Amazing fact: The F-150 has been Canada's best-selling vehicle for over 50 years. In 2018, over 145,000 buyers in the Great White North opted for an F-150, compared to just over 110,000 for the Silverado/Sierra duo from GM and close to 85,000 for the RAM. But is the best-selling truck necessarily the best, period? And if it is, why? There's no simple answer, because the quantity and variety of models offered make comparisons difficult. For our head-to-head we’ll stick to the most popular models.
2019 Ford F-150
When you’ve got the planet’s best-selling vehicle on your roster, it behooves you to dedicate all your know-how and resources to keep things that way. And that's what Ford has always done. Practically every year Ford invests in some new technology or other, a new engine or some other upgrades.
In 2019, the F-150 becomes the most powerful light-duty pickup truck in North America, thanks to the addition of a 3.5L, high-performance turbocharged V6 engine making 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, borrowed from the Raptor and installed in the Limited edition.
In every aspect of every vehicle in this segment, goal number-one is to be tops in the category. Just as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are engaged in a furious arms race in the luxury sedan segment, Ford, RAM and GM duke it out in the truck domain. No one can afford to rest on their laurels.
This is really one of Ford's greatest strengths. Beyond the countless versions of the model in the product offering, Ford proposes six engines for the F-150. In addition to the 450-hp 3.5L EcoBoost V6, the other entry-level unit is a 3.3L V6 producing 290 hp (265 lb-ft of torque), as well as a 2.7L turbocharged V6 making 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Then comes the 3.5L EcoBoost producing 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, and the only remaining V8, a 5.0L unit that produces 385 hp and 397 lb-ft of torque.
Finally, not wanting to cede any ground in the diesel realm to RAM (which actually does not have any diesel version for 2019), Ford also produces a version running on diesel, in the form of a 3.0L V6 delivering 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque.
All engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission with the exception of the 3.3L V6, which works in tandem with an older 6-speed transmission. A choice of two- or four-wheel drive is available with all engines and typical in this class, there are regular, extended cab and crew cab configurations.
A la carte interior
Ford, like RAM, has not forgotten that a part of the customer-base of its products is still buying a truck for actual work purposes. So, in either case, you have work trucks with vinyl seats and floor mats and a relative absence of luxury. That said, in many trims, the fit and finish rivals that of luxury sedans.
Ford’s approach to the cabin is still fairly traditional. In the more upscale models you have two-tone leather seats with heating/ventilation/massage functions in the front, a suede headliner, leather-trimmed door panels, ash wood trim or aluminum, 22-inch wheels, running boards, tailgate and a two-panel sunroof.
Ford also offers a lot of technology with, for example, a 360-degree outdoor camera with dynamic assistance, towing assistance system, adaptive braking system, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assistance system and active parking assistance system.
On the road
Ford doesn’t take chances with the way its cash cow drives, and that's to be expected when your vehicle is the top sales performer in its class. The driving experience is an accurate reflection of the approach to the cabin, free of surprises and fairly traditional. The most popular engine is the 3.5L, but as it happens this unit is also the one with the most reported issues. Unless you’ll be towing something massive every day, we recommend the 5.0L V8, which is the most reliable engine and makes the F-150 very pleasant to drive.
2019 RAM 1500
Due to chronic underfunding, which has been ongoing for years at FCA, large-scale changes in the automaker’s products are rare. There is one exception in 2019, and that is the popular RAM, thoroughly reworked for the new edition. Cynics will point out that with Ford and GM changing modernizing and upgrading their entries in the pickup war, RAM didn’t have much choice, and that’s certainly true. But the sales decline recorded in 2018 versus 2017 undoubtedly was a motivating factor as well. In any event, FCA has found the needed funds to introduce a series of technical changes aimed at helping the RAM truck to do battle against its powerhouse competitors.
An inspired look
RAM has reduced the weight of the 1500 by more than 100 kg using high-strength steel; the chassis alone is 45 kg lighter than before. This has allowed the engineers to increase the towing capacity of the truck to more than 5,780 kg and payload capacity to more than 1,040 kg.
