The RAM takes a healthy run at the big dog. Let’s see how it fares.
For years, Ford has been king-of-the-hill when it comes to truck sales in the U.S. In fact, the Ford F series of trucks has a virtual lock on the #1 position for overall total car sales in the U.S., month after month and year after year. Most truck owners don’t pay too much attention to sales numbers. They’re driven by deeper motivations like brand loyalty, towing capacity, family heritage and tradition, pure power, even the unique smell one truck brand has over another.
Getting two truck lovers to argue over the merits of their choices can get heated. We’re hoping cooler heads can prevail here as we update a brief comparison of the 2014 Ford F-150 and its Dodge counterpart, the RAM 1500. Draining the emotion out of the discussion (if that’s even possible) here’s what we found.
The 2014 Ford F-150 – an overview
With its consistent placing as the number one selling car (of any kind) in the U.S., it could be argued that little needs to be done to the F-150. Ford seems to have followed that philosophy a bit as it roared into the 2014 selling season making only minor changes to the F-150. The sheer variety available within the F-150 lineup has always set this truck apart from nearly all of its rivals.
The F-150 is available in regular cab, SuperCab (an extended cab option) and SuperCrew (a crew cab option) body styles. Regular and SuperCabs are offered with either a 6.5-foot or 8-foot cargo bed, while SuperCrews can be had with 6.5- or 5.5-foot beds. Within these body styles, there are 10 unique trim/option packages:
- F-150 XL
- F-150 STX
- F-150 XLT
- F-150 FX2
- F-150 FX4
- F-150 Lariat
- F-150 King Ranch
- F-150 SVT Raptor
- F-150 Platinum
- F-150 Limited
Most XLs on the road are used in light commercial settings and often make up fleets for contractors or related businesses. This entry-level model has standard features like 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a tilt-only steering wheel, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40 front seat and an AM/FM radio. The XL in the SuperCrew option adds keyless entry, power side mirrors, an overhead console and power front windows.
The STX includes all the standard features on the XL plus alloy wheels, additional body-colored exterior trim, power-adjustable windows, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The SuperCab option in the STX throws in rear power windows.
The XLT offers automatic headlights, foglights, rear privacy glass, chrome exterior trim, a keyless entry keypad, the Sync voice control interface and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.
The FX trims add 18-inch alloy wheels, a trailer tow package, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped and telescoping steering wheel with additional controls, front bucket seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, a household power outlet, an upgraded 4.2-inch display for climate/audio functions and satellite radio. (Get the FX in a 4WD package and you get hill descent control, skid plates and an electronic locking rear differential.)
With the Lariat, you lose the off-road equipment that comes with the FX, but you pickup dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats, driver-seat memory functions, the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with an 8-inch touchscreen), dual USB ports, power-adjustable pedals and a power-sliding rear window.
With the King Ranch you get all the Lariat features plus chrome exterior trim, unique badging inside and out, running boards, power-folding and heated auto-dimming mirrors, rear parking sensors, an integrated trailer brake controller, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a rearview camera, remote ignition, wood interior trim and a premium Sony sound system.
Go even bigger with the Platinum as it adds 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, power deployable running boards, automatic wipers, a wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel, a sunroof and a navigation system.
With the Limited you get all that and 22-inch wheels, a monochromatic paint job and an upgraded leather interior.
The SVT Raptor cuts out most of the “luxury” amenities in favor of a more rugged off-road package. You get 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, unique exterior treatments, fixed aluminum running boards, front/rear tow hooks, a shift-on-the-fly transfer case, high-performance suspension components, an auxiliary equipment switch panel and unique interior trim and upholstery.
Power and efficiency
If your head is still spinning trying to calculate all the possible combinations in trim packages and cab sizes, we’ll keep you spinning trying to keep track of all the powertrain options available with the F series.
You can choose from four different engines, depending on the model selected. One thing you won’t have to choose is a transmission as every engine option powers Ford’s six-speed electronic automatic transmission with an available tow/haul setting. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the entire F series line, though you can upgrade to 4WD with any package. (The one exception is the SVT Raptor, which is only available in 4WD.)
Start climbing the power ladder with the standard 3.7-liter V6 Ford engine that produces 302-hp and 278 pound-feet of torque. Upgrade to Ford’s 5.0-liter V8 and you pick up the power to 360-hp with 380 pound-feet of torque. Step it up another notch and you can opt for the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine (Ford’s heralded EcoBoost engine) and be surprised at an over-achieving six-cylinder that delivers 365-hp and 420 pound-feet of torque. The SVT Raptor is all about power and off-road ruggedness and standard on these models is the big-boy, 6.2-liter V8 throwing out 411-hp and 434 pound-feet of torque.
