downs , interesting new side boxes for storage. GM's balanced materials approach is better idea than Fords all aluminum approach.

Weight drops by 450 lbs ...this is HUGE considering they didn't go all alum. GM was approx. 200+ lbs heavier than the all aluminum Fords in most trims.....now it should be AT LEAST on par with Ford if not lighter in some trims. Ram is a big FAIL in this respect , it NEEDED to lose even more than GM . Capability will be very strong combined with the new and upgraded engines and transmissions.

Ram did a great job launching the new trucks compared to GM"S more modest approach .....BUT.......

GM did a much more thorough and comprehensive effort to make the Silverado SUPERB in capability. Remember , too , we know EVERYTHING about the new RAM and only some of what GM is offering......GMC is still to come with at the very least, different styling and some features . We shall learn just how much the V8's have improved AND if there are any other new engines.

Bottom Line: Ram looks great , was rolled out well and is improved in several ways, but GM honestly redefined their half ton with huge improvements in performance ,capability etc. which I what trucks are all about.

Ram is my pick! ( I used to be a Chevy guy).

@Mark Williams
I am absolutely sure you will be consistent with your observations and list all the improvements as a Lowlights on the next Ford reveals , before you test them to get your approval.
Sarcasm off.

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

Posted by: 2.7EcoBoostRoost | Jan 17, 2018 9:45:40 AM

Now you know what will happen with the F-150 sales after the Ranger fiiiinnnnnaaaalllllyyyyy gets to market

2018 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4x4, V8, 6'4" bed: GVWR 6900, payload 1450

2019 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4x4, V8, 6'4" bed: GVWR 7100, payload 1830

Gain of nearly 400 pounds of payload with only a 200 pound GVWR increase, and a 4 inch increase in cab length and wheelbase. Sounds like a plus to me.

Look at the front ends, the Ram looks wimpy now that they lost there big rig style front end. The chev looks meaner better looking for sure. The grill on the Ram looks too small or something doesn't look right. They sure messes up there styling. The current Ram looks alot better

The RAM is really rockin' that Durango grille. :)

I agree with the author. The luke warm Hybrid is a joke and papajim is overselling it for some strange reason. Must have just gotten a job with his brother bin law's Fiat dealership again. The engines are carryover and they plop this contraption on it instead of fixing the problem. Oh, they ditched the problematic Ecodiesrl, too. The 2019 Ram presentation was long but a lot of smoke and mirrors.

The Mild Hybrid is illegal in Australia along with the illegal bumpers.

I have a 2014 sport in which I love the look. This new front end doesn't cut it for me I see some Nissan Titan with the way the headlights stick out on the sides. The sport needs at least a little contrast too. I have the chrome billets in the grill which is just enough to make it pop. From a distance everything blends together and you can't see the details.

I was hoping for something new to happen with the Nissan NVP, heck if anyone would have a nicer truck based van you'd have a niche in the market

Didn't ram outsell the silverado this year for the first time in many years? ...Posted by: farmerjoe | Jan 17, 2018

@Farmerjoe

I'd be careful around that loco weed if I were you. The Silverado sold 85k more trucks than RAM and the two GM full size trucks combined outsold RAM by a huge margin. (800k to 500k).

RAM for sure ext/interior but not sure about reliability though;
Cheby although much improved from current generation & most square barge design were finally addressed, it now looks like a buffed up Colorado...

I agree with the author. The luke warm Hybrid is a joke and papajim is overselling it for some strange reason. Must have just gotten a job with his brother bin law's Fiat dealership again. The engines are carryover and they plop this contraption on it instead of fixing the problem. Oh, they ditched the problematic Ecodiesrl, too. The 2019 Ram presentation was long but a lot of smoke and mirrors.


Posted by: Jeff S | Jan 17, 2018 2:34:50 PM


I would have to agree with this assessment on the Ram.

Winner is RAM. OMG I hope it comes in yellow.

RAM!

@papajim
See top post 2nd page of comments.

No offense to the nice people at Ram that work on these trucks but I am amazed that the 5.7 is the same engine carried over year after year. Iron blocks have a few advantages, but with auto manufacturers under pressure boost fuel economy and reduce weight of their half-ton trucks, why not update the 5.7 to an aluminum block with direct injection or direct-injection+port injection. That could even allow them to drop the required octane from 89 to 87, possibly even boost power. Maybe there wasn’t anything left in the budget for modernizing the engines after putting those frame vibrators in. Ram also had no information on their Ecodiesel, despite Ford and Ram announcing their own 6 cylinder diesels. Hopefully they’re working with VM Motori to address some of the reliability issues that have plauged it.