According to RAM, the new 1500 is also the most aerodynamic truck in the segment, thanks to its active grille flaps, an air barrier and a new-generation air suspension.
The 2019 RAM 1500 is also the one that benefits from the most inspired look in the category.
Compared with the more conservative cabin of the F-150, the RAM is a little prettier, and its high-end versions come with better-quality materials. The overall vibe is definitely more modern.
Both trucks feature modern infotainment systems, but the RAM is more intuitive and comes with an optional 12-inch (8.4-inch standard) touchscreen, the largest in its class. This large screen can be used entirely for navigation or you can divide and customize it as you wish. The number of versions and the combination of models are comparable to the F-150.
You also have an optional 900-watt harmon/kardon audio system with 19 speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer. Available security features include a 360-degree outdoor camera system and the Uconnect infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
For 2019 the engines are known quantities, including a 3.6L V6 (305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque) and a 5.7L V8 (395 hp and 410 lb-ft), but with a new twist. Both units come with FCA's lightweight eTorque Hybrid System, which adds 90 lb-ft of torque to the 6-cylinder and 130 lb-ft to the V8. The 48-volt hybrid system adds the automatic stop/start function to the 1500 and braking energy recovery.
Although these light-hybrid systems won’t reduce fuel consumption in the same way a full hybrid system would, expect trucks equipped with this system to be stingier on fuel compared to last year’s edition, especially with the arrival of an 8-speed automatic transmission.
For diesel fans, the EcoDiesel is not on the roster for 2019 due to certification delays with the EPA, but it should be ready for action for 2020.
On the road
The RAM with its unique suspension configuration is more comfortable on the road, and if you opt for the air suspension you take that comfort level up another notch. Easy to drive, the RAM offers a superior driving feel, better road communication and greater comfort against the F-150.
Advantage RAM 1500
In terms of driving, interior presentation and more user-friendly center console screen, the Ram is in front. There is also a slight advantage in fuel economy with the V6.
Advantage Ford F-150
In sheer numbers of engine availability, the amount of technology onboard and the total towing capacity, the F-150 offers a head start (13,200 pounds against 12,750 for Ram). With all this technology, the F-150 is also safer.
The tie games in this clash of titans come in the areas of pricing, cargo space and the comfort of the seats themselves (not the comfort on the road); in these regards the two trucks are equal. In terms of reliability, well, neither of them are really that reliable - so, tied there too.
If we had to pick a truck, we would go for the RAM 1500 for its more modern approach, its more inspired exterior styling and its more pleasant and comfortable driving.
2019 Ford F-150
Wide variety of models
We like less
Fit and finish
2019 RAM 1500
The most avant-garde cabin in the industry
We like less
No diesel in 2019
Air suspension always broken
|...||2019 Ford F-150||2019 RAM 1500|
|Transmission||10-speed auto||8-speed auto|
|V6 (3.3L)||V6 (3.6L)|
|Fuel consumption (city)||13.0L/100 km||13.2L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (highway)||10.3L/100 km||9.6L/100 km|
|Réservoir de carburant||136 litres (4WD)||98 litres|
|Output||282 hp||305 hp|
|Torque||253 lb-ft||269 lb-ft|
|Cylinders||6 cylinders||6 cylinders|
|Output||325 hp||395 hp|
|Torque||375 lb-ft||410 lb-ft|
|Cylinders||6 cylinders||8 cylinders|
|Towing capacity||2,268 to 5,443 kg||3,824 to 5,761 kg|
|Length||5316 to 6363 mm||5309 mm|
|Width||2029 mm||2085 mm|
|Height||1907 to 1964 mm||1966 mm|
|Wheelbase||3109 to 4158 mm||3569 to 3899 mm|
|Warranty||3 yrs/60,000 km||3 yrs/60,000 km|
|Pricing||$31,799 to $76,249||$45,045 to $75,845|