While fuel economy may not be a huge concern for full-body truck owners, Ford has made strides in balancing power with economy. The baseline 3.7L V6 delivers an EPA-estimated 17-mpg in the city and 23-mpg on the highway (for the two-wheel drive option) and 16-mpg city and 23-mpg on the highways when you opt for 4WD. Go with the EcoBoost V6 in the rear-wheel drive option and your fuel economy registers at 16-mpg in the city and 22-mpg on the highway. The EcoBoost in a 4WD drops to 15-mpg in the city and 21-mpg on the highways. The 5.0L V8 is comparable to the EcoBoost for economy getting you 15-mpg in the city and 21-mpg highway. Opt for 4WD and you see it drop to 14-mpg in the city and 19-mpg on the open road. The Raptor is a thirsty bird and it only gets you 11-mpg in the city and 16-mpg on the highway.
While power, hauling and towing capacity may be more popular areas for consideration when folks conduct a full-body truck comparison, Ford does give a nod to safety with the F series. All 2014 Ford F-150s include the following, standard safety features:
- Four-wheel antilock disc brakes
- Stability control
- Trailer sway control
- Front-seat side and full-length side curtain airbags
If you select the optional Sync system, it includes an emergency crash-notification feature that will automatically dial 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors come standard on the King Ranch, Platinum, Limited and SVT Raptor trim packages.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2014 Ford F-150 an overall rating of four out of a possible five stars for safety in crash-test results. It garnered a five-star rating for overall side-impact protection and earned four stars for frontal protection (though only three stars for the SuperCrew body styles).
Towing and hauling and room
The F-150's maximum tow ratings range from 6,700 pounds with the 3.7-liter V6 all the way up to 11,300 pounds with the 6.2-liter V8 and turbo V6 (when properly equipped with a tow package and the appropriate axle ratio). Like everything else with the F-150, payload capacity has a very wide range depending on cab configuration, box size, drivetrain and suspension packages. Maximum payload ratings go from a low of 980 lbs. to a hefty 3,120 lbs.
Passenger space remains a strength of the 2014 F-150. The F-150 SuperCrew is impressively spacious for cargo and passengers and offers superb backseat comfort thanks to abundant legroom, a flat floor and a seatback angle that's pleasantly reclined. The SuperCab is still fairly roomy, but legroom is noticeably less generous. Owners and reviewers also complain about its rear-hinged clamshell doors.
The 2014 RAM 1500 – an overview
Being number three invites innovation and determination and that’s true of the RAM 1500. For 2014, Dodge added an available turbocharged diesel V6 engine to the mix while phasing out the 4.7-liter V8 engine option from prior years. The move gave the line greet press coverage and the distinction of being the only light-duty, full-size truck to offer an option in a diesel. With the diesel comes improved fuel efficiency and added towing power.
The 2014 RAM 1500 series comes in a regular cab (it seats three,) an extended cab or QuadCab (that can seat up to six) and a crew cab (also seating six) that increases rear-seat legroom. Bed size options for the regular cab models are 6’-4” or 8’. The QuadCab only comes with a 6’-4” bed option and the crew cab models can be had with either 5’-7” beds or 6’-4” beds.
There are 11 main trim option packages with the 2014 RAM 1500:
- RAM 1500 Tradesman
- RAM 1500 Express
- RAM 1500 HFE
- RAM 1500 SLT
- RAM 1500 Lone Star
- RAM 1500 Big Horn
- RAM 1500 Outdoorsman
- RAM 1500 Sport
- RAM 1500 Laramie
- RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn
- RAM 1500 Laramie Limited
The Tradesman comes with 17-inch steel wheels, black bumpers/grille, automatic headlights, a locking tailgate, a sprayed-in bedliner, vinyl floor covering, air-conditioning, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, vinyl upholstery, a tilt-only steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with auxiliary and USB inputs. QuadCab and crew cab versions of the Tradesman have power windows and a folding rear bench seat.
The Express comes with 20-inch wheels and beefed-up tires, standard.
The HFE (which stands for High Fuel Economy) has some unique features, all geared to improving your fuel efficiency (Duh!) The rear-wheel-drive, regular cab version includes automatic engine stop-start, a feature not available with any other package. The HFE also locks you in to a 3.21:1 rear axle ratio and a tonneau cover, all of which help optimize fuel economy.