I wouldn’t say GM was upstaged, they simply decided to “play their cards close to their chest” if you will. Their new fullsize won’t be ready for sale for another 8 or 9 months, there’s no reason for them to lay their cards on the table this early. Still, GM dropped some major news this weekend. An all-new Duramax Inline-6 diesel, a much needed cab redesign with more headroom, centered steering wheel, more headroom, bigger crew cab, etc.

GM trumped Ram when it comes to their beds — Ram announced that their bed will now be constructed of 340 MPa high strength steel, the same grade of steel that was in the outgoing GM K2xx bed. They also detailed that the bed will be 1.5″ taller for aerodynamic and styling reasons. Some may like that, but beds have already been criticized for being too tall already, an additional 1.5″ will be a negatives for many people. Meanwhile, GM announced that their totally redesigned bed will have best in class capacity and is 6 inches wider without be wider on the exterior. The bed floor is completely flat where the floor meets the inner sidewalls and will be constructed out of 500 MPa HSS. Not only that but it will come standard with 3 tiedown points at each corner and has 9 additional moveable tiedown points spread throughout the bed. Those are simple yet substantial improvements.

GM stretched the crew cab truck’s wheelbase which was sorely needed. Some commenters here were criticizing the stretched wheelbase, saying the turning radius would be hurt by this move. They didn’t notice that the front strut towers on this new frame looks very different than the GMT900/K2xx frame. Compare them. Or watch this video and take note of the new position of the upper control arm. This IFS is totally new, with a the first new steering knuckle from GM in forever. It’s taller, shifting the upper control arm up and out of the space behind the wheel.

The new Ram’s interior looks outstanding, but that doesn’t make up for the exterior styling and ancient powertrain. I think Ram is making a mistake by trying to kill off the Ram’s trademark crosshair grill. It’s an iconic design that dates back 35 years. Every attempt they’ve made at destroying that heritage has failed. The 2019 Rebel’s grille looks better than its predecessor but it’s still not good looking. I like the new wheel wheel arches, they look much more interesting and remind me of the older Ram pickups. At least they didn’t just trace the wheels like Ford.

So why wasn't Chevy docked for having the same old leaf spring suspension they've been using it for 100 not considered a low? That's pretty lame

How can a new tech that hasn't been implemented on any other trucks that will help make the truck more efficient and improve gas mileage be considered a low??

How do you put as a high, "Powertrains loaded with tons of fuel-saving technology" and then say in the low "We don't have all the power information and details yet" That's pretty lame

Bed tie downs are consider a high?? That's pretty weak

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.


Posted by: andrwken | Jan 17, 2018 8:01:16 AM

Did you know you can buy a less luxuary Ram (more payload more towing) or even step up to a 2500? The choices are mind blowing. lol

The 2019 Ram presentation was long but a lot of smoke and mirrors.


Posted by: Jeff S | Jan 17, 2018 2:34:50 PM

stick to your 96 S 10 classic

Hopefully they’re working with VM Motori to address some of the reliability issues that have plauged it.

Posted by: Brick | Jan 17, 2018 5:26:28 PM

What issues?? 30 plus miles to the gallon. 1/2 better mpg than a small toyota. Pull your head out. lol

@farmerjoe

I guess I missed your point completely. Do this old man a favor and re-state your point so I can appreciate it.

The Mild Hybrid is illegal in Australia along with the illegal bumpers.


Posted by: Apollo 13 | Jan 17, 2018 2:39:45 PM

Should i worry about that in the U.S?

RAM 1500 is going to be a huge success. Especially mild hybrid , Rebel TRX and luxury versions.
Ford and GM is in troubles.

@Robert

I agree the Chevy is girly and not everyone wants a push button tailgate..Some of us are MEN who don't mind lifting things.

Some of us are MEN who don't mind lifting things...Posted by: Jim | Jan 17, 2018

@jim

Wow! I am impressed! Can we all come over and watch you raise and lower the tailgate manually?

What issues?? 30 plus miles to the gallon. 1/2 better mpg than a small toyota. Pull your head out. lol


Posted by: HEMI V8 | Jan 17, 2018 5:46:14 PM

Uh where have you been the last few years?