The SLT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim and dual gloveboxes.
The Lone Star and the Big Horn are essentially the same truck, but you can only buy the Lone Star in Texas (get it?)
The Outdoorsman is only available in a QuadCab or crew cab option and only in 4WD. It has gray bumpers, a larger gas tank, underbody skid plates, tow hooks, all-terrain tires, a limited-slip rear differential, cloth bucket seats with console, two-tone paint and fender flares.
The Sport comes with a tuned dual exhaust, body-colored grille/bumpers, LED running/turn signal lights, foglights, folding/auto-dimming outside mirrors (with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps), 20-inch alloy wheels, front bucket seats with a center console, a 10-way power driver seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a 60/40 split for the rear bench seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.4-inch touchscreen display with a rearview camera, and the RAM Uconnect Access system with:
- Voice control
- Text-to-speech messaging capability
- Emergency roadside assistance
- Streaming Internet radio (still not available in certain areas)
- 115-volt power outlet and LED cabin lighting.
The Laramie trim level is only available in an extended cab or a crew cab and the upgraded Laramie Longhorn and Limited are only available in a crew cab body style. The Laramie line has nearly all of the Sport's features, with some variations (like chrome bumpers/grille, two-tone paint and a front bench seat.) It also adds heated mirrors, driver memory functions, leather front seats (vinyl in the rear), a six-way power passenger seat, wood-grain/chrome interior trim and an upgraded sound system with a subwoofer. The Longhorn adds a mesh grille insert, the spray-in bedliner, tow hooks, a larger fuel tank, a remote ignition, front/rear parking sensors, HD radio, and a navigation system with traffic updates and a Yelp-based search engine. The Limited package adds air suspension, monochromatic paint, chrome side-step bars, automatic windshield wipers, automatic high beams, keyless ignition/entry, a leather and wood steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
Power and efficiency
The standard engine in the Tradesman, HFE and SLT RAM packages is its 3.6-liter V6 (gasoline) that kicks out 305-hp and 269 pound-feet of torque. This V6 powers an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rather than a traditional shift lever, the eight-speed is controlled by a rotary "e-shift" knob on the instrument panel, which frees up storage space in the Rams with center consoles.
The standard engine in the more advanced and expensive trim packages is RAM’s 5.7-liter V8 (gasoline) that throws out 395-hp and 410 pound-feet. With the V8, you have two automatic transmission options: a six-speed or an eight-speed. (The exception here is with the Tradesman where you can only get the six-speed.) You can beef up any of the RAMs with this V8 (though you will pay more in most cases.)
New to the 2014 Ram 1500 lineup is the option of selecting a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6. The diesel offers 240-hp and 420 pound-feet of torque and comes with the eight-speed automatic transmission.
Rear-wheel or 4WD is available with any package, except the HFE (two-wheel drive only.) There are two different 4WD systems: one is a more traditional part-time system, while the other is more deluxe and features an on-demand Auto 4WD mode.
With the standard 3.6L V6 you can enjoy EPA-estimated fuel economy of 17-mpg city and 25-mpg Highway (rear-wheel drive) and 16-mpg city and 20-mpg with a 4WD model. The Eco-Diesel boasts fuel rates of 20-mpg in the city and 28-mpg out on the highway. The big V8 EPA-estimated fuel ratings are 14-mpg in the city and 20-mpg on the highway (with the rear-wheel option and the six-speed transmission) while adding the 4WD with the six-speed gets you 13-mpg in the city and 19-mpg on the highway. Select the eight-speed auto transmission and you’ll see your fuel use register at 15-mpg in the city and 22-mpg highway (for the rear-wheel drive) and 15-mpg in the city and 21-mpg on the highway with the 4WD.
Towing and hauling and room
Owners, reviewers and even some rivals tend to agree that the 2014 RAM 1500 has the nicest interior of any full-size pickup. It also gets high marks for comfort as it is the only truck in this class with a coil-spring rear suspension plus an optional air suspension that you can use to adjust the truck's ride height.
Depending on the cab/bed configuration and axle ratio you choose, a properly equipped Ram 1500 with the standard gasoline V6 features a towing capacity that maxes out at 7,450 lbs. The new EcoDiesel V6 maxes out at 9,200 lbs. of towing capacity. If you get the full package and properly configure a model with the 5.7-liter V8, you can tow up to 10,450 lbs. As for payload capacity, it ranges from a lower end limit of 1,320 lbs. to a higher end of 1,910 lbs.