*Crank bearing failures
*FCA cjanges oil spec from 5W-30 to Rotella T6, which isn't a low ash oil, so now the ashy oil clogs up the emission system and evetually destorys the engine
*Pressed-fit cam sprocket slips on cam and destorys engine
*Oil cooler fails and destroys engine
*Fuel system destroyed when fuel pump fails
Plenty more but by far crank bearings have been failing left and right. At first they thought that if the engone was going to fail, it would happen by 25k miles. But later on these trucks started blowing up at between 60-80k miles. Almost daily somebody reports a blown Ecodiesel. For such a low volume seller, a TON of them have blown up.

141 pages of blown Ecodiesels and counting:
http://www.ram1500diesel.com/forum/#/topics/8564

It ALMOST makes the Ecoboost look reliable. Almost.


Question:

- What are new tow mirrors like on new GM?

- What happened to Rams rumored new split tailgate?

- Will GM still offer a max tow/payload pkg?

-

@Brick
It must be North America thing. Low quality fuel, reprogrammed engines for more power, cheep oil...
I never heard about one failure in Europe and they sell this engine for many years and much more in there.

The pickuptrucks.com Detroit auto show coverage was clearly lopsided. 11 stories total on the new Ram, 3 on the Ranger and only 2 on the Silverado. I will agree that the Ram has the most luxurious interior in the business but the Silverado is more cut out for actual truck duty. In my opinion the Silverado made the most meaningful changes for the average truck customer.

@Common man
Split tailgate wasn't necessary. GM dropped the ball with their premature reveal, so RAM keeps it for next time.
Ford wasn't even presented and it's 10 years behind. Hackett is going to go.

So why wasn't Chevy docked for having the same old leaf spring suspension they've been using it for 100 not considered a low? That's pretty lame
Posted by: Me | Jan 17, 2018 5:32:35 PM

Real trucks have leaf springs. They're simple and tough. The Ram 1500 became less of a truck when it started using mattress springs for a suspension. The suspension sag is absolutely the worst of any half-ton. The new progressive coils in the 2019 will make it a little better but it'll still have a dozen little links with bushings that wear out and make the rear suspension sloppy and squeak anytime the suspension moves. If you just want a truck to drive around as a car, the Ram's suspension is great. But if you want to do hard work with your truck, leaf springs are the suspension you want.


--------------------------------------------
How can a new tech that hasn't been implemented on any other trucks that will help make the truck more efficient and improve gas mileage be considered a low??

Posted by: Me | Jan 17, 2018 5:32:35 PM

You can't get a Ram 1500 that isn't a hybrid anymore. The 5.7 in the 2019 is the exact same 5.7 they have used for the last 10 years. THAT is lame. They didn't do a single thing to the engine other than bolt a big electric motor to it. THAT is lame. It's especially lame considering they went to such great lengths to reduce the weight of the truck that they replace the upper control arms with plastic ones, yet they keep using that 10 year old iron block V8 making the same power it did 6 or 7 years ago. An aluminum block version would save between 100 and 150 lbs alone. They could have changed the fuel system from port injection to direction injection or a combination of the two, which would let it make more power and probably let it run on 87 octane instead of requiring 89 octane. That's LAME.

--------------------------------------------
How do you put as a high, "Powertrains loaded with tons of fuel-saving technology" and then say in the low "We don't have all the power information and details yet" That's pretty lame

Posted by: Me | Jan 17, 2018 5:32:35 PM

Did you even read about Dynamic Skip Fire? It has the potential to allow GM to use a more aggressive engine without hurting fuel economy or emissions.


--------------------------------------------

Bed tie downs are consider a high?? That's pretty weak
Posted by: Me | Jan 17, 2018 5:32:35 PM

It's a positive for those of us that buy a truck with the intention of using it as a truck. The more tie down locations you have, the better you can secure stuff in your bed. It also saves a lot of time being you aren't trying to figure out how to use the 1 or 2 tie down points more trucks give you in each corner, or trying to move a removable tie down point to a different position. So not, it's not weak.

Brick, the real semi trucks use multilink and air ride, not leafs.
5.7 HEMI is standard without mild hybrid. Mild hybrid is an option.
RAM will wipe the floor with Ford and GM this year. Hackett will be fired.

All these fortune tellers here saying RAM is going to over take sales is entertaining!!
The RAM is a great looking Durango...i mean Ram...it has same powertrains as before and same 8 spd.

Both GM v8s are improved...we don't know specs but you guys might be eating your words when the 5.3L produces more HP/TQ than your so called Hemi 5.7L. We won't even mention the 6.2L bc it already had class leading HP and it only needs 10 more TQ to reclaim that and you all know GM is going to bump both up!! Let alone their new diesel will be class leading bc they already said that!!!

Listen both are great trucks...lets just hope they don't kill our pocket books bc of all the added technology!!

BTW...JIM. This girly man had a 17 Sierra with an assisted tailgate and its amazing!! Never slams down on you!! A push button tailgate will be awesome. Try it and u won't go back....and I won't call u girl FOR using it!!!

5.7 HEMI is standard without mild hybrid. Mild hybrid is an option.

Posted by: RAM | Jan 17, 2018 8:20:36 PM

Allpar seems to think that the eTorque V8 is only optional on lower trims.

"Buyers of most configurations can get the V6, even with four wheel drive and Crew Cab; and a Hemi without eTorque is available on lower trim levels and fleet vehicles but there is no eTorque-less V6."

https://www.allpar.com/trucks/ram/2018-1500.html

Maybe they think they'll be able to force Ram buyers to accept the eTorque system in order to get the nice interiors or 12" touchscreen, which is only available on the top 3 trims I do believe.

If that isn't the case, it's still a joke that Ram didn't do a single thing to the 5.7. How can they justify just ignoring the engine on a totally update truck? Especially when the engine hasn't been update in years. Not to mention the fact that they tried to get weight out of the truck in a lot of different ways including replacing the steel exhaust hangers with aluminum brackets, fiberglass control arms, aluminum transmission crossmembers, etc. Yet they ignore the 10 year old iron block engine entirely? Bizarre...

Nothing bizarre at all. FCA has stock pile of HEMIs. They are most reliable and inexpensive to build. Still powerful enough, with eTorque even more efficient . Lasts much longer than turbogasoline.
The front upper arm is metal with composit. Same weight like old one, but much stronger to handle 22" wheels and largest brake rotors in the segment 14.9" . All drivelines are stronger, new Part time and Full time transfer case ,more robust.
Rebel TRX is on the way and it will wipe the floor with Raptor. Full 707 Hp.
Raptor's leafs can't handle that power level. Ford needs to revise everything to be relevant again.

https://www.allpar.com/news/2018/01/is-ram-dropping-rebel-hellcat-easter-eggs-39372

@Robert

I agree the Chevy is girly and not everyone wants a push button tailgate..Some of us are MEN who don't mind lifting things.


Posted by: Jim | Jan 17, 2018 6:42:52 PM

Amen, thats for butch the trucker girl. lol

Just stick a Hemi v8 in all of it. Supercharged, Torbo Charged, Naturally asperiated.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGz8ACu9V5E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5jwJErNyLY

It ALMOST makes the Ecoboost look reliable. Almost.

Posted by: Brick | Jan 17, 2018 7:51:22 PM

Think your confused with the EcoBoost from Ford.

Stick a Hemi in it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UBnU3TPArY

Did you know you can buy a less luxuary Ram (more payload more towing) or even step up to a 2500? The choices are mind blowing. lol


Posted by: HEMI V8 | Jan 17, 2018 5:41:11 PM

You can buy a 3/4 ton in better trucks than a ram too!

Still get better capabilities from Ford and GM.

Yep. Mind blowing....

Still get better capabilities from Ford and GM.

Yep. Mind blowing....


Posted by: andrwken | Jan 18, 2018 4:10:29 AM

Yup, fleet queen h.d. 1500's for those who cant afford a real 3/4 ton. lol

@ Hemi V8

You sent vids of the different crate engines FCA produces?? What's your point? Go pay $$50k and then spend another $10k to replace it with stronger crate motor?? Why didn't they just put this engines in as choices right away?

I don't get your logic here. Please explain!

HEMI is most selling V8. Where I can find GM 6.2? Nowhere.
What would be point to put the crate engine in the truck ?
Is HEMI missing power ? No worries HellCat is coming.


@ Ram

It's most selling v8 bc its only v8 offered! And they didn't increase its HP

I was asking crate ENGINE question bc he posted those vids...what was point of posting them

And 6.2L are out there...just harder to find...plus 5.3L will.probably have more HP and TQ then your Hemi will!!

That Chevy flat front end is quite the turn off.



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