Just as with the Ford, RAM owners may not give weighted thought to safety, but RAM’s makers do. Every 2014 RAM 1500 comes with the following standard safety equipment:
- Four-wheel antilock disc brakes
- Stability control
- Hill start assist
- Trailer sway control
- Front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags
A rearview camera and front/rear parking sensors come standard on the higher end trim packages and can be added as a paid-for option on all others (except the HFE.)
Models with Uconnect Access have an emergency telematics system that connects you with 911 operators at the touch of a button and provides stolen vehicle tracking.
Prices and warranties
What you pay for any specific car will vary from dealer to dealer and from community to community. Yearend bargains, dealer incentives, any added destination fees can all factor in to what the final bill will be. We can, however, give you an idea of what to expect in a cost comparison between a 2014 Ford F-150 vs. RAM 1500. Here are the starting MSRPs for each trim/option package:
2014 Ford F-150
- F-150 XL -- $25,025
- F-150 STX -- $27,510
- F-150 XLT -- $30,335
- F-150 FX2 -- $36,455
- F-150 FX4 -- $40,570
- F-150 Lariat -- $37,640
- F-150 King Ranch -- $44,880
- F-150 SVT Raptor -- $44,995
- F-150 Platinum -- $47,905
- F-150 Limited -- $50,985
2014 RAM 1500
- RAM 1500 Tradesman -- $24,810
- RAM 1500 Express -- $25,845
- RAM 1500 HFE -- $29,320
- RAM 1500 SLT -- $29,435
- RAM 1500 Lone Star -- $30,240
- RAM 1500 Big Horn -- $30,240
- RAM 1500 Outdoorsman -- $34,585
- RAM 1500 Sport -- $34,855
- RAM 1500 Laramie -- $38,775
- RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn -- $46,185
- RAM 1500 Laramie Limited -- $48,680
As for warranties, there are some subtle differences in the standard warranty covering the 2014 Ford F-150 and the 2014 RAM 1500. Some of these differences could be the deal breaker, depending on what you use your truck for and how hard you use it.
The 2014 Ford F-150 series comes with this standard warranty:
- 3-year/36,000 mile limited bumper-to-bumper warranty
- 5-year/60,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
- 5-year/unlimited miles limited corrosion protection warranty
- 5-year/60,000 mile roadside assistance coverage
A big selling point featured in ads for the RAM is the warranty. As you can see, there isn’t a great deal of daylight between the Ford and the RAM warranty. The 2014 RAM 1500 series comes with this standard warranty:
- 3-year/36,00 mile limited bumper-to-bumper warranty
- 5-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
- 5-year/100,000 mile limited corrosion protection warranty
- 5-year/100,000 mile roadside assistance coverage
Extended service plans and warranties are available from both Ford and Dodge/RAM in packages that can offer wider and longer protection. Prices for these plans vary, though you can find price ranges on either manufacturer’s website.
A quick comparison
Given the wide variety of trim/option packages, engine configurations, transmission options and drivetrain selections available, it’s nearly impossible to offer a full, detailed, apples-to-apples comparison here. To narrow it down a bit, we ran a short tale-of-the-tape between what we believe are two fairly comparable options. Lining up the spec sheets for the 2014 Ford F-150 XL in the rear-wheel drive SuperCrew, and the 2014 RAM 1500 Tradesman in rear-wheel drive with the QuadCab option, in these important areas, here’s what we find:
- Power – it’s about a wash between these two
- Fuel economy – slight edge goes to the RAM
- Towing and hauling – slight edge to the F-150 for towing but the RAM has noticeably more payload capacity
- Comfort/amenities – a slight edge to the RAM
- Safety – another draw between the two
- Warranties – slight edge to the RAM
- Cost – a very noticeable advantage to the RAM
If it matters to you, the RAM 1500 earned Truck of the Year honors from Motor Trend for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014.) That, and this tale-of-the tape may, do little to sway you if you’re already a committed truck owner, especially one wed to a specific brand. One thing this comparison of a 2014 Ford F-150 vs. RAM 1500 should make clear is that today’s trucks are unlike their predecessors – trying to have it all with power, comfort and efficiency.
If a truck is in your future (or if the one you’re currently driving needs an upgrade) you won’t go wrong in giving serious consideration to the #1 and #3 truck lines in the country. The best way to make a final decision may be to visit a local dealer and schedule a test drive. You can get all the information on yearend clearances, full details on trim and option packages, even assistance with financing and insurance. You can turn to Reply! for help finding local dealers ready to take you on a test drive and help you decide which truck is best for